Ex-Pastor Guilty of Killing Wife

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EAST STROUDSBURG -- After weeks of testimony, a Monroe County jury found Arthur Schirmer, a former pastor, guilty of beating death of his wife.

A jury believes Schirmer beat Betty in July of 2008, then staged a car crash on Route 715 near Tannersville, to make it look like Betty was injured in that wreck.

For three and a half hours, the ex-pastor and a courtroom filled with his family and the family and friends of his wife Betty, listened to closing arguments.

Schirmer's defense attorney, Brandon Reish, began by saying to the jury, "Having an affair does not make someone murder.”

The prosecution then got up and told the jury Arthur Schirmer is a "sinister minister,” that he did beat Betty and staged the car crash.

He added, "Do not believe for a minute she was killed in that crash, use your common sense and life experiences.”

That's exactly what the jury did and found Schirmer guilty Tuesday afternoon.

“By no means does it bring either victim back, it's always an element of bitter-sweetness to it," said Mike Mancuso, the Assistant District Attorney.

“I think the admission of the first wife, circumstances surrounding the death of Jewel Schirmer, really did prejudice the case," said Reish.

For Betty's family, the verdict is a relief.

“We've been waiting for this for so long. It's just a blessing,” said Bill Shertzer, Betty's friend.

“I just want to thank everyone involved with bringing my mom's killer to justice and today she can finally rest in peace,” said Nate Novack, Betty's son.

Schirmer will be sentenced at a later date.

He is still facing trial in the spring in Lebanon County for the 1999 death of his first wife, Jewel.