Since Wednesday's indictment, more questions and new facts surface about Brandon Scott Lavergne, the man now charged in the murders of two Hub City women. It was an unexpected twist when the Grand Jury handed down not one, but two first degree murder indictments to Lavergne in the disappearance of Mickey Shunick and the 1999 cold case murder of Lisa Pate.
With two first degree murder charges, the mystery surrounding Lavergne has only become stronger. Slowly, more information is coming out, but as far as these cases go, it will most likely be a waiting game for the pieces to come together.
The Grand Jury's decision came as a shock for many people expected one murder charge against Laverge—or none at all. But with two separate charges, many were left wondering, ‘Where did this come from?' But now it's clear Lavergne's connection to the 1999 murder of Lisa Pate is nothing new.
Acadia Parish District Attorney Mike Harson said, “We presented the (Pate) case to the Grand Jury in 2008, but they pretermitted the case. They said there was no enough evidence to indict him at that time.”
But fast forward four years and Harson said that pool of evidence has built. He said the Mickey Shunick investigation brought new things to light.
“Some things looked every similar, ” said Harson. “I guess it got some more interest in the case and some additional evidence has come forward and so forth.”
While there's much chatter in the community regarding both cases, Harson said the prosecution will keep quiet on evidence. “I would rather not have these cases like the Casey Anthony (trial) in Florida or any others like that stay on TV for a year and a half,” Harson said. “I'd rather have them tried in court than the media.”
But after charging Lavergne with two murder 12 years apart, many are questioning, ‘could there be more?'
“That's obviously an open issue,” said Harson. “The fact that we believe he may be involved in these two there's always a possibility of another incidence. But, I don't believe we are aware of any at this point in time or if any will come up in the future. We'll just have to see.”
Brandon Scott Lavergne has been indicted on two first degree murder charges. Lavergne is charged with the first degree murder of Mickey Shunick and first degree murder of Lisa Pate in 1999.
After meeting all day, the jury returned the indictments shortly before six o'clock Wednesday evening. 33 year old Lavergne is currently being held without bail at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
A statement from the 15th Judicial District Attorney's Office states charges of first-degree murder incorporate underlying felony charges including aggravated kidnapping and second-degree kidnapping. It also says the state will be seeking the death penalty.
Next Lavergne is scheduled for a preliminary examination set for July 27. If Lavergne is convicted, he could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The Shunick family is responding to what happened in the courtroom Wednesday. Tom Shunick, Mickey's father, was not surprised with the news that Brandon Scott Lavergne will face trial in connection with his daughter's disappearance. But he hopes that a second murder charge Lavergne faces may put enough pressure on him to reveal Mickey's location.
“Whatever they do to him, it's not gonna make any difference as to what happened,” explains Shunick.
Shunick addressed the media after a grand jury ruled Lafayette Police had enough evidence to pursue a conviction against Lavergne, the man believed to be responsible for killing and kidnapping the 22 year old.
“From the moment they told me they had this suspect they thought was involved in this. They've been very positive they have enough evidence,” affirms Shunick.
But there was a twist, another indictment was handed down for a second murder Lavergne is believed to have committed over 10 years ago.
“Hopefully now being charged with something else maybe he'll come clean and tell people where the body is,” ponders Shunick.
Shunick feels police may now be dealing with a serial killer, and says the chances of finding his daughter alive have taken a big hit.
“That certainly looks like his MO. He goes out trolls and finds somebody. Has his way with them and murders them,” says Shunick.
Besides the video putting Lavergne's truck in the same area Mickey was last seen riding her bicycle. What Shunick still doesn't know, or police might be keeping from the family is what specifically links Lavergne to his daughter.
“There's no evidence that I know of unless they got something out of his house of anything that she had in her possession,” explains Shunick.
Now Shunick and the rest of his family are preparing for a trial, which could be another long wait to find out anything new as to what really happened to Mickey.
The case against Brandon Scott Lavergne heads to a grand jury Wednesday. That jury will review the evidence and decide if Lavergne will go to trial.
He's charged with first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Lavergne was arrested July 5th. He soon opted for public defense, according to the Lafayette Clerk of Courts.
On Monday, Lavergne's attorney Burleigh Doga filed a motion to have his bond reduced, among other requests. A judge set bond at 250-thousand dollars for Lavergne's kidnapping charge, but no bond was set for the murder charge.