Not guilty plea in Bucks Co. church shooting

June 6, 2008 6:44:53 PM PDT
A Bucks County woman pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and possession of a weapon in the shooting death of a fellow church member earlier this year.

Sixty-five-year-old Mary Jane Fonder faces life in prison if convicted of killing 42-year-old Rhonda Smith in Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on Jan. 23.

Fonder's attorney, Michael Applebaum, says he believes police made a "horrible" mistake in arresting his client. He says he thinks Fonder "is an honest individual ... a kind individual" and he expects her to be vindicated at her scheduled August trial.

Prosecutors say Fonder had romantic feelings for her pastor and was jealous that Smith, a volunteer secretary, was getting attention from him.

Fonder has been in prison since her April 1 arrest.

Information from: The Morning Call,