The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

September 21, 2012

Ill. man guilty of murdering wife, kids in 2007


JOLIET, Ill. —

Prosecutors called more than 80 witnesses during their three-week presentation to jurors, including a stripper Vaughn confided in about his marital troubles. The manager of a suburban strip club, Scores Chicago, testified that in the days before the killing, Vaughn spent nearly $5,000 at the establishment.

A series of forensics experts testified that blood splatter, the angle of the shots and other evidence proved Vaughn pulled the trigger. An investigator described finding a magazine at Vaughn's home with an article on how to make a murder look like a suicide. And prosecutors entered evidence that he visited a gun range the day before the slayings.

Jurors also watched hours of videotaped police interviews of Vaughn from the day of the shootings. In one, state Trooper Cornelious Monroe brought out pictures of Vaughn's children, questioned Vaughn's cool demeanor and added that, if his own kids had been murdered, he would be crying.

"Good for you," Vaughn replied.

Regis said Vaughn didn't display a hint of guilty conscience until he was left alone in an interview room with a crime-scene photo of his son. Video shows Vaughn staring at the picture, then pushing it away, then covering it up.

The prosecutor likened the scene to Edgar Allen Poe's horror story "The Tell-Tale Heart," in which a killer goes mad as he starts to hear his victim's beating heart.

"That picture is like a Tell-Tale Heart. It's beating louder, louder, louder," Regis said, his voice rising in indignation. "That picture is screaming at him."

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