Judge Seals Documents in Oswego Man’s Murder Trial

By: Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter, October 19, 2007

A Will County judge Thursday barred further public release of documents detailing evidence in the death-penalty case against an Oswego man charged with murdering his wife and three children.

Judge Daniel Rozak agreed with prosecutors and defense attorneys that sealing the documents would help ensure a fair trial.

Also, Rozak denied a motion by prosecutors to make Christopher Vaughn submit to urinalysis to assess his physical fitness. He has lost 40 pounds since he was brought to the Will County Jail July 3.

Vaughn, 33, is charged with four counts of murder in the June 14 deaths of his wife, Kimberly, 34, and their three children, Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8. All were found shot to death in the family sport-utility vehicle near an Interstate Highway 55 interchange in Channahon Township.

Vaughn weighed 180 pounds when first jailed, State’s Atty. James Glasgow said. Jail doctors want to ensure “he’s getting the proper nutrients to sustain life,” he added.

Referring to “the irony” of trying to ensure the health of a man the state seeks to execute, defense attorney John Rogers said he believed the test was not necessary.

After Glasgow expressed his displeasure at Rogers’ reference to irony, Rozak asked Rogers to refrain from making such comments.

Rozak then said he had noted Vaughn’s weight loss but added that he otherwise appeared healthy. After Vaughn confirmed that he opposed the test, Rozak said, “Right now, I’m going to respect his wishes.”

Earlier in the hearing, Glasgow filed a motion to seal any future subpoena notices, witness lists and evidence listings, as well as motions or orders related to such filings.

His motion referred to coverage in the Tribune and a local paper that detailed earlier filings of subpoena notices and evidence lists, which included the names of more than 270 potential witnesses.