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Christopher VAUGHN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: June 14, 2007
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1975
Victims profile: His wife, Kimberly, 34, and their three children, Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Channahon Township, Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced to four consecutives life terms on November 26, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Vaughn gets 4 life terms for killing wife, 3 kids

Man who dreamed of life in the wilderness will spend the rest of his days locked up

By Steve Schmadeke - ChicagoTribune.com

November 27, 2012

Christopher Vaughn wanted to live in perfect freedom in the Canadian wilderness, prosecutors said, but instead he will spend the rest of his life in prison after a Will County judge sentenced him to four consecutive life terms Tuesday for the murders of Vaughn's wife and three children.

The sentence — a foregone conclusion under Illinois law — came after Kimberly Vaughn's mother and identical twin sister read statements detailing the devastation the family has suffered, her mother in a matter-of-fact tone and her sister in tears. Prosecutors have said Christopher Vaughn dreamed of leaving his dull suburban life and decided to kill his family and embark on a survivalist sojourn in the Yukon.

Vaughn, who was stockpiling camping gear and spending thousands of dollars at strip clubs in the weeks before the slayings, declined to address the court before he was sentenced. "No, thank you," he told Judge Daniel Rozak in a soft voice.

The Oswego man, now 38, murdered his family in 2007 after pulling their SUV off Interstate 55 onto an isolated frontage road near Channahon on the way to what he said was a surprise trip to a Springfield water park. He allegedly shoved his handgun under Kimberly's chin and shot her, then turned the gun on his sleeping children, the last of whom apparently raised his arms in an attempt to fend off the fatal bullets.

Rozak said before imposing his sentence that he was "very frustrated" by the state Legislature's restrictions, an apparent reference to Illinois' decision last year to end the death penalty.

"There isn't a punishment that fits this crime," State's Attorney James Glasgow said. "You could lock him up for 500 lifetimes and it would not compensate the victims in this case or the family members."

Kimberly's father, Del Phillips, said the family never saw any sign that Christopher Vaughn was dangerous. But he always seemed unemotional.

"I don't think he felt what we feel when he held our (grand)children," said Phillips, who said he had hoped to hear some explanation or apology from Vaughn on Tuesday.

The 51/2 week trial included testimony from two former strippers whom Vaughn plied with cash and an FBI expert who translated 140 pages of runic writings that Vaughn, who had an interest in druidism, had scribbled in a notebook while in jail awaiting trial.

Vaughn's wife and children were never mentioned in the writings, but there was a reference to one of the exotic dancers. Much of the trial focused on blood evidence that prosecutors said proved Vaughn murdered his family.

His defense team argued that Kimberly had killed the children and then herself. Jurors didn't buy the theory, returning guilty verdicts in September after deliberating for just 45 minutes.

Kimberly Vaughn, 34, who had recently completed an online degree in criminal justice, was killed first, prosecutors said. The three children were each shot once in the head and once in the torso.

Abigayle "Abbi" Vaughn, 12, an accomplished student and athlete who had just begun wearing eye makeup, was slain while clutching a Harry Potter book and a stuffed animal. Cassandra "Sandi", 11, an animal lover who was trying to persuade her mom to let her start a dog-walking business, was killed next. Blake, 8, a kind-hearted boy who loved baseball and had an outsized vocabulary, was slain last, apparently after raising his arms in self-defense.

On Tuesday, Kimberly's identical twin sister, Jennifer Ledbetter, explained that she feared her looks and personality traits were a painful reminder for the rest of her family of Kimberly's absence and violent death.

"It crushes my heart," she said of being separated from her sister. They both would have turned 40 next month. Her eyes later flashed in anger and she seemed to look at Christopher Vaughn as she spoke of "the betrayal by a man we welcomed into our lives and loved as family."

"Our hearts ache with the knowledge that they were priceless to everyone but the one man who should have loved them more than his own life," she said of her four slain family members.

Vaughn's restraints made a clanking sound as he appeared to wipe his eye during the testimony, his only outward sign of emotion during the hearing. He looked back over his shoulder at his family before being led from the courtroom after the sentencing.

His family declined to comment.

Kimberly's mother, Susan Phillips, called Vaughn "a selfish coward" who chose not to just leave or divorce his wife but to "destroy … the very best thing that he had, a loving wife and three amazing children" and cause her family enormous pain.

