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CROWN POINT — Darren Vann appeared in court Friday morning for the first time in more than a year, handcuffed and flanked by sheriff's police.

During his brief appearance, Vann told the judge to “kiss my (expletive)” and said he objected to a planned trial date in March.

The 46-year-old defendant is scheduled to be tried March 18 on murder charges in the strangling of two women in October 2014. Vann is altogether charged in the murder of seven women. The Lake County prosecutor's office is seeking the death penalty against him.

Vann was required to appear in court Friday so he could be advised of his trial rights. He has waived his appearance at prior court hearings.

Vann did not look at Judge Samuel L. Cappas while he was advised of those rights. The judge told Vann he could waive his appearance at trial, but he would be tried in his absence.

The judge then moved to a second issue that needed to be addressed: Vann had failed to provide the state an example of his handwriting as required by the court's order.

The state requested earlier this month that Vann be held in contempt for violating that order. Vann took the podium and told the judge he objected.

“I object to everything,” he said. “I object to a trial date. I don't want a trial.”

He told the judge to kiss his behind in regard to the handwriting example.

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The judge found Vann in contempt of court and sentenced him to 30 days in jail, though he acknowledged it was irrelevant given the sentence Vann faced if convicted at trial.

“That's it Mr. Vann,” Cappas said. “Thanks for coming to court.”

Vann will appear at trial in March on allegations he killed Afrika Hardy and Anith Jones.

Hardy, 19, was found strangled in a bathtub the night of Oct. 17, 2014, in a motel room in Hammond after she allegedly met Vann for paid sex.

Vann was arrested in Hardy's death and then allegedly admitted he killed six other women, including Jones, 35, whose body was discovered in an abandoned house in Gary.

Prosecutors succeeded on a motion last year to hold a single trial for the murders of Hardy and Jones, arguing the crimes were part of a single scheme or plan.

Vann is also accused of killing Teaira Batey, Kristine Williams, Tracy L. Martin, Sonya Billingsley and Tanya Gatlin.

Trial dates for the other five murder charges have not been scheduled.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.