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MURPHYSBORO — According to prosecutors in the case, the Illinois Supreme Court has denied a motion asking for time to file a petition for a new trial against Gaege Bethune in the 2014 death of Pravin Varughese.

In September, just before Bethune was to be sentenced for his first-degree murder conviction, Judge Mark Clarke vacated the conviction after Bethune’s defense filed motions to have the conviction overturned and a new trial ordered.

Bethune was found guilty in June of the 2014 death of Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Pravin Varughese. As previously reported in The Southern, Varughese’s cause of death was reported as environmental hypothermia, but the prosecution argued Bethune was responsible for Varughese's death after Varughese ran into the woods on a cold February night following a physical altercation between the two.

It was alleged that a blow to the head led to Varughese’s death in the elements.

According to David J. Robinson of the State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor's Office, the Supreme Court denied the motion last week after it was filed about two weeks ago.

“We are left with the judge’s decision,” Robinson said. After Clarke made his decision, Robinson’s team member Dave Neil said that they were considering appealing to a higher court to review the decision.

However, Liam Kelly, an attorney with Greenberg Trial Attorneys, which represents Bethune, said he and his team weren’t surprised by the ruling. He said it’s important to note that the court denied the petition to file without making a judgement based on the merits of the case itself.

“It would have been legally inappropriate for the Supreme Court to second guess the decision of the trial court to grant the new trial,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Robinson both said their respective parties were readying to bring the case back before the circuit court in Jackson County.

Reticent to commit to a timeline, Robinson said he and his team are working to get the case ready again for trial.

“We are ready and prepared to try the case,” Kelly said.

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On Twitter: @ismithreports



Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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