Roadside Murder Trial Begins in Will County - NBC Chicago

Roadside Murder Trial Begins in Will County

Vaughn is accused of murdering his wife and three children in their car en route to a water park



    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)

    Another high-profile case began Monday at the Will County Courthouse.

    Opening statements started Monday in the Christopher Vaughn trial, being tried just doors away from Drew Peterson. 

    Vaughn is accused of murdering his wife and three children, ages 12, 11 and 8, in 2007 in their car on a frontage road off I-55 on the way to a water park. Prosecutors say they were traveling near Channahon when Vaughn allegedly pulled over and shot his family. Vaughn suffered superficial gunshot wounds to his leg and wrist.

    Peterson is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a bathtub in her Bolingbrook home in 2004.

    Both cases are sensational, but the defense teams are each taking different approaches.

    A $1 million life insurance policy, alleged visits to strippers and a jailhouse journal written in code is some of the evidence prosecutors are hoping to use to prove Vaughn killed his wife and three children, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Vaughn's defense attorneys are expected to say Kimberly Vaughn fired the shots, killing her children and herself. But prosecutors are expected to call on several strippers he saw at clubs in the months leading up to the shooting. Jurors also are expected to hear part of a cryptic poem that Vaughn wrote in jail.

    In the Drew Peterson trial, which enters its fourth week Tuesday, much evidence, including some controversial hearsay evidence, came out in the appeals before the trial.

    Another difference is how the defense chooses to communicate with the media.

    While Peterson's attorneys stop and speak with the media daily, even Tweeting reactions to courtroom action, we are not expected to hear from Vaughn's defense attorneys at all except in court, the Sun-Times reports.