LAFAYETTE — Brandon Scott Lavergne is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning for a hearing in the slayings of Michaela “Mickey” Shunick and Lisa Pate.
Prosecutor Keith Stutes filed a motion Tuesday morning, asking a state district judge to schedule an evidentiary hearing “limited to the perpetuation of testimony,” according to the motion.
District Attorney Mike Harson did not respond to an email or a call to his cellphone Tuesday seeking clarification on the motion.
The 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, which is providing attorneys for Lavergne, has declined to comment on the case.
Lafayette defense attorney Bill Goode, who is not involved with Lavergne’s case, said “perpetuation of testimony” is a procedure used to preserve testimony for a future trial and is usually limited to instances where a witness is sick, dying or leaving the state and would be unable to testify at the trial.
“It’s kind of unusual in criminal cases,” Goode said.
The court-issued summonses for the hearing are limited to Stutes, Lavergne and his attorneys, Burleigh Doga and Clay Lejeune, according to court records.
Attorney Kevin Stockstill, who is also not involved in the case, said testimony at the hearing would not be limited to just those who received a summons.
The state could withhold the name of a witness who may be testifying, he said.
Stockstill said the only way defense attorneys would allow Lavergne to testify at the hearing “is if they have struck a deal and there was a plea agreement. … Other than that, they wouldn’t allow him to get under oath.”
Authorities have declined to say whether Lavergne, 33, led them to Shunick’s body, which was found Aug. 7 buried near some grave sites in a small cemetery off La. 10 near Mamou.
However, they have confirmed that Lavergne was checked out of jail for almost nine hours the day her body was found.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette student was last seen shortly before 2 a.m. May 19, bicycling from a friend’s home on Ryan Street near downtown to her parents’ home on Governor Miro, about five miles away. Shunick, 22, was an avid cyclist and animal lover.
Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested July 5 on counts of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping after police investigated a tip that connected him to a white truck seen on surveillance video the day Shunick disappeared.
On July 18, a Lafayette Parish grand jury, in a surprise move, charged Lavergne with first-degree murder in not only Shunick’s killing but also in the death of 35-year-old Lisa Pate, of Lafayette.
Pate’s remains were discovered on Sept. 21, 1999, in rural Acadia Parish. She had been missing for several months. Lavergne had been a suspect in Pate’s killing since as early as 2000, Harson has said.
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