DA: Convicted pastor still faces trial in wife's '99 death - abc27 WHTM

Lebanon County

DA: Convicted pastor still faces trial in wife's '99 death

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Arthur Schirmer Arthur Schirmer

A former pastor convicted in the 2008 death of his second wife in the Poconos will continue to face trial for the 1999 death of his first wife in Lebanon County.

Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold told abc27 News that Arthur Schirmer's trial will go on as scheduled despite his conviction in Monroe County.

"I don't know that it would be appropriate to not move forward with our case simply because of what happened in Monroe County," Arnold said Wednesday. "The ability to obtain justice for the family, it really is important to us."

Schirmer, 64, on Tuesday was found guilty of killing Betty Schirmer while he was serving as an associate pastor at a United Methodist church in Reeders.

He took the stand Friday and told jurors he was driving his wife to a hospital for jaw pain when a deer crossed the road and caused them to crash. Prosecutors argued he beat his wife to death and staged the car crash to cover up the crime.

He is scheduled to go on trial March 4 for the death of Jewel Schirmer, who died the day after she reportedly fell down a flight of stairs at the Bethany United Methodist Church parsonage in North Lebanon Township.

An autopsy could not determined whether her death was an accident or a homicide until the investigation was reopened last year. A second autopsy determined Jewel Schirmer's death was a homicide and a grand jury determined her injuries were not consistent with a fall.

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