March 21, 2012

Vaughn held for trial in stabbing homicide

Iryin Vaughn

RACINE — Iryin Vaughn was bound over for trial on Friday to face a homicide charge in the Feb. 7 death of Gwynevere Wright.

Vaughn, 25, of Chicago, is accused of stabbing Wright 29 times after they apparently argued. After the alleged homicide, Vaughn took the 2-year-old daughter he and Wright had together and fled to Chicago where he was arrested, police said.

Wright’s 12-year-old son was also in the house at the time of the alleged homicide. His testimony was the subject of a hearing in February when defense attorneys and prosecutors argued whether the boy should testify in person or whether the state could show a video of him being interviewed. Judge Allan “Pat” Torhorst said a video would serve.

On Friday Torhorst said he had reviewed the video and found it sufficient to meet the burden of proof required at a preliminary hearing, and he ordered Vaughn held for trial. Lead defense attorney Katie Gutowski of the Public Defender’s office entered not guilty pleas on the charges. A pretrial conference for attorneys was set for April 20.

Wright’s son told police that he heard Vaughn and Wright arguing in Wright’s bedroom around 10 p.m. He heard Vaughn say, “I hate you. I don’t want to be with you anymore,” the criminal complaint said. Wright said to Iryana, the 2-year-old daughter she had with Vaughn and who slept in the room with them, “Don’t ever date a man like this,” the complaint said.

Later the boy heard his mother yell, “Do it! Do it! Go ahead and kill me!” the complaint said.

Then the boy heard the sounds of fighting, and his mother screamed in pain, the complaint said.

After about five minutes Vaughn opened the door to the boy’s room and asked if he was asleep. Shortly thereafter the boy heard Vaughn leaving in his SUV, and when the boy opened the bedroom door he found his mother dead, the complaint said.

Vaughn remains in jail on a $750,000 cash bond.

Original Article


Murder victim mourned

Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012 10:38 pm

RACINE — A wonderful person with a beautiful smile, who always put her children first — that was the Gwynevere Wright that emerged Sunday night as close to 50 people gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the slain sister, mother and neighbor.  

Wright was found dead on Tuesday at 900 Racine Street in the upper-level apartment she shared with her two children.

Racine police were called to the apartment that night at about 11:10 p.m. after a neighbor called 911 to report that an assault had occurred and that Wright’s toddler was missing. An Amber Alert issued early Wednesday morning was canceled within hours after Chicago police found the Racine toddler, Iryana Vaughn, unharmed with her father, Iryin Vaughn, at a Chicago residence.

Vaughn, 25, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide while armed. He is expected face those charges today in Racine County Circuit Court. 

Standing in the cold outside her apartment, Wright’s family and friends joined with strangers, singing spirituals and sharing the things that made Wright’s short life so special. 

“Gwyn was my biggest supporter,” said Wright’s older sister, Lashawnda McCarty. “She will be truly missed. Now I have nobody to call.”

McCarty, who lives in Green Bay, said she found out about her sister’s death early Wednesday morning after getting a call from her other sister and hearing about it on the news.

Wright’s brother, Zachary Strother, said his sister moved to Racine from Chicago last year hoping to give her two children a better life. 

“That shows you a little bit about her character,” said Strother. “She put her kids first.”

One soft-spoken woman who lived near Wright called her a “light” in the neighborhood.

More than a celebration of Wright’s life, the vigil doubled as a call to action for victims of domestic violence and those looking to help such victims escape abusive relationships. 

“I want to say to all people who are in (an abusive) relationship, ‘You need to get out of it,’ ” said Strother, white clouds of steam billowing from his mouth. “At the first sign of any abuse, you need to get away. You need to run.”

Cherie Griffin, executive director of the Women’s Resource Center, applauded Strother’s words. She encouraged anyone in a abusive relationship to contact the center.  

“Flee, get out, get safe,” Griffin said. “There is always someone at the Women’s Resource Center. We have had women show up at the door at 4 a.m.”

McCarty said she knew her sister was in an abusive relationship and constantly encouraged her to leave, but said she never thought the violence “would go that far.” 

“I just hope that other woman in that situation learn from this,” McCarty said. “If someone loves you, they don’t hit you, they don’t talk about you, they don’t put you down. That is not love,” she said. “It is a good feeling to know that these people are out here ... It’s showing that they care.”

Family members said Sunday that Iryana, and Wright’s 13-year-old son, both of whom, they say, were at the apartment when Wright was killed, are now safe and doing about as well as can be expected. 

“Yesterday was her son’s birthday, so we took him out to a fun place where they had bumper cars,” said Wright’s aunt, Shirley McCarty. “Iryana is 2, so she doesn’t even really know what’s going on.”

Lashawnda McCarty said the family is in process of figuring out who will be the primary caregivers for the two children. As for how the family hopes to help Wright’s older son cope with the knowledge of how his mother died, Lashawnda McCarty said the only way they can help him is through love. 

“Love is the key to anything. Love is the key to everything,” she said “The answer is love.”

How to help

A memorial fund has been established to help the family with funeral expenses and the care of Wright’s two children. Donations can be made at any Chase Bank location. Checks should be made out to the “The Gwynevere Wright Memorial Fund” and mailed to Chase Bank, 4314 Oakton Street, Skokie, IL 60076. For more information, contact the Women’s Resource Center at 262-633-3274 and ask to speak to Cherie Griffin. You can also send an email to

Original Article

Vigil held for woman killed in domestic violence incident

Posted on: 10:15 pm, February 12, 2012, by Jeremy Ross, updated on: 10:08pm, February 12, 2012

Video Available on Original Article

RACINE — A vigil was held Sunday night to remember 27-year-old Gwynevere Wright. Wright’s body was found inside a home near 9th and Pearl in Racine Wednesday, and an Amber Alert was issued for her daughter, Iryana Vaughn, who was eventually located in Chicago with her father, Irvin Vaughn. Sunday night, families from Racine and Chicago came together for a candlelight vigil to pray for victims of domestic violence.

After this incident, neighbors said police were at the home on a regular basis, and that Vaughn had a history of domestic violence incidents against Wright. It is believed that Wright was stabbed to death, and police say Vaughn is the suspect in this case.

Wright’s family members say they don’t know what prompted the murder of the mother of two. “She came here looking for a better life for her kids. I never expected it would go this far,” Wright’s sister said Sunday.

The family found comfort Sunday night in the company of friends and strangers, and realized victims of domestic violence don’t have to be alone. “I pray for all the women going through this stuff,” Wright’s sister said.

Chicago police say Vaughn was extradited to Wisconsin, and has been charged with one count of first degree intentional homicide. Officials say two-year-old Iryana Vaughn was returned to Wisconsin after the incident, and was in state custody, in good health. Officials say Iryana’s little brother was home at the time, and was taken by Racine police.

For information and resources relating to domestic violence, CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Resource Center of Racine website.

Original Article

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