Former Pastor Sentenced to Life for Wife’s Murder

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

STROUDSBURG -- The former pastor in the Poconos convicted of killing his second wife, will spend life behind bars.

Arthur Schirmer was sentenced Monday morning, after a judge heard from family members on both sides.

For about an hour and a half, a judge listened to Arthur Schirmer's family, as they said the former pastor was innocent.

Then members of Betty's family took their turn, and explained how the former pastor broke their family to pieces.

After all was said, Schirmer was sentenced to life.

Dressed in blue, convicted killer, and former pastor, Arthur Schirmer was escorted into the courtroom in Stroudsburg to face the family of his second wife, and listen to what life is like without their loved one.

One of the people who confronted Schirmer for his sentencing was Nate Novack, Betty Schirmer's only son.

Inside the courtroom he told the former pastor that his mother always taught him to forgive, but in this case, Nate apologized to his mother, and said he couldn't forgive Schirmer for what he did.

Schirmer was convicted in January, of staging a car crash on route 715 near Tannersville in July 2008 to make it look like Betty was injured in the wreck.

Betty later died. Prosecutors called it murder and the jury agreed.

Nate wasn't alone, and other family members also spoke up, including Betty's mother, Jean Shertzer.

"You don't deserve to live. You can't hurt anyone else, you murderer, I hate you," said Shertzer.

Schirmer's oldest daughter and fiance, told the judge Schirmer is an innocent man, but the judge sentenced Schirmer to life in prison without parole and said:

"I thought many times you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is something you will have to live with on the day you're judged. Not by me, but by a higher power."

"I think it's a great day overall, although the life conviction isn't going to bring my mom back, definitely a lot better today," said Novack.

Schirmer's family still believes the former pastor is innocent.

"I've been asked that question, how's he doing, my statement is: how would you be doing if you knew you were innocent and you've been incarcerated for two and a half years,” said Shirmer’s fiance, Cynthia Moyer.


"He is the best dad that I could have ever asked for. I thank god for him, and we love him very much," said Shirmer’s daughter, Julie Campbell.

"Yay it's over, too bad they didn't let me on the other side of that rope. I would have killed that (beep)," said Shertzer.

Schirmer's sentenced of life in prison is "without parole."

The former pastor is also accused of killing his first wife Jewel in Lebanon County in 1999. He's scheduled to stand trial this November for that murder.