Fri, Feb 8, 2013
If Brandon Scott Lavergne is serving hard time, he sure has a lot of time on his hand to file motions.
The Advertiser is reporting that Brandon Scott Lavergne, who confessed to killing Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate, has re-filed documents asking a judge to throw out his guilty pleas.
In the latest court filings, Lavergne alleges Lafayette Parish officials had no jurisdiction to suddenly charge him in July 2012 with the 1999 murder of Lisa Pate because Acadia Parish had always had jurisdiction in that case.
Lavergne also argued that his court-appointed attorneys were ineffective, provided no defense and erred in encouraging him to plead guilty when he adamantly denied having murdered either woman and was suffering what he called “a mental break.”
Lavergne previously asked the court in December to overturn his guilty pleas, claiming numerous errors were made by his defense attorneys, prosecutors and police.
Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Herman Clause, who presided at Lavergne’s Aug. 17 hearing in Lafayette, rejected the motions on a technicality and instructed Lavergne to re-submit them in the proper format.
The latest court filing, dated Feb. 7 by the Clerk of Court’s Office, is on an official form called a Uniform Application for Post-Conviction Relief.
In his attached hand-written brief, Lavergne argued that Lafayette Parish was not the proper jurisdiction for the Lisa Pate case.
Pate disappeared around June 1999. Her remains were found in September 1999 behind a rental house near the Acadia Parish community of Church Point, where Lavergne grew up. He claims there was no physical evidence linking him to Pate’s death and alleges that two jailhouse informants he allegedly confessed to gave accounts with “striking contradictions” about the case.
An Acadia Parish grand jury in 2008 failed to indict Lavergne for the second-degree murder of Pate. Lavergne argues in his petition for post-conviction relief that Lafayette Parish authorities did not have jurisdiction in the case in July 2012 when they took the case to a grand jury without new evidence. The Lafayette grand jury indicted Lavergne for the first-degree murder of Pate.
The same Lafayette grand jury indicted Lavergne on the same day for the first-degree murder of Shunick, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette stidemt who disappeared May 19 while riding her bike around 2 a.m. in Lafayette.
Lavergne wrote that his attorneys said it was in his best interest to accept a plea deal in which he confessed to both murders. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. Lavergne said he didn’t agree and his plea was coerced.
He also said he was not informed that he could plead no contest in the Pate case. When he realized it, he “was very angry to the point of almost not accepting the plea.”
Lavergne entered a plea agreement and, on Aug. 7, told detectives the location in Evangeline Parish where he buried Shunick.
He said he accidently struck her bicycle and offered her a ride home in his truck. They argued over the price of replacing the bike, then Shunick doused him with pepper spray and stabbed him with his own knife, he said. Lavergne wrestled the knife away and stabbed her several times.
Thinking the woman was dead, he drove to a remote location to dispose of the body. But Shunick jumped up and again stabbed him with the knife. Lavergne admitted he shot her in the head, killing her.
Lavergne is serving a life sentence at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.