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How could Darren Vann, suspected in multiple Indiana murders, have been considered ‘low risk’?

Darren Vann

Darren Vann

Not one, but two likely serial killers have been in the news recently.

First there was Jesse Matthew, charged in the abduction of Virginia student Hannah Graham, whose body has now been identified. Police have linked Matthew to at least one other crime, and are examining cases of more dead and missing women in Virginia.

Then there is Darren Vann, of Gary, Indiana.

Vann was arrested in the killing of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found in a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana. Vann confessed to the crime, and led police to the bodies of six other women.

All seven of these murders took place after Vann was released from a Texas prison on July 5, 2013. There may be more. Prior to being jailed in Texas, however, Vann:

• Was kicked out of the Marines after less than two years of service with an “other than honorable” discharge.

• Wrapped his arm around his girlfriend’s neck, doused her with gasoline and threatened to set her on fire. This was in front of the police who were there to arrest him. He did 90 days in jail for that incident.

• In the rape that landed him in the Texas prison, he knocked the woman down, started to strangle her and said he could kill her.

In a plea bargain for that Texas rape, Vann pleaded guilty. When he was released, he was placed on the Texas sex offender registry, listed as “low-risk.” That’s low risk of re-offending.

Seven women are dead.

I wonder who determined that Darren Vann was a low risk? I hope he or she is fired.

 


Posted in: Donna Andersen

3 Comments on "How could Darren Vann, suspected in multiple Indiana murders, have been considered ‘low risk’?"

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  1. Delores says:

    People are more concerned with staining a man’s reputation than they are of letting them go to molest, rape and murder again. It has been proven that these creatures cannot be rehabilitated and yet they still let them out to make room for sending a harmless misdemeanor folks to jail. Must be politically correct justice, a rapist/murderer is equal with a kid caught with a joint.



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  2. Redwald says:

    There is at least a partial answer to the question posed by this article. For one, Texas had no knowledge of Vann’s earlier, potentially deadly assault in Indiana when he was sentenced for the rape in 2009. For another, there were weaknesses in the rape case. Because the complainant delayed reporting the crime, importnat DNA evidence was lost. Consequently a plea deal was made, further weakening the disposition of the case.

    Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s statement

    Mind you, this doesn’t explain WHY Texas was unaware of Vann’s previous crime in Indiana. Faults in the system? Or did the prosecutors not do their job by failing to search diligently enough? The assistant DA who prosecuted the case is serving in the military overseas and conveniently unable to answer questions like that.

    I’m also scratching my head over what seems like a nonsequitur from Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark, who claimed that even if Vann’s previous criminal history had been available to the Texas risk assessment staff, he still would have been rated “low” risk because—quote—“he served his entire Indiana sentence and was not under Texas supervision upon his release.”

    HUH??? How does the fact of having served a complete sentence and not being under supervision by an entirely different state make somebody “low risk” in and of itself? It doesn’t make sense!

    News article with Clark’s statement

    Is Clark suggesting that if Vann were a high risk offender, Indiana would have determined that in the first place and seem to it that he was supervised wherever he went? That’s assuming FAR too much!

    And how does “serving an entire sentence” correlate with being “low risk”? I’d expect it to be the other way round: that a low risk offender would be more likely to get early parole, while being kept behind bars for longer suggests Indiana saw Vann as a continuing menace (if not actually a serial killer).



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  3. Thank you Redwald. It is shocking that Texas officials were not aware of the prior conviction. I don’t know how law enforcement agencies share information, but it obviously didn’t work in this case.

    Or, somebody didn’t do their job.

    In Canada, people convicted of crimes are routinely assessed with the PCL-R, although I don’t know if this applies to all criminals or just ones convicted of certain offenses. But I imagine sexual assault would qualify.

    The whole purpose of the PCL-R is to assess someone’s risk of re-offending. It should be used more widely in the U.S.



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