CHICAGO
11/04/2013 12:09 pm ET Updated Nov 06, 2013

Billy Varner Charged With Murdering Wife And Mother Days Apart Before Robbing Church At Gunpoint

Updated story

A suburban Chicago man is accused of killing his wife with a machete for wheezing in her sleep and then killing his own mother days later when he thought she was becoming suspicious over the wife's absence, police said.

Prosecutors say Billy Varner of Antioch, Ill., made a full confession to killing his wife, Peggy Henderson and his mother, Dorothy Varner. He faces first-degree murder charges and was ordered held without bond at Lake County Courthouse on Tuesday, ABC Chicago reports.

Prosecutors laid out the horrific scene in court Tuesday where they say Varner attacked Henderson with a machete because she was wheezing in her sleep, WGN reports. Henderson was nearly decapitated during the attack, prosecutors say, noting she was also found without some fingers and was nearly missing her right hand, all apparent defensive wounds.

Officials then say Varner kept the bloody body in the bedroom covered up for two days and then suffocated his mother as she played Solitaire because he feared she was getting suspicious over Henderson's disappearance, CBS reports.

Varner, 54, fled after the murders sparking a week-long manhunt that ended Saturday in Williston, North Dakota after he robbed a church during Saturday Mass.

Police initially wanted to question Varner after his 61-year-old wife and 82-year-old mother found dead Oct. 26 in the apartment the three shared.

"He may have been the last person the see the victims alive," Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville told the Tribune at the time of Varner's arrest in North Dakota.

Varner reportedly robbed a Catholic Church with a shotgun Saturday and was followed by several parishioners after fleeing, CBS Chicago reports.

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