"All this tragedy, because one person just could not walk away."

After the sentencing, Kimberly's family hugged and shook hands with investigators. Later, Ledbetter spoke with Sgt. Steve Weiss, the Channahon police officer who found the four slain family members, telling him "my prayers will be with you."

Weiss said he was haunted for a time by what he saw the day of the murders, struggling to sleep or concentrate.

"When you first opened the door, it looked like they all should be sleeping," he said. "You couldn't believe it."

Weiss said the life sentences were a proper end for a man who killed those closest to him so he could live out his wilderness fantasy.

"He's going to get the opposite of what he wants," Weiss said. "There can't be a more fitting end for him than that."

 
 

Mother, 3 kids found dead in Park Southwest suburbs

CBS

Jun 14, 2007

CHANNAHON, Ill. - Authorities have identified the mother and three children found shot to death early Thursday morning in an SUV in far southwest suburban Channahon Township.

Kimberly Ellen Vaughn, 34, and her three children, Abigayle Elizabeth Vaughn, 12; Cassandra Ellen Vaughn, 11; and Blake Philip Vaughn, 8; all of Oswego, were found shot to death shortly before 5:30 a.m. Thursday. The children had been shot multiple times.

Illinois State Police found the bodies inside a 2004 Ford Expedition when they came to Bluff Road near Interstate Highway 55 in Channahon Township after a 911 call from a passerby.

Kimberly Vaughn's husband, Christopher Vaughn, suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh and was treated and released from a Joliet Hospital.

Vaughn stood with the caller until police arrived, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said. A handgun was found at the scene, but officials declined to say who the suspected shooter was, other than it was an apparent domestic dispute.

"We certainly believe it is a domestic issue,’’ said Channahon Mayor Joe Cook.

Dobrich said Christopher Vaughn was being questioned, but was not under arrest and was free to go whenever he pleased. If he does choose to leave, police said they did not plan to keep him under surveillance.

"He's being talked to," Dobrich said. "He's free to go, he has not asked to leave, he's answering questions and he's assisting us greatly."

Earlier, reporters specifically asked if Kimberly Vaughn was murdered and pointed out that, since officials said the incident was contained to the five people shot, only she or Christopher Vaughn likely could have been the shooter. But authorities would not say who they suspected fired the gun.

However late Thursday night, half a dozen states attorneys and state police investigators arrived at state police headquarters. No one was talking about it, but a likely explanation was that they could be closer to filing charges in the case.

The only one left to charge was Christopher Vaughn, the sole survivor.

A few hours before, a tow truck carrying the family’s SUV arrived as authorities searched for evidence either to confirm or refute the father’s story.

Sources told CBS 2 that Christopher Vaughn initially claimed to be a victim of a drive-by shooting and then tried to shift the blame to his wife, but investigators wouldn't confirm that.

The family left their Oswego home before dawn Thursday on a "social trip," Dobrich said, but added he didn't know their intended destination.

Dobrich said police believed nobody else was involved in the shootings.

"This event we believe is concentrated to what we have at the scene," he said. "We are just trying to get down to the truth as to what actually happened."

The Will County coroner's office, state's attorney's office, and sheriff's office, as well as Channahon police, were assisting in the investigation, Dobrich said.

Authorities continued to monitor the scene, which is surrounded by corn and bean fields, Dobrich said.

"We have deployed canines and state police aircraft to search the area; to cover that base to make sure that we haven't missed anything," Dobrich said.

Law enforcement says the sight of the woman and her children was hard to take. "I have kids that age and it affected people there immensely and it was a very sad scene," Dobrich said. So sad, police Chaplin was brought out to provide counseling.

No concrete timeline has been established for the deaths. But a woman who lives near where the bodies were found said she heard several loud cracking sounds -- which she now believes were gunshots -- shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday and again about five minutes later.

"I was in bed and I thought it was in my backyard it was so loud," said Debra Walick, who lives less than half a mile from where the bodies were found.

After the second sound, Walick said she got out of bed to investigate, but later returned to bed. Thursday morning she saw police in the area.

"I am still a little shaken," Walick said. "I wish I had reacted differently. I don't think I could have prevented what happened. But perhaps they would have been found earlier."

The Vaughn family moved to Oswego recently and was settling into a dream home there. Neighbors were stunned by the police investigation.

