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Suspect in SUV deaths said wife wasn’t violent, but anxious

By Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — Three days after his wife and children were found shot to death in the family’s SUV, Christopher Vaughn was back in a police interview room.

It was Father’s Day, and police had asked him to come in, hoping the emotion of the day would prompt him to be more forthcoming about details of his relationship with his wife, Kimberly, whom he had blamed for the shootings in a previous interview.

Jurors in Vaughn’s murder trial watched the hour-long videotaped interview Thursday morning.

Dressed in blue jeans, a collared shirt and boots, with his hair slicked back, Vaughn was somber but talkative as he described his wife of nearly 13 years as outgoing and inquisitive, someone who could run into a friend at the grocery store and spend half an hour talking.

Vaughn said he was more of an introvert and described their relationship as rocky but not dysfunctional. He said they had their share of fights, but they were mostly over mundane things.

When a state police investigator asked Vaughn what Kimberly was like when she was angry, Vaughn said she would raise her voice but “that was about it.”

“She would cry a lot, raise her voice, say mean things sometimes, but she wasn’t violent,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn also said Kimberly, who suffered from anxiety, a heart problem and migraine headaches, had changed to a homeopathic doctor in the months before the killings.

The new doctor had taken her off several medications she had been taking and replaced them with different vitamins, Vaughn said.

Vaughn, 37, is in the second week of a trial on charges he gunned down his wife; daughters Abigayle, 12, and Cassandra, 11; and son Blake, 8, in a bizarre bid to start a new life in the Canadian wilderness.

Vaughn’s attorneys have blamed his wife, saying she was distraught over troubles in the marriage and taking a new medication for her migraines that has been linked to suicidal or violent thoughts.

According to the defense, Kimberly killed the children, wounded Vaughn and then committed suicide. Vaughn had sustained minor gunshot wounds to his wrist and leg.

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