Antioch Man Nearly Decapitated Wife With Machete: Prosecutors

Prosecutors said Billy Eugene Varner nearly decapitated his wife with a machete

An Antioch man charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife and mother has been ordered held without bond.

Prosecutors contended Tuesday in court that Billy Eugene Varner killed his wife, 61-year-old Peggy Henderson, on Oct. 26, almost decapitating her and nearly severing her arm with a machete. He then repeatedly stabbed Henderson with a knife, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Varner then hid the body in her bedroom. On Monday, Oct. 28, his 82-year-old mother Dorothy Varner was playing solitaire at the kitchen table, prosecutors said, and he became worried his mother was suspicious of why his wife was still in the bedroom.

Prosecutors said Varner suffocated his mother with a plastic bag and towel.

His brother found both bodies the same day, and authorities recovered a machete and knife, prosecutors said.

A manhunt for Varner was halted over the weekend when he was arrested in North Dakota, where he was accused of holding up a church with a shotgun.

He was charged with murder on Monday.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 4.

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