Judge rejects former midstate pastor's appeal in murder of second wife

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 3, 2017 8:07 AM

(Lebanon) -- A Monroe County judge has rejected an appeal by a former midstate pastor convicted killing two wives.

69-year-old Arthur Schirmer sought to overturn his 2013 murder conviction in the 2008 death of his second wife, Betty.

Prosecutors contend he bludgeoned her with a crow bar then staged a car accident to cover it up.

The judge rejected Schirmer's claims that his attorney was ineffective and that prosecutors committed misconduct.

The former Methodist pastor is serving a life sentence in that case plus 20 to 40 years in prison in the 1999 death of his first wife, 50-year-old Jewel Schirmer. Schirmer served as pastor at Bethany United Methodist Church in Lebanon County at the time. 

Lebanon County prosecutors say that woman was bludgeoned, too, though Schirmer claimed she died from falling down their basement steps.

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