A Baptist preacher from Homewood, Alabama, wrote to two of his gay lovers that he was praying and waiting for the death of his wife months before her murder, reports AL.com.
Richard Shahan was arrested in January 2014 for the murder of his wife, Karen Shahan, as he attempted to board a plane bound for Germany, where he claimed he would be working with the Children’s Ministry of Bible Mission International.
Karen Shahan was found stabbed to death, with her hands showing defensive wounds, in the couple's home in July of 2013.
Documents released by prosecutors show the pastor had been confronted by his wife over multiple gay affairs he was having with men outside of Alabama. In an email to an unidentified friend, she wrote, "I said that if he was having any interactions that were not right before God that he should go to God and be completely honest with him because he knows anyway."
Prosecutors say that email and text message conversations between Richard Shahan and his two lovers -- described as "paramours" -- include explicit sexual comments as well as wishing for his wife's death.
"I'm in a legal marriage contract [sic]. There is not an acceptable way for me to dissolve that and continue with the things that are important to me (my job and children)" Shahan wrote. "There is only one way I could become legally 'single' and I have to wait until God grants me that gift. It will come; the woman I live with is slowly killing herself – she is diabetic and refuses to take care of herself physically. Her mother died early with the same disease and did the same thing to her body. So I pray and wait. It will happen in God's timing."
Shahan also expressed fear that the community might learn of his affairs, while writing to one lover that he someday wished to move to Scotland to be with him.
"And then I find myself thinking about and picturing myself packing up and leaving my life and moving to Scotland and the two of us living together for the rest of our lives, he wrote in 2011," he wrote.
Shahan was reportedly in Franklin, Tennessee on the day his wife was murdered, however prosecutors believe he used that as an alibi, returning that day after checking into his hotel room and then turning off his phone.
In a court filing, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Lamb wrote, ""Clearly, the State believes the Defendant attempted to create an alibi, covertly returned to Birmingham, and was present when Karen Shahan was killed. While it is probable that Defendant personally killed his wife, it is possible he had an accomplice."
Defense attorneys for Shahan described the evidence against the pastor as "circumstantial."