On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes turned over in court filings pretrial discovery in the first-degree murder cases against Brandon Scott Lavergne. Lavergne was indicted July 18 for aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder of UL student Mickey Shunick in May. In what caught many by surprise, he was also indicted that day for killing Lisa Pate in 1999; in 2008 a grand jury in Acadia Parish found that there was not enough evidence to indict him for her murder.
Lavergne has pleaded not guilty to both murders.
Stutes’ “Disclosure, Production, Notice to Defendant, and Request for State’s Discovery” reveals for the first time that 36 search warrants were obtained during the Shunick investigation, covering everything from a tracking device for Lavergne’s Chevy Silverado to OnStar records in Lafayette and East Baton Rouge parishes for his vehicle; an Allied Waste dumpster that was previously located at 1235 Leger Road in Church Point; and various parcels in the Lawtell and Church Point areas.
Sources close to the investigation tell The Independent that when officials searched Lavergne’s home at 143 Elaine Lane in Church Point on July 5, they found several women’s IDs and bloodied images Lavergne took of himself sometime after Shunick went missing May 19.
Stutes’ filing indicates that the state has a “written or recorded confession or statement” Lavergne made voluntarily to Lt. Jack Lightfoot of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office at the Lafayette Police Department after he was advised of his rights in July. Also, Stutes intends to present evidence that while Lavergne was in custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections — he served eight years for blindfolding, tying up and sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in April 1999, less than two months before Pate was killed — he made statements relevant to the Pate case to three people identified in court filings only by initials.
In the Shunick case, he made an “oral confession or statement” to at least 13 people from April 20 to June 14, including his family members, according to the filing. Those individuals are listed by initials only or as “persons” affiliated with a law enforcement or other agency or company. It's unclear if the state plans to call all of them as witnesses.
Lavergne also made a false claim with State Farm Insurance Co. that his vehicle had been stolen when he had actually destroyed it himself, Stutes alleges, and attempted to bribe an official with the Department of Motor Vehicles if the official would issue him a license without the required “sex offender” notice. Stutes claims Lavergne offered a $500 bribe.
Stutes is seeking the death penalty.
Read the disclosure filing here.