Hearing today in the serial killer case was scheduled late yesterday. Darren Vann is expected to stand up in Court and admit that he raped and killed seven women over three decades in Gary.
May 4, 2018-The long road to justice for family members of the victims of alleged serial killer Darren Vann is expected to end today. According to court filings, defense attorneys requested a hearing in the matter late yesterday. Such a filing is indicative of a plea agreement in the matter.
Vann was arrested in the early morning hours on October 17, 2014 after Hammond police were called to the Motel 6 on 179th Avenue. In the room, police discovered the body of 19 year old Afrika Hardy of Chicago. Hardy had been strangled to death and left in a room that showed signs of a struggle. Hammond police were able to process the scene, utilize cell phone records and other information and track down Vann within hours of the discovery of the body. Once in custody, Hammond police were able to get Vann to admit to multiple brutal murders spanning decades.
After Vann’s arrest, police searched abandoned homes in Gary and located the bodies of six other victims. In addition to Afrika Hardy, the victims are:
Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, Indiana, was last seen alive on October 8, 2014 and reported missing two days later. After Vann was arrested, he led police to an abandoned house at 415 East 43rd Avenue in Gary on October 18 where her body was found.
Teira Batey, 28, of Gary, Indiana, left to meet a friend on January 13, 2014 but she never returned. Her family waited to hear from her for a few days but reported her missing later that month. Her body was found in an abandoned house at 1800 East 19th Avenue in Gary on October 19.
Kristine Williams, 36, of Gary, Indiana, was a mother of four and employed at the time of her death. Her mother-in-law stated that she had not heard from Williams since February 2014. Her body was found in an abandoned house at 4330 Massachusetts Street in Gary on October 19.
Tracy Martin, 41, of Gary, Indiana, was reported missing on June 26, 2014. Her body was found in an abandoned house at 2200 Massachusetts Street in Gary on October 19.
Sonya Billingsley, 53, of Gary, Indiana, was reported missing on February 7, 2014. Her body was found in an abandoned house with the body of Tanya Gatlin at 413 East 43rd Avenue in Gary on October 19.
Tanya Gatlin, 27, of Gary, Indiana, had been missing since January 2014. Her body was found in an abandoned house with the body of Sonya Billingsley at 413 East 43rd Avenue in Gary on October 19.
Vann was initially charged with the murder, rape and robbery of Afrika Hardy. As police obtained additional evidence regarding the other 6 homicides, those charges were added as well. Vann has been held in the Lake County Jail since being transferred from the Hammond city jail in late October, 2014. At the time, Hammond police believed that Vann may have more information to provide but they were ordered to hand Vann over to County officials. At that point, Vann refused to speak to police.
Sources confirm with the Gazette that Vann will plead guilty to 7 counts of Murder and will agree to 7 sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The State will agree to not seek the death penalty.
The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 today. We will have more on this story later today.
All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.