The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 11, 2012

Retired pastor to stand trial in Lebanon County for deaths of two wives

LEBANON — A retired Pennsylvania pastor accused of killing both of his wives was ordered Tuesday to stand trial in the first wife's 1999 death.

District Judge Kim Wolfe found enough evidence at a preliminary hearing to send the charges against Arthur "A.B." Schirmer to trial.

The former preacher was charged in September with killing Jewel Schirmer at their home in Lebanon County. Police and prosecutors re-opened the case after Schirmer came under suspicion in the 2008 death of his second wife, Betty Jean, in the Poconos.

Prosecutors in that case say Schirmer killed Betty Jean Schirmer, then staged a car accident to cover it up. He faces a January trial in Betty Jean's death, with a second trial to come later for the death of his first wife.

Schirmer maintains his innocence in both cases and his children have said they support him.

Schirmer has long claimed he was out for a run on April 23, 1999, when he returned home to find Jewel Schirmer's body in a pool of blood at the bottom of the basement steps. She had suffered a fractured skull as well as injuries to her face, body, arms and legs, but the coroner made no determination as to whether her death was an accident or a homicide, and the case was closed.

A Lebanon County detective, relaying the conclusions of a pathologist who took another look at the evidence, testified Tuesday that both women suffered several skull fractures and multiple brain injuries, and were involved in accidents that appeared to be staged.

Jewel Schirmer's brother, John Behney, testified that his sister had complained that her husband was cheating on her.

Several of Schirmer's supporters attended the hearing, including his three adult children. They declined comment.

"Mr. Schirmer is innocent and has the support of his family and friends," his attorney, Brandon Reish, said after the hearing.

1
Text Only
News
  • 1gaza25.jpg Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1execution.jpg How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's Editorial: One more job appears at risk

    July 24, 2014

  • Rabbi Conflict in Israel grounds Sunbury rabbi

    TEL AVIV, Israel — While the Israelis and Hamas traded rocket and missile strikes for a 16th day, Rabbi Nina Mandel is struggling to find her way back to Sunbury after the FAA on Wednesday announced that it would extend its ban on travel at Ben-Gurion International Airport for another 24 hours.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal24 Danville woman dies as logging truck crushes car in Valley Township

    DANVILLE — An 84-year-old Danville woman was killed when her car and a logging truck collided Wednesday afternoon at Routes 642 and 54 in Valley Township.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Docs: Fractures helped save rock victim's life

    DANVILLE — Sharon Budd’s condition is progressing nearly a week after a 13 1/2-hour procedure in which a team of surgeons rebuilt her facial bones and removed a damaged part of her brain, said two Geisinger Health System physicians who are part of that team

    July 24, 2014

  • Magistrate judge sides with Warrior Run

    WILLIAMSPORT — A federal magistrate judge says he agrees with a hearing officer that a Warrior Run student does not need special-education services,

    July 23, 2014

  • Inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival is Saturday

    LEWISBURG — Not a beer fan? Not a problem. This Saturday’s inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival, taking place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Market Street from Sixth Street to the Susquehanna River, welcomes brew lovers, barbecue fans, dancers in the street and little tykes alike with an array of events and offerings, organizers said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Decision coming on police shooting of city man

    SUNBURY — Brad Hare, the city’s former acting police chief, will learn by Friday whether he was justified in shooting a city man earlier this month, Northumberland County District Attorney Ann Targonski said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Union County bridge replacement project begins Aug. 4

    HARTLETON — A PennDOT maintenance crew in Union County will begin a bridge replacement project Aug. 4 on Pleasant Grove Road, Route 3005, in Lewis Township, between Moll Road and Wirth Road, north of Pleasant Grove.

    July 23, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.