“You don’t know, ladies and gentlemen. You really don’t know what happened in the car. You really don’t know,” defense attorney George Lenard stated in his closing arguments to the jury.
Apparently, they did know — beyond a reasonable doubt. After seven hours of closing arguments, five weeks of trial, and more than 80 witnesses, it took the jury about an hour to find Christopher Vaughn guilty of the murders of his wife and of his three children, reports ABC 7 News. We’re guessing that the “lengthy” deliberations were mostly spent figuring out how to fill out the verdict forms.
Vaughn attempted to pin the murders on his wife by shooting himself twice (graze wounds) and blaming her migraine medication, Topamax. The medication carries a warning label regarding suicidal behavior. However, even with suicidal thoughts being a possible side effect of the drug, the prosecution’s evidence of her lack of mental issues (including love notes sent via email to her husband) must have overcome any doubts about her mental state in the jurors’ minds.
The prosecution also presented experts that testified that Christopher Vaughn’s defense was impossible based on the blood spatter patterns and other forensic evidence. Vaughn had engaged in multiple conversations with others online about moving to the Canadian wilderness. The prosecution also had his journal, written in code while he was imprisoned, which described his desire to flee to the wilderness with a stripper.
According to NBC Chicago, Vaughn’s sentencing is set for November 26, the same day as Drew Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his ex-wife. Those convicted of murdering a child under the age of 12, or convicted or murdering multiple victims, face a term of natural life imprisonment.
- Discuss Your Case With a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Christopher Vaughn on Trial for Alleged Murder of Wife, Kids (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
- Chris Vaughn’s ‘How to Stage a Murder’ Article (FindLaw’s Blotter)
- Ask A Question about Criminal Law Now (FindLaw Answers)