Former Monroe Co. pastor Arthur Schirmer accused of killing 1st wife in addition to 2nd

Lebanon Co. DA adds murder charge in case of 1st wife's death

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Published: Sep 28 2012 12:52:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 29 2012 10:57:23 AM EDT
LEBANON, Pa. -

A former Monroe County pastor accused of killing his second wife in 2008 is now also facing charges in the death of his first wife nine years earlier.

The Lebanon County district attorney announced Friday that a grand jury has charged Arthur Schirmer with murder in the 1999 death of Jewel Schirmer.

Arthur Schirmer was arrested two years ago in Jackson Township after police said he killed his wife Betty Jean and staged a car accident to try and cover it up.

Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold said investigators took a second look at the death of Schirmer's first wife, Jewel, after the arrest.

Schirmer had claimed that Jewel fell down the stairs in their home in Lebanon County, but Arnold said tests showed her injuries couldn't have been caused by a fall.

"I think it is fair to say had the circumstances of Monroe County not occurred we probably would not be standing here today," said Arnold. "The honest answer is that is what caused us to take another look at circumstances from '99."

The case against Schirmer in Monroe County is expected to go to trial early next year.