Former Homewood pastor Richard Shahan appears before Jefferson C - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Former Homewood pastor Richard Shahan appears before Jefferson County Judge

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Richard Shahan appears via closed-circuit television for his first court appearance in Alabama. Shahan is charged in the murder of his wife Karen Shahan in July 2013. Richard Shahan appears via closed-circuit television for his first court appearance in Alabama. Shahan is charged in the murder of his wife Karen Shahan in July 2013.
BIRMINGHAM, AL - A former Homewood minister accused of killing his wife appeared before a judge today.

Richard Shahan was arrested last week in Nashville's airport trying to board a plane to Germany. He was extradited to Jefferson County yesterday to face murder charges in connection with his wife Karen's death last July.

Through a closed circuit television in a Jefferson County criminal court, Shahan stood for his initial appearance as the judge read the charges against him. It's an appearance that's been almost six months in the making.

On July 23 of last year, Shahan's wife, Karen Shahan, was found dead in the couple's home on Hugh Circle in Homewood.  Two weeks later, Richard Shahan was brought in for questioning by the Homewood police, but was later released.

In the wake of of his wife's death, Shahan took a leave of absence from his position as children's minister at First Baptist Church of Birmingham. He announced his resignation on Nov. 29, and shared his intentions to pursue mission work overseas.

But that plan didn't come to fruition -- New Year's Day, as Shahan was boarding a flight to Frankfurt, Germany to take his new position, he was arrested by Homeland Security in the Nashville airport.

A warrant was issued by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office for Shahan's arrest on New Year's Eve. In the warrant, investigators accuse Shahan of stabbing his wife to death.

The Homewood Police Department held a press conference after his arrest, where they say they knew a warrant needed to be issued before Shahan left the country.

"Obviously once he got over into Germany, ultimately Russia, the chances of extraditing are pretty slim," Homewood Police Chief Jim Roberson said.

Invetigators claim he was trying to "flee" the country. Shahan's attorney, John Lentine, argues that was not the case.

In a statement he said, "Mr. Shahan was going on a preplanned mission trip to Germany, which was well known prior to the actual trip. If Mr. Shahan had known of the arrest warrant he would have voluntarily turned himself in."

Yesterday, Shahan was extradited back to Jefferson County, where he now faces a murder charge in his wife's death.

Lentine says they plan on filing a motion for his client to be released on bond.  That hearing could come as soon as next week,

Meanwhile, Richard Shahan will remain at the Jefferson County jail.

RELATED COVERAGE:
Former Homewood pastor suspected in wife's murder is back in Jefferson County Jan. 8, 2014
Homewood pastor Shahan won't fight extradition in wife's murder Jan. 7, 2014
ATTORNEY: Homewood pastor would have turned himself in Jan. 3, 2014
Former Homewood minister charged in wife's murder, arrested trying to flee country Jan. 2, 2014
Update: Local minister released from jail after being questioned for wife's murder Aug. 9, 2013
