Jurors For Accused Killer Vaughn Can See Late Wife’s Emails, Chats

JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — Anticipating a “very rare” suicide defense from accused family killer Christopher Vaughn, a Will County judge ruled Thursday jurors may see several online chat messages and emails written by his late wife, Sun-Times Media is reporting.

Judge Daniel Rozak said this could be the first time he’s seen a murder suspect claim his alleged victim committed suicide. If Vaughn’s attorneys make that claim, Rozak said, Kimberly Vaughn’s electronic missives would offer a glimpse into her state of mind.

The notes show Kimberly Vaughn making plans in the final hours of her life to work on classroom assignments, Rozak said, looking forward to her graduation and a new career.

Though George Lenard, Christopher Vaughn’s public defender, argued the messages put his client in a bad light, Rozak said Kimberly Vaughn described her husband as a hard worker and even identified him as a hero in a class assignment.

“They don’t put him in a bad light at all,” Rozak said.

Prosecutors have said nothing in Kimberly Vaughn’s writings suggests she contemplated suicide or thought her husband had an affair. Vaughn said he cheated on his wife during a trip to Mexico in 2006.

Lenard said the emails and chats are irrelevant, and he objected to letting jurors see most of them.

But the judge didn’t give permission to prosecutors to use all of Kimberly Vaughn’s emails. He said he might allow another batch into the trial if prosecutors redact comments Kimberly Vaughn made about her criminal justice class.

Vaughn, 37, is accused of shooting and killing his wife and three children — Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8 ­— on June 14, 2007, after pulling the family’s SUV over on I-55 near Channahon on the way to a Springfield water park.

The children were each shot twice, court records show, and Kimberly Vaughn was shot once under her chin.

Christopher Vaughn was also shot, and his defense team has argued his wife turned the gun on him and the children before killing herself.

Police found a magazine article about staging crime scenes and “making the death appear to be a suicide” in Vaughn’s Oswego home, records show, and he spent a half-hour at a Plainfield shooting range the night before the murders.

Vaughn told police “clearly and unequivocally” he never read the magazine article, a portion of which referenced rape-murders made to look like hangings. His attorneys also said his visit to the shooting range is irrelevant.

Vaughn and his attorneys will return to court Feb. 2. The case could go to trial later this year.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Joe in Missouri

    It looks like comments are disappearing. The presitutes would not be stifling the first amendment would they?

    • Joe in Missouri

      If you are not removing comments you have some sort of technical problem.
      Many comments have vanished.

  • Just Axin

    Can’t wait for this guy to fry. What a slap in the face when he will try to say his wife killed those kids.

  • Centurion

    He went to the shooting range to become comfortable with the handgun. He wanted to make sure he was not startled by the loud bang at close proximity. This way, he would not flinch when pulling the trigger multiple times. Its called…PRACTICE.

  • Lyndia

    He know he killed his wife and those beautiful children. What I do not understand about some men and women, they have an affair or they want out of the marriage, ok, GET A DIVORCE, DON’T KILL THE PERSON. If you are afraid that you will have to pay (if minor children are involved you are going to surly pay)
    don’t kill the children, PAY THE CHILD SUPPORT AND CALL IT A DAY.

    • Joe in Missouri

      I think the way the courts teat mean in a divorce creates the very situation for incidents like this. The family courts are as corrupt and unfair as the regular courts.

      I went through a divorce with no kids or support and from that experience I understand from experience how the system can drive people to the end of their ropes. Not saying it’s right but it’s the truth none the less.

      You can not even get a jury in a divorce as demanded in the Constitution. You can get a jury for a $20 parking ticket but not for the custody of your children.
      Is it any wonder that people freak out?

      • Hoth Industries

        Joe, stop trying to inject your pathetic divorce experience into this sad and unfortunate situation. ‘the system can drive people to the end of their ropes’? speak for yourself; that was your experience so buck up and don’t involve others.

  • Just Axin

    Lyndia, I think this is the only time we will agree on something. Pls apply that same logic with every post.
    Love you

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