Cops armed with a search warrant found a pair of backpacks stuffed with survival gear in the bedroom closet of accused quadruple-killer Christopher Vaughn, a former St. Peters resident who graduated from Francis Howell High School.
Vaughn's entire family was wiped out in a mass execution-style shooting less than a month before agents with the Illinois State Police made the bedroom closet discovery while conducting their second search of his house, according to testimony at Vaughn's murder trial Friday.
Prosecutors contend Vaughn, 37, planned to live the life of a survivalist in the Yukon wilderness after shedding the responsibilities associated with his wife and three children by murdering them all in June 2007.
State police Special Agent Cornelius Monroe said he and three of his colleagues found the backpacks during a July 2007 search of the Vaughns' home on Mansfield Court in Oswego.
Monroe said he and the other state police special agents seized a Ziploc bag of toilet paper, two tampons, a pair of white tube socks, a pack of light sticks, a pack of Del Monte fruit and nuts snacks, a poncho, garbage bags, a flashlight, a whistle, an umbrella, a plastic table cloth, and a thermos, among other things.
The police also found a couple gun holsters, glasses, ear protection, empty ammunition boxes, a bow and arrow, and pieces of leather and Velcro, Monroe confirmed while being questioned by defense attorney George Lenard.
Vaughn's lawyers showed the jury a video of the state police special agents conducting the half-hour search. Near the end of the video, now-retired state police Sgt. Patrick Collins holds up the two backpacks, one of which has an arrow sticking out from the top, and says, "Miscellaneous items."
Monroe also confirmed that additional outdoors equipment, including tents, cooking tools and thermal gear, were recovered from an Oswego storage locker rented in Vaughn's name.
Another retired state police investgiator, Herbert Hardy, was called to testify for the second time during Vaughn's murder trial, which just finished its fourth week. Hardy was the special agent who found the storage locker.
Vaughn's attorneys may call their last witnesses as early as Tuesday.
While Vaughn has been jailed for more than five years on charges he murdered his wife, Kimberly, 34, a 1991 graduate from St. Charles West High School who resided, with her husband in St. Peters for several years before moving to Washington, and their children—Blake, 8, Cassandra, 11, and Abigayle, 12—he insisted to police that he was just another victim in the gun attack.
Christopher Vaughn told detectives that it was actually his wife who produced a pistol and shot him and all the children while the family was sitting in their Ford Expedition. Kimberly Vaughn then stuck the pistol under her chin, pulled the trigger and put a bullet in her brain, according to Christopher Vaughn's version of events.
Christopher Vaughn was found limping away from the Expedition—and his dead family—with minor bullet wounds to his left thigh and left wrist.
Christopher Vaughn claimed his wife was driven to mass murder by the medication she was taking for her migraine headaches. Christopher Vaughn also told detectives that he had confessed to his wife about a sexual affair he carried on in Mexico, and that this upset her.
Read more on Patch:
- Prosecution Rests in Christopher Vaughn Murder Case
- Blood Expert Pokes Holes in Former St. Peters Man's Killing Story
- Expert From St. Charles: Gun Fired a Foot From Former St. Peters Man's Kids' Faces
- Grim Death Photos Don't Rattle Former St. Peters Man on Murder Trial's First Day
- Jury Picked for Murder Trial of Francis Howell Graduate