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Published: Friday, 3/24/2006

Detective details teens' alleged plot

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Aleatha Perrin leaves the courtroom as her daughter, Catherine Varner, who is accused of plotting to kill her mother and brother, is handcuffed after a hearing in Lucas County Juvenile Court. Aleatha Perrin leaves the courtroom as her daughter, Catherine Varner, who is accused of plotting to kill her mother and brother, is handcuffed after a hearing in Lucas County Juvenile Court.
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A teenage couple told Toledo police they had a variety of plans for killing the girl's mother and brother and disposing of their bodies, a detective testified yesterday.

All the plans involved cutting up the mother and brother, Detective Louie Espinosa said. One had the victims' remains placed in a bathtub full of acid. Another had them put in garbage bags, then either thrown into a Dumpster or burned, he said.

The detective was one of two witnesses who testified during a hearing for Devan Fields and Catherine Varner in Lucas County Juvenile Court. The hearing before Judge Denise Cubbon, which could resume today, is being held to determine whether the 17-year-olds will be certified for trial as adults. Each is charged with delinquency in connection with attempted murder and delinquency in connection with conspiracy to commit murder.

Police alleged young Fields attacked the girl's brother, Anthony Perrin, as he slept in his downstairs bedroom inside his Yondota Street home March 9.

The 15-year-old was stabbed once in the neck and chest, hit in the head with a hammer, and choked with a shoelace. Young Fields also tried to break the other teen's neck with his hands, juvenile court prosecutor Larry Kiroff said.

Detective Espinosa said police recovered young Fields' bloody clothing, a mask he wore to cover his mouth, and the knives, hammer, and shoelace used in the attack in a garbage bag and diaper box in the home's garage.

Police said the pair plotted to kill the girl's mother, Aleatha Perrin, and brother and live together in the family's Yondota home. The teens started to devise the plot about a month earlier after young Varner ran away from home to a residence where the Fields youth was staying at the time, Detective Espinosa said.

The detective testified the girl told him that her boyfriend had been living in her closet without the knowledge of other family members for about 10 days before the attack.

When Ms. Perrin went to sleep, young Varner told the detective, her boyfriend would go downstairs, make something to eat, and watch TV.

Detective Espinosa testified that the teens said they planned to kill Ms. Perrin and her son, then dispose of their bodies to make it look like the mother and son had left the home, abandoning her daughter. The teen accomplices thought Lucas County Children Services would then get involved and the girl's elder sister would come to the house, he said. When the pair turned 18, they thought they would get custody of young Varner's daughter and cousin, whom Ms. Perrin cared for, and then live in the house, the detective said.

Detective Espinosa testified that the girl sent a text message to her boyfriend during the attack and asked him what he was doing. He responded that he was killing her brother, the detective testified.

Detective Espinosa said the teens also had thought of an alternative way to cover their tracks: They would lure the 15-year-old's father to the house and kill him, then make it look like he killed his son and Ms. Perrin before taking his own life.

Young Perrin, who saw his sister yesterday for the first time since the attack, testified that during the attack, the Fields youth told him young Perrin's father owed someone money.

"He was going to kill my dad, but he could take something more precious. He could kill me," said the injured teen, who had a bandage on his neck.

The defendants, in green jail jumpsuits, sat between their attorneys and their parent or guardian. Attorneys Martin Goff and Ann Baronas, who are representing young Varner and young Fields, respectively, declined comment after the hearing.

The teens are being held in the county's juvenile detention center. Before their hearing resumes, Judge Cubbon will watch their videotaped interviews with police.

Contact Christina Hall at:

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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