Death penalty sought in suspected serial killings

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Prosecutors in Crown Point are seeking the death penalty against a Gary man charged in the slayings of two women and suspected in the deaths of five others.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter filed a request Friday seeking the death penalty for Darren Deon Vann if he's convicted in the deaths of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy of Gary and 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville.

The Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported Vann didn't attend Friday's hearing. Lake Superior Judge Diane Ross Boswell also granted prosecutors' motion to combine the two murder cases.

Vann's attorney, Teresa Hollandsworth, opposed the motion, arguing that joining the two cases would be highly prejudicial to her client. She said Jones' strangulation appears to be a murder-for-hire and not a rage killing as prosecutors contended in their filing.

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