Victim’s Son Emotional Testimony at Pastor’s Murder Trial

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STROUDSBURG -- Nathanial Novack is the only son of Betty Schirmer.

Betty died after a July 2008 car crash on route 715 near Tannersville.

But prosecutors said Novack's mom was first beaten by her husband, former Pastor Arthur Schirmer, who then staged the crash to make it look like Betty was injured from the wreck.

Betty died soon after at a hospital.

Novack is now 38-years-old, is married, and has a family of his own, as he explained on the witness stand in court.

Novack first testified his mom taught him to always wear his seatbelt because as she said, "seat belts save lives".

He added she always buckled up.

But prosecutors said the day of the crash, Betty wasn't wearing her seat belt, supporting their claim that the crash was staged.

The defense argues she took it off the seat belt to adjust herself right as Schrimer swerved to miss a deer, then hit this guide rail.

The victim's son also testified the last time he spoke to his mom was on the phone when she called days before she died.

On the phone, Novack said his mom sounded distracted and he asked what was wrong.

He testified that she told him she wanted to reach out and tell him she loved him and the family.

The day of the crash, Novack went to the hospital to see his mom and while on the witness stand, broke down about what his mom looked like.

In between sobbing, Novack told the jury he gave his mom a picture of him, his son and her that was taken the Christmas before and that he put the picture in her hand.

It was during that piece of testimony, the former pastor was also crying, wiping away his tears with a tissue barely looking at Novack who had to pause in his testimony to collect himself.