Trial begins in church murder

October 21, 2008 4:12:37 PM PDT
Trial proceedings are underway for the woman accused of killing a fellow congregant at their Bucks County church.Mary Jane Fonder is being tried on a charge of first degree murder.

Moments before jury selection was finalized on Tuesday, 66-year Mary Jane Fonder headed to court, once again proclaiming her innocence.

She is accused of killing fellow church member and church secretary Rhonda Smith last winter inside Trinity Evangelical Lutheran in Springfield Twp. Smith was shot twice in the head.

The motive, prosecutors say, was jealousy because of her infatuation with the church's pastor, Greg Shreaves, who was counseling Smith.

Fonder spoke to Action News on her way into court late Tuesday.

"I wouldn't hurt that girl for anything. I never touched anything, I didn't do anything. I'm innocent," Fonder said. She added she hopes to prove her innocence in court.

Fonder also told Action News there is a possibility that she will take the stand in her own defense.

A gun belonging to Fonder was released by police. It was found by fishermen in Lake Nockamixon.

The government's ballistic testing concluded the bullets that killed smith matched Fonder's gun.

The government will also present as evidence Fonder's diary, which mentions Rhonda Smith, murder and a hairdresser's appoint last January on the date of the murder.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks. It is not a death penalty case.

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