Pathologist: Both of pastor's wives had similar head injury

STROUDSBURG, Pa. - Kill them and cover it up: that's how prosecutors say a former pastor ended two marriages.

Arthur Schirmer says both of his wives died accidentally.

But Tuesday, the jury in his first murder trial heard from an expert who disagreed.

Former Pastor Arthur Schirmer is on trial accused of murdering his second wife Betty Jean.

But the second week of proceedings began with testimony about the death of his first wife Jewel.

"When you look at Jewel Schirmer, she has got two strikes to the right side of her head. Compare that to Betty Schirmer -- she has got two strikes to the right side of her head. The lacerations look similar, the patterns look similar," said Dr. Wayne Ross, pathologist for Lancaster and Dauphin counties.

Arthur Schirmer says in 1999 Jewel fell down the stairs at the couple's Lebanon County home and in 2008, Schirmer says Betty Jean was critically injured in a car accident as he was rushing her to the hospital in Pocono Township, Monroe County.

Ross says he's known since he did Jewel's autopsy that she was murdered and recommended to police and the DA they look deeper into the case.

But it wasn't until Betty Jean was killed that police started asking questions about Jewel.

Jewel's brother John Behney told jurors he thought his sister looked like she was beaten and suspected Schirmer was trying to cover it up.

"I have been waiting a long time for the truth to come out and justice to be served. It's a long, drawn out process so you just have to go with the flow," said Behney.

During testimony about Jewel's and Betty Jean's injuries, Schirmer put his fingers in his ears and looked down.

It's unknown if he will testify.

Schirmer will stand trial for Jewel's death in the spring.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE  and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links may be removed by the moderator.

Allentown, PA 18102




  • 70%

This Week's Circulars

Latest from the newsroom