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Published: Friday, 10/7/2005

Gilboa woman faces charge in plot to kill her husband

OTTAWA, Ohio - Bond was set at $250,000 yesterday for a Putnam County woman who sheriff's deputies say tried to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband.

Tammie J. Varner, 40, of Gilboa is being held in the Putnam County jail on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

She was arrested Wednesday after meeting with an undercover officer whom she allegedly tried to hire to kill Darryl Varner of Continental.

"She provided an undisclosed amount of money as a down payment and other supportive documents that were supportive of her motive and her wanting to do this," Sheriff James Beutler said.

He declined to say what those documents were, but said when the undercover officer asked to see them as a way to prove she was serious about her plan to have her husband killed, she provided them.

Sheriff's deputies got involved with the case a couple weeks ago when Mr. Varner reported that the brake lines on his vehicle had been cut. Sheriff Beutler said deputies were aware the couple was divorcing because officers had been called to the residence "on and off" over the summer on domestic-related complaints including child custody disputes.

More recently, Sheriff Beutler said his officers received information that Ms. Varner wanted to have her estranged husband killed. A deputy who works as a drug agent contacted her.

"He made the phone call, identified himself on a first-name basis, and he didn't even have to tell why he was calling. He didn't even get to that extent," the sheriff said. "She explained what her desire was."

The two arranged to meet in Ottawa. The sheriff said Ms. Varner brought her 4-year-old son with her for the meeting.

The child was placed in the custody of the county's Job and Family Services Department before being returned to his father. The sheriff said the woman did not specify how she wanted her husband killed, just that she wanted him "gone forever."

At an arraignment in Putnam County Court yesterday, Judge Chad Niese scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Oct. 11. Ms. Varner asked the court to appoint an attorney for her.

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