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Documents Shed New Light On Pastor Accused Of Murder

By Jaccii Farris
Published On: Aug 18 2011 11:36:37 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 17 2010 07:57:40 AM CDT

Two deaths assumed to be accidents are now getting a second look because of a suicide.

Police say all three people had ties to former Monroe County Pastor Arthur Schirmer, who is now behind bars facing murder charges.

The grand jury indictment against 62-year-old former Pastor Arthur Schirmer of Monroe County weaves a complicated web investigators are now trying to unravel..

It started October 29th, 2008 when the body of Joseph Musante was found in Schirmer's office at Reeder's United Methodist Church in Jackson Township.

Investigators pieced together an alleged affair between Schirmer and Musante's wife.

The indictment says at that time investigators learned both of Schirmer's wives had died.

The first, was back in 1999.

The indictment says Schirmer told police he found Jewel Shirmer dead at the bottom of the basement stairs of their Lebanon County home.

The coroner testified that while Jewel died of blunt force trauma, her death was not consistent with a fall.

Next, the indictment describes the events of July of 2008.

Schirmer crashed his PT Cruiser into a guardrail on route 715 in Pocono Township.

Schirmer was uninjured, but his wife, 58-year-old Betty Jean Schirmer was fatally injured.

Schirmer told police Betty Jean wasn't wearing a seat belt when he swerved to miss a deer and crashed.

The indictment says State Police crash experts determined that Schirmer's story and the damages to his car didn't jive. It goes on to say that information was never passed along to investigators.

So Schirmer's story was never challenged.

The indictment says a trail of Betty Jean's blood was later found in the couple's garage, but Schirmer says that was from an earlier accident.

The grand jury charged Schirmer with Betty Jean's murder and the Lebanon County District Attorney is re-examining Jewel Schirmer's Death.

Arthur Schirmer is now being held at the Monroe County prison.