Gun Fired Less than 6 Inches from Vaughn
Jury in Vaughn murder trial also hears about odd bullet holes in Vaughn's jacket that an experts says were fired when the jacket was wrapped around the gun.
Nicole Fundell, who works at the ISP crime lab in Joliet, said her tests determined that whomever fired the gun had the weapon less than six inches away from Vaughn's left thigh and less than an inch away from his left wrist, said
Fundell examined bullet holes in Vaughn's jeans and fleece jacket, taken from him when he was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.
The Oswego man, now 37, was later arrested and charged with the murders of his wife and three children on June 14, 2007, on a rural road near Channahon and accused of inflicting his own bullet wounds. His defense attorney, George Lenard, has argued that it was Vaughn's wife, Kimberly, 34, who actually shot Vaughn and their children, ages 12, 11 and 8, before committing suicide.
In Fundell's testimony Thursday, she said she not only examined the holes created when Vaughn was shot but a second set of bullet holes found in his fleece jacket -- one set in the front of the jacket and the other in the back.
What she determined, she said, was the gun had been wrapped in the jacket twice before it was fired, creating two entrance and two exit holes through layers of fleece and the nylon lining, she said.
Although Fundell did not testify as to who might have made those holes or why, she did verify in a brief hearing without the jury that she discussed the them with Will County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Fitzgerald prior to the trial and speculated there were three reasons why someone might do that: 1) to muffle sound, 2) to conceal a weapon, or 3) to cushion the blow if someone was attempting to shoot himself.
Fundell said that when she does firearm testing on materials to replicate bullet holes, she uses the gun used in a crime and bullets that are as close a match as possible. What's she looking to do is not only replicate the hole's size and shape but attempting to see if she can also get similar smoke and debris patterns.
In this instance, she obtained a pair of Levi blue jeans that were very close in color to the ones Vaughn was wearing and ordered exact copies of his Stormtech jacket from the manufacturer.
With the jeans, Fundell's determination was the gun was less than six inches away from Vaughn's leg when it was fired. The gun was even closer, an inch or less away, from the wrist hole, she said.
Fundell also examined all of the bullets recovered from the crime scene to verify they were shot from the Taurus 9-mm weapon used to shoot Vaughn and kill his family and discussed removing a bullet that had lodged inside the motor of the power window in the Vaughns' SUV.
Fundell also testified that she recovered what she believed to be a piece of flesh near the hole found on the back of the jacket, which she sent to the lab for testing, and a glass fragment inside the pocket of Vaughn's jacket.
Also on Thursday, the jury was shown more videotaped interviews taken of Vaughn while he talked to Illinois State Police investigators on June 17, 2007, which would have been Father's Day.
As has been his pattern, Vaughn showed little emotion when discussing his children and veered between present and past tense when answering questions about what his children were like and what they liked to do.
His son Blake, 8, was a "little boy genius. He was really smart." Abby, 12, was also "a very smart girl" who liked to draw. Cassandra, 11, was most like him when it came to athletic skills, but was only a so-so student because "she talked more than she listened."
As for his wife, she liked to socialize but she was also anxious and ofter over-analyzed things, he said.
When they'd go for walks in the subdivision, he'd warn her ahead of time, "If you see a neighbor, wave to them. I don't want to spend 45 minutes talking to them."
She had moments of sadness or anger, Vaughn said, but they quickly disappated.
"It never lasted long," he said to investigators. "There'd be times when we'd have an argument, and then she'd pop into the room (a short while later) and say, Do you want to go to dinner?"
Here are the stories from the previous days of testimony: