Trial to begin of man charged in SIU student’s 2014 death

MURPHYSBORO, Ill.  — The trial of a man accused in the 2014 death of a Southern Illinois University student is scheduled to get underway.

Gaege Bethune of Eldorado is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Pravin Varughese. A jury was selected late Monday in Jackson County to hear the case against Bethune. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday.

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

The 22-year-old Bethune was arrested three years after the victim’s mother challenged original findings that her son died accidentally from exposure to the cold.

Although authorities concluded at the time there was no evidence of foul play, Lovely Varughese said a private autopsy identified injuries to her son’s head and face.