New Judge Takes Over Suspected Serial Killer’s Case

Darren D. Vann
Darren D. Vann

The Gary man accused of killing seven women, including a Knox resident, will have his death penalty case heard by a new judge. “The Times of Northwest Indiana” reports Lake Criminal Judge Samuel Cappas will preside over Darren Vann’s capital murder case. It was moved earlier this week from Judge Diane Boswell’s courtroom.

Vann, 44, is charged with murder in connection with the Oct. 17th, 2004 homicide of 19-year-old Afrika Hardy of Medaryville and 35-year-old Anita Jones of Merrillville. The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking the death penalty in both cases.

After his arrest for Hardy’s murder, Vann reportedly confessed to killing five other women and led investigators to their bodies at various vacant buildings in Gary. One victim was Kristine Williams, formerly of Knox.

Investigators with the Lake County Coroner’s Office confirmed Williams was strangled to death and classified her death as a homicide. They have yet to determine when she was killed. Vann has not been formally charged in her death.

Vann’s trial was scheduled to start in January. His attorneys had sought to have the charges separated into two different cases. It doesn’t appear a ruling was ever made on that motion. It’s unclear what if any effect the change of judges will have on the trial schedule.