I wanted Gaege Bethune to know that there are consequences to your actions: Lovely Varughese, mother of slain Pravin Varughese

The Varughese family
The Varughese family (from left to right): mother Lovely, father Mathew, young sister Preethi, Pravin, and older sister Priya (courtesy of Lovely Varughese)

Pravin Varughese was found dead in Carbondale back in 2014. Gaege Bethune was convicted of his murder.

Pravin Varughese was a promising young teenager and a student at Southern Illinois University. In 2014, he was found dead in the woods near the university town of Carbondale. Gaege Bethune, with whom Pravin was seen before his death, was convicted with first degree murder. However last year in September, the judge overthrew the verdict in the case and Bethune was released from jail and remains out on bond.

The verdict received loud surprise from all quarters and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it was Lovely Varughese, Pravin’s mom, who has been fighting the case, who was hit the hardest. Lovely Varughese talking to the American Bazaar says, “Well, currently we are back where we were in 2015 with the case. The prosecutor is preparing the case all over again. The first time it took 3 years for the prosecutors to put up the case together. We do not know what happens tomorrow, but yes today I have more peace than I ever did. And that is because I know who killed my son. For me Gaege Bethune standing in the witness box and admitting that he hit Pravin on the ride side of his head, exactly the place where we saw the dent on Pravin’s body was a closure. I always knew that my son did not die on his own. If he had the slightest strength he would not have been in the woods, he would have walked out. He was injured and could not survive the hurt.”

RELATED: For Pravin Varughese’s mom, closure finally comes with the charging of son’s suspected killer, Gaege Bethune (July 22, 2017)

Lovely adds, “But I wanted the world to know that my son was not a drug-dealer, he was not drunk. He died because he was hit. I did not want Gaege to be put behind bars for his life. But yes, I wanted him to know that there are consequences to your actions and I want the law to hold him accountable.”

On displaying a rare magnanimity when she says she doesn’t want to see the convict behind bars for life, Lovely says, “I have to think here how Pravin would have thought. I am sure if my son was here he would have told Gaege, ‘Buddy learn from your mistake and move on.’ I want to say the same to him. Admit that you made a mistake and carry on with your life.”


  1. This is all hogwash! Two men were in a truck together and one ends up dead in the woods with clear evidence of having been physically struck. The person who struck him left him in the woods and lied to the police about it which resulted in the death of the man who was struck. Whether he died from physical injuries or from hypothermia from having been left in the woods, there is reasonable evidence that the man who struck him and left him there is guilty of his death. The verdict of guilty was correct. The judge vacated the conviction was wrong. It should be regardless of the race and ethnic city of each of the men, class and income, and political connections.

  2. Someone who cares

    I am truly sickened by this case! Here is a fine example of “white privilege” and “it’s not what you know but more of who you know” mixed in with “family/money ties”. How a higher court has NOT stepped in and done something is beyond me.

    Keep fighting Lovely. Never give up! One day Gaege will take responsibility for his actions and serve the time he needs to. Praying it happens sooner rather than later.

    To the local officials who stalk the comment sections of the news articles : shame on you! God sees all and just because you have been paid off or you believe this case has been swept under doesn’t mean God didn’t see or know. You will face your judgement, whether it be here on earth or in hell , you will face your creator on all your wrongs! May you have a DESERVING life, meaning you’ll deserve all the bad that comes to you! Shame on you for sweeping a innocent child’s death under the rug to appease a local prominent family! Gaege knows what he did and his lawyer can keep his lies because the world knows the absolute truth!

    God sees all!

    • Jonny B. Good

      Lady, you don’t even know all the facts of the case as the prosecutors and lawyers do, so stop judging people based on what you see on T.V, in which they are paid millions of dollars to sway your opinion and get you vested in their programs. Yes, this was a tragedy but you think you are in a situation to slander other people’s names based on a T.V program? And this “white privilege” is bull crap. Go look at all the cases of white people who are in her same boat. The only reason people notice is because she’s Indian. But just because she didn’t get justice yet doesn’t mean Gaege has, or anyone else has for that matter,”white privilege”.

  3. Just watched the story on crime investigation and i can’t believe it’s still in this day and age a person could be set free blatantly.

    It’s so sad, hope Justice will be served.

  4. Deborah S. Trotter

    I’ve been following this case for several years on Dateline NBC. They’ve done a good job covering both families in this death investigation and I just couldn’t believe that after the jury if 12 people agreed that Gauge murdered Pravin that this judge could throw out their verdict! It’s just ridiculous! The kid (Gauge) lied to the police several times! I didn’t buy the new lawyers argument that by the prosecution bringing robbery charges against Gauge that it screwed up the damn murder verdict and all! The jury got that right for Heaven’s sake! They saw through that charge. I just cannot believe that that judge had the audacity to throw out the conviction!

  5. Debra Russio

    Me too. That kid should not be allowed to walk. I think that Judge was paid off. The kid admits he hit him. This is the most unfair action I’ve ever heard of. Something stinks in that town & I think it’s the way that judge is running his court.

  6. I, too, am in disbelief that Gaege walks free! That brut caused that poor kids death. Why didn’t the judge, at least, charge Gaege with manslaughter?
    Our justice system is a joke. The first atopsy was A COVER UP!
    I would look into the entire police force and judges involved!

  7. I just heard about this case and this is infuriating…I kept looking for an update regarding a trial to finally put this dude in jail and nothing. So sad. I feel awful for Pravin’s family. This is awful and I hope they finally get justice. Unbelievable.

    • Debra Russio

      Me too. I think that judge was paid off. This should be brought to a higher court. This kid should serve time. If not he may do it again.

  8. Jennifer Gerard

    I am beyond disgusted that Gage is out of jail!!!

    His actions caused beloved Pravin to run for his safety….for his life.

    I am more than sure that due to Pravin receiving a beating from Gage that he grew weak, and, very very sadly and tragically, Pravin passed away. But make no mistake that Pravin HAD to run and MUST of ran because his life was in danger!!!

    Look at the size of Gage verses the size of Pravin. Of course he overpowered Pravin.

    This case needs to be reopened. It must be.

    What has gone on here is inhumane!!! How anyone on the jury, or who worked on this case….can let Gage go is beyond me!! How they can put their hands on the pillow and sleep well at any time of the day is beyond me!!

    Pravin did not deserve this at all. Pravin’s parents, and, sisters do not deserve for this man, who took the life of their beloved son/brother…..to be free.

    I am heartbroken for the Varguese Family.

    My thoughts, prayers, love and friendship are with The Varguese Family.

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