Ex-stripper: Vaughn wanted to leave wife, move to Canada
By ERIKA WURST Sun-Times Media September 4, 2012 6:08AM
Chris Regis, Left, Jim Long, center, and Adam Capelli carry out evidence in the Christopher Vaughn trial, outside the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, IL on Tuesday September 4, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Christopher Vaughn Trial: Day 11
† Former exotic dancer Maya Drake testified that Vaughn told her he was going to leave his wife and move to Canada. He never mentioned he had children but did express anger over the amount of money his wife allegedly spent on drapes.
† A love note, written to Drake, was introduced into evidence. In the note, Vaughn talked about “ancient souls,” “untimely luck” and “improbable fate.”
† A forensic analyst with the FBI showed jurors how he and his team decoded more than 140 pages of coded writings found in Vaughn’s cell. In the writings, Vaughn reminisces about the outdoors and creates wish lists of what he hopes to do if he is released.
† Jurors were shown the contents of a storage locker Christopher Vaughn had rented in April 2007. The locker contained only camping gear, which prosecutors allege Vaughn hid from his wife in preparation for his escape to Canada.
Updated: October 6, 2012 1:43PM
Not long before his 13th wedding anniversary, Christopher Vaughn sat down and wrote a love poem.
In it, he talked about “ancient souls,” “speechless conversation,” “shared closeness” and “hopeful dreams.” That letter, however, wasn’t meant for his wife. Instead, it was given to a former exotic dancer Vaughn had been fixated on in the weeks leading up to his alleged murder of his wife and three children in June 2007.
On Tuesday, Maya Drake testified that after meeting with Vaughn on several occasions in 2007 at a Chicago club, the Oswego man professed that he was going to leave his wife and move to Canada.
“He said she was going to get everything,” Drake testified. “He said she was going to get what she deserved. She wasn’t going to see it coming.”
During his time at the club, Drake said Vaughn never asked her to dance for him but did spend time with her talking in the club’s VIP room. Drake said the two talked about the outdoors and poetry — which Vaughn told her he wrote but often burned afterward. He mentioned his failing marriage but never his kids.
Every time Vaughn left the club, he would tell Drake it was the last time she would see him.
“He always said the same thing,” she said. “I was always surprised when I would see him again.”
She was even more surprised when she saw him on the news as the accused murderer of his wife and three young children.
Drake said she “immediately” recognized him as the man she had met at the club and contacted police.
During her time on the stand, Drake’s eyes welled with tears. She wiped them away with a tissue and avoided eye contact with Vaughn. Vaughn had his eyes fixed on Drake. He usually thumbs through notes and papers during witness testimony, but his demeanor seemed to change when she took center stage.
Drake said Vaughn told her that his wife was materialistic and he was upset about thousands of dollars she had spent on living room drapes. That was the first time he showed emotion during their visits, she said.
Elizabeth Copeland, a friend of Kimberly Vaughn, testified that she last saw her on June 11, three days before her death.
“She was looking forward to their 13th anniversary,” Copeland said. “She said she couldn’t believe it had been that long. She was excited.”
Vaughn’s love letter was not the only letter introduced to jurors Tuesday.
Scott Hull, who works for the FBI, showed jurors a handful of more than 140 encrypted messages Vaughn had written from jail after his June 2007 arrest. In his often poetic writings, Vaughn muses about his life and the outside world. He never mentions his wife or kids, Hull said.
“This journal will serve as a written daily meditation,” Vaughn wrote. “The ups and down, feelings and thoughts and lessons of each day.” The coded writings were made of a series of symbols, rather than letters, and were found during a search of his cell.
In his musings, Vaughn talked about the seasons changing, the flowers outside and the visits from his family. He reminisced about the outdoors — wanting to sit outside in the sun and take a walk with no shoes.
He fantasized about the cool breeze on his face, eating biscuits and gravy — with lots of sausage — hugging someone, taking a nap in his Jeep and drinking apple brandy by the campfire. If convicted, Vaughn will likely never do any of those things again.
Vaughn is on trial for the fatal shootings of his wife, Kimberly, 34, and their three children — Abigayle, 12; Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8 — in the family SUV on June 14, 2007.
Prosecutors say he wanted to shed his obligations in suburban Chicago so he could move to the Canadian wilderness. But Vaughn’s defense attorneys maintain a suicidal Kimberly Vaughn shot her husband and three children before turning the gun on herself.
Furthering their case for Vaughn’s motive, prosecutors showed jurors the contents of an Aurora storage unit he had rented in February 2007, containing camping gear he had presumably kept hidden from his wife.
Tin cups and plates, sleeping bags, boots and camp tools were introduced, along with a jar of peanut butter and a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. No items besides Vaughn’s camping gear were found in the unit, said Herbert Hardy Jr., a retired Illinois State Police special agent.
On Wednesday, forensic pathologist Larry Blum is expected to testify, along with several people who had contact with Kimberly Vaughn before her death.