Blood Expert Pokes Holes in Former St. Peters Man's Killing Story
Another expert witness told the jury how he found some serious flaws in the story Christopher Vaughn, a graduate of Francis Howell High School and former St. Peters resident, told the police about how his wife and three children ended up dead.
JOLIET, IL—Alleged quadruple-killer Christopher Vaughn's story about how his wife gunned down their three children before taking her own life was disputed by yet another expert witness Tuesday.
Bloodstain pattern expert witness Paul Kish said Vaughn's wife, Kimberly Vaughn, 34, must have been killed before Vaughn bled on her.
Kish was so adamant in his assessment of the blood evidence that he prompted defense attorney George Lenard to demand a mistrial.
Kish said the blood evidence and the "facts of the case" showed that Christopher Vaughn, 37, a former St. Peters resident who graduated from Francis Howell High School, was shot and wounded after someone stuck a gun under his wife's chin and pulled the trigger.
Kimberly Vaughn was a 1991 graduate from St. Charles West High School and resided, with her husband, in St. Peters for several years before moving to Washington.
"I think he already testified to the ultimate issue in the case," Lenard protested. "He also said the facts of this case dictate that Kimberly Vaughn was shot before Christopher, and that's very problematic."
Assistant State's Attorney Michael Fitzgerald countered that he "didn't think (Kish) was trying to opine on the ultimate issue in this case," but Lenard didn't believe any of that.
"He has" opined, Lenard said. "The state's wrong and I'm going to make a motion for a mistrial."
Judge Daniel Rozak called a recess so he could research some points of law, then denied Lenard's mistrial motion.
Christopher Vaughn had told detectives he fled to safety after his wife shot him in the left thigh and left wrist while he was sitting in the driver's seat of their parked Ford Expedition in June 2007. Kimberly Vaughn, who was sitting in the passenger seat, then turned around and put bullets in the head and torsos of each of her three children—Blake, 8, Cassandra, 11, and Abigayle, 12—according to Christopher Vaughn's account of the killings.
Vaughn explained to detectives that his wife's murderous rampage was fueled by the antidepressants and migraine headache medication she had been taking. He also told investigators that he had recently confessed to his wife about a sexual affair he carried on during a trip to Mexico, and that this upset her.
Kish was the second expert witness in as many days to point out the gaps in Christopher Vaughn's account of the shootings. On Monday, a St. Charles ballistics expert Matthew Noedel said that Vaughn's bullet wounds were on the wrong side of his body and that they were inflicted by a gun barrel held flush against his skin.
Also, a pair of shell casings found on the driver's seat of the Expedition likely ended up there after Vaughn got out of the car, he said. And the Taurus semi-automatic pistol all the bullets were fired from cycled completely through after the last round was discharged. Noedel said that indicated the final shot probably wasn't put in Kimberly Vaughn's head by her own hand.
Fitzgerald said prosecutors still have two more witnesses to call. They have already brought in 86 witnesses to testify over 16 days.