'Jealous' woman charged in church killing

April 1, 2008 at 9:13 PM
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DOYLESTOWN, Pa., April 1 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman was charged Tuesday with killing a fellow church volunteer, allegedly because she was jealous of the attention paid her by their pastor.

The arrest of Mary Jane Fonder, 65, of Kintnersville followed a two-month investigation, The Intelligencer of Doylestown reported. Fonder allegedly shot Rhonda Smith, 42, in a Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church office in Springfield.

"The defendant had strong feelings for the pastor," Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said at a news conference. "She was jealous the victim was getting attention."

The shooting took place in an area where the Philadelphia suburbs give way to rural communities, and the delay in finding a suspect frightened many residents, the newspaper reported.

Investigators got a break Saturday when a father and son found a .45-caliber Rossi handgun, the weapon Fonder allegedly used, at the edge of Lake Nockamixon.

Smith's father, Jim Smith, told the Allentown Morning Call he still did not understand why anyone would kill his daughter and said he had not been told about the arrest.

Smith was working in the office as a volunteer when she was shot. Both she and Fonder were reportedly active church members.

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