An Indiana man suspected of killing seven women gave the judge the silent treatment during his arraignment Wednesday — forcing the hearing’s postponement for one week. Darren Deon Vann, 43, refused to respond to Lake Superior Court Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan and was threatened with contempt of court. When she tried to have him swear under oath, Vann said nothing, bringing the hearing to a halt.
“He will stay in jail for the rest of his life until this hearing takes place,” said a frustrated Sullivan, according to NBC Chicago. Despite a nudge from his public defender, Vann remained stone-faced and the arraignment was rescheduled for next Wednesday.
Vann on Wednesday was charged in a second death. He was charged with murder in the death of Anith Jones, 35, whose body was found late Saturday night, NBC Chicago reported. Jones' family had reported her missing Oct. 8.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said after the hearing that Vann has decided to stop cooperating with authorities. He added that the suspect became upset because the arraignment wasn’t held in the main court and there was a large media presence. “If he reaches out and wants to offer any information, he can do that as long as his public defender is with him,” Buncich told reporters.
Vann was charged Monday in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found in a Hammond, Indiana, motel Friday night. Police say the pair met through an escort ad. More charges are pending after Vann allegedly confessed to killing other women.
Vann was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009, and Lake County officials said they were in contact with Texas police about his connections. Vann also did a short stint with the Marine Corps in the early 1990s. A military spokesman said his record was unremarkable, and he was never promoted past his original enlisted rank of private.
— Erik Ortiz, Courtney Kube and Jim Miklaszewski