Porn-addict pastor killed two wives and managed to make them look like accidents for years

AB was dubbed by the media as 'The Sinister Minister' and admitted in court that he was addicted to porn and regularly cheated on his partners, but insisted he did not kill them


                            Porn-addict pastor killed two wives and managed to make them look like accidents for years

Reeders, Pennsylvania. July 15, 2008: PA State Route 715 is the scene of an accident involving two prominent members of the small community, Pastor AB Schirmer, and his wife of 13 years Betty Schirmer. While AB escaped relatively unscathed, Betty suffered head trauma, brain injury, multiple face and skull fractures, and extensive internal bleeding and was in critical condition.

She was rushed to the hospital but was soon declared brain dead, with AB deciding soon after to pull the plug. The coroner didn't see any reason to suspect the means of death and ruled it accidental, with AB taking the hasty decision of having her body cremated less than 24 hours after the ruling.

The case of AB Schirmer is the subject of Oxygen docuseries 'Accident, Suicide or Murder' (Source: Oxygen)
The case of AB Schirmer is the subject of Oxygen docuseries 'Accident, Suicide or Murder' (Source: Oxygen)

While eyebrows were raised at the hastiness of the decision, AB revealed he and Betty, his second wife, had both agreed to cremation, and because of his position as a well-respected pastor, not many questioned it further. But his position as a standup member of the community soon came into question, with Oxygen docuseries 'Accident, Suicide or Murder' revisiting the events that exposed his true colors.

Not even a few months had passed since Betty's death and rumors began circling that AB was having an affair with Cindy Musante, the wife of a parishioner who he had been counseling because of marriage troubles.

Messages between the pair were discovered by the latter's daughter, who promptly informed her father, Joe. In a fit of rage, he left the house with a handgun in search of AB, went to his church, and shot himself in the mouth behind a desk inside AB's office.

While the death rocked the community, AB and his newfound love decided the suicide would be the opportune time to come out as a couple, further tarnishing his once spotless repute. Joe's sister, Rose, filed an official complaint with the bishop, and AB, not wanting further investigation, decided to step down from his position as pastor.

AB's affair with Cindy came out just a few months after Betty's death (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)
AB's affair with Cindy came out just a few months after Betty's death (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)

However, that didn't stop several other parishioners coming out with their own stories of how AB was a serial cheater who had affairs with their loved ones. By this point, investigators who had previously ruled Betty's death an accident began growing suspicious of AB, with that suspicion compounded when they uncovered that his first wife, Jewel, had also died in a fatal accident in 1999.

Detectives subsequently obtained a search warrant to search the parsonage where AB and Betty had been living together prior to her death and found spots of her blood on the floor of the garage and on a pile of wood kept in the garage.

A closer look at the accident scene then revealed there were inconsistencies with AB's version of the story. He claimed he had been traveling at 50 mph when he hit the guardrail trying to avoid a deer, while forensics suggested he could not have been traveling faster than 20 because of the nature of his injuries, or the lack of them. Furthermore, they ruled that because of the bloodstain patterns on the seats, the injuries Betty suffered could only have been sustained if she had been attacked prior to the crash and then loaded into the vehicle.

Investigators found inconsistencies with Schirmer's story (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)
Investigators found inconsistencies with Schirmer's story (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)

A comparison between the deaths of Betty and Jewel revealed that the first wife had suffered identical injuries to the head. While the official cause of death was ruled to be a fatal accident — she was an organ donor and doctors found she had suffered a heart attack — so the detectives decided to take another look at Jewel's case.

This time around, medical experts found she had suffered the heart attack after sustaining brain trauma, and that the latter was the true cause of her death. All of a sudden, AB, who was enjoying his new life with Cindy, was being investigated for two murders.

Unknown to him, a grand jury was convened in October 2009 to look into the case of Betty Schirmer, and nine months later, in July 2010, the cause of death was changed to murder. AB was arrested in September that year and held without bail, with his trial at the Monroe County Courthouse in January 2013 bringing up the sordid details of his life.

It was claimed that AB killed Betty before loading her into the car (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)
It was claimed that AB killed Betty before loading her into the car (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)

Prosecutors revealed that AB was a philanderer, a pornography addict, and a serial adulterer. They argued that Betty was killed after the disgraced pastor bludgeoned her in the head with a crowbar because he couldn't risk letting her find out about his affair with Cindy.

AB, who took the stand in his own defense, was dubbed by the media as 'The Sinister Minister'. He admitted that he was addicted to porn and regularly cheated on his partners, but insisted he did not kill his wife.

It took the jury only a few hours to find him guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison. But his misery was not over quite yet. Just days after his arrest in September 2010, a second grand jury was convened to look into the death of Jewel Schirmer. AB was indicted on a second murder charge a few days after he was convicted for the murder of Betty. 

Schirmer is serving a life sentence + 40 years behind bars for the two murders (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)
Schirmer is serving a life sentence + 40 years behind bars for the two murders (Source: Monroe County DA's Office)

This time around, he pleaded no contest to a charge of third-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison that he will have to serve consecutively with his previous sentence, effectively condemning him to death behind bars.

Cindy, whom he is still engaged to, has continued to support him despite his convictions and insists he is being framed for the deaths of Betty and Jewel. It's a stance shared by his children, who have continued to support him in prison and are advocating for his release.

Oxygen's newest crime docuseries 'Accident, Suicide or Murder' explores the mysterious deaths of Betty and Jewel, the two wives of AB Schirmer