Bethune found guilty of murdering SIU student - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bethune found guilty of murdering SIU student

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. — After more than four years, three grand juries and several pleas from the parents of a dead SIU student, a jury rules the last man to see him alive is responsible for his death.

The jury ruled Gaege Bethune caused injuries that led to Pravin Varughese’s death on a cold February night in 2014.

It took nearly seven hours, but a jury convicted Bethune on one count of first degree murder late Thursday night.

“It was a tough day for everybody,” Special Prosecutor David Robinson said.

Even though he successfully persuaded the jury on one of the two counts against Bethune, Robinson is not taking solace in it fact. 

“It’s tough. It’s not a happy ending for anybody,” Robinson said.

After the verdict, it took a few minutes for Bethune’s blank facial expression to change, but as each juror confirmed their ruling, he buried his head down on the table and eventually vomited into a waste basket.

Two of his family members also needed medical attention, one leaving by ambulance.

Both are expected to be OK.

Members of Bethune’s family didn’t want to speak to the media. Neither did his lawyer, Mike Wepsiec.

Lovely Varughese, Pravin’s mother, didn’t want to talk after the verdict, saying it was still settling in.

“It’s an emotional time for the victim’s family and its an emotional time for the defendants family,” Robinson said. “And we want to respect that.”

The jury only convicted Bethune on one of two murder charges he faced. They ruled there was enough evidence to prove murder predicated on battery, but not murder predicated on robbery.

No sentencing date has been set yet, although Robinson expects that to happen with the next 60 to 90 days. A conference will be held soon to determine the official date.

Bethune faces 20 to 60 years in prison.

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