- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - A new judge has delayed the trial of a man charged with strangling two women and suspected of killing five other women whose bodies were found in abandoned homes in Gary.

Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas set a July 25 trial date for 44-year-old Darren Vann. He faces murder charges in the deaths of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The (Munster) Times reports (http://bit.ly/1Yr3LK4 ) Friday’s hearing was Vann’s first before Cappas, who was named to preside over the case last week after Judge Diane Boswell recused herself.

Cappas scheduled a hearing for Feb. 26 on a defense motion to sever the counts. The state has joined the cases together for a single trial.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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