The murder trial of “sinister minister” Arthur Schirmer, of Monroe, northeast Pennsylvania, has ended in a conviction, sources say.
A former pastor with the Reeders United Methodist Church, 64-year-old Schirmer had both his wives die in suspicious circumstances.
He was found guilty in the death of Betty Jean Schirmer, on Tuesday, January 22. As we mentioned earlier this month, Betty Jean passed away in 2008.
He was with her at the time, and told police that she died in a car accident. Investigators dubbed the crash a cover-up, upon reopening the case in 2010.
They had uncovered traces of her blood in Schirmer's garage. A closer examination of the vehicle showed that it was traveling at slow speed.
The prosecution charged the pastor with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. They proved that he had used a crowbar to assault her, then staged the incident.
He then told doctors to take her off life support, and asked for her remains to be cremated, ABC News noted.
According to WFMZ, testimonies painted him as a cheating husband, disinterested in family life.
“The prosecution went to great lengths to suggest that the affairs were the motive, but there was no financial motive. [...] There was no life insurance,” defense attorney Brandon Reish argued.
“He was a philanderer, but I'm not saying that he killed because he was a philanderer,” prosecutor Michael Mancuso responded.
“Nobody wins. [...] Not going to bring my sister back,” Betty's brother Larry Lurch told reporters.
Now, Schirmer is set to go on trial for the murder of his first wife, Jewel, in 1999. She died in their family home in Lebanon, after allegedly falling down the stairs.
“The injury patterns [are] so similar between the two women, the circumstances, that sort of thing,” Mancuso said in his statement.