A neighbor helped police remove two dogs from the Vaughn house on Mansfield Court in Oswego, where the family lived for more than a year.

"They was loving and would do everything for the kids,” said neighbor Sarmad Faiz.

Faiz, the neighbor next door, saw and spoke to the mother and her children nearly every day.

"They were a great family,” Faiz said. “I was shocked when I heard about it. You wouldn't expect something like that out here."

The family seemed so perfect, they were featured in a Chicago Sun-Times real estate article, describing their new construction home and the child-friendly Oswego neighborhood.

Residents say Kimberly Vaughn volunteered at the subdivision's clubhouse.

"She was willing to give of herself, that was a volunteer effort,” said neighbor Dana Smith.

No one saw any signs of trouble in the family.

“Nothing has happened to indicate a tragedy of this magnitude,” Smith said.

This is the fourth such domestic homicide case in the greater Chicago area in the past week.

On Saturday, six people were found dead inside a home in Delavan, Wis. Ambrosio Analco was believed to have shot his twin infant sons, Argenis and Isaiah Analco; his former girlfriend, Nicole Marie McAfee, 19; her sister, Ashley Huerta, 21; and Vanessa Iverson, 19, a family friend, before turning the gun on himself.

Analco and McAfee's 2-year-old daughter, Jasmine Analco, survived a gunshot wound to the chest.

On Monday, police in Griffith, Ind., found Jessica Janusas, 15, dead of four gunshots in her bedroom, and her stepfather Robert Gordon, 42, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot in the basement of their home. Police said Gordon had a confrontation with Janusas before committing the murder-suicide.

The third incident happened in Chicago on Tuesday, when Gail Bullock allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife, Jacqueline Bullock-Williams, and shot and wounded his 14-year-old stepson at a home in the 8000 block of South Francisco Avenue. Bullock then held a standoff with police before being arrested. He has been charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder.

 
 

Report: Man says wife fired shots killing family

Jun 15, 2007

(CBS) CHANNAHON, Ill. - Investigators have not told the public whom they suspect of shooting a mother and her three young children in Channahon yesterday morning.

They do say they have no grounds to charge anybody at this point, though that could change at any time. However, the only survivor of the killings was released from police custody Thursday morning and his location is unknown.

Thursday, the CBS 2 Investigators learned that cell phones were found in the SUV where Kimberly Vaughn and her three children were found.

Police are investigating why her husband, Christopher, apparently did not use a phone to call 911 for help. Instead, a passerby made the call when they found Vaughn wounded near the vehicle.

The 2 Investigators also learned that Christopher Vaughn has a firearm owner’s identification card; his wife does not.

State police have not said who they believe fired the fatal shots that killed Kimberly Ellen Vaughn, 34, of Oswego and her three children.

Another question investigators likely want answered is why the family pulled so far off Interstate 55 to a rather remote frontage road to fix any mechanical or luggage problems they might have been having with that vehicle. Sources tell CBS 2 they believe getting the answer to that question is one of the key things that will help them figure out why Kimberly Vaughn and her three children – Abigayle, Cassandra and Blake are dead.

Vaughn's husband, Christopher Vaughn, 32, was also shot in the thigh, but he survived. While police are not commenting on the subject, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he implicated his wife. After speaking with investigators for several hours on Thursday, Christopher Vaughn left police headquarters early this morning.

Christopher Vaughn told investigators the family was on a trip when he pulled off Interstate 55 and parked near Frontage and Bluff roads to secure some luggage atop the SUV, according to law enforcement sources that spoke to the Sun-Times.

Vaughn said that when he got back into the SUV, his wife began firing a handgun, the Sun-Times reported. He was shot in the leg, and he fled, he reportedly told investigators. When he returned, his wife and children had all been shot and were dead.

State police would not confirm or deny this chain of events early Friday.

Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, state police discovered the bodies inside the family's Ford Expedition, which was parked on a service road to a cell phone tower, just off Bluff Road near Interstate Highway 55 in Channahon Township.

Investigators said Kimberly Vaughn suffered one fatal gunshot wound.

The three children, Abigayle Elizabeth Vaughn, 12; Cassandra Ellen Vaughn, 11; and Blake Philip Vaughn, 8; had all been shot multiple times.

Christopher Vaughn left the Lockport facility at 1:40 Friday morning.

