07-08-2012, 01:51 PM #61
Neighbor recalls bullying Lafayette murder suspect
Shirleen Thomas of Swords talks about her neighborhood between Lawtell and Eunice on Saturday. Thomas' home is near the mobile home belonging to Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, who has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and first- degree murder in connection with the disappearance of Michaela "Mickey" Shunick.
07-08-2012, 01:53 PM #62
Neighbors Shocked by Arrest
At first, Lavergne lived in a house at the corner of Elaine Lane and Leslie Road where his father had lived, neighbors said.
The house burned down about a year ago, said neighbor R.G. Harrison, and was later replaced with a mobile home.
Harrison said after the house burned, Lavergne visited him and asked if he had seen anything suspicious. That was one of the few times the two neighbors spoke, Harrison said.
Busby said after the house burned, Lavergne sat inside her living room to talk to the fire marshal. After the fire, Lavergne went offshore and returned two weeks later with a box of sausage for her as a gesture of thanks, she said.
07-09-2012, 05:31 PM #63Registered User
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- Dec 2008
07-09-2012, 07:22 PM #64
Q: When something like this happens, and we know that there’s a whole bunch of other steps to go … thinking in terms of the alphabet this is maybe A or B I don’t know … but when you reach this stage and you’ve been at least able to string some of these points together and get an arrest, what’s the feeling in the department? Is it relief? Is it “it’s a small victory but boy there’s a lot to go in this war to finally put this case to rest”?
A: Yeah, you know, we’ve been working on this case and our multi-jurisdiction task force agencies all across this area – nationwide – have been assisting us in anything we’ve asked for and to finally get in a direction – a positive step – before I think we were stepping out in just about every direction there was because everything was on the table. And so when we received the information about this particular truck and this tip and as we gained more information not only about the owner – about Lavergne – but about the history of the truck … that it had been burned, and that it was reported stolen, we were able to verify through the video at Lafayette Consolidated Government along with other video that it was in fact Lavergne’s truck that traveled behind Mickey. Uh, some other information that we’re not just yet ready to release because of the ongoing investigation … it was definitely, you know, 1, 2, 3, 4 good steps in the right direction. And so, you know, to come from thousands of tips from A to Z and to finally have that direction ... it’s not relief but it gets us excited, you know, because we know we finally have a good direction we’re going in. We have an arrest, we have the guy that we know is responsible for her disappearance and that is definitely a positive. But don’t get me wrong, that task force that’s working out there, they know they have a lot of work to do left. As a matter of fact, our crime scene technicians are still at Lavergne’s residence at this hour.
Q: A lot of work to be done, such as …? What are the next steps for you guys?
A: Okay well first of all we’re searching his property right now … things such as, have to be determined if there’s any evidence value. Our technicians are going to go through his residence and the property around it based on the search warrant that we have and they’ll have to pick up things that they feel may have evidence value. And once that’s all brought in and have to be laid out and the detectives will have to come in and work with the crime scene technicians and make that determination. So that within itself is very difficult. But, you know, obviously people know phone records, cell phone records, all that comes into play. It’s not something that we have … that’s just within clicking on the Internet and pulling it. All that has to be subpoenaed, that takes time, a judge has to sign it, it has to be sent, it has to be filled out, sent back to us. Any DNA that is collected … unfortunately we don’t solve crimes in an hour like you see on TV. DNA has to be sent off, it has to be processed. Then you have to have something to compare it to. You know, just because you have a DNA – DNA from something – if you don’t have anything to compare it to, whether it would be the victim or person who was at the scene or the suspect then that’s basically all that you have … an XYZ DNA sample that you haven’t matched with anyone at all. So a lot of different things we’re doing … also areas that we are going to be searching for possible locations that Mickey may have been placed. We have a lot of ideas that we think that, you know, we try to put ourselves in his mindset as to what he would have done at that point and so we’re going to be searching those particular areas. And again, we’re going to call for the assistance of the members of our task force and their resources to help us in that as well.
Q: Has he given you anything? Any information – is he talking to you guys or is he strictly “talk to my lawyer” right now?
A: Well when initially was brought in – and I’m basing this off of one of the conversations I had with one of the lead detectives in this investigation – he did talk in general, you know, general conversation. But you have to understand, and this isn’t just with the Shunick case but in any case, someone that has been in the system, a criminal, and has a background and has dealt with law enforcement, has a system. And they’ll come in and it’s kind of a, you know, “let’s see what you have or what I have”, and so they’re going to fish us … basically try to seek out what information we have to determine if they’re going to even talk or not. And so, you know, that may have been the case but right now, you know, he came in and we put some question to him and unfortunately he feels the need – which is his right – to have an attorney. And so we’ll have to find other means to continue to piece our case together. But we still feel that we have a very strong case.
Q: How long ago did you get this tip on him? Can you share that?
