Autopsies performed on Pravin Varughese focus of testimony in Gaege Bethune trial

Pravin Varughese

MURPHYSBORO, IL — The cause and manner of death of an SIU student found dead in 2014 were the focus of witness testimony Monday in the trial of the man accused of Murdering him.

Gaege Bethune is charged with first degree murder in the death of SIU student Pravin Varughese, whose body was found in the woods near a Carbondale restaurant in 2014.

During the trial, special prosecutor David Robinson called three pathologists and a funeral director to the stand to answer questions about the autopsy reports. Two autopsies were conducted for Varughese. The first was conducted by Dr. James Jacoby. The second, paid for by Varughese’s family, was conducted by Dr. Ben Margolis.

Wooded area near where Pravin Pravin Varughese was found

The experts spent some time focusing on the difference between the cause of death and the manner of death. Cause of death is how someone died. The manner of death refers to the circumstances under which the death happened. The autopsy reports shows Varughese’s cause of death was hypothermia and his manner of death is “undetermined.”

Autopsy photos were shown in court Monday. At issue are two abrasions above one of Varughese’s eyebrows, which were shown in the photos. Margolis said the abrasions looked like they were from direct contact to Varughesse’s skin. The autopsies found the student had no injuries to his skull or brain.

A third expert questioned, Dr. Scott Denton, said the injuries were not enough to knock someone out, but could possibly cause disorientation.

In their reports, the doctors mentioned that Varughese had no alcohol in his blood, but he did have alcohol in his urine.

Judge Mark Clarke said Robinson is near the end of his presentation. The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, at the Jackson County Courthouse.

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