“Mr. Vaughn, at his own request, asked to leave State Police District 5 Headquarters so that he could get some rest and something to eat,” said Master Sgt. Tom Evoy.

Former prosecutor and CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said that doesn’t mean police might be watching.

“They released him from custody, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he's been released from observation,” Miller said. “They can’t keep him locked up forever, but they can keep him under surveillance for as long as they want.”

But if police have Christopher Vaughn under surveillance right now, they’re not saying.

“His location right now is unknown,” said Evoy.

What is known is that evidence has been sent to the state crime lab in Joliet.

“There is a substantial amount of evidence that’s processed, both clothing and personal evidence from Mr. Vaughn, deceased family members, the vehicle that was involved and the surrounding area,” said Evoy.

Gunshot residue test will also be processed to try and determine who fired the shots. Other tests will focus on the angle and proximity of the shots that killed the three children and their mother. Sources say Mr. Vaughn is blaming his wife, but Master Sgt. Tom Evoy wouldn’t confirm that.

“I had heard that initially reported,” said Evoy. “I was not part of the interview that was conducted here by the state police investigators and I have no information on what exactly he said during the course of that interview.”

What is clear though, is that the murders scene in Channahon Township where three children and a 34-year-old woman were found dead was so horrific, that veteran law enforcers were reduced to tears.

“No human being should see what we saw yesterday, what my staff saw,” said Channahon Police Chief Steve Admonis. “It’s hard on people.”

Meanwhile, neighbors said they have not seen Christopher Vaughn, and his parents who drove in from St. Louis also have not been in contact with him.

"You guys know as much as the police do and everything else, so I really don't have any comment," Vaughn's father said.

Vaughn's father told a neighbor he is concerned about his son and was hoping Christopher would be home by now.

"They thought maybe he came out here because the police told them he was released last night," said neighbor Mohammed Ansar. "He said he's worried about him. In a situation like that, a person could do anything."

"This event we believe is concentrated to what we have at the scene," Dobrich said. "There is no suspect. We are just trying to get down to the truth as to what actually happened."

What is known is that evidence has been sent to the state crime lab in Joliet.

“There is a substantial amount of evidence that’s processed, both clothing and personal evidence from Mr. Vaughn, deceased family members, the vehicle that was involved and the surrounding area,” said Evoy.

Gunshot residue test will also be processed to try and determine who fired the shots. Other tests will focus on the angle and proximity of the shots that killed the three children and their mother. Sources say Mr. Vaughn is blaming his wife, but Master Sgt. Tom Evoy wouldn’t confirm that.

“I had heard that initially reported,” said Evoy. “I was not part of the interview that was conducted here by the state police investigators and I have no information on what exactly he said during the course of that interview.”

What is clear though, is that the murders scene in Channahon Township where three children and a 34-year-old woman were found dead was so horrific, that veteran law enforcers were reduced to tears.

“No human being should see what we saw yesterday, what my staff saw,” said Channahon Police Chief Steve Admonis. “It’s hard on people.”

On Friday, crosses, candles and other mementoes littered the front yard of the Vaughn family home in Oswego, a painful reminder of the four lives lost. It is a sad reminder for those who knew Kimberly, Abigayle, Blake and Cassandra.

A handgun was found at the scene.

The Vaughn family moved to Oswego recently and was settling into a dream home there. Neighbors were stunned by the police investigation.

Kimberly Vaughn had just received a degree in criminal justice administration.

Christopher Vaughn is a computer forensic adviser and specializes in missing persons investigations and cyber-crime prevention.

Blake Vaughn had just finished the second grade. He loved baseball and PlayStation. Abigayle would have been a seventh-grader in the fall. Her friends said she loved to draw and had just joined a traveling soccer team. Cassandra was heading into sixth grade and had just started playing clarinet.

Kimberly's sister told the Chicago Tribune the couple was looking forward to a romantic getaway this weekend to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

The family seemed so perfect that they were featured in a Chicago Sun-Times real estate article, describing their new construction home and the child-friendly Oswego neighborhood.

As CBS 2's Alita Guillen reports, many are openly stunned about the killings.

“I’m really shocked when I heard the news,” said neighbor Balaji Bobicherla.

Neighbors say the family was part of the community. Having moved in just a year ago, Kimberly was known to have walked the kids to school. Christopher worked in the yard and no one ever heard the couple argue.

