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Published: Saturday, 3/25/2006

2 Toledo teens to be tried as adults

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Devan Fields, far left, and Catherine Varner, far right, talk with attorneys Ann Baronas and Martin Goff. The two are accused of plotting to kill Ms. Varner's mother and her younger brother. Devan Fields, far left, and Catherine Varner, far right, talk with attorneys Ann Baronas and Martin Goff. The two are accused of plotting to kill Ms. Varner's mother and her younger brother.
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A teenage couple accused of plotting to kill the girl's mother and brother and then live in the family's East Toledo home will stand trial as adults in the case, which is garnering national attention.

Lucas County Juvenile Court Judge Denise Cubbon yesterday certified Devan Fields and Catherine Varner to stand trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Her ruling came during the second day of a probable-cause hearing in juvenile court for the 17-year-olds.

The teens are charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Their attorneys said if convicted, the teens could be sentenced to three to 10 years on each charge.

The couple were charged after police said Mr. Fields stabbed Ms. Varner's 15-year-old brother, hit him with a hammer, choked him with a shoelace, and tried to break his neck with his hands March 9 at the family's home.

Police said Mr. Fields had been living secretly in Ms. Varner's closet for about 10 days before the attack on her sleeping brother.

The teens will be transferred from the county's juvenile detention center to the county jail, where each will be held on $200,000 bond. The judge set a higher bond than the $100,000 recommended by juvenile court prosecutor Larry Kiroff.

"I'm not surprised [by the outcome]. It's a probable-cause hearing. The standard is much lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Not all the facts came out [Thursday]," said Martin Goff, who is representing Ms. Varner.

Ann Baronas, who is repre-senting Mr. Fields, agreed.

"There was remorse shown at the end [of the attack], a decision made by Mr. Fields at the end [not to continue the attack]. That will be brought out when we present evidence in the case," she said.

A Toledo police detective testified Thursday that the teens told police they had a variety of plans for killing Ms. Varner's mother, Aleatha Perrin, and brother, Anthony "Tony" Perrin, and disposing of their bodies.

All of the plans included cutting up the bodies. Disposal methods included putting the remains in a bathtub full of acid or in garbage bags and then disposing of them in a Dumpster or burning them, the detective testified.

The judge's ruling came after reviewing two hours of tapes of interviews the police had with the teens after the attack.

Mr. Goff and Ms. Baronas said it was a tactical move to not call defense witnesses and waive closing arguments. Both attorneys said their clients are doing "fine."

Mr. Goff said the judge approved a special visit between Ms. Varner and her mother after Thursday's hearing. He said it was a meeting both mother and daughter wanted.

"[Ms. Varner] said it was blessed," Mr. Goff said.

Ms. Perrin, who has attended each of the court sessions since her daughter's arrest, was not present at yesterday's hearing. Mr. Goff said he did not know her whereabouts.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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