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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Christopher Vaughn Murder Case

     Christopher Vaughn, a 32-year-old former private investigator who specialized in cyber-crime detection and computer security, lived with his wife and their three children in Oswego, Illinois, a suburban community of 30,000 west of Chicago. His 34-year-old wife Kimberly had just earned a college degree in criminal justice administration. In preparation for a weekend excursion to a water park in downstate Springfield, the couple and their children--Abigayle 12, Cassandra 11, and Blake 8--had arisen early on June 14, 2007.

     That morning, at 5:40, Christopher Vaughn, stood bleeding near his vehicle parked on the shoulder of Interstate 55 in Channahon Township, Illinois. He waved down a motorist who discovered that the wounded man had been shot in the left wrist and left thigh. Vaughn's wife Kimberly and his three children were inside the 2004 Ford Expedition. They had been shot to death. The motorist called 911.

     Christopher Vaughn's gunshot injuries turned out to be glancing bullet wounds that were minor. After being treated and discharged from a hospital in Joliet, he submitted to questioning by officers with the Illinois State Police. Vaughn said that his wife had asked him to pull off the road because she was feeling ill. After bringing the car to a stop, he climbed out of the vehicle to check on the luggage tied to the rack on the roof of the SUV. When he got back into the vehicle, she shot him twice with a pistol. Wounded, he managed to get out of the Ford without being hit again. Once out of her line of fire, he heard the gun go off several times from inside the vehicle. When he returned to the SUV to check on his family, he found that his wife had murdered the children and had turned the gun on herself.

     None of the detectives questioning Vaughn bought the murder-suicide scenario. They were convinced he had murdered his family, then strategically shot himself. The officers didn't know why this seemingly rational but emotionless man had committed mass murder, or how they would be able to prove it without an eyewitness, or a confession. This case looked like a cold-blooded mass murder committed by a killer with nerves of steel.

     According to the Will County forensic pathologist who performed the autopsies, Kimberly Vaugh had been shot under the chin. The killer had shot the children in their chests and heads. Their deaths were ruled homicides.

      On June 20, 2007, members of the Illinois State Police seized, from the Vaughn home in Oswego, three computers and several boxes full of personal items. Included in the things removed from the Vaughn family dwelling that day was a magazine containing an article on how to make a murder look like a suicide. Detectives had also learned that the suspect had purchased the handgun used in the killings in the state of Washington, and that on the day before the murders, he had practiced shooting it at a firing range.

     In the days before the quadruple murder, Christopher Vaughn had spent $5,000 at a suburban strip club where he had confided in a pole dancer that he was having marital problems. Vaughn had told friends that he dreamed of escaping the rat-race by moving into a remote cabin in Canada's Yukon Territory. He also stood to inherit $1 million in life insurance benefits. Investigators believed that Vaughn had murdered his family because they stood between him and his desire to start a new life.

     On June 22, 2007, the Will County States Attorney's Office charged Christopher Vaughn with four counts of first-degree murder. The next day, he was taken into custody in St. Charles, Missouri when he arrived at the funeral home where services were being held for his wife and three children.

     In late August 2012, more than five years after the shooting deaths of his family, Christopher Vaughn went on trial for mass murder in Joliet, Illinois. The heart of the prosecution's case consisted of the testimony of forensic ballistic and blood spatter experts. According to these analysts, the physical death scene evidence did not support the defendant's version of a murder-suicide. What the bullet and blood evidence did suggest was this: once Vaughn had pulled off the interstate, he got out of the car, walked around to the front passenger's door, opened it, and shot his wife under the chin. He then shot each of this three children twice, climbed back behind the wheel of the SUV, wrapped his jacket around the muzzle of the gun to mitigate its effect, then grazed himself in the left thigh and wrist. Before leaving the vehicle to flag down a motorist, Vaughn placed the murder weapon at his wife's feet to make the shooting look like a murder-suicide.

     On September 20, 2012, following a five-week trial featuring six hours of closing arguments, the jury, after a 50-minute deliberation, returned a verdict of guilty on all four counts.

     On November 26, 2012, Will County Judge Daniel Rozak sentenced Christopher Vaughn to life in prison. Before imposing the sentence, Judge Rozak said he was "very frustrated" with the state's decision in 2011 to abolish the death sentence. State's attorney James Glasgow, in speaking to reporters about the case following the sentencing, said, "There isn't a punishment that fits this crime. You could lock him up for 500 lifetimes and it would not compensate the victims in this case or the family members."

     

5 comments:

  1. Glad he didnt get away with murder.

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  2. Thank's for the input Patty

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  3. morbid curiosity I guess after all these years - but I hope prison life is very hard on him - I still can't believe this. Kimberly's parents and twin have been through hell with this monster; I wonder how HIS parents live with what he has done.

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  4. Mate, this website is helping me heaps with my homework and assignments. Thank You

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