Indiana man pleads guilty to serial killing of 7 poor women

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CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A former Marine who authorities say preyed on women in an area of Gary, Ind., known as a hangout for prostitutes and drug users pleaded guilty today to killing seven women under a plea deal that will spare him the death penalty.

Darren Vann's surprise plea in the killings came after the 47-year-old Gary man's defense team filed a motion Thursday that scheduled today's change-of-plea hearing.

The usually combative Vann was largely emotionless during the hearing as Lake County Judge Samuel Cappas reviewed the terms of the plea agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Vann is now set to be sentenced May 25.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said he hopes the plea agreement brings closure to the victims' families.

Victims' relatives watched quietly during the hearing as Vann uttered the word "guilty" seven times, once for each murder count read aloud by Cappas.

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