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Prosecution rests in cases of former pastor accused of killing wife

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 15 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 17 2013 06:14:12 AM CST

The prosecution has rested.

The prosecution has rested.

Now jurors in the Arthur Schirmer murder trial will hear the former pastor's side of the story.

This is the first of two trials Schirmer is facing charges that he killed two wives.

For the last week-and-a-half Monroe County jurors have heard testimony that former pastor Schirmer killed one wife in 1999 and another in 2008 and tried to cover up both.

"Do you think you are going to be able to prove that both of your wives' deaths were accidents?" 69News reporter Jaccii Farris asked as Schirmer was being led from the courtroom.

That's exactly what the defense is trying to do. They plan to convince the jury Jewel Schirmer died after falling down the stairs at the couple's Lebanon County home.

And that Betty Jean Schirmer died after a car accident in Pocono Township, Monroe County, in which Schirmer was driving.

The prosecution says both women were beaten in the head with something similar to a crowbar and Schirmer showed no emotion or remorse after either of the deaths.

On the first day of defense testimony in the trial involving Betty Jean's death, two of Schirmer's children told jurors otherwise.

Schirmer's son and one of his daughters testified their father was devastated when their mother Jewel died and then again when Betty Jean was killed.

Also on the stand was Schirmer's fiance, Cindy Moyer.

Moyer and Schirmer started their relationship two months after Betty Jean died.

Moyer's husband killed himself in Schirmer's office a month later -- in October of 2008 -- after finding out the two were having an "emotional affair."

Before trial wrapped for the day, Schirmer and his attorney met with the judge to talk about testifying.

If Schirmer chooses not to testify in this trial, he will get another opportunity when he goes to trial for the death of Jewel Schirmer this spring.