A Gary man has avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty in the deaths of seven women and instead faces life in prison without parole.
Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, entered the guilty pleas during a surprise court hearing Friday in Crown Point. He will be sentenced May 25.
The 47-year-old was arrested in October 2014 as police in Hammond investigated the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy of Hammond. Vann then led authorities to the bodies of the other women. The remains had been hidden in abandoned buildings in Gary.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Vann in the deaths of Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville. He was also charged with murder in the killings of five other northwest Indiana women in a separate case.