Last updated: February 20. 2013 1:15AM - 196 Views

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(AP) Opening statements have begun in the trial of a retired Pennsylvania pastor charged with killing his second wife in 2008.

Monroe County prosecutor Michael Mancuso told a jury Tuesday in the Poconos that Arthur A.B. Schirmer repeatedly hit his wife in the head with a heavy metal object, then staged a car accident in a bid to cover it up.

Mancuso says the plot unraveled a few months later when a member of the congregation committed suicide in the church office after learning that Schirmer was having an affair with the congregant's wife, the church secretary.

Schirmer is also charged separately with killing his first wife in 1999. Mancuso told the jury about that case, saying there are similarities in how the women were killed.

Schirmer has pleaded innocent in both cases.

Associated Press
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