Gaege Bethune, the man charged with two counts of murder in the death of an SIU student, entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday in Jackson County Court.
A trial date has not yet been set.
An Illinois State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor charged Bethune with the murder counts in connection with the February 2014 death of Pravin Varughese.
The special prosecutor alleges that Bethune committed robbery and battery of Varughese. His body was found in a wooded area behind Buffalo Wild Wings in Carbondale, five days after he was reported missing. The Jackson County Coroner's Office found he died of hypothermia, with no evidence of foul play.
Bethune, 22, allegedly was the last person to see Varughese alive the night he died.
Bethune told investigators he had given Varughese a ride home from a party when a fight broke out between them, authorities said. He said that during the argument, Varughese exited the vehicle and fled into the wooded area.
A special prosecutor was appointed to take over the investigation of Varughese’s death in July 2016, after Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Carr declined to press charges and then recused himself.