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Date published: 1/18/2013

Blood stains support pastor's claims, defense expert says

STROUDSBURG, Pa.

--A defense expert says blood evidence found in the car of a Pennsylvania pastor charged with fatally bludgeoning his wife is consistent with the clergyman's claim that she, instead, died of head injuries from a car crash.

The Pocono Record reports the testimony by the expert, Anita Zannin, comes in the eighth day of the Monroe County trial of 64-year-old Arthur Schirmer, who is charged in the July 2008 death of his second wife, Betty. He's awaiting trial on charges he similarly killed his first wife, Jewel, in 1999 only to claim she died from falling down stairs.

Prosecutors say Schirmer staged a car crash to cover up the alleged 2008 killing.

But Zannin says blood found inside the car is consistent with Schirmer's claim that his second wife hit her head during the crash.