Police apprehended an Illinois man after he held up a church in North Dakota on Saturday, who was fleeing authorities in Illinois where he allegedly killed his mother and wife, said police.
Late last month, Billy E. Varner, 54, violently attacked and nearly decapitated his wife, Peggy Henderson, 61, with a machete. After becoming paranoid that his mother, Dorothy Varner, 82, was becoming suspicious of his wife's absence, Varner reported suffocated her.
Varner subsequently took off on Oct. 28 after law enforcement found the bodies and eluded authorities until he burst into a Catholic Church during mass in North Dakota on Saturday.
Varner, who allegedly also stole his getaway car, drove 1,000 miles, where he charged into the church with a shotgun.
Mike Weyrauch, who was one of the 25-30 present people when Varner barged in during the service, said that the suspect told the priest to "shut up" before ordering people to stand against the wall. Varner tossed a plastic trash bag on the ground and directed the priest to collect the congregations' valuables while swinging the gun back and forth among the congregation.
"The look on his face had me scared – probably the most scared I've ever been in my life," Weyrauch told The Chicago Tribune.
Varner, who left after roughly five minutes, was arrested at a traffic stop, said police.
Thus far, Varner has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife and mother.