A: Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, I believe the actual tip came in in June – 14th maybe – we received information from a concerned citizen about the Z-71 pickup. If you remember correctly I believe we had three to four vehicles of interest that were in the immediate area that we were very interested in. And we eliminated three – look, they were in the area, they confirmed they were in the area, but they all had, you know, credible stories and credible information that we felt they were not involved. But we never could find the Z-71. Not the driver, not the person, why wouldn’t that person come forward? Because you would know if you were driving in that area at the time. Fortunately because of the volunteers, because of the friends of the Mickey Shunick family just did such an excellent job with social media and getting the word out – continue to get the word out – that we just felt they would have known. And so we started investigating his background, with the plate, with the owner Lavergne and his background and then based off of that we were able to discover that, in fact, the vehicle had been burned and then after it was burned, that same day that it was reported stolen. You know, that’s some powerful information on top of some other things that we have that we haven’t released yet. So once we were able to gather everything – to get to the day that we were, which was yesterday – that we sat down with members of the district attorney’s office and we felt we have a strong case to get the warrants that we did, which were first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping – and put this guy in jail.
Q: Now Corporal, y’all said that he was arrested yesterday after a traffic stop on I-10 near I-49. What was it that he did that caused officers to pull him over? Was it just a coincidence that he happened to be pulled over and that ended up leading to his arrest when they discovered that he had a warrant?
A: Well, in the case we had been (pause, as if to think about answering) monitoring the uh, his whereabouts and his goings so we knew that he was working at the time – if I’m not mistaken he works for an oilfield company in an offshore capacity – and so we had been monitoring him. And so when it was told to us that he would be traveling, that information was passed on to the Louisiana State Police who were in the area as to what was happening. The initial charge, or the probable cause, for the violation – what they pulled him over for – I don’t have that information. But what I can tell you is, when they verified who he was and they ran his name it came back with the warrant for the registration as a sex offender.
Q: Now on that we learned that his driver’s license had been altered? To hide the fact that he was a sex offender? Maybe if you can just educate me – I’m not sure – sex offenders have something on their driver’s license that show, that signal, that they are on the registry?
A: That’s correct. I’m not exactly sure of the placement but on the driver’s license itself, they have “registered sex offender” on it if I’m not mistaken. And it’s my understanding that when he went to purchase the vehicle – the new vehicle – that that information was covered up so that it would not show up when he made the purchase. If I’m not mistaken.
Q: A question or so, Corporal Mouton, about I guess procedure and some of the decisions that you guys have to make. Now you mentioned a couple times about information that hasn’t been released. Maybe not just this case but in all investigations in general, why can you release some stuff and why can’t you? There’s been an arrest here … some might say “well, now all bets are off, let’s release it”.
A: You would think that would be the logic …
Q: Again, I’m one of those that watch TV and the crimes are all solved in 48 minutes, minus commercials.
A: You would think that would be the logic behind it but it’s not. You know, when people come in and provide statements and information to us, we want it to be the first time they provide that information. And if we provide details of crimes that only the perpetrator knows, and so when the person comes in to confess to the crime, or the witness comes in to give the information, if they don’t give that information that only that perpetrator would know, then chances are we would have to look into how credible that witness is or how credible this person that’s coming in to confess to this crime. So it’s real important that the details about the crime that are held for the investigation, until the investigation is complete and submitted to the district attorney’s office, that we’re able to verify people’s stories as to how credible the information they’re providing to us … You know, the second is that we don’t want them to be tried in the public. Everyone, regardless of what you think of someone, or the charges that they face, it’s so important that they be afforded that fair trial.
Q: Part of our country
A: And whether you like it or not, that’s exactly right. That’s the process. And so, it’s so important that we afford that. And another reason would be that we wouldn’t want a change of venue. You know, if everybody’s tainted with the information … You know, we want this suspect to be tried in our court system and where the crime was (sic) occurred. And if a jury pool cannot be pulled together and be unbiased in the decision that they make, then it’s going to be moved and we don’t want that.
Q: That’s the other question I had … when the news broke yesterday evening, the passions that were inflamed last night among everybody in Acadiana and when his name was released to the public last night, it was almost as if the majority – and this is on social media sites like facebook – it was almost as if the majority of the people had already tried and convicted him in their minds. What’s the possibility, do you think, that we’ll be able to find a fair, unbiased jury in Lafayette?
A: Ah, I don’t know if I want to give an opinion about that. I feel that there’s still people out there that still don’t know all the aspects of this case, one reason we don’t release all the information for one reason. And two, there’s some people out there that just don’t follow it as closely. You know, you talk about social media – definitely social media was our friend in this investigation, but it also hurt us in a lot of ways. A lot of ways in that it released information or there was rumor of information that wasn’t accurate. And, you know, it spread so fast, to curb that inaccuracy that that information that’s going out – is just very difficult. So, you know, there was a suspect’s name that was brought up early in this investigation and we really didn’t think this was the guy we were going in the right direction, but all these different sources were telling us things but it was all second and third hand information. So, you know, it can help you and it can hurt you. But I really feel that currently that any individual in this case would stand a fair trial here in the 15th Judicial District.
