Opening statements Monday will kick off the trial of an Oswego, Ill. man accused of fatally shooting his family on a frontage road near Channahon five years ago.
In 2007, Christopher Vaughn, 37, told police that his family was driving to a water park in Springfield when he pulled over on a frontage road to fix the luggage rack. Vaughn claims that his wife Kimberly fired shots at him, then at his children before shooting herself. The defense team says that Kimberly Vaughn was taking anti-seizure medication at the time that increases the risk of suicidal behavior.
But police say evidence indicates that Vaughn fired the shots that killed his wife and three children--Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8--and the shots that caused his injuries, according to Oswego Patch.
Vaughn's trial has been delayed for five years since his arrest shortly before his family's funeral in June 2007. The Will County State's Attorney's office originally wanted to seek the death penalty, which has since been abolished in Illinois. In the meantime, Vaughn's original defense team quit, according to ABC Chicago.
Prosecutors are expected to argue that Vaughn was enamored with a stripper, with whom he planned to flee the country with his wife's life insurance policy, CBS Chicago reports. The state will likely reference Vaughn's journal entries written while in prison, including a decoded poem, according to the station.
Vaughn's trial will be held in a courtroom adjacent the one where Drew Peterson is facing murder charges in an equally sensational trial. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Vaughn's defense team is less likely to engage the media during proceedings.
“I believe what is said about the case should be said in the courtroom,” attorney George Lenard, who represents Vaughn, told the newspaper.