Aftermath of Community Post Conviction
REEDERS — People in the Poconos are glad that a Monroe County jury found a former pastor guilty of killing his wife.
However, some neighbors believe the trial left a mark on their once-quiet community of Reeders.
For the past two weeks, Reeders has had more than its 15 minutes of fame. It’s been in the national spotlight thanks to a former pastor, Arthur Schirmer, who is now a convicted murderer.
A Monroe County jury said he killed his wife Betty in July of 2008. A jury believes Schirmer beat her and then staged a car crash to make it look like Betty was injured in that wreck.
“I think he’s guilty as sin,” said Vince Collizo of Reeders.
“He got what he deserved,” said Debbie Loch of Reeders.
“I think he is guilty,” said Robyn Widdoss of Reeders.
While many in Reeders said that they agree with the jury’s verdict, some said now that the trial is all said and done, Reeders United Methodist Church has been impacted by all the attention.
“I don’t think the church will ever be the same,” said Widdoss.
Widdoss used to attend the Reeders church and was also married there. But since the trial, she no longer worships there. She thinks the media attention has left a scar.
“I don’t think it will be out of the spotlight quite that quick for it to be a dead, gone issue. There’s a lot of healing that has to happen,” said Widdoss.
Debbie Loch disagrees. She is a member of Reeders United Methodist Church and said the healing has already begun.
“The church stuck together and they have come out wonderfully through this and the pastor who’s there now is an absolutely wonderful human being,” said Loch.
The pastor did not want to go on camera, but gave a statement to Newswatch 16.
“We are deeply grieved when someone in a trusted pastoral position betrays that trust. We are deeply grieved by Betty Jean’s tragic death, as well as the death of Jewel Schirmer.”
Former Pastor Arthur Schirmer will be sentenced on March 18 at the Monroe County Courthouse.
He will then face trial for the 1999 death of his first wife Jewel in Lebanon County.
No date is set for that trial.