Pastor held in wife's murder

AftenPoften - Norway/January 29, 2004

A Pentecostal pastor from Norway was in custody in Sweden Thursday, charged along with his female neighbour for the murder of his wife and attempted murder of his neighbor's husband. Swedish police claim the two have had a romantic relationship and needed to get rid of their spouses.

Police also suspect the pastor doped his own children so they wouldn't wake up when his 23-year-old wife was shot on the night of January 10.

Her body was found in bed while the pastor himself was escorting his neighbour, wounded in another shooting, to the hospital. The pastor claimed he'd been awakened when the neighbour was allegedly shot by a masked man.

The shootings shocked the small town of Knutby, about an hour's drive from Stockholm, where residents initially feared a killer was on the loose.

Police, however, quickly arrested another woman, who once had been part of the Pentecostal movement and worked in the pastor's home. She left both the church and the small town in November, after allegedly beating up the pastor's young wife in a fit of jealousy.

The 26-year-old woman was apprehended at her new home in Smaaland and the next day she claimed she not only had shot the pastor's neighbour but also killed his wife.

Police initially thought the case was wrapped up, but continued their investigation to see whether the confession was backed up by technical evidence and other information. Their efforts soon yielded news of a romantic relationship between the wounded neighbor's wife and the pastor.

The 26-year-old woman later told a Swedish newspaper that she shot "the persons I should shoot." Police continued to investigate whether others were involved.

Theories soon flourished that the woman had been brainwashed, and police continued to question her.

Police are also re-examining the circumstances surrounding the death four years ago of the pastor's first wife. She allegedly died after falling in the family's bathtub and the death was initially ruled an accident.

The couple's three children have been placed in protective custody.

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