Stroudsburg, Monroe County - A man meant to be a moral leader in his community, a former Reverend, is on trial for allegedly murdering his wife.
A jury heard opening statements in Arthur Schirmer's Monroe County murder trial Tuesday morning.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Mancuso called the case "a journey into the darkest inner recesses of the human soul." But Defense Attorney Brandon Reish said it is nothing but "church gossip, bad behavior, and bad science."
The murder investigation started with a suicide at Reeders United Methodist Church. It was October of 2008. A church member, Joseph Musante, sat in the Reverend's office chair and shot himself. Investigators wanted to know why. And so did Musante's family. Family persistence lead police to discover Musante was devastated because Reverend Schirmer was having an "emotional affair" with his wife, Ciny Musante.
Cindy said she supported the Reverend after Betty Jean died in a car crash. That crash happened in July of 2008 on route 715. Schirmer claimed he hit a guardrail when he swerved to miss a deer. The affair lead some people to question the details of that crash.
Police reopened the crash investigation and now say it was no accident. They believe Schirmer beat Betty Jean in the head and face with some sort of metal object. They believe he then dragged her into the car and crashed on purpose to make her injuries look accidental.
The discoveries lead to another murder investigation. Officials in Lebanon County reopened an investigation into the death of Schirmer's first wife, Jewel.
In 1999 Schirmer said Jewel fell down the stairs. But police now say he beat her and staged the fall.
Schirmer's attorney said all the investigators are relying on flawed forensic techniques and jumping to conclusions. He admits Schirmer had affairs but said that does not mean he is a murderer.
For more details on the crash click http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=305302