Reality Bites: Man Kills Family To Start a New Life

21 Sep

Picture courtesy of the AP

Listen fellas, if you want to start a new life, then do it.  Just fall off the face of the earth, instead of killing your family you selfish bastard.

Via Daily Mail:

Christopher Vaughn is guilty of murdering his wife and three young children, massacring them with shots to the head and chest in the family SUV in 2007. 

A jury took less than an hour to convict the suburban Chicago computer specialist on Thursday of carrying out the horrific execution of his family while they were on their way to visit a water park. 

Christopher Vaughn, 37, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Family members of the victims cried and hugged each other in a hallway outside the courtroom immediately afterward.

Vaughn killed his family because he saw them as inconvenient obstacles to his dream of a new life subsisting in the Canadian wilderness, prosecutors told jurors on Thursday before they withdrew to deliberate. The prosecution argued he had compiled survival guides and posted wistful Internet messages about constructing a cabin and settling for good in the Yukon cut off from the world, state attorneys said.

‘This case is not just a murder, it’s an atrocity,’ said Will County States Attorney James Glasgow. ‘To annihilate your family, I can’t think of a more despicable crime.’

Vaughn was eligible for the death penalty when the case began, but Illinois has since abolished capital punishment. That means he faces a maximum life sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced November 26.

Just after 5am on that day, as they headed to a Springfield, Illinois, water park from their Oswego home, Vaughn pulled the family SUV off the highway, placed a 9mm Taurus pistol under his 34-year-old wife Kimberly’s chin and fired, prosecutors told jurors.

They say he then shot 12-year-old Abigayle, 11-year-old Cassandra and 8-year-old Blake in the chest and head.

‘He was held back by four major obstacles,’ prosecutor Chris Regis said. ‘Those four obstacles were eliminated on June 14, 2007.’

Regis read emails Christopher Vaughn wrote to a friend before the murders saying he longed for a life unencumbered by cellphones and other hallmarks of modernity. He cited poet Henry David Thoreau about the virtue of shrugging off obligations.

‘I just want to live plain and simple,’ Vaughn wrote in one email.

He had long since written off his wife and kids, Regis told jurors.

‘He’s ready to drop off the face of the earth and disappear,’ he said. ‘This is all about him. … Me, me, me, me. I, I, I.’

Vaughn took notes during nearly six straight hours of closings but displayed little emotion as he sat at the defense table, even when prosecutors displayed crime-scene photos of his wife, her head hanging back and dried blood from her nose and mouth.

In his closing, defense attorney George Lenard repeated Vaughn’s contention that his wife — suicidal over marriage troubles and affected emotionally by antidepressant medication — shot Vaughn in the wrist and leg, killed the children and then herself.

Lenard added later that Kimberly Vaughn may have seen the murder of her kids as a twisted act of mercy.

‘(She) was of the mindset that they if she was gone, they were better off with her … “Come with me to heaven,”‘ Lenard said, depicting what the mother might have been thinking.

Prosecutors dismissed that idea.

In his closing, Mike Fitzgerald cited witnesses who testified that Kimberly Vaughn was upbeat around the time and that, just the evening before, she had fussed cheerfully over a recipe for ‘cheesy potatoes.’

Moreover, he asked how the wife could have just grazed her husband with two bullets as he sat right next to her — yet somehow managed to put a bullet into each of her children’s heads.

‘No way, ladies and gentlemen,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘No way that’s possible.’

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