Christopher Vaughn will be ringing in another New Year in the Will County jail as he waits for his murder case to crawl through the system.
Vaughn — charged with killing his wife and three young children in June 2007 — was scheduled to find out if emails penned by his slain wife could be used as evidence against him, but Judge Daniel Rozak had not finished reviewing the mountain of messages.
"I promising you, I'm working diligently on it," Rozak told defense attorney George Lenard and prosecutor Mike Fitzgerald during a brief Thursday morning hearing.
Rozak scheduled a Jan. 12 return date to hand down his decision on whether any of the dozens of emails prosecutors want to use can be seen by a jury.
The emails prove Vaughn's wife, Kimberly Vaughn, was in a healthy state of mind and not homicidal and suicidal as her husband told investigators after her death, Assistant State's Attorney John Connor explained at an earlier hearing.
Christopher Vaughn claimed his distraught wife opened fire on his children — Blake, 8, Cassandra, 11, and Abigayle, 12 — killing them all as they sat in the family's minivan.
Christopher Vaughn also told detectives that Kimberly Vaughn shot him in the leg before he fled the van. She then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide, according to Christopher Vaughn's story.
But prosecutors maintain Christopher Vaughn murdered his entire family and then shot himself in the leg to bolster the cover story that his wife did the killings.
The Vaughns were heading from their home in Oswego to a Springfield waterpark when Kimberly Vaughn and the children were killed. They were shot to death on the Interstate 55 frontage road outside Channahon and near Shorewood.
Christopher Vaughn could have faced the death penalty if convicted of the murders but slipped that possibility when Governor Quinn banned capital punishment in March.