Jurors: Hard to believe Lebanon County pastor’s spouses ‘could have suffered such horrific injuries by accident’

The Patriot-News

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012


Members of the investigating grand jury found disquieting similarities between the deaths of Betty Jean Schirmer in 2008 and Jewel Schirmer in 1999.

Both died of traumatic brain injuries. And both were married to pastor Arthur Schirmer at the time of their deaths.

Arthur Burton Schirmer already is facing trial for homicide in Monroe County for Betty’s death. Now he is also charged with the murder of Jewel in Lebanon County.

In the grand jury report, the jurors wrote, “We find it particularly disturbing and difficult to believe that both of A.B. Schirmer’s wives could have suffered such horrific injuries by accident.”

Schirmer, 64, was pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church in Lebanon at the time of Jewel’s death and, as noted by Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold, “well-known in the community.”

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