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article imageKiller sentenced to life in prison for two murders in the 1970s

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Feb 17, 2011 in Crime
The long arm of the law finally caught up with Russell Vane for the murder of two young pregnant
women in the late 1970s. He also raped them but due to a plea bargain he was not charged with the rapes.
After decades of trying to find the killer of two young women Russell Vane confessed to killing them after he was brought back to Michigan from Alabama on unrelated multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct and rape.
Kathy Darling was 17 and pregnant for her second child when she was raped and killed by Vane. Her 18-month old son was crying in his crib not far from where his mother's life brutally ended. This was in March of 1976.
Diane Holloway,also pregnant, was a 21-year-old postal clerk when she was raped and murdered by Vane in August of 1979.
There were many women who testified against him during the many weeks of preliminary hearings.
Witnesses were called to testify by Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Kellee Koncki. The testimony included many assaultive acts against females as young as 4 and against his own family.
One of his former wives became pregnant by him when she was in her early teens. The former wives said they were beaten by Vane, they were raped and at times he inserted objects into them.
A son said he was locked in a closet while Vane raped his mother. He said at one time Vane put his hand on a hot burner.
Koncki said of Vane that he was the most evil man ever encountered in Kent County criminal justice. She said there were numerous other brutal and sexual crimes he committed that he didn't confess to.
Koncki said, “There are 20 to 30 victims of sexual assault by this man. He was committing dozens of sex crimes on young women as young as 4-years-old and into their 30s.”
Vane admitted to police that he was the last person who saw Holloway alive. reports Vane said during interviews with the police in 2008 and this spring, "I was bad and I hurt too many people when I was drinking. The violent, violent, violent stuff I did, I don't remember."
Vane got custody of his special-needs son in 1980 and said he decided to turn his life around.
Vane was sentenced by Judge Donald Johnston to one life sentence and another of 35 to 90 years. reports Michael Darling now almost 35-years-old said in court, “I hope he lives to be 100 years old and never sleeps a wink in prison and it still wouldn't be enough. I hate his guts. He ruined a lot of lives.”
Holloway's mother who in now 86 said, "It is such a loss that sometimes it fails description. I'm going to forget this man and I will never forgive him.”
News Channel 3 Vane pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree murder. With his plea prosecutors agreed not to pursue a case of first degree murder against him and to drop the rape charges were also dropped.
Vane will be 59 next week. He has many health problems and and is only expected to live a dozen more years at the most. His life will end in prison.
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