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State Cop Who Botched Drew Peterson Case Has Interesting Ideas About Vaughn Shooting Too, Says Trib

The state police crime scene investigator who decided not to collect any crime scene evidence from the house where Drew Peterson's third wife died thinks that maybe Christopher Vaughn might be innocent of murder after all, according to the Chicago Tribune

When Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004, state police crime scene investigator Robert Deel was so convinced she died accidentally he didn't bother to collect any crime scene evidence.

Three years later, when Christopher Vaughn's wife and children were found shot to death on the Interstate 55 frontage road outside Channahon and near , Deel tried to convince his colleagues that it was Vaughn's wife, Kimberly, who shot everyone and then herself, but they just wouldn't listen, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Deel is no longer a crime scene investigator, the article said, because "prosecutors faulted his work on another murder case," and that would be the case of Peterson, which is proceeding as a murder prosecution, despite the work of Deel.

Vaughn also faces murder charges. He allegedly gunned down his wife and three children.

Now a sergeant in the patrol division, Deel testified in a deposition, according to a letter from a private detective cited in the Tribune article, "that his fellow investigators quickly dismissed the possibility that anyone but Christopher Vaughn was responsible for the slayings."

The Tribune article included this quote from the man who apparently convinced everyone that Peterson's third wife died accidentally three years before the fourth wife disappeared mysteriously:

"I wasn't being listened to by them," he said. "In fact, every time that I offered up something that was contrary to what they said, they had some reason why I didn't know what I was talking about, and basically it all fell back on that Christopher Vaughn is a criminal mastermind and he knows all about crime scenes and that he would be able to fool me into thinking that something else happened."

Incidentally, police and prosecutors changed course on the Savio case and charged Peterson with murdering her in May 2009. In early 2010, Deel testified he still believed Savio was the victim of a freak bathtub accident.

Watchful Eye March 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I couldn't begin to know what the evidence actually is in this Vaughn case, but I think it's fair to assume Deel has a knack for stirring up controversy in high profile cases. It's probably a good idea he's not processing any crime scene these days. Unfortunately, in the Savio case, he quickly made his own assumptions about her death, which then curtailed his actions of collecting evidence for later processing. In other words, he was judge and jury on the spot, convinced the lead investigator that her death was the result of a freak accident, and made the ultimate decision to move on and away from any thought that her death could possibly have been at the hands of another. "Case closed." In this case, I think it's unfortunate that this man was able to touch even a hair of evidence as a crime scene investigator! It may turn out that there will be questions on both sides as to what really happened, but I think a former defense PI, writing a letter that claims this so-called CSI is right and everyone else is wrong, seems suspicious. It's okay that Deel "offered up something that was contrary" to what the investigators came up with, but surely, that is done day in and day out in all crimes. Investigators and prosecutors should and must be prepared for what the defense will throw at them, and Deel's possible bizarre counterpoints for the defense may come into play. Let's hope that solid evidence and common sense will prevail. Not what Deel thinks in his head!
Amy Manning March 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Maybe we should invite David Caruso to be a crime scene investigator in Shorewood...he might do a better job - ha!
Watchful Eye March 23, 2012 at 01:55 PM
@Amy - IMO, he can't do worse. This Deel is a one-man show and a legend in his own mind.
Bob March 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM
westfield is always looking for mall cops...

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