Details emerge in Lisa Pate and Mickey Shunick cases
POSTED: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 2:23pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 18, 2012 - 5:10pm
Lafayette, La (NBC33) — Details were released today, as Brandon Scott Lavergne plead guilty to two counts of murder today for the deaths of Lisa Pate and Mickey Shunick.
The State claimed to have overwhelming evidence in both cases, which would have led them to seek the death penalty. Lavergne's lawyers decided to enter in to a plea bargain. Lavergne plead guilty to both counts and in return the state agreed to sentance Lavergne to life without parole.
As a condition of the plea bargain, Lavergne was required by police to show them where he buried Shunick's body, and recreate the events of May 19, when Mickey Shunick disappeared.
The State presented its account of both murders to a judge Friday.
According to court documents, Lisa Pate met Lavergne in June 1999. The two decided to meet up at a hotel in Lafayette. Soon after, they decided to spend a few days together outside of Lafayette.
When Pate decided to leave Lavergne denied her access to keys, money or a means to get home. When Lavergne went to sleep, Pate then attempted to take the keys and leave; he caught her in the act and beat her. He then choked her to death with a plastic bag.
Lavergne disposed of Pate's body at a former acquaintance's house in order to deflect any suspicion from himself. Pate was found on September 21, 1999, covered by wood behind the former acquaintance's house.
But perhaps the most shocking details of all was the case the state built in their account of the murder of Mickey Shunick.
According to court documents, on the night of May 19, Brandon Lavergne had been driving around, calling escort services all night long, when he saw Shunick pass on a bicycle.
Upon seeing her, he made a U-turn, and rammed Shunick and her bike. He attempted to get Shunick in his truck, and an altercation started. Eventually, Shunick was either persuaded or forced into Lavergne's vehicle, and he threw her bike in the bed of the truck.
While in Lavergne's vehicle, Mickey attempted to use her cell phone to call for help. Lavergne caught her and threatened her with a knife. Shunick then sprayed him with mace, grabbed his knife and stabbed him repeatedly. While attempting to grab the knife away from Shunick, Lavergne severed tendons in his hand.
Lavergne got the knife back and stabbed Shunick at least four times, thinking he had killed her.
He brought her to a sugar cane field to dispose of the body. Shunick then sprung up and stabbed Lavergne in the chest. Lavergne eventually grabbed a semi-automatic handgun, located on his person, and shot her.
He went to a graveyard in Evangeline Parish to bury her, but couldn't due to his injuries. He left her in a treeline near the graveyard, and drove to Whiskey Bay to dispose of the bike.
He then drove to New Orleans to get his wounds tended to, disposed of the handgun and knife used to kill Shunick, and came back the next day to bury her.
Knowing he was under suspicion, he intentionally set fire to his truck, and claimed it was stolen.
Upon leaving the courtroom, the Shunick family was handed a letter written by Brandon Lavergne. Shunick's parents told NBC33 that they haven't read the letter yet, and aren't certain when they will.