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Ind. Serial Killing Suspect Remains Silent, Gets Contempt Warning

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on October 22, 2014 3:17 PM

An Indiana man arrested last week and charged with the murder of a 19-year-old woman made his first appearance in court today after leading police to the bodies of six more women he is believed to have killed.

Despite his earlier cooperation with police, suspect Darren Vann, 43, was silent during his first court appearance, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Vann's refusal to answer questions posed by the judge caused the judge to postpone the hearing for a week; she also warned Vann that he may be held in contempt if he continued to stonewall.

Vann Charged With 2 Murders; More Charges Expected

Vann is currently being charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of 19-year-old Afrika Hardy -- who was found strangled in a motel room last week -- and 35-year-old Anith Jones, whose body was among the six found by investigators after Vann's arrest.

Investigators say that Vann helped lead them to the bodies of Jones and five other women, three of whom remain unidentified. Police say that Vann, a convicted sex offender, claims to have killed more people over the last 20 years. Police will likely charge Vann with the deaths of the women found over the weekend following his arraignment in the murder of Hardy.

Contempt of Court Warning

Vann was set to be arraigned today, but the hearing was postponed after Vann refused to answer questions posed by the judge in his case. The judge ordered the hearing to be delayed until next week and warned Vann that his continued refusal to answer questions at that time could result in being held in contempt of court.

There are generally two types of contempt of court, civil contempt and criminal contempt. Civil contempt is typically used to compel a party to comply with a court's orders, while criminal contempt is meant to punish acts which disrespect or insult the authority or dignity of a court. Both may be punished by fines and/or jail time.

In Vann's case, the judge warned that Vann can "stay in jail for the rest of his life if he refuses to participate," reports the Chicago Tribune. The judge also granted a request from Vann's public defender imposing a gag order prohibiting public discussion of the case by those involved.

Vann remains under 24-hour watch in an Indiana jail, Reuters reports. His next court appearance is set for October 29.

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