JOLIET, Ill. – A suburban Chicago man accused of killing his wife and three children appeared Thursday in court via a video feed from the Will County Jail, where authorities said he is on suicide watch.
Prosecutors dropped four of eight first-degree murder counts against Christopher Vaughn during the brief hearing, saying they were focusing their case.
The remaining charges allege the Oswego man shot his family with intent to kill. The charges that were dropped alleged that he opened fire knowing likely would cause death or great bodily harm.
Vaughn is charged in the June 14 shooting deaths of Kimberly Vaughn, 32, and their children, Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, on a secluded frontage road near Channahon, Ill., about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.
They were found dead in the family's parked sport utility vehicle after a wounded Christopher Vaughn flagged down a motorist. Vaughn, a computer security consultant, had superficial gunshot wounds in the leg and arm. Kimberly Vaughn was shot once and the children each were shot twice, and his 9mm handgun was found at the scene, authorities said.
Vaughn, was arrested at a funeral home in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb, just hours before a memorial service for his wife and children.