Judge rejects pastor’s appeal in slaying of second wife

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania judge has rejected an appeal by a former pastor convicted killing two wives.

The most recent appeal by 69-year-old Arthur Schirmer was rejected last week by a Monroe County judge. Schirmer sought to overturn his 2013 murder conviction in the 2008 death of his second wife, Betty. Prosecutors contend he bludgeoned her with a crow bar then staged a car accident to cover it up. The judge rejected Schirmer’s claims that his attorney was ineffective and that prosecutors committed misconduct.

The former Methodist pastor is serving a life sentence in that case plus 20 to 40 years in prison in the 1999 death of his first wife, 50-year-old Jewel Schirmer.

Lebanon County prosecutors say that woman was bludgeoned, too, though Schirmer claimed she died from falling down their basement steps.

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