Q: Paul, about 20 seconds, what’s the very next step for you guys?
A: Process all this evidence, continue to interview witnesses or people that may have information now that the suspect’s name’s out. We’re going to get more people that have – “Oh I saw that guy here or I noticed this about him” and so that’s going to open up different avenues of directions that we’re going to need to go. And most importantly, most importantly of all, is to locate Mickey Shunick. And that – we will not stop until we can do that and put the Shunick family at ease.
07-09-2012, 08:21 PM #65Registered User
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- Jan 2004
Mickey Shunick case is on Nancy Grace right now (Eastern time) and will be on again at 10 p.m. Her father is talking to Nancy.
07-10-2012, 10:11 AM #66
During his time in prison, he completed the adult sex offender program during which time he impressed the program’s director so much that he wrote him a glowing letter which was sent to the Louisiana Adult Probation and Parole Districts. Lavergne was referred to as ‘a man who assists other inmates with their workbooks, handouts, videos, etc. He is prompt, reliable and maintains a positive attitude in his work.’
07-10-2012, 10:14 AM #67
The ex-wife claimed Lavergne physically abused her, outlining one incident just a few months after they were married in September 1999, where Lavergne allegedly hit her on the head and then tried to smother her. She stated in documents that the attack sent her to the hospital for CT scans.
07-10-2012, 11:06 AM #68
Some legal experts say they think the chances are great Lavergne's attorneys, Clay Lejeune and Burleigh Doga, will ask for a change of venue based on the publicity the case has attracted nationally and locally.
"I think there is a 100-percent chance (Lavergne's attorneys) will ask for that," said Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret, "but I'm not sure if it will be granted."
07-10-2012, 11:09 AM #69
Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman with the Lafayette Police Department, said he is not aware of any out-of-state searches but did say the task force is searching for Shunick in areas that Lavergne "used or had knowledge of." Mouton also said Monday that investigators had searched Lavergne's home and the surrounding area, using dogs to cover much of the vacant territory near the property.
Although both Abdella and LPD are receiving tips from people reporting suspicious activity on their rural property, they are getting even more tips from those who knew Lavergne best.
07-10-2012, 11:13 AM #70
In the article published by the Daily Advertiser, Abdella says more people that know Lavergne are speaking out. He says, “Some of them had an idea of where Mickey may be, and there were different areas they wanted us to search,” Abdella said. “Right now, what’s going on, we’re conducting different searches in different parishes and even out of state.”
07-10-2012, 11:13 AM #71
"If she is still alive out there, I'd bargain with [Lavergne]," said Shunick. "As far as I'm concerned, he can go [free] if it'd bring my daughter back, but if he's buried the body out there, I don't want to bargain for that."
07-10-2012, 11:15 AM #72
Brandon Scott Lavergne will face a grand jury on July 18, charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the disappearance of Mickey Shunick, according to 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson.
Harson responded to questions via email Tuesday morning to confirm the case was on the docket. He said Assistant District Attorney Keith Stoutes will handle the case before the grand jury.
07-10-2012, 02:49 PM #73
Sunny and sunnier
Friends and family use many words — shy, strong, smart, sweet — to describe Shunick.
Just ask them about her and you'll learn she was an avid bicyclist and animal lover, a woman who hated feet, a student who hoped to study in Africa one day.
"Mickey is just a big ball of sunshine," said friend Ashley Says, who often turned to Shunick as her confidant. "It radiates out through her platinum blonde hair."
07-10-2012, 03:01 PM #74
Brandon Scott Lavergne’s last hair appointment with Holly Bourriague was June 20, one month after 21-year-old Mickey Shunick went missing. The stylist noticed a cut on his neck that she says appeared to be a knife wound.
“It kind of looked like he would have gotten stabbed or something,” says Bourriague, who works at the SmartStyle salon in the Crowley Walmart. “It looked like it had been the size of a knife [cut].” Bourriague says she could not tell how old the wound was but does not remember noticing it before.
The Independent interviewed Bourriague Monday by phone, her voice cracking several times as she related Lavergne’s last visit to her salon on June 20 and the plans the two made for what would have been their first date when he returned from his offshore job. Bourriague says Lavergne was not a regular customer. Over the past three years she estimates she cut his hair five times.
07-10-2012, 03:05 PM #75
Grand jury hearing scheduled for Brandon Lavergne
LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) -
The man investigators say is responsible for the disappearance of UL-Lafayette student Mickey Shunick is scheduled to go before a grand jury in Lafayette on July 18.
Brandon Lavergne, 33, a convicted sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.
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