LAFAYETTE — The state appeal court in Lake Charles has rejected Brandon Scott Lavergne’s appeal for a rehearing in a case that saw him plead guilty to murdering university student Michaela “Mickey” Shunick of Lafayette in 2012 and another woman in 1999.
In his appeal for a hearing, Lavergne claimed he felt pressured to plead guilty because he faced a possible death penalty.
He also claimed he thought extensive pre-trial news coverage — some of which he alleged was stoked by information leaked by authorities — would have kept him from mounting a legal defense.
In January, Lavergne asked a district judge in Lafayette to throw out his guilty pleas to first-degree murder in the deaths of Shunick, 21, and of Lisa Pate, 35, whose remains were discovered in rural Acadia Parish in 1999.
The Shunick case revived an older investigation into the 1999 death of Pate, and Lavergne, who had long been a suspect in the older killing.
Lavergne pleaded guilty in August 2012, less than two months after his arrest in the death of Shunick, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student who disappeared while riding her bicycle home from downtown Lafayette.
As part of the plea agreement, Lavergne told investigators where to find Shunick’s body in rural Evangeline Parish and gave a confession admitting he killed her.
The appellate court did not give reasons for rejecting Lavergne’s request, which is typical when courts reject a writ asking for a hearing.