Arthur “A.B.” Schirmer, a former Methodist clergyman, has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years by a Lebanon County judge for the death of his first wife in 1999. The 66 year old Pennsylvanian is already serving a life sentence without parole for killing his second wife in 2008, who he brutally bludgeoned to death.
The former Lebanon pastor pleaded no-contest to charges that he killed his wife of 31 years, Jewel Schirmer in April of 1999. His new sentence will run consecutively to the life sentence.
Schirmer could be a sociopath
The defendant claimed he returned home after a run and found his wife lying at the bottom of the basement steps in a pool of blood. The murder only came to light after Schirmer was charged with the murder of his second wife in 2008. He allegedly used a crowbar to kill her and was convicted of first degree murder. At the time of Jewel Schirmer’s death, he was pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church in Lebanon. Sounds like a wonderful place to worship.
Despite a fractured skull and bodily injuries found on 50 year old Jewel Schirmer, the case was closed since the coroner did not determine if her death was accidental or homicidal. However, authorities reopened investigations after Schirmer was convicted in the second murder. He was charged with third degree murder in June after pleading no contest. Medical Examiner Dr. Wayne Ross suspected homicide in both deaths and even showed a comparison between the injuries of Schirmer’s two wives on CBS ’48 hours’.
While he bludgeoned second wife Betty Schirmer to death, he staged a car accident to cover up for the brutal crime a mile from the couple’s home at the Pocono Township in Monroe County. He later told police that he struck a guardrail when trying to swerve and avoid a deer. However, the authorities said she was killed with a crowbar in the parsonage. According to Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold there was no doubt Schirmer was guilty as he beat his wife Jewel on the head multiple times with a crowbar.
Why did she marry this person after what happened to his first wife? Evidently she was not suspicious at all.
Schirmer still denies killing his first wife Jewel despite the no-contest plea while his two daughters seem to be convinced and told the judge that they also believe their father was innocent. Aptly dubbed the ‘sinister minister’ by a prosecutor and probably a shameless one too, Schirmer told Judge John Tylwalk he may not have been the best husband, father, or pastor but wasn’t a murderer. However, the judge did not buy that and sent him to prison for the rest of his life.
Why did Schirmer say he may not have been those things?
Big evil names
John Behney, Jewel’s brother, compared Schirmer to mass murders like Charles Manson and Ted Bundy. He was present at Court Room 1 of the Lebanon Municipal Building at the time of sentencing and said he waited patiently for the day when justice would prevail. He believes Schirmer is also responsible for the death of Joe Musante, a parishioner of Reeders United Methodist Church, where Schirmer moved to in 2001. Musante is alleged to have committed suicide and was found at the pastor’s desk with a single gunshot wound to the head in October 2008.
A split personality?
Schirmer’s daughters and their husbands made fervent pleas for lenience to Judge John Tylwalk. His criminal defense attorney also read a letter from Shirmer’s son Micah, who described his father as a loving and considerate man. However, they did acknowledge that their parents did have arguments. The judge was baffled but unmoved by all the contradictory statements and asked Schirmer if he was always a caring person or a multiple adulterer leading a double life.