Murder by Church Leaders or Their Staff

These are just a few of the killing incidents we have identified. Most entries on these pages only contain arrests, charges, or indictments, which may eventually be reduced, dropped, or expunged, and as such, these actors may in fact be innocent in a court of law. These are just a few of the murders, attempted murders, and justifiable homicides we have identified. There are many more to be uploaded, so please check back.

Click on the link to read the report.

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

  • Matt Dee Baker (pastor) was arrested for murdering his wife. Crossroads Baptist Church, Lorena, TX. The Valley of The Shadow Of Death.
  • Andrew David White (pastor’s son) was arrested for the murder a woman in the basement of the church parsonage. According to police, drugs may have played a role. Shady Grove Wesleyan Church, Colfax, NC. Minister’s son charged in death.

2005

2004

  • Howard Douglas Porter (pastor) convicted for killing an elderly man who he was swindling for over $1M. Hickman Community Church, Hickman, CA. Preacher convicted of murder loses support.
  • Anthony Hopkins (evangelist) convicted of murdering his wife, burying her, exhuming her and storing her in a freezer. Many other charges were made including incest. Inspirational Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, Jackson, AL. Unidentified church affiliation, Mobile, AL. Jury finds preacher guilty of murdering wife, sexually abusing stepdaughter.
  • Amos Hicks (pastor) pleaded guilty to killing his wife by gunshot. Church of the Living God, Pascagoula, MS. Moss Point Pastor Held In Capital Murder Case.
  • Melvin Bynum (pastor) charged with killing his wife by strangulation. The body was placed in a car trunk and the vehicle dumped. Cry Out Loud Ministry, Sanford, NC. Sanford Pastor Charged With First-Degree Murder.
  • Richard Scott Harper (assistant pastor) arrested for allegedly killing his sexual rival with assistance of the victim’s wife. Hollywood Baptist Church, Rome, GA. Police: Triangle turns deadly Victim’s wife, pastor arrested. Newslibrary.com.

2003

2002

  • Ryan G. Erickson (priest) judged by coroner’s jury to have murdered two in funeral home shooting. Erickson suicided as police closed in on him exercising a search warrant. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hurley, WI. Double murder is now 10 years old.
  • Michael “Mike” Tabb (minister) pleaded guilty to beating his wife to death. Tabb hung out at gentleman’s club during her funeral. Methodist Church, Troup, TX. Minister gets 55 years in prison for wife’s murder.

2001

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

2000

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

1999

1998

1997

  • Christ Community Church, Bainbridge Island, WA. Nickolas Hacheney (pastor) arrested and convicted for strangling his wife and then setting their home on fire as a cover for the crime. He was convicted in part due to the testimony of his adulteress girlfriend to whom he admitted the murder. Woman pursued by suspect testifies.
  • George Crossley (religious broadcaster) arrested and charged with “solicitation to commit murder and arson.” Orlando Sentinel 5/14/97

1996

  • Williams Temple of the Apostolic Faith Church; The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ; Brooklyn, NY. Ben Williams (pastor) arrested for murder. This is a longstanding feud between two nearby churches regarding the successfulness of each that has ended in a murderous shooting.  Anger lingers in church-feud shootings. 
  • Landmark Church of God, Nitro, WV. Mike Flippo (minister) arrested for murdering his wife. He claimed they were being stalked, but he had recently drawn a $100,000 insurance policy on her.  Minister faces murder charge in wife’s death.
  • Unidentified church, Plant City, FL. Samuel L. Smithers (deacon) arrested for killing two female prostitutes. One was apparently beaten with an axe and stabbed. He was convicted and placed on death row. The mysterious Mr. X.
  • Great Poplar Springs Baptist Church, Jasper, FL.  John Patton (deacon) arrested for shooting his wife. He wrongly suspected she was cheating on him. 99-year old man blows away cheating wife. Weekly World News, Apr 9, 1.

1995

1994

  • Strength for Living Church, Jacksonville, FL. Ronnie Lee Hyde (youth pastor) arrested for murdering and dismembering a 16-year old boy. Remains were found outside of a dumpster.  Counselor, former youth pastor accused of killing teen in 1994.
  • Hebert Valmond (pastor) arrested by immigration officials because he is suspected of being a war criminal, participating in the torture and massacre of Haitian peasants. Pastor arrested as war criminal. Newslibrary.com.

1993

1992

  • Currently at Chapel of Change, Long Beach, CA. Brian Warth (pre-pastor) and gang member, murdered a 16-year old. He pled guilty to 2nd degree murder.  From murder to ministry, reformed Long Beach pastor preaches redemption.
  • Unidentified Baptist church, Bastrop, LA. Freddie Armstrong (pastor) arrested for “killing another minister at a funeral home and cutting off his head.” Minister killed: Pastor arrested in slaying of another in funeral home. Newslibrary.com.

