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updated: 5/13/2014 6:42 PM

Trial Antioch delayed for man accused of killing wife, mother

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  • Billy Varner

    Billy Varner


The trial for a 55-year-old Antioch man accused of savagely killing his wife and mother over a three-day period last year in the apartment the three shared has been delayed again.

Thomas Meyers, the defense attorney for Billy Varner, requested the delay in front of Lake County Judge Mark Levitt on Tuesday because he said more time was needed to investigate the case. Meyers said his office didn't expect to complete their work in the next two weeks to be ready for trial.

He would not go into details or the scope of the investigation after the brief hearing.

Varner, of the 1200 block of Main Street, is being held in Lake County jail without bond for using a machete and a knife to kill his wife, Peggy Henderson, 61, and suffocating his 82-year-old mother, Dorothy Varner, authorities said.

Varner faces life in prison if convicted on the 33 counts of murder charges he faces.

Authorities said Varner attacked Henderson on Oct. 26 with a machete after she went to bed complaining of a migraine headache. Varner later told police he attacked her to ease her suffering, authorities said.

Varner also used a knife to repeatedly stab Henderson in the chest, authorities said.

Authorities said Varner covered the body with a blanket and left it behind a closed door in the bedroom they shared.

authorities said, two days later Varner suffocated Dorothy Varner with a plastic bag and a towel in the living room of the apartment. After his capture, Varner told authorities he killed his mother because she grew suspicious of Henderson's murder.

Varner stole a van from his brother and fled the state, authorities said. He was captured about a week later in North Dakota, after he tried to rob a Catholic church while armed with a shotgun, authorities said.

This is the third delay in Varner's trial. It was previously scheduled for March 3 and May 27. The new trial is scheduled for Sept. 8.

He is due back in court for a case management conference June 23.

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