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Man charged with killing wife, mother to be arraigned Dec. 5

Billy Eugene Varner

Billy Eugene Varner

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Updated: January 1, 2014 6:12AM

An arraignment is scheduled Thursday in Lake County Circuit Court for Billy Varner, charged with killing his wife and his mother last month in the Antioch apartment they shared.

Varner, 54, was indicted by a Lake County Grand Jury Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder.

Officials said Varner killed his wife, Peggy Henderson, 61, with a machete in her bedroom in the apartment on Oct. 26, and then suffocated his mother, 82-year-old Dorothy Varner, with a plastic bag while she played solitaire on Oct. 28.

Varner allegedly told authorities he killed his wife because she was suffering from a chronic disease, and killed his mother after he feared she was becoming suspicious.

Varner then disappeared from the area, allegedly stealing his brother’s van and driving to North Dakota, where he was arrested after police say he barged in on a Catholic mass and robbed parishioners at gunpoint.

He was returned to Lake County and is being held in Lake County Jail without bond because he is deemed to be a flight risk.

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