It took a Pennsylvania jury just 90 minutes to convict the man prosecutors called a “sinister minister” for killing his second wife. And in two months, Arthur Schirmer will go on trial again for killing his first wife.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Schirmer was convicted on charges of first-degree murder and evidence tampering. The Monroe County jury found that Schirmer staged an auto accident to cover up his killing of second wife Betty Schirmer, who died of brain injuries in 2008.
“Today, she can finally rest in peace,” said her son, Nate Novack.
The former Methodist pastor’s attorney, Brandon Reish, said he would appeal the ruling. In his closing argument, Reish said his client had no motive to kill Betty Schirmer.
“Accidents happen,” Reish said to the jury. “Sometimes there are no explanations. Car accidents, falling down stairs, falling off ladders. People die in accidents every day.”
Arthur Schirmer blamed a fall down the stairs for the 1999 death of his first wife, Jewel Schirmer, in nearby Lebanon County. His trial for that murder will begin in March, around the time his sentence for the death of Betty Schirmer will be handed down.
Watch WPMT-TV’S report on Schirmer’s conviction, aired Wednesday, below.