Dec 26, 7:11 PM EST

Judge rejects ex-pastor's appeal in wife's death


LEBANON, Pa. (AP) -- A central Pennsylvania judge has rejected an appeal by a former pastor convicted of having killed two wives.

The Lebanon Daily News ( http://bit.ly/1znwByk ) reports that Lebanon County President Judge John Tywalk earlier this month rejected the appeal of 66-year-old Arthur Schirmer.

Schirmer was sentenced in September to 20 to 40 years in the 1999 death of 50-year-old Jewel Schirmer, his wife of 21 years.

Among the defense arguments Tywalk rejected was the public defender's contention that Schirmer's no-contest plea to third-degree murder was improperly interpreted as a failure to take responsibility.

Schirmer was already serving a life term in the 2008 death of his second wife, Betty, in Monroe County. Authorities said he killed her with a crowbar and staged a car accident to try to conceal the crime.

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Information from: Lebanon Daily News, http://www.ldnews.com

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