Saturday, September 29, 2012

Accident or Non-Accident? A Dummy May Tell

Two (former) wives of a philandering pastor died "accidentally." The second wife died in 2008 in an automobile crash that may or may not have been an accident.

The first wife was found dead in 1999 at bottom of the basement steps in her home. At the time the coroner did not decide whether this second death was an accident or a homicide.

After the pastor -- Schirmer -- was charged with the murder of his second wife -- the prosecutors claim that Mr. Schirmer staged the 2008 automobile "accident" --, prosecutors in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, re-examined the death of the first wife, Jewel Schirmer.  Jewel's "body [had been found] in a pool of blood at the bottom of the basement steps" and "she had suffered a fractured skull as well as injuries to her face, body, arms and legs."
[Government?] [i]nvestigators hired a biomechanical engineering firm to recreate Jewel Schirmer’s supposed fall down the stairs. The firm used a test dummy fitted with various instruments to collect data on the forces to which her tumbling body would have been subjected.
"We found the ’crash dummy’ evidence to be particularly compelling, as it indicated to us that Jewel could not have suffered all of her injuries by accidentally falling down a flight of stairs," the grand jury wrote.
The grand jury cited medical testimony that revealed Schirmer likely used blunt objects to kill both his wives.
"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. To the contrary, we believe probable cause exists to believe that neither woman died from an accident," the report said.
Source: Authorities: Retired pastor killed both wives, Boston Herald (A.P. story; Sept. 29, 2012)
 
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