STROUDSBURG — The defense took over in the homicide trial of a former pastor in Monroe County accused of killing his wife.
Some of the witnesses called to the stand Wednesday were members of Arthur Schirmer’s family.
Just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the prosecution rested its case.
Prosecutors believe Schirmer beat his wife, Betty, in July 2008, placed her in a car, then staged a crash on Route 715 near Tannersville to make it look like Betty was injured in that wreck.
Betty died a day later at a hospital.
The defense wasted no time and called nine witnesses to the stand.
Schirmer’s lawyer argues that the former pastor of the United Methodist Church in Reeders is on trial because of church gossip, bad science, and bad behavior.
Prosecutors in Lebanon County believe Schirmer is responsible for her death in 1999 and they plan to put Schirmer on trial there.
Julie Campbell testified that her father was devastated when both her mother Jewel and Betty died.
Micah Schirmer gave similar testimony. He told jurors that his father was distraught when his mother and Betty died.
The final witness of the day was Schirmer’s fiancée, Cynthia Moyer.
In 2008, she was married to the man who prosecutors say shot himself inside Schirmer’s church office because he believed his wife was having an affair with Schirmer.
Cynthia Moyer testified that she and Schirmer became close soon after Betty died and as her marriage was falling apart.
Arthur Schirmer’s defense attorney tells Newswatch 16 he plans to take most of the day Thursday to call more witnesses and expects to rest his case by Friday.
It’s still unclear whether Schirmer will testify.