Posted: Jan 8, 2013 6:20 PM by Erin Steuber
Updated: Jan 8, 2013 6:39 PM
Convicted killer Brandon Scott Lavergne is trying to have his convictions for the murders of Mickey Shunick, and Lisa Pate, thrown out.
It's called a Post-Conviction Relief motion, and prosecutors say it's not uncommon for those serving life sentences, like Lavergne, to make these request, but his was thrown out on a technicality.
Lavergne submitted his petition last month, last week the court responded, denying his request to dismiss his charges because he didn't use the right forms.
"In this case he didn't even comply minimally with the requirements to apply," said ADA Daniel Landry. "Judge Clause summarily denied it with the indication that if he did file it in the proper form, he would look at it."
In Lavergne's petition, he alleges a number of constitutional violations. He claims, among other things, an improper venue for the Lisa Pate case; A tainted jury pool due to media coverage of the Mickey Shunick case; And inadequate counsel from his court-appointed attorneys.
"We're not worried about it," said Landry. "The plea agreement that the prosecution team put into the record was signed off on by all parties. There was a plea agreement, and then there was a factual statement, that was read into the record and he was asked, under oath, if he concurred with it. So most of those bases are unfounded in our opinion."
Lavergne says he was forced to plead guilty in the murders of both Mickey Shunick, and Lisa Pate. In his taped confession, Lavergne even showed police where Mickey's body was.
In his petition, Lavergne alleges he wasn't in the proper mental state, despite the court entering a psych evaluation into evidence, which he passed, prior to taking his plea.
"We anticipated that. In any plea agreement, that person will come in and say 'I didn't know what I was doing, I was operating under a diminished capacity,'" said Landry. "That's one of the reasons the prosecution team insisted, prior to taking the plea, he submit to a psychological evaluation."
Still, Lavergne has more than a year left to re-file his petition. Prosecutors say their case is solid and are confident the court will continue to deny Lavergne's request.
Lavergne remains at Angola State Prison serving two consecutive life sentences.