CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP/KXAN) — An Indiana judge has rescheduled a hearing for Darren Vann after he refused to respond to her questions during his initial court appearance. Vann on Monday allegedly confessed to killing seven women.
Vann stood stone-faced during Wednesday’s hearing at the Lake County Jail in Crown Point after Judge Kathleen Sullivan asked him if he would swear to tell the truth. Sullivan warned Vann he could be held in contempt, but he still declined to speak. Vann’s public defender walked up to him and put his hand on Vann’s shoulder, encouraging him to speak — but he wouldn’t.
Sullivan told Vann he would spend “the rest of his life” in jail until the initial hearing could take place and she said she’d reschedule it for next week.
Indiana court records from 2004 describe him grabbing a woman in a chokehold, dousing her with gasoline and threatening to set her on fire. He was sentenced to a year in prison.
Vann’s ex-wife’s son says he was “creepy” and “strange.”
“Everyone knew I didn’t like him. Everyone knew I was watching him,” said Edward Matlock in a phone interview with CNN.
He said he never liked the man who married his mother in 1995, 30 years her junior.
“He was a creepy dude, and I couldn’t believe my mom would marry someone that young … I kept my distance from him,” said Matlock.
Vann and his ex-wife married in Travis County in 1995.
Vann is the 43-year-old man who police say confessed to killing seven women in Northwestern Indiana, and he has ties to Austin. Back in 2009, Vann pleaded guilty to rape in Travis County and got a five-year prison sentence. The Texas Department of Public Safety later listed him as low-risk on its sex offender registry. In light of the new allegations, many are revisiting his case in Travis County — arguing he should’ve been sentenced longer or that he never should have been listed as low-risk.
Criminal defense attorney Josh Saegert has practiced law Central Texas for more than 10 years. He says several factors come in to play when sentencing defendants. We asked Saegert what a low risk person looks like. “You’re not a predator, it appears this guy may be. But a low risk would be, maybe it was a one time incident, too much to drink, a date rape case.”
He says violent sexual offenders are more often listed high risk, likely to reoffend.
“I think in this case it was a flaw or somebody’s probably second guessing themselves saying, ‘How did we miss that?’ But people can be pretty devious when they want to be. We’ve all met pretty good liars in the past.”