The trial of a longtime Southern Baptist minister charged with murder in his wife’s 2013 stabbing death has been pushed back until 2017.
Richard Shahan, former children and families pastor and facilities director at First Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., will stand trial beginning Jan. 9, 2017, according to local media. Attorneys said the trial was postponed from the originally scheduled date of April 18 due to several outstanding issues and scheduling conflicts.
Karen Louise Shahan, 52, was found murdered July 23, 2013, in the home the couple rented from First Baptist Church. Richard Shahan first told investigators he was out of town visiting the couple’s two adult sons. Police did not file charges when they questioned Shahan shortly after her death but later said they kept coming back to him because of inconsistencies in his interviews.
Shahan, 55, was arrested Jan. 1, 2014, at an airport in Nashville, Tenn., trying to board a flight to Germany. Shahan’s lawyers said he was headed overseas for an extended mission trip and didn’t know a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Police said he had been secretly engaged in an affair and once in Europe planned to marry another man and never return to the United States.
Shahan is a 1985 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, who over the years served churches including First Baptist Church in Bryan, Texas; Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.; and Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. He resigned his position at First Baptist Church in Birmingham Dec. 31, 2013, after seven years, the last four months on paid administrative leave.
Shahan was released from jail two years ago on $100,000 bond and confined to house arrest with electronic monitoring.