Dateline   |  February 11, 2013

'Fallen', Part 11

Family members gather to hear the verdict.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> reverend a.b. schirmer stood accused of a brutal crime. bludgeoning to death his second to cover his tracks. in his closing argument the prosecutor asked the juror to expose schirmer, the sinister minister . pastor's story.

>> there was something mr. schirmer forgot being a typical male.

>> look closely at the photos of the accident scene, the prosecutor said. his investigator had noticed something was missing. something betty would have with her.

>> she's going to the hospital? what would she do? she gets dressed, grabs her purse and i stopped and i said, wait a minute. there's no purse.

>> it was a crucial prop, the prosecutor argued that a.b. had forgotten to throw in the car when he staged the car accident .

>> but the defense attorney in his final statement told the jurors there was no fake scene. he urged the jurors not to punish the reverend because of his self-confessed since. murder, he said, was not on that list.

>> they needed to focus, if they were willing on the forensics and not be brought into the idea that he's a bad person and therefore he did a bad thing. now it would be up to a panel of strangers to decide the pastor's fate.

>> while the jury deliberated, betty and jewel's children waited. a.b.'s stepson was convinced of his guilt. the evidence is just there and it's overwhelming.

>> a.b.'s daughters were convinced of his innocence. they had laut their mother jewel, would they lose their father now?

>> do you have self-pity?

>> no, i don't have self-pity. god is good. he's walked us beside us through what's happened.

>> >> i never know what the jury will do.

>> your line of work?

>> anything, yes.

>> anything can happen?

>> absolutely.

>> after an hour and a half of deliberation, the jurors had reached a verdict. betty 's family took their seats in the courtroom.

>> we're all huddled together in the seats and we all had our heads down.

>> then the verdict, guilty of first-degree murder.

>> we immediately hugged, a few of us shouted out and started crying.

>> for betty 's family, the moment was bittersweet. fresh waves of grief for betty 's loss and their brother-in-law a.b.'s betrayal.

>> so he was a stranger to all of you. this was deceit right from the beginning you think now?

>> yeah, i do.

>> sitting at your thanksgiving tables and stopping by, seeing the grandchildren? it was all a front.

>> i -- i think it was.

>> sandy, what did a.b. schirmer do to your family?

>> i think he physically broke our hearts and poor mom, you know, without a daughter.

>> she really cared for that guy, and it has to turn out to be like this.

>> on the other side of the courtroom a.b.'s daughters could not believe it.

>> it was -- it was another tragedy to hear that. i just -- i'm still -- i was just so sad. just cried, devastated. i still hear it in my head replaying and --

>> the verdict.

>> the verdict, and i don't agree with the decision.

>> we know regardless of what any jury says he never hurt betty .

>> how are you feeling right now?

>> the pastor's fiance sind he no comment for reporters after the verdict.

>> no reaction at all?

>> she was still standing by her man.

>> she still loves him. gives him $600 a month while he's been incarcerated.

>> samantha says her relationship with her mother is strained.

>> samantha , how do you conjure up a new mother-daughter relationship?

>> i love her, it's plain and simple. she's family, you know? she can wrong me in every way possible, but at the end of the day she's still my mother.

>> you love her?

>> yeah.

>> but the parent samantha is really living for these days is her late father. she says she dedicates every day to make him proud.

>> everything i do is for him now, you know? i hope he's proud of me.

>> in a sense of getting justice?

>> yeah. going -- everything, going to school, being successful, anything i wanted to do he believed i could do it.

>> samantha says she has found forgiveness for the man who could become her new stepdad, but betty 's son nate knows he isn't there yet.

>> i don't think i'll be able to say those words.

>> who is this guy, nate?

>> the sinister minister , presented himself as a pastor, pillar of the community, but we all know now there were skeletons in the closet and things going on behind the scenes . a.b. schirmer faces life in prison when he is sentenced next month. his defense attorney plans to appeal the verdict and argue, among other things, that the death of a.b.'s first wife jewel should never have been allowed to be a part of betty 's trial.

>> i think the admission of the first wife's circumstances surrounding the death of jewel shirm really did prejudice the case.

>> what do you have to say to betty 's family or yours.

>> as the former pastor was being taken off to jail, the prosecutor says he told deputies he felt strangely calm.

>> he couldn't understand why he felt so relaxed. i mean, i know why he felt so relaxed. he's been carrying this thing with him for many years, you know, these --

>> the truth will set you free .

>> terrible secrets and he felt that relief.

>> forgiveness is the providence of the church. justice is the duty of the state and there's another round to come. a.b. schirmer, the disgraced pastor is still expected to stand trial for the murder of his first wife jewel. his lawyer says he will plead not guilty later this month.