“They loved the kids. They spent all their time, I could see them outside playing with them, and mother walking them to the bus stop,” said neighbor Susan Stasinos.

The children rode bikes in the neighborhood and had plenty of friends.

“She seemed happy all the time,” said Abigayle’s friend Jackie. “She had really good friends at school that would take care of her if anything happened and she could trust them about anything.

Police do not believe anyone outside the family was involved in the shootings.

 
 

New evidence and new focus in Vaughn murders

Jun 20, 2007

(CBS) Oswego, Ill. - New evidence and a new focus were apparently found Wednesday in the Vaughn family shootings case. CBS 2 cameras were there as investigators searched their Oswego home.

Investigators removed three computers from the home of Christopher Vaughn in far southwest suburban Oswego Wednesday afternoon, as CBS 2’s West Suburban Bureau Chief Mike Puccinelli reports.

Investigators spent almost two hours in the Vaughn home. During their visit, they loaded three computer hard drives, two printers and three black boxes of an electronic nature from the Vaughn family home. They also loaded other computer components into vehicles. There was so much material, investigators needed two vehicles to fit it all inside.

CBS 2 asked officials what specifically they were looking for, what the warrant might have been based on and whether investigators were doing tests to see if Kimberly and her three children had been sedated, but they didn’t respond.

Christopher Vaughn owned a computer company that specialized in computer security and as the only survivor, the equipment is material and of particular interest to investigators.

If you look closely at a picture of Chris Vaughn taken by a Chicago “Sun-Times” photographer, a bandage is visible on his left wrist. A well-placed source tells CBS 2 it covers a wound made by the same bullet that tore through Vaughn's left thigh. Investigators think that might be significant. How he was shot, where he was shot, whether the shooting occurred inside the car or out, they believe, may be the key to the case.

“I think they’re doing a good job of getting everything together,” said next door neighbor Susan Stasinos.

The neighbor watched investigators return to the Vaughn home in Oswego Wednesday, moving aside elements of the makeshift memorial so they could pull their cars onto the driveway. Once inside they made straight for the computers.

CBS 2 reported Tuesday night about an alleged relationship Vaughn claimed he'd confessed to his wife just before the shootings. Removing what state police said were cable boxes, modems and additional computer related attachments Wednesday, they were clearly anxious to scrutinize every aspect of the Vaughns' lives.

“We all have questions and I would like the whole thing to come to closure,” Stasinos said. “I would like some closure myself to know what actually happened.”

Other interviews with family members are being conducted in St. Louis where the picture of Vaughn was taken. The Kane County Coroner on Tuesday confirmed a Joliet company transported the bodies of Kimberly Vaughn and the three children to St. Charles, Mo., where they will be waked on Friday from 3-8 p.m. and buried together on Saturday at a service set for 1 p.m. Chris Vaughn is there helping prepare for the weekend funerals of his wife and their three children.

Information from those interviews, the results of blood and DNA tests just starting to come in and Vaughn's alleged confession about a relationship are all being scrutinized by authorities like pieces in a jig-saw puzzle, which, when complete, should yield the face of the killer.

 
 

Vaughn family remembered as Police probe shootings

Jun 22, 2007

(CBS) ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Hundreds of people gathered in the suburbs of St. Louis Friday afternoon to remember Kimberly Vaughn and her three young children.

The bodies of the Oswego woman and her children were discovered on a remote road in Will County last week. All four had been shot to death - Kimberly once, her children multiple times.

As CBS 2’s West Suburban Bureau Chief Mike Puccinelli reports, Kimberly’s husband and the father of the children, Christopher Vaughn, was among the mourners who arrived under heavy security at the visitation. He was the lone survivor of the shootings.

Sources told CBS 2 Christopher was being monitored by police, partly so they could keep tabs on his whereabouts and also so they can protect him lest someone who doesn’t necessarily believe his version of events decided to take the law into their own hands.

Police blocked one of the entrances while funeral home staffers talked with the driver of every vehicle that drove into the parking lot. Christopher arrived with a crowd of people and quickly made his way inside.

Missy Jones saw him at the memorial. While it was an unusual and terribly tragic scene, she said, she didn’t believe it was particularly awkward for many mourners to be around the man who sources say has accused his wife of killing their children and shooting him before turning the gun on herself.

