More Homicide Charges Against Former Pastor

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STROUDSBURG -- A former pastor in Monroe County has been charged with murder for the second time.

Arthur Schirmer is already in jail awaiting trial for the murder of his second wife. Friday morning, he was charged with killing his first wife.

The strange death of Betty Jean Schirmer in 2008 in Monroe County led authorities in Lebanon County to take another look at the 1999 death of Jewel Schirmer.

It's been two years since Arthur Schirmer was ordered to stand trial in Monroe County for the death of his second wife Betty. At the time of her death, Schirmer was the pastor of Reeders United Methodist Church.

In September, 2008, Schirmer told police he was driving Betty to the hospital when he said a deer crossed Route 715 forcing him off the road.

Investigators said Schirmer claimed his wife died in the wreck, but detectives believe the former pastor beat his wife, then staged the crash.

That case in Monroe County led authorities in Lebanon County to reopen the investigation into the death of Schirmer`s first wife Jewel in 1999.

Police originally believed she fell down the stairs at her home in Lebanon. After a two-year investigation, authorities believe Jewel Schirmer`s death 13 years ago was no accident, and they have charged Schirmer with criminal homicide.

"I've been waiting 13 years for this day to come," said Jewel's brother John Behney, "and its time for justice."

Justice is likely to come in Monroe County before it happens in Lebanon County.

That's because Arthur Schimer first trial is scheduled to take place in Stroudsburg in January, for the murder of his wife Betty.