Gary man who confessed to 7 killings pleads not guilty to 5 murder charges

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A magistrate has entered not guilty pleas to five new murder charges filed against an Indiana man who has confessed to killing seven women.

Forty-four-year-old Darren Vann of Gary made his initial court appearance on the new charges Wednesday. The (Munster) Times reports Vann told Lake Superior Court Magistrate Natalie Bokota he understood he could receive the death penalty if convicted on any of them.

Prosecutors on Monday charged Vann in the slayings of Teaira Batey, Kristine Williams, Tracy L. Martin, Sonya Billingsley and Tanya Gatlin. Their bodies were found in abandoned buildings across Gary in 2014.

He already faced murder charges in the slayings of Afrikka Hardy and Anith Jones. Prosecutors also are seeking the death penalty in those cases.

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