CLINTON, Iowa — Court documents are revealing more details about an 18-month-long homicide investigation that resulted in the arrest of two people Wednesday in eastern Iowa.
Lewis Vaughn Sr., 44, and Jessica Vaughn, 35, are charged in connection with the death of Chicago resident Khalil Pugh on February 23, 2021. Lewis Vaughn is charged with first-degree murder and Jessica Vaughn is charged with abuse of a corpse – hide or bury.
The criminal complaints in the case said Pugh was shot to death in an apartment in the 800 block of Gateway Avenue. Officers with the Clinton Police Department were called there on February 24, 2021 to conduct a welfare check after the property manager received a note that a shooting had happened in one of the apartments.
After receiving a search warrant, officers entered the apartment to find a “violent crime scene” and located a 9mm shell casing.
The investigation determined Pugh had been with Lewis Vaughn, who was the maintenance man at the apartment property, on the day of the alleged shooting. Neighbors who were interviewed also recounted hearing an altercation and gunshots that day.
According to the criminal complaints, investigators determined Lewis Vaughn contacted his wife Jessica Vaughn after shooting and killing Pugh. Police said she helped him remove the body from the apartment and put it in his truck.
Lewis Vaughn then drove to the area of 700 S 32nd Street where the complaint said, “Lewis had reached out about having a dead animal that Lewis needed to dispose of in the dumpster.” Jessica Vaughn followed him to the property in a separate vehicle.
In the complaints, police say they received permission to search the dumpster on February 27, 2021 and learned it had been emptied the day before by the company hired for garbage disposal services. Blood evidence was found in the dumpster that matched blood evidence already gathered from the apartment in the 800 block of Gateway Avenue and blood evidence found in the bed of Lewis Vaughn’s truck. The blood evidence was later matched to a DNA profile belonging to Pugh.
Investigators say the shooting was a result of a physical altercation between Lewis Vaughn and Pugh, and Pugh was shot twice by Lewis Vaughn.
The complaints do not reveal what prompted the altercation.
Lewis Vaughn and Jessica Vaughn are being held in the Clinton County Jail. Lewis Vaughn’s bond is set at $1 million cash only and Jessica Vaughn’s bond is set at $5,000.