Man suspected in 7 murders refuses to answer in court

By Michael Tarm , AP

CROWN POINT, Indiana–A man who allegedly confessed to killing seven women in the central state of Indiana refused to even acknowledge his name to a judge Wednesday, and was later charged in a second death.

Darren Vann, 43, appeared in his initial court appearance before a judge on murder charges stemming from the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found in a Motel 6 on Friday, after she had been strangled.

Prosecutors said later that Vann had been charged in the death of 35-year-old Anith Jones. Her body was found in an abandoned house in Gary on Saturday night. She had last been seen Oct. 8. An autopsy showed she had also been strangled.

Vann refused to acknowledge his name or answer questions in court. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivan found Vann in contempt and said she would schedule another hearing next week.

The judge asked at if he understood the reason for the hearing in the death of Hardy. But Vann stood unmoving and stone-faced, staring back silently at the judge.

When Vann �X wearing striped jail garb, with his wrists and legs shackled and flanked by two guards at the lockup �X still offered no response, Sullivan told his public defender to ��tell your client that he stays in jail the rest of his life until this hearing takes place.��

Putting his hand on Vann’s shoulder, public defender Matthew Fech, encouraged him to speak �X but he again stood silently. The judge then found him in contempt and said she would schedule another hearing for next week.