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It's been over four years since Christopher Vaughn allegedly killed his wife and their three kids on an interstate outside of Chicago. Still, little is known about his potential motives.
But new court documents released last week by Will County Judge Daniel Rozak demonstrate that investigators have known more than they were legally able to let on.
And that Vaughn may have been researching how to stage a murder so that it looks like a suicide.
Christopher Vaughn has vehemently denied that he murdered his family, claiming that his wife killed their children, shot him, and then killed herself.
However, court records indicate that he spent the night before the murder at a shooting range, wrote a blog post about "wrapping things up," and told an exotic dancer with whom he had a relationship that he thought about faking his death, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Investigators also reportedly found an article about the impact of television on criminal suspects, which also talked about how to make a death appear as a suicide.
His attorneys tried to get this last piece of evidence excluded, notes the Sun-Times.
This argument was likely premised on the rule of evidence that attempts to balance usefulness against prejudice.
To exclude a relevant piece of evidence that does not violate any other rules against inadmissibility, a party must show that presenting it to the jury is more prejudicial than it is probative.
In other words, presenting the evidence would be significantly more unfair, confusing or misleading in comparison to its usefulness at trial.
It's unclear how Judge Rozak balanced these interests, but the fact that he publically released it indicates that Christopher Vaughn was unsuccessful in his request.