JOLIET, IL--On the first day of jury selection, eight men and four women were chosen to decide whether Christopher Vaughn, a graduate from Francis Howell High School, walks free or spends the rest of his life behind bars.
Vaughn has been locked up in the since June 2007 on charges he murdered his wife and children.
Vaughn, his wife Kimberly, 34, a 1991 graduate from and children Blake, 8, Cassandra, 11, and Abigayle, 12 were heading from their Oswego home to a Springfield waterpark when he pulled off Interstate 55 and stopped on the frontage road outside Channahon.
Christopher Vaughn then gunned down his wife and children as they sat in the family's minivan, according to police and prosecutors.
But Vaughn told detectives it was actually his wife who shot their children, put a bullet in his leg as he fled for his life, then turned the pistol on herself and committed suicide.
Christopher Vaughn reportedly explained to detectives that he had confessed to his wife about an extramarital dalliance and that was what led to the unhinged Kimberly Vaughn's killing spree.
Vaughn also told investigators that the medication his wife was taking for migraine headaches contributed to her becoming both homicidal and suicidal, officials said.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys asked many jurors if they suffered from migraines or depression and what medications they take. Quite a few answered yes to one or both questions.
One potential juror—who did not make the cut—was apparently reluctant to report for jury duty. The man, a lawyer licensed to practice in Illinois and Indiana, was informed about the possibility of his being arrested if he did not make his way to the courthouse in Joliet, Rozak said.
Another potential juror was rejected by prosecutors for saying she has young children and could not render an unbiased opinion against Vaughn.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Vaughns met at a miniature golf course in St. Charles and married in 1994, a year after they met.
The Vaughns then lived in St. Peters from 1999 to 2001 before the family moved to Washington.
From the Post-Dispatch report:
Attorney David Butsch, a spokesman for Kimberly Vaughn's parents, Del and Susan Phillips of St. Charles, said the Phillpses are glad the trial is finally under way.
"They realize certainly that the justice system moves slowly, particularly in a case of this nature, but they've been waiting for five years," he said.
Butsch said the Phillipses have a lot of confidence in the prosecutors and hope to get justice for their late daughter and grandchildren.
"This has been a very difficult ordeal for them as you can well imagine, and they're just going to take things day by day," he said.
Brian Feldt contributed to this report.