CROWN POINT | A court hearing last week for a man accused of strangling to death two women was delayed because the defendant wasn't dressed properly, according to court records.
Darren Vann, 43, of Gary, was scheduled to appear in Lake County Criminal Court on Dec. 5 after the Lake County prosecutor's office requested DNA from a mouth swab.
Vann is facing murder charges in the homicides of Afrikka Hardy, 19, and Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, according to court records. He allegedly confessed to killing seven women in Northwest Indiana, but he has only been charged in two of the deaths.
An online court entry states Vann was not dressed appropriately and was not competent to participate in last week's hearing, which is why the court rescheduled it for Dec. 19.
Inmates typically wear jail uniforms for court hearings.
The Lake County Jail was ordered to preserve video footage of Vann, which was requested by his defense attorneys.
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During last week's hearing, defense attorneys Matthew Fech and Teresa Hollandsworth approached Lake County Criminal Judge Diane Boswell's bench twice with Lake County Prosecuting Attorney Bernard Carter and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Jatkiewicz.
While the rest of the court call continued, attorneys for both sides spoke in a closed room in the back of the courtroom.
Vann never appeared in court.
The only thing said in open court about the hearing was that it was delayed for two weeks.
In October, Vann's initial hearing was delayed after he refused to speak or answer questions from Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan.
Defense attorney Gregory Zaney represented Vann in Texas and said he always cooperated with court proceedings. Vann pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge in Texas and was sentenced to five years in prison, according to court records.