INTERNATIONAL

Mother’s crusade leads conviction of son’s murderer

Carbondale (US), June 17: After a four-year crusade by an Indian-American mother seeking justice for her murdered son, the assailant has finally been convicted. A jury on Thursday found Gaege Bethune guilty of Pravin Varughese’s murder in Carbondale in 2014, according to media reports.

After the verdict, Pravin’s mother Lovely Varughese told the Chicago Tribune: “Pravin’s day finally came. He can rest in peace now.” After authorities had dismissed Pravin’s death as an accident, his mother waged the relentless crusade mobilising politicians, media and the public. Under pressure, authorities ordered a fresh investigation and appointed a special prosecutor. Carbondale Police Chief Jody O’Guinn was also dismissed. Bethune now faces a sentence of 20 years to 60 years.

The 19-year-old Pravin’s body was found in a forested area in a frozen condition in February 2014, four days after the Southern Illinois University student went missing. The local coroner declared his death an accident caused by exposure to extreme cold. But his family commissioned an independent post-mortem which found that he had died from a severe blow to his head and had other injuries. Volunteers from Archangels of Justice, a retired law enforcement officials’ organisation, researched the case and wrote a report that pointed to Bethune. (IANS)