Prosecution says new evidence found in Gaege Bethune murder case

CARBONDALE, IL — A hearing was postponed Wednesday in the case of a man accused of killing a Southern Illinois University Cabondale student.

The body of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese was found Feb. 18, 2014, in the woods off of Illinois Route 13 in Carbondale. Bethune was convicted of Varughese’s murder in June 2017. On the day Bethune was expected to be sentenced, Sept. 17, his conviction was instead thrown out over wording in the indictment the judge said could be confusing to jurors.

In November, special prosecutor David Robinson announced a motion not to pursue the original case. That would give his team the option of seeking a new indictment to avoid the wording issues the original judge raised.

Pravin Varughese

But in court Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, prosecutors asked the current judge to delay a hearing on that motion, because they said new evidence came to light just minutes before the hearing.

Robinson said he wants to be cautious moving forward. He did not go into details about what the new evidence is.

Local 6 also spoke with Bethune’s attorney, Liam Kelly. He says when the hearing is eventually held, he will be ready.

“As far as our position, we have filed a formal demand for trial in this case. We are ready to proceed to trial at any time. Although, in candor, I wouldn’t be surprised if they never decided to proceed to trial in this case. And if that happens, the reason being would be that they don’t have a viable legal theory to charge, at least as far as an allegation of murder,” Kelly says.

The hearing is now set for Jan. 23. Bethune remains out of jail on bond.

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