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CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A judge has entered informal not guilty pleas on behalf of a former Marine who is charged in the strangulation deaths of two women found in northwestern Indiana and is suspected of killing five others.

Darren Vann entered the courtroom Wednesday wearing handcuffs and shackles for his initial hearing in the strangulation deaths of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones.

The 43-year-old Vann had refused to speak during an initial hearing in the Hardy case a week ago and was cited for contempt.

On Wednesday, the convicted sex offender from Gary responded to Lake County Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivan’s questions, uttering “yes, ma’am” and “no ma’am.”

Sullivan set Vann’s next hearing in both cases for Jan. 9. She and Vann’s attorney have 20 days to revise the pleas.

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(Photo Source: AP)

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