Vaughn Worried about Boots, Jacket, but Not Wife and Kids: Witnesses
The first people to speak to the man who allegedly murdered his family said he was "oddly calm" even as he made conflicting comments and stared off into space.
Christopher Vaughn urged paramedics not to damage his cowboy boots and voiced anger over a ruined jacket, but never once asked about his three children, whom he left with the wife who allegedly just shot him.
That according to a series of witnesses who testified Wednesday that they were among the first to talk to the Oswego man after he was discovered walking along a Channahon road on June 14, 2007, with gunshot wounds to his left thigh and wrist.
Just a few hundred feet down the road, police would find the bodies of his family, whom Vaughn is accused of slaughtering inside his Ford Expedition SUV.
Wednesday was the third day of Vaughn's murder trial. The portrait drawn of him by the witnesses is that of a man who gave conflicting stories, stared off into space and presented an "oddly calm" demeanor.
John Speer, of Bolingbrook, was the first to spot Vaughn as he walked along Frontage Road, which runs parallel to Interstate 55, at about 5:15 a.m. Speer helped Vaughn into the passenger seat of his pickup truck, gave him rags to help staunch his bleeding and called 911, he said.
"I believe my wife just shot me," Vaughn told Speer, according to his testimony.
Channahon Police Officer Michael Lazzari responded to the emergency call, and was able to elicit on two pieces of information from Vaughn: That he and his family were en route to a Springfield water park and that his wife and children were in their SUV, which was parked farther up the road.
He wouldn't respond when asked if his wife shot him and made no effort to return to where his left his vehicle, Lazzari said.
Three Channahon paramedics arrived shortly thereafter, and said they found Vaughn with wounds that were not bleeding profusely, a heart rate that was accelerated and blood pressure that was only slightly elevated. He never lost consciousness and showed no signs of going into shock.
"I would describe (the look on his face) as a blank stare, almost as if he were staring through me," paramedic Derek Ellenberger said.
The only emotion Vaughn exhibited came when they began cutting his clothes so they could treat his wounds, Ellenberger said.
"He was adamant that I not mess up his boots in any way," he said.
"He asked me if anyone had notified his wife of his whereabouts," Burket said. "He said she always wondered where he was."
While Vaughn was able to answer questions about where his lived and repeated that the family was traveling to a Springfield water park, he did so while "just sort of staring off into space," Burket said.
He never asked about his children, but did tell the deputy he was upset by the paramedics.
"He was angry because the firemen had ruined his coat," which he said he had purchased in Canada, Burket said.
Shortly after his conversation with Burket, Vaughn was interviewed by Will County Detective Dennis Carey and, for the first time, offered more details about how the Oswego family ended up on a desolate road parked on a gravel driveway leading to a cell phone tower.
Vaughn said the family had left their home at about 5 a.m. to drive to a Springfield water park, Carey testified. When his wife started to feel ill, Vaughn got off the interstate and looked for a spot to park should his wife get sick, Carey said.
While stopped, Vaughn decided to get out of the SUV to check the luggage carrier on the roof. That's when he looked down, saw he was bleeding and decided he needed to get help, Carey said.
When asked about how he came to be shot, "(Vaughn) replied that he did not see a gun or hear a gun," nor was he aware that there was a gun in the vehicle, Carey said.
Vaughn also volunteered one other bit of information.
"He said the following day he had a trip planned for him and his wife to go to Missouri for their 13th (wedding) anniversary," Carey said.
Here are the stories from the previous two days of testimony: