Mon, Jan 7, 2013
It was only a matter of time before convicted sex offender and serial killer Brandon Scott Lavergne began the process of seeking a way out Angola State Penitentiary where he is serving two life sentences for the 1999 murder of Lisa Pate and the May 2012 murder of UL student Mickey Shunick.
According to reports, Lavergne recently filed for post-conviction relief, specifically a motion challenging his conviction with some very bizarre allegations including he was not allowed to use the restroom while handcuffed and shackled resulting in him possibly crapping on himself.
Lavergne may stand a good chance at having his conviction overturned if the Lafayette City Police Department or any other agencies involved including the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office violated any of his constitutional rights. Yeah, even convicted sex offenders and murders have constitutional rights which are very often violated by agencies with deep roots of corruption, such as the Lafayette City Police Department.
According to The Ind:
In hand-written December and January filings from Angola State Penitentiary, where Lavergne is serving two life sentences for the brutal killings, Lavergne claims he was abandoned by his attorneys and coerced into pleading guilty. He also alleges law enforcement leaked misleading information to local news outlets that led to a media firestorm, tainting the case and potential jury pool, and that Lafayette Parish was not the proper venue for his indictment in the Pate case.
The two Aug. 24, 2012, guilty pleas allowed the 33-year-old offshore worker to avoid a death penalty trial.
Lavergne also claims he never kidnapped Shunick, which he says the state cited as the aggravating factor to support its charge of first-degree murder. He says that after he trailed her (there is evidence he did just that while he was on his cell phone calling escort services) and struck her in the early morning hours of May 19, throwing her from her bike, he acted in self-defense because he feared for his life. Using Lavergne’s confession to piece together what happened the night he murdered her, prosecutors said in court documents that Shunick was enticed, persuaded or forced into his truck and that Lavergne was in possession of a knife and semi-automatic handgun. In a violent struggle, Lavergne stabbed her at least four times and, believing she was dead, drove to Acadia Parish to bury her. When a slumped over Shunick jumped and stabbed him in the chest, Lavergne put a bullet through her head.
In multiple filings, Lavergne lodges a litany of allegations that he was mistreated and denied his rights by local officials.
“The state even used torture in the form of solitary confinement,” he writes. “Petitioner was not allowed outside once for recreation the whole time he was in the parish prison even though he was not a disciplinary problem or escape risk. This is a privilege afforded to all other pretrial detainees in the parish prison and proscribed (sic) by federal law.”
The registered sex offender also tries to convince the court that the conditions of his confinement were inhumane. “Also for AT LEAST the first 7-10 days of his detention the petitioner was held without writing material, religious material, tooth paste, under clothing, TV, radio, or reading material.” And, making matters much worse, he says, he was denied access to his medically prescribed C-PAP machine for his sleep apnea for nearly a month. “Not to mention for the first 2-3 days of his confinement he was stripped naked and placed on ‘suicide watch’ without a mattress to lay on even though he had never threaten (sic) to hurt himself. This was psychological torture purposely done,” he writes.
Lavergne further claims he was once handcuffed and shackled for several hours without a bathroom or running water and with no place to sit down. He says he requested to use a bathroom times and ultimately had to relieve himself on the floor he was locked in. “Again this was all calculated mind games,” he says.
Lavergne says parish officials and social workers told him he would remain in solitary confinement until he went to trial, which would likely be a couple of years. For the first time, Lavergne confirms that a woman (not his fiancee) was pregnant with his child when he writes about the pressure the case brought on his family. He says his fiancee had abandoned him, his family was being harassed and threatened, and his bank assets — including a college fund for his daughter — were illegally seized. Those concerns, along with the “impending birth of his son” caused him to have a mental breakdown that he claims impaired his ability to make rational choices.
Despite his alleged diminished state of mind and insistence of his innocence, Lavergne claims his lawyers, Burleigh Doga and Clay LeJeune, advised him to waive his 5th Amendment rights and speak with police officials. He then alleges they abandoned him during the interrogation. “…[D]uring the interrogation the detectives loaded up the Petitioner handcuffed and shakled [sic] into a city of Lafayette owned police unmarked truck with a video recording system on him at all times and proceeded to drive the Petitioner around Lafayette, Acadia, and Evangeline parishs [sic] retracing the events of the morning of May 19th 2012 and asking the petitioner questions the whole time without his counselors present because, they left.”
He further asserts that his lawyers had no intention of mounting a meaningful defense and therefore caused “permanent and irreparable damage” to his capital case.
In alleging improper venue in the Pate case, Lavergne says the matter should have stayed in Acadia Parish where her body was found and where a grand jury declined to indict him for second-degree murder in 2008. Prosecutors argue that the crime originated in Lafayette, thereby making it proper venue.
Lavergne alleges that the state tainted the grand jury by indicting him for Pate’s murder and then asking the same jurors to indict him for Shunick’s murder.
District Judge Herman Clause denied Lavergne’s application for post-conviction relief, motion for discovery and motion by owner for release of seized property on procedural grounds, saying he had improperly filed. For instance, Lavergne did not use the uniform post-conviction application, Clause writes, and failed to attach a copy of the judgment of conviction and sentence.
What if what Brandon Scott Lavergne alleges is true?