No sentencing delay in Southern Illinois student’s death

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) — A judge says he intends to go ahead with next week’s sentencing of a man convicted in the 2014 death of a Southern Illinois University student even though the man wants to fire his defense attorney.

Twenty-four-year-old Gaege Bethune of Eldorado, Illinois, told the judge Tuesday he wasn’t satisfied with how his lawyer handled his June trial on first-degree murder charges for 19-year-old Pravin Varughese’s (VAHR’-geez) death.

The Southern Illinoisan reports Judge Mark Clarke said he wouldn’t delay the Aug. 15 sentencing while Bethune sought a new attorney.

Prosecutors maintained the intoxicated men fought while driving around Carbondale looking for cocaine in February 2014, with Bethune causing head injuries that left Varughese disoriented and led to his hypothermia death. Defense lawyer Michael Wepsiec argued Bethune’s punches didn’t cause fatal injuries.

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