New Trial Ordered In SIU Student's Death

Steve Miller
September 17, 2018 - 5:49 pm

Pravin Varughese /Facebook courtesy Varughese family

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – A 24-year-old downstate man was freed on bond Monday and his murder conviction was overturned, three months after he was found guilty in the 2014 death of an Southern Illinois University student from Morton Grove.

In court, Gaege Bethune could have been sentenced 20 to 60 years for the murder of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese.

"I hoped for the best, but tried to prepare for the worst. I was terrified on that thought,” Bethune said.

Instead of sentencing him, the judge tossed the conviction, raising questions about the instructions to the trial jury and calling for a new trial.

Bethune told WBBM he feels "blessed."

"Glad to be home with my family, given a second chance, overwhelmed by a lot of different emotions."

Lovely Varughese, the mother of Pravin, says she was caught off guard by the judge's decision.

"I'll be lying if I said I'm not disappointed. Yes, I am disappointed,” she said.

Varughese said she and her family will attend every day of a retrial.