“People feel different, I guess,” Jones said. “I don't know. People were approaching him.”

It was a week ago Thursday that the bodies of Kimberly, 34, and children Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, were found inside the family's sport-utility vehicle parked on a service road in Channahon Township.

Police were called to the scene by a passerby who was waved down by Christopher, 32, who was the lone survivor of the shooting and had been wounded by a gunshot to the thigh.

Illinois State Police have not said who they believe fired the fatal shots, and they are not calling Christopher Vaughn a suspect. But they have spent hours both talking to him about what happened and searching the family home in Oswego.

But police did not respond to questions about what they were seeking, but were seen taking computer hard drives, printers and cable boxes from the house on Wednesday.

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said on Friday the investigators reluctance to talk about their investigation does not necessarily reflect what they know.

"They know a lot right now," Miller said. "They probably don't have everything. They probably don't have toxicology back, but as far as knowing where the shooter was standing or sitting at the time by comparing entrance and exit wounds, they know that."

While witnesses told CBS 2 that Christopher Vaughn said his wife shot him and his children, one investigator reportedly told a friend he was skeptical of the claim given the angle of Vaughn's bullet wound.

The Chicago Tribune reported on Friday that Vaughn told police he did not remember what happened.

CBS 2 reported Tuesday night about an alleged relationship Vaughn claimed he'd confessed to his wife just before the shootings. The Chicago Sun-Times quoted a source Friday as saying he was considering divorce.

Investigators are hoping evidence taken from the Vaughn family home will yield more clues and answers in the case.

On Wednesday, investigators spent almost two hours in the Vaughn home, taking computer hard drives, printers and cable boxes.

Christopher Vaughn owned a computer company that specialized in computer security and because he is the only survivor, the equipment police removed on Wednesday is material and of particular interest to investigators.

"They're crossing their t's and dotting their i's. They're going through everything. Was there something on TV that gave him an idea that could've led to this thing happening?" Miller said. "They're talking to his friends to see, 'Hey am I getting a divorce? Am I unhappy with my wife? Boy wouldn't it be something if this happened or that happened."

If you look closely at a picture of Chris Vaughn taken by a Sun-Times photographer, a bandage is visible on his left wrist. A well-placed source tells CBS 2 it covers a wound made by the same bullet that tore through Vaughn's left thigh. Investigators think that also might be significant.

Miller said although police are not calling Christopher Vaughn a suspect, he believes they are looking at him in that capacity, and at this time, they are looking for any indication that he might be the person to tie the physical evidence in the case.

If that is true, it could lead to charges.

Regardless of the circumstances, at the memorial on Friday Missy Jones said the harsh reality of seeing a mother and her three young children in caskets next to each other was hard to take.

“There's not words to describe it,” Jones said. “You know you just feel helpless. What can you do? We're just praying for them.”

Many of the people in St. Charles were from the New Hope Presbyterian Church that Kimberly belonged to when she met Chris Vaughn while living in Missouri.

“She was a great person, an outgoing person,” mourner Peggy Brown said, adding how difficult it was to say goodbye.

“It was very hard,” she said.

Funeral services for the Vaughn family will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the New Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Charles, Mo.

 
 

Osgewo: Dad charged with murdering wife 3 kids

Christopher Vaugh arrested in Missouri just before funeral

CBS

Jun 23, 2007

St. Charles, Mo. - A father has been charged with eight counts of murder, on allegations that he shot his wife and three children dead last week in the far southwest suburbs. CBS 2 West Suburban Bureau Mike Puccinelli reports.

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said they were able to make an arrest in the Vaughn family case only after a very intense investigation that started the moment the crime was reported.

Thirty-two-year-old Chris Vaughn was arrested at 7a.m. Saturday in St. Charles, Mo. He has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. He was arrested as he was arriving at the funeral home where services were to be held for his wife and three children.

Authorities say Vaughn shot his 34-year-old wife once in the head and shot each of his three children twice. Investigators say Vaughn used a handgun he bought in the state of Washington to kill his family. The case against the Oswego man was built from many interviews and forensic evidence, as well as computer and phone records. Glasgow said they have "a plethora of evidence" that was processed as soon as possible to secure a no bond arrest warrant.

“There was a plethora of evidence that had to be combed through, that had to be collated, that had to be reviewed,” Glasgow said.

