by Andy Palumbo
STROUDSBURG — Prosecutors believe a man killed both his wives, and Monday his trial for one of those homicides began.
Arthur Schirmer, 64, is charged with killing his wife Betty in 2008. The former pastor said she was hurt in a car crash.
Prosecutors will try to prove to a jury it was no accident. Jury selection has started in the former pastor’s criminal homicide trial.
According to prosecutors, Schirmer, who used to head Reeders United Methodist Church, inflicted a head injury on Betty Schirmer in the summer of 2008. He allegedly told investigators he crashed his car, and Betty was hurt in the accident.
Police consulted experts and they claim Arthur Schirmer’s story didn’t hold water. They say it couldn’t have happened the way he claims. Also, blood was found in the Schirmer’s home.
He was charged with Betty’s death in 2010.
Police believe Schirmer has killed before. Investigators in Lebanon County re-opened the investigation into Jewel Schirmer’s death, after Arthur was charged with Betty’s death in Monroe County. He said Jewel was fatally hurt when she fell down the stairs at their home in 1999. He is currently awaiting trial on that homicide charge.
If found guilty of first degree murder, Arthur Schirmer goes to prison for the rest of his life.