Brandon Scott Lavergne asks judge to retract his guilty pleas

Brandon Scott Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)
Brandon Scott Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)
Mickey Shunick
Mickey Shunick
Lisa Pate
Lisa Pate

LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - The man convicted of killing two Lafayette area women now claims he did not do it.

Brandon Scott Lavergne pleaded guilty in August to the murders of Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate.

Lavergne had nothing to say in August, when he walked into Lafayette Parish District Court where he would enter two guilty pleas, one for the murder of UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick, the other in connection to the 1999 murder of Lisa Pate.

Since Lavergne started serving time at the state penitentiary, he's been penning his thoughts to a judge.

Assistant District Attorney Danny Landry, who was assigned to the case, said he expected the motion from Lavergne.

"We've had it happen in the majority of serious cases, and that's why this case the prosecution team took tremendous effort to be sure that everything was accounted before and was addressed prior to taking the plea from Lavergne," Landry said.

The eleven-page letter details Lavergne's thoughts on the indictments. In the document, Lavergne states the "state forced petitioner into a plea by using the illegal and tainted indictments, leaked evidence that hyped the case in the media and tainted the jury pool. The state even used torture in the form of solitary confinement."

Lavergne claimed the case involving Shunick's murder should not have been heard in Lafayette Parish because the investigation took authorities to her body near St. Landry Parish. Landry disagrees.

"Under criminal law in the state of Louisiana, prosecutors have the right to bring a case to any parish where a part of the offense occurred and in this case, we had both which originated in Lafayette parish."

As an example of the alleged torture Lavergne claims while waiting for a hearing, "after making numerous requests to use the bathroom the petitioner (Lavergne) had to relieve himself on the floor of the room he was locked in."

Lavergne claimed a social worker at the parish prison and his attorneys, Burleigh Doga and Clay LeJeune, promised him similar treatment he went back to prison and made him believe pleading guilty was in his best interest.

Lavergne said he, "told the psychiatrist the only reason petitioner was pleading guilty was because he believed he would not receive a fair trial, but while the petitioner felt he deserved some jail time he did not murder Lisa Pate or Mickey Shunick."

He wraps up his request by telling the judge that the indictments "are fruits of the poisonous tree and are therefore permanently inadmissible in any court of law. Petitioner moves to vacate the guilty pleas ... and dismiss the charges."

Lavergne has two years to file appeals. But the judge can choose at any time to stop accepting them if they are not in the right form.

The victims' families did not want to comment on Lavergne's letter.

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