Breaking News Bar
updated: 11/28/2012 8:05 AM

Vaughn gets life sentence for killing wife, kids

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Christopher Vaughn

      Christopher Vaughn

 
Associated Press

An Oswego man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for killing his wife and three school-age children in the family's SUV as they drove to an Illinois water park -- allegedly so he could start a new life subsisting in the Canadian wilderness.

The sentencing of Christopher Vaughn, 37, came two months after jurors found him guilty of killing his 34-year-old wife Kimberly and their children on June 14, 2007. Each child was shot once in the chest and head while buckled in the back seat.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The judge sentenced to Vaughn to four consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole. Vaughn did not make a statement in court.

Vaughn, who lived with his family in a spacious Oswego home, faced a mandatory life term for the killings. But the hearing in Joliet gave relatives a chance to confront him and to convey how much pain he caused.

The 2007 murders started out as a death penalty case, slowing the pace to trial. But Illinois has since abolished capital punishment, making life in prison the maximum penalty.

Vaughn murdered his family members, prosecutors say, because he saw them as obstacles to his dream of a new life in Canada. He posted wistful Internet messages about building a cabin and settling in the Yukon cut off from the world.

According to prosecutors, Vaughn woke his family on the day of the killings promising a surprise trip to a water park. But shortly after 5 a.m., he pulled off the road, shot his wife, then killed 12-year-old Abigayle, 11-year-old Cassandra and Blake, 8.

Abigayle was found holding a stuffed animal; Blake's wounds indicated he had raised his arm -- to shield himself.

At trial, defense attorneys told jurors that Vaughn's wife was to blame, saying she was suicidal over marital strife. They suggested she shot her husband in the wrist and leg, then killed the children and herself.

Prosecutors balked at that theory, asking jurors whether it seems reasonable that a woman who disliked guns could have shot her husband twice, only grazing him each time, but fatally shot each of her children with a marksman's precision.

They contended that Christopher Vaughn shot himself to make it look like his wife carried out the attack, and told jurors that Vaughn showed little emotion after the shootings and was more interested in his damaged clothing than the fate of his family.

Share this page
  • This article filed under:
  • News
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here