Stroudsburg, Monroe County - Warm hearted Minister or cold blooded murderer? Tuesday, lawyers delivered opening statements in the case of a Monroe County Pastor accused of killing two of his wives.
Arthur Schirmer is the former Reverend at Reeders United Methodist Church. He is on trial in Monroe County for the alleged murder of his second wife, Betty Jean Schirmer.
Prosecutors say he killed her in 2008 and staged a car crash to cover it up. In court, The Assistant District Attorney revealed that Schirmer had multiple affairs while serving as Reverend. They are affairs that they believe show he had a motive to kill his wife.
Schirmer's Defense Attorney admitted his client is an adulterer but insists that does not mean he is a murderer.
The former Reverend did not answer questions from reporters as he walked to the courtroom. He also remained silent in court. He listened with his hands folded as prosecutors explained what they believe happened in July of 2008.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso outlined his case. He said Schirmer had an unhappy marriage to Betty Jean. He often looked at pornography and had multiple affairs.
Mancuso said investigators found Schirmer Beat his wife with some sort of metal object than dragged her into the car and staged a crash.
Schirmer's lawyer, Brandon Reish argued that's not true. He said Schirmer was driving Betty Jean to the hospital because she had jaw pain. She took her seatbelt off to get more comfortable just as Schirmer swerved to avoid a deer in the street and slammed into a guardrail.
Betty Jean's family says she was very safety conscious and would never remove her seatbelt.
The defense and prosecution have several other different views on the accident.
Schirmer claimed he was driving about 55 miles an hour when he crashed. Prosecutors say they have evidence he was going about 20 miles an hour.
Schirmer clamis Betty Jean's injuries are consistent with an accident. Prosecutors say the victim had multiple severe injuries from four separate impacts that could not have happened in the crash.
Prosecutors say Troopers found blood that is likely Betty Jean's in Schirmer's garage. Schirmer said that the blood came from an accident she had while moving a wood pile.
Betty Jean's death investigation lead police to reopen another death investigation. They now believe Arthur Schirmer killed his first wife, Jewel in Lebanon County in 1999. A trial date in that case has not yet been set.
For more information on how police uncovered the alleged Monroe County murder click http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=305292