Attorney: Vaughn’s daughter told classmates mom was ‘psycho’
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2012 1:38PM
Updated: June 19, 2012 1:16PM
Christopher Vaughn’s oldest daughter purportedly told classmates her mother heard “thoughts in her head” and was “psycho,” the Oswego man’s attorney told a judge Monday.
The alleged comment came from Abigayle Vaughn, who was 12 when she and her siblings — 11-year-old Cassandra and 8-year-old Blake — were gunned down June 14, 2007, along Interstate 55 near Channahon.
Their mother, Kimberly Vaughn, was fatally shot that day as well, and Christopher Vaughn is charged with murder for all four deaths. But he was shot too, and his lawyers contend Kimberly fired the gun at him and their children before killing herself.
The defense lawyers brought up the girl’s alleged statement as part of an effort to get Judge Daniel Rozak to allow testimony from a doctor about an anti-seizure medication found in Kimberly Vaughn’s body after the shootings.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned the drug, Topamax, could increase the risk of suicidal behavior. And Professor David Healy of Wales said the medicine should be considered as an explanation for the shootings “if there is not a convincing alternative explanation,” according to courtroom testimony.
But Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor said Healy failed to link Topamax to the Vaughn murders. And even if it could explain Kimberly Vaughn’s alleged suicide, he said, it wouldn’t explain the violent murder of the couple’s three children.
Prosecutors asked Rozak to hold a hearing to review Healy’s testimony.
But Defense attorney George Lenard said there’s no need for the hearing. He pointed not only to Abigayle’s alleged comment, reported by a classmate to the Illinois State Police two days after her death, but to emails written by Kimberly Vaughn.
In one, written to a University of Phoenix classmate in October 2006, Lenard said Kimberly Vaughn said she’d started taking Topamax and noticed “bothersome” side effects. In another, written to her husband in May 2007, he said Kimberly Vaughn acknowledged her personality had changed.
Rozak will decide Friday whether to review Healy’s testimony ahead of Vaughn’s Aug. 13 trial.
Meanwhile, prosecutors told him they’d successfully served a subpoena on a dancer visited by Vaughn at a strip club days before his family’s death.
The woman, Chrystal Miller, had been avoiding prosecutors who want her to testify at Vaughn’s trial.