Pastor Tries To Leave Country, Accused Of Wife’s Murder

    January 17, 2014
    Amanda Crum

A former Alabama pastor has been charged with murdering his wife and is now in custody after attempting to leave the country for England, where officials say he planned to marry his boyfriend.

Richard Lee Shahan was taken into custody last summer after his wife was found stabbed to death, but police said it was for “investigative purposes” and didn’t hold him. While he claimed he was out of town visiting family when the murder occurred, authorities found evidence from emails that he planned to leave the country for good and settle in the U.K. He was arrested at the airport on January 1.

“He planned to become a citizen there and begin a new life with his boyfriend… who he intended to marry,” Deputy Jefferson County District Attorney Leigh Gwathney said. “He had no intention of ever returning to the United States. He had no home to return to and he had said his goodbyes to his family.”

Shahan’s attorneys say that the trip includes a mission trip, which he had been planning for some time, but authorities say they have significant evidence that points to a motive for Karen Shahan’s murder.

“Our client had made plans to go on a mission trip,” Shahan’s attorney, Wendell Sheffield, told the judge. “(Prosecutors) are wanting you to overlook the fact that he had told everyone of his plans.”

Shahan is currently being held on $100,000 bond and, if released, will have to wear an electronic monitoring device while on house arrest.

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