Pravin Varughese case: Gaege Bethune’s trial to start Tuesday

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The trial of Gaege Bethune, the man who allegedly killed Indian American Pravin Varughese in 2014, will start after the jury was selected on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Varughese’s body was found on Feb. 18, 2014 in the woods off Illinois 13, four days after he was reported missing.

According to an earlier News India Times report, the 19-year-old Southern Illinois University student was attending a party near the university campus on February 14, 2014, when he was offered a ride by Bethune, who according to university officials was not an SIU student, and was instead attacked for gas money.

At first police had ruled out foul play but after a private autopsy requested by his mother Lovely Varughese, confirmed the murder, Bethune was arrested last year and was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.

The Southern Illinoisan reported opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday afternoon.

It took until about 5:30 p.m. Monday for the court, along with Illinois State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutors David Robinson and David Neal, and Bethune’s defense attorney Michael Wepsiec, to select the 12-person jury and two alternates. The jury is made up of 10 white women, one black woman and three white males.

During the jury selection process, Circuit Court Judge Mark Clarke told prospective jurors the trial is expected to run through this week and possibly through next week, the Southern Illinoisan reported.

Before the jurors were questioned, Wepseic renewed his motion to change the venue of the trial, citing additional media coverage that surfaced this past weekend.