Vaughn Defense Pins Murder on Wife

Vaughn's attorneys portrayed his wife as a suicidal, obsessive woman who wanted everything her way

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Victim's sisters take the stand, including her twin who says the couple was planning a second honeymoon. The couples' best friends also describe Kim's mood the night before she died. (Published Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012)

    The defense in the trial of a man charged with killing his family on the side of the road set out Tuesday to portray Christopher Vaughn's wife as the person who fired the gun in 2007.

    Vaughn is accused of murdering his wife, Kimberly, and three children, ages 12, 11 and 8, in their car on a frontage road off I-55 on their way to a water park.

    Roadside Murder Trial Begins in Will County

    [CHI] Roadside Murder Trial Begins in Will County
    Prosecutors say Christopher Vaughn shot and killed his wife and kids because he wanted an "exit strategy" and no obligations. The defense said the case is one of murder-suicide. Charlie Wojciechowski reports. (Published Monday, Aug 20, 2012)

    Prosecutors said they were traveling near Channahon when Vaughn allegedly pulled over and shot his family. Vaughn suffered superficial gunshot wounds to his leg and wrist.

    As the trial entered its second day, the defense painted Kimberly Vaughn as a "fixer" who obsessed over everything until she got it right.

    A couple who lived next door to the family testified they either saw or spoke with the family several times a week and noticed nothing out of ordinary the night before the murders. During dinner together, they said Kimberly was looking forward to graduation and the kids were excited to camp the next day.

    Two of Kimberly Vaughn's sisters took the stand, with Nikki Iseman testifying that Kim was worried that her migraine medication wasn't working, and that she suffered from a number of ailments including shoulder pain, ear aches and tongue itching. Her twin sister, Jennifer Ledbetter, testified that Kim was happy in her relationship and was looking forward to taking a second honeymoon.

    On Day 1 of the trial, Vaughn showed no emotion as gruesome pictures of his dead wife and children were shown on a large screen in court.

    In the assistant state's attorney's opening statement, she said Vaughn was "planning an exit scenario" and "didn't want any obligations."

    Vaughn's defense attorney said it was a suicidal Kimberly who fired the gun, saying "this is a case of murder suicide and that is what the evidence will show."