A day after Brandon Scott Lavergne led investigators to the body of Mickey Shunick in exchange for his life, the 33-year-old registered sex offender and convicted killer of two Acadiana women told a criminal psychologist that he was subjected to “chronic childhood physical abuse” by his adoptive father and “multiple instances of molestation by a teenaged female babysitter” as a toddler.
According to a psychological report prepared by Lafayette criminal psychologist Larry Benoit and obtained by IND Monthly, Lavergne underwent a psychological evaluation on Aug. 8, one day after Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes secured a plea agreement with Lavergne that spared his life in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and information on the deaths of Shunick, a 21-year-old UL student, and 35-year-old Lisa Pate.
The court document states that the evaluation was done to determine whether Lavergne was mentally capable of proceeding with the plea agreement.
Benoit says in the evaluation that Lavergne was treated for anger and depression by the time he was 15 years old, which led to a 30-day inpatient stay at Central State Hospital in 1995. Lavergne also reportedly received outpatient counseling in 2011 “for a few months,” according to the report.
“He reports occasional use of alcohol but says he was prone to binging when he drank,” Benoit says in the report. “He admits to a history of aggressive behavior. Family history is positive for substance abuse and psychiatric treatment. He was adopted at birth and his adoptive father suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.”
Lavergne, who was interviewed alone and described as “cooperative but very serious,” admitted to having suicidal thoughts as recently as May, the same month he kidnapped and later killed Shunick the night she disappeared while riding her bicycle home from a friend’s house. He told Benoit, however, that he has never attempted suicide.
“He reported a history of memory lapses during periods of extreme emotion,” the report states. “He admitted to a history of homicidal ideation on multiple occasions. He reported chronic childhood physical abuse by his adoptive father and multiple instances of molestation by a teenaged female babysitter at age three or four.”
Mental tests performed on Lavergne conclude that he maintains a “high average range of intellectual functioning.”
“He described his own behavior and the behavior of others leading up to and following the alleged crimes in considerable detail, entirely consistent with the documentation describing the incidents in question and his arrests. He seemed to have no problems comparing his own situation with other individuals accused of similar crimes,” Benoit says in the report. “He had a clear appreciation of the seriousness of his own legal situation and the possible outcomes of the proceedings. His factual understanding of the legal process is intact. There was no overt evidence of delusional thinking, preoccupations, obsessions, ideas of reference or formal thought disorder.”
Although Benoit’s report concludes that Lavergne had sufficient mental capacity to move forward with the plea agreement, the Acadia Parish native who was living in rural St. Landry Parish at the time of his July 5 arrest displayed troubling characteristics that suggest an “extroverted, over active, impulsive and self-indulgent individual.”
“Patients with similar profiles are usually seen as hostile and superficial. Fluctuating morals and poor conscience development are common,” the evaluation states. “Quite impulsive, they show poor judgment, often acting without considering the consequences of their acts, and they fail to learn from experience. They harbor intense feelings of anger and hostility, and these feelings get expressed in occasional emotional outbursts. Similar patients typically show flagrant excesses in their search for pleasure and self-stimulation. Suspiciousness, distrust, brooding, and resentment may be characteristic.”
On Aug. 17, Lavergne pleaded guilty in open court to the May 19 and 1999 killings of Shunick and Pate, respectively. He began serving a life sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola just hours after the conclusion of the court hearing, sparing the victims’ families from the pain of a years-long death penalty trial.
But recent statements from law enforcement and other officials suggest Lavergne may be tied to other crimes, as City-Parish Attorney Michael Hebert told The Daily Advertiser in an Aug. 27 report that documents and other evidence in the Shunick case are “part of continued investigative efforts that are reasonably anticipated to lead to future criminal litigation:”
“The documentary and investigative evidence contain matters that are still being investigated by both the Lafayette Police Department, as well as multiple other jurisdictions and agencies,” Hebert wrote in response to a public records request by The Daily Advertiser.
On Aug. 20, The Daily Advertiser submitted a public records request to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft and Hebert seeking the opportunity to review various statements, documents and evidence gathered during the three-month investigation that followed Shunick’s disappearance.
Hebert responded that releasing the requested information “could severely jeopargize ongoing criminal investigations.”
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.