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Trial date set for Indiana man charged with 2 women's deaths

May 29, 2015

An Indiana man charged with strangling two women and suspected of killing five others whose bodies were found in abandoned houses last fall faces a June trial unless defense attorneys request a delay.

Lake County Criminal Judge Diane Boswell on Friday reinstated the June 22 trial date for Darren Vann in the deaths of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones.

Boswell had originally set the date in March but canceled it April 17 after prosecutors filed notice that they would seek the death penalty. She reinstated the original date on Friday after prosecutors filed a motion saying they had not intended to delay the trial.

Vann, 44, has pleaded not guilty in the deaths.

The (Munster) Times reported that Boswell plans to meet with prosecutors and Vann's attorneys on Monday to begin working on questions for potential jurors.

Police say Vann confessed to killing seven women whose remains were found in October, but he's only been charged in the two deaths.

Hardy was found strangled Oct. 17 in a Hammond motel. During questioning in her death, Vann led investigators to the bodies of Jones and five other women in vacant houses across Gary.

Boswell on Friday granted defense attorney Matthew Fech's request that prosecutors turn over documents related to DNA evidence in the case.

According to court records, a brown cord recovered by detectives contained DNA from Hardy and Jones, and Jones' DNA was found on a pair of Vann's shoes.

Prosecutors contend Vann used the cord to kill both women.

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