A Pennsylvania pastor has been sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2008 murder of his second wife.
- (PHOTO:YouTubeClips/Daily News Everyday)
A Pennsylvania pastor will stand trial for murder this week in Lebanon County. Officials believe that the man is responsible for murdering two of his wives.
Former Pastor Arthur "A.B." Schirmer was accused of murdering his second wife, Betty Jean, in 2008. He was also charged with murdering his previous wife, Jewel, who died in 1999. Schirmer has insisted that he is innocent on both charges.
A jury in Monroe County Court disagreed Monday. More than two months after a jury found him guilty for the murder of his wife, Schirmer was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Officials believe that Betty was bludgeoned to death with a crowbar.
The former pastor has been described by prosecutors as an adulterer, who had multiple extramarital affairs and preyed on "women in his church who were having trouble in their own marriages" in court documents revealed by The Huffington Post. Police believe that Schirmer killed his second wife, Betty Jean, and then attempted to cover up the crime by staging a car accident.
Schirmer told police that he had been driving with Betty Jean when she began to complain about a pain in her jaw and unbuckled her seatbelt, according to Mail Online. He then stated that a deer came into the middle of the road, forcing him to swerve off the road and causing the car to crash. However, police later discovered the damage to the car was not critical enough to produce the amount of blood that was found inside.
Schirmer was charged with Betty's murder two years ago. During the investigation, suspicion was also cast on the pastor's previous wife, who had allegedly fallen down a set of stairs. At the time, Schirmer declared that he had been out for a run and came home to find his then-wife at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of blood. He was charged with the death of his first wife last September.
"We find it particularly disturbing and difficult to believe that both of A.B. Schirmer's wives could have suffered such horrific injuries by accident," a grand jury report stated in September. "To the contrary, we believe probable cause exists to believe that neither woman died from an accident"