Judge throws out conviction in SIU student’s death

Gaege Bethune

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) – A southern Illinois judge has thrown out a murder conviction in the 2014 death of a Southern Illinois University student.

A Jackson County judge vacated Gaege Bethune’s first-degree murder conviction Monday in the death of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese of Eldorado, Illinois.

A jury convicted Bethune in June in the suburban Chicago man’s death, but his new defense attorney sought to have the conviction thrown out.

WMAQ-TV reports that the case is set for a new trial.

Prosecutors say Bethune and Varughee were intoxicated when they fought while driving around Carbondale looking for cocaine in February 2014 and that Bethune caused head injuries that left Varughese disoriented and led to his hypothermia death.

Bethune’s attorney argued that no evidence was presented at trial to prove that claim.