crimesider

Ill. man, sought in double murder, captured in N.D. after robbing church parishioners at gunpoint, report says

Billy Varner, 54, who was wanted in Illinois in the murder of his mother and another woman, was caught in North Dakota Saturday after he allegedly robbed a church there at gunpoint.
CBS Chicago

(CBS) An Illinois man who had been wanted for questioning in the deaths of his mother and another woman was captured in North Dakota after robbing a church there during a service Saturday and threatening parishioners with a shotgun,reports the Chicago Tribune.

Billy E. Varner, 54, is now being charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his mother, Dorothy Varner, 82, and Peggy Henderson, 61. The two women were found dead in the apartment the three shared in Antioch, Illinois, reports the paper.

Varner will appear in Lake County bond court Tuesday morning,reports CBS Chicago.

Varner was on the run for five days before he was caught, reports the station, wanted for questioning in the "suspicious" deaths of Henderson and Dorothy Varner. Authorities have not said how the women died, reports the station.

Saturday, officials said Billy Varner walked into a Catholic church in the North Dakota town of Ray, about 1,000 miles from Antioch, reports the Tribune. Armed with a shotgun, he reportedly ordered parishioners up against the wall, and ordered a priest to collect money and to put it in a plastic garbage bag.

A few churchgoers pursued him when he fled, and police arrested Varner in nearby Williston after parishioners phoned in a description of his car.

The mass continued after the robbery, with some giving money during the collection that they hadn't surrendered to the robber, The Tribune reported. 

Along with the murder charges, police said Varner faces numerous charges in the church robbery.