News - Joliet and Will County

Christopher Vaughn’s parents sue Will County state’s attorney over son’s conviction in family slaughter

Vaughn is serving multiple life sentences for 2007 murder of his wife and three children

Christopher Vaughn’s parents have brought a federal lawsuit challenging police and prosecutor conduct that led to the conviction of the their son for the murder of his wife and three children in 2007.

Vaughn is serving multiple life sentences for the murders committed in the family car after they pulled off Interstate 55 to a secluded frontage road spot near Channahon during what was to be a trip to Springfield.

Vaughn will file a motion later this year to have his indictment and conviction vacated, his attorney Keith Altman said.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday would lay the groundwork for Vaughn’s motion if it is successful, Altman said.

“That’s part of it,” he said. “But the public record ought to be correct.”

The lawsuit alleges that a Will County grand jury was misled and a lab report was altered to point blame for the shootings at Vaughn. It takes up the argument used in Vaughn’s defense that it was actually his wife, Kimberly, who did the shooting, wounding Christopher Vaughn and killing herself.

“It doesn’t add up that he would have staged the crime scene the way it was staged,” Altman said. “The other evidence is that she shot the kids and shot herself.”

The federal lawsuit names as defendants: Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow; former Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor; Gary Lawson, a detective with the Illinois State Police; and Kelly J. Krajnik, a former forensic scientist with the state police.

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow said he could not comment on pending lawsuits but issued a statement on his behalf.

“In the successful prosecution of Christopher Vaughn, we called 90 witnesses to the stand in our case-in-chief and the jury returned a guilty verdict in 60 minutes,” the statement read.

The lawsuit is seeking a finding that would remove the word “draft” from a July 3, 2007, laboratory report that listed both Christopher and Kimberly Vaughn as suspects. It also seeks to add Kimberly Vaughn’s name as a suspect to a July 26, 2007, laboratory report that listed only Christopher Vaughn as a suspect.

The lawsuit argues that the scientific findings in the two reports are identical.

The lawsuit also contends that Lawson misled the grand jury, which indicted Vaughn, by indicating blood on the seatbelt worn by Kimberly Vaughn was her own. That evidence would indicate Kimberly Vaughn was strapped in the seatbelt at the time of the shooting, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit argues that the seatbelt was retracted when Kimberly Vaughn did the shooting and that the blood on the seatbelt was that of Christopher Vaughn.

“The blood of Christopher Vaughn was smeared onto her seat belt when he tried to fasten her seat belt to drive them to get help,” according to the lawsuit.

This past June 14 marked the 15th year since the murders. The Vaughn children shot to death were Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8.

Vaughn was convicted Sept. 20, 2012, and this Sept. 20 will mark the 10th year since his conviction. Altman said Vaughn likely will file his motion to vacate that conviction this fall.