1991

1990

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

1987

  • Emmanuel Church of Christ Oneness Pentecostal, Nashville, TN. John David Terry (minister) shot church handyman, beheaded him, and left body in a burning church. Minister Sentenced to Death.

1986

1985

  • Gethsemane Baptist Church, Washington, DC. Louis B. Sawyer (deacon) arrested on charges of murder. He is alleged to have used a shotgun to kill the financial secretary who suspected him of embezzlement. Church Deacon Held in D.C. Slaying.

1984

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

1983

1982

1981

1980

Circa 1980s

1979

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

1978

1977

  • Cases to be added. Please check back.

1976

1975

1974

  • Unidentified church, Hilltop, AZ. Johnny Lee Riley (former pastor) pled guilty to second-degree murder in killing of a motel manager during a robbery attempt. Ex-minister gets 10 years for Arizona slaying. Newslibrary.com.
  • Christ Lutheran Church, Witchita, KS. Dennis Lynn Rader (president of church council) killed 10 victims. Known as the BTK, he was a serial killer. Dennis Rader, Wikipedia.

1970

1964

1960

1959

~1944

1939

  • First Polish Baptist Church, Camden, NJ. Walter Dworecki, aka “Iron Mike” (preacher) had his daughter killed in a murder-for-hire plot in an effort to collect insurance money. The victim was stabbed and beaten. Murderpedia: Rev. Walter DWORECKI.

1921

  • Unidentified church, Santa Rosa, CA. Richard Spencer (former preacher) was arrested, accused of drowning his wife in a lake late at night. Preacher arrested in wife’s drowning. New York Times, August 22, 1921, p. 3.

1904

Negligent Homicide

Attempted Murder

2019 – Do You Believe Outreach Ministry, Memphis, TN. Norman Hudson (pastor) charged with stabbing one of his neighbors in the neck. His criminal history began as early as 1990 with serious criminal charges. Memphis pastor accused of raping, pouring insecticides down neighbor’s throat.

2017 – Union Baptist Church, Chester, SC. Robert Worthy Senior (assistant pastor) arrested on “two counts attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.” Allegedly shot his estranged wife inside a Christian bookstore in Chester, SC. 1) Man charged with attempted murder after shooting in Chester Christian bookstore. 2) Jury finds Chester pastor guilty after wife, mother-in-law shot at Christian store.

2013 – Eddie Mallonee (pastor) arrested for conspiracy to murder his wife. TENNESSEE: Former Baptist Pastor Arrested.

2011 – Unity in Prayer Ministry, B.C., Shreveport, LA. Willie Guiden (pastor) killed his wife inside their home. Shreveport pastor, wife dead in apparent murder-suicide.

2009 – Salvation Army Church, Greenwood, IN. Jonathan James Hartman (youth pastor) arrested for child sexual assault of three young girls. The offender is also alleged to have “hatched the plot in a jail cell, and planned to have up to 13 people murdered.” One of the females was impregnated. Prosecutor: Former youth pastor tried to hire hit man to kill witnesses.

2003 – First Presbyterian Church, Auburndale, FL. Bruce Whitney (former pastor) arrested for attempted murder of his wife. It is alleged he struck her with a patio block and then choked her. Minister Faces Attempted Murder Charges.

1992 – Chapel of Change (current church), Paramount, CA. Brian Warth (pastor) formerly convicted of killing Francisco Luna Jr. “Members of the Carson family also are still angry with Warth, whom they say has used the death of their son, brother, cousin and uncle to profit a ministry.” From murder to ministry, reformed Long Beach pastor preaches redemption.

Murder for Hire

2020 – Unidentified church. Downington, PA. Jacob Malone (former youth pastor) was charged with trying to hire someone to kill his former pastor where he had served at Calvary Fellowship. This was a failed murder-for-hire incident. Jailed Pennsylvania ex-pastor arrested in alleged murder-for-hire plot.

2018 – Harvest Bible Chapel, IL.  James McDonald (pastor) is being investigated for attempting to hire a hit man. Megachurch founder James MacDonald allegedly sought murder for hire, police investigating.

2016 – Unidentified church. Stephen Allwine (preacher) on trial for allegedly hiring a hitman with bitcoin to kill his wife. Preacher who cheated using Ashley Madison, tried hiring hit man on dark web in bid to murder wife, cops say.

2015 – Harvest Bible Chapel, IL.  James McDonald (pastor) is being investigated for attempting to hire someone to kill his former son-in-law. Megachurch founder James MacDonald allegedly sought murder for hire, police investigating.

2009 – Arc of Baltimore; Greater Faith Tabernacle Church of Deliverance, Baltimore, MD. Kevin Jerome Pushia (pastor) arrested for paying hitman to kill a homeless man of whom he had taken out insurance on. City pastor charged with having man killed for life insurance.

Serial Killers

  • Tom Bird, Lutheran pastor
  • Dennis Lynn Rader, deacon
  • Samuel L. Smithers, deacon