But Glasgow said the timing for the arrest didn’t have anything to do with the funeral.

"The moment I have probable cause and believe I can prove my case, then I move forward," said Glasgow in a press conference. "And we have an individual who is not in my state, so I had to act quickly to make sure, an apprehension was made."

Investigators have not released a motive, but Glasgow said with the issuance of the charges, he hopes Kimberly Vaughn and her three beautiful children can truly rest in peace.

Glasgow is calling the investigation a "death penalty" case. Under Illinois law, the Will County State’s Attorney has 120 days to make a final decision on whether to ask for the death penalty. The office is asking for Gov. Rod Blagojevich's help to expedite the extradition process from Missouri to Illinois.

The word of the arrest changed the tone of Saturday's funeral for the Vaughn family.

Reaction was hard to come by due to no fewer than six sheriff's deputies outside the church working to keep the media at bay.

The warrant was issued Friday evening and executed Saturday morning. Christopher Vaughn is held in Missouri on $1 million cash bond waiting extradition to Illinois. He will be held without bond when he arrives in Illinois.

At 9 a.m., CBS 2 was outside the funeral home in St. Charles, Mo., as four caskets were rolled into four hearses. The hearses held the bodies of Kimberly, Cassandra, Abigail and Blake Vaughn were driven to a nearby cemetery and placed in lowering devices above their final resting places. But Christopher Vaughn was not there since the Oswego resident was arrested when he arrived at the funeral home to attend the graveside service. He was booked by police just before noon.

He attended the visitation Friday night where his family members tried to shield him from views of cameras as he left. He had spent six hours there talking to mourners. During the day, at an afternoon memorial service at a church where Kimberly was a charter member and all three children were baptized, most mourners chose not to comment on news of the charges.

But mourner Kathy Dickason felt the need to come out to support Kimberly Vaughn's father, on the same day his son-in-law was arrested for allegedly killing his family.

"He is a good man, a friend, an encouraging person," she said.

Vaughn could be put to death if he is convicted for the four murders.

Kimberly Vaughn's family asked for priavcy this weekend, but they did offer a statement to the media: "We are heartened that police worked so quickly. We are glad her name has been cleared for any responsibility for the death of her children. We are very sorry for Chris, both for the legal process he faces and for the sense of guilt he’s going to feel when he realizes what he’s done to destroy these four innocent lives."

Saturday afternoon, at the family’s home in Oswego, friends and relatives placed four crosses on the sidewalk with the victims’ names. Dozens of people joined a prayer vigil and later released white balloons in honor of Kimberly Vaughn and her children.

 
 

Man Charged With Murder in Deaths of Family in Illinois

Thursday, July 05, 2007

St. Charles County Sheriff's Department

JOLIET, Ill. — A suburban Chicago man accused of killing his wife and three children appeared Thursday in court via a video feed from the Will County Jail, where authorities said he is on suicide watch.

Prosecutors dropped four of eight first-degree murder counts against Christopher Vaughn during the brief hearing, saying they were focusing their case.

The remaining charges allege the Oswego man shot his family with intent to kill. The charges that were dropped alleged that he opened fire knowing likely would cause death or great bodily harm.

Vaughn is charged in the June 14 shooting deaths of Kimberly Vaughn, 32, and their children, Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, on a secluded frontage road near Channahon, Ill., about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

They were found dead in the family's parked sport utility vehicle after a wounded Christopher Vaughn flagged down a motorist. Vaughn, a computer security consultant, had superficial gunshot wounds in the leg and arm. Kimberly Vaughn was shot once and the children each were shot twice, and his 9mm handgun was found at the scene, authorities said.

Vaughn, was arrested at a funeral home in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb, just hours before a memorial service for his wife and children.

 
 

Vaughn Pleads Not Guilty To Family Massacre

Oswego Man Is Accused Of Killing Wife, 3 Children

by Mike Puccinelli - CBS2Chicago.com

Jul 27, 2007

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) ― Christopher Vaughn pleaded not guilty Friday on charges that he shot his wife and three children dead in the far southwest suburbs last month.

As CBS 2 West Suburban Bureau Chief Mike Puccinelli reports, Vaughn appeared in court in person for the first time Friday. He did not speak during the hearing, but his attorney entered a not guilty plea during a brief appearance in Will County court in Joliet.

Vaughn, 32, of Oswego, was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday in Will County on charges of shooting and killing his wife, Kimberly Vaughn, 34, and his three children, Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8.

On Friday, attorney Jerry Killian did not take questions, nor did Vaughn's family members. Vaughn left court alone and was driven back to the Will County Jail in a van with no other inmates on board.

Vaughn is being held at the Will County Jail in isolation.

The four victims were found inside a red Ford Expedition that was parked on a secluded service road near Bluff Road and Interstate 55 in Channahon Township at about 5:30 a.m. June 14.

Vaughn was arrested June 23 near St. Louis hours before a memorial service for his wife and children, and had attended their wake the day before. He initially resisted extradition, but was later returned to Illinois and remains in custody with no bond in the Will County Jail.

He first told investigators that his wife had shot him and had shot the children dead, then had committed suicide, but after nine days, authorities concluded the evidence indicated otherwise and brought charges against him.

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said he has until October to determine whether he will seek the death penalty in the case.

  


 

Chris Vaughn Took Out $1M Insurance Policy On Wife

Policy Could Be Presented As A Motive For The Alleged Murders Of Vaughn's Wife And Their 3 Children

CBS2Chicago.com

Dec 21, 2007

OSWEGO, Ill. (CBS) ― Was money the motive for an Oswego man accused of murdering his family and then covering it up? Revealing documents in the Christopher Vaughn case suggest that might be what happened.

As CBS 2 West Suburban Bureau Chief Mike Puccinelli reports, Vaughn stood to gain $1 million if his wife, Kimberly, died. Information about Vaughn's life insurance policies was released at a Kendall County estate hearing attended by CBS 2 news partner the Aurora Beacon News.

Vaughn could be put to death if he's convicted of killing his wife and their three children, Abigail, Cassandra and Blake. They were found shot to death in the family's sport-utility vehicle just more than six months ago.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller, when asked if the policy adds up to a motive, said: "A $1 million life insurance policy is an absolute, dead bang motive. And if the case goes to trial, that's going to be one of the key pieces of evidence against him in court."

Vaughan's defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, in a brief phone interview, said "I don't think it's appropriate to comment on the facts of the case."

When asked about the money being a possible motive, he responded "cases are not won or lost in the press."

On the Oswego block where Kimberly Vaughn and the children used to play, the life insurance revelations revealed plenty to the Vaughns' next door neighbor.

"From the very first day I was thinking what was the motive," said Mohammad Ansar. "And it came to our discussion that there might be an insurance policy pending."

If Vaughan was after money, it's highly unlikely he'll get any, unless he's acquitted.

"The slayer statute is that you cannot inherit based upon an ill deed that you do," Miller said. "In other words, if you kill somebody, you can't benefit from it."

After Kimberly Vaughn was killed, her home was put up for sale and her mother was in charge of her $1 million life insurance estate. But a judge ruled Friday that a third party should take control, and that no money can be removed without a court order. An exception was made for about $30,000, the cost of the funeral for Kimberly Vaughn and the three children.

  


 

Prosecutors To Test Jacket Worn By Suspect Vaughn

Christopher Vaughn Is Charged With Shooting, Killing Wife And 3 Young Children In 2007

CBS2Chicago.com

Dec 16, 2009

Lawyers for the prosecution and defense agreed Tuesday to have some tests done on a jacket worn by Christopher Vaughn the day his family was murdered.

Vaughn, a former private investigator who lived with his family in Oswego, has been charged with murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and three young children on June 14, 2007.

Early that morning, the family was driving in their sport-utility vehicle south on Interstate 55 toward an out-of-town water park.

Just before 5:30 a.m., Channahon police got a 911 call from a passer-by who found Christopher Vaughn on the interstate's southwest frontage road near Bluff Road in Channahon Township. He had been shot in the leg.

State Police then found the bodies of Kimberly, 34, and Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, inside the family car.

Vaughn said his wife had shot him, but he was arrested and charged with the crimes the day of the family's memorial services. He is being held without bond in the Will County jail.

During other court appearances in the case, state prosecutors and the defense have discussed testing the jacket Vaughn wore on the morning of the murders. Some of the state's tests might have destroyed part of the fabric, so Gerald Kielian, one of Vaughn's lawyers, objected to that process.

Now the state is going to do tests on the jacket that won't cause any problems, so the defense experts will be able to do their own tests afterward.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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