STROUDSBURG — Arthur Schirmer kept a straight face and walked briskly into the courthouse in Stroudsburg as reporters hit the former pastor with a barrage of questions about.
What really happened in July 2008? That’s when Schrimer’s wife Betty died soon after a car crash on route 715 near Tannersville.
During opening statements, the prosecution described a much more violent set of circumstances.
The prosecution first explained to the jury that the suicide of a member at the United Methodist Church in Reeders, not long after the car wreck, prompted their investigation into Betty’s death.
Prosecutors said the man took his own life inside the church because he was upset that Pastor Schirmer was having an affair with his wife.
The prosecution then told the jury of seven women and five men they believe Schirmer beat his wife then staged the car crash to make it look as though Betty Schirmer died in the wreck.
The prosecution connected the circumstances of that crash in 2008 to the circumstances surrounding the death of Schirmer’s first wife jewel in Lebanon County, in 1999.
In Jewel’s death, prosecutors believe Schirmer beat her, then made it look like she died after falling down stairs. Schirmer is awaiting trial for Jewel’s death in Lebanon County.
The defense believes the reason Schrimer is on trial for Betty Schirmer’s death in Monroe County, is a result of church gossip, bad behavior, and bad science.
Defenders said the church gossip about the suicide. Led to allegations that Schirmer killed Betty.
And Schirmer’s affair added to the speculation.
Defense attorney’s also argue that the investigation into the death of Schirmer’s first wife was flawed.