Ex-Marine serial killer pleads guilty to murdering seven women in Indiana
According to court documents, 47-year-old Darren Vann allegedly targeted women who lived in an area of Gary, where the women gathered to engage in prostitution or take drugs
An ex-marine from Gary, Indiana who was accused of the murder of seven women has admitted being guilty in exchange for a plea deal on Friday after his defense team filed a motion on the day before. According to court documents, 47-year-old Darren Vann allegedly targeted women who lived in an area of Gary, where the women gathered to engage in prostitution or take drugs. Vann was arrested in October 2014 for the murder of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy of Hammond, Indiana after the victim’s body was found inside a motel room.
When Hammond police arrested him, Vann admitted to killing seven women in Gary over the course of the previous year. He reportedly termed them “mistakes” and agreed to lead investigators to the bodies which were hidden in a number of abandoned buildings across Gary. He was due to go on trial in October for the strangulation of Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville. He was also charged with the murders of Tracy Martin (41), Kristine Williams (36), Sonya Billingsley (53), Tanya Gatlin (27) and Teaira Batey (28).
The accused was seen to be largely emotionless while the victims’ families listened in silence to him confirming his guilt in all seven cases. The plea agreement, which was reviewed by Lake County Judge Samuel Cappas, calls for Vann to be spared the death penalty and instead be sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced on 25th May.
"The death penalty would have been the easy way out. I want him to suffer. These women will haunt him for the rest of his life," Marvin Clinton, the long-time partner of late Teaira Batey, told The Northwest Indiana Times.
"I prefer him to stay locked up, so when he goes to bed at night and closes his eyes, he sees these women."
Clinton and Batey had a son together, who is now six years old. Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said that he hopes the plea agreement will bring closure to the families of the victims.
Vann moved to Gary after being released in 2013 from a Texas prison where he was serving time on a sexual assault charge involving a prostitute. He received an “other than honorable” discharge from the Marines in 1993. When asked why he committed the murders by investigators from Hammond, Vann said: “Just I guess, anger. Cause I feel I shouldn't have went to prison the first time. You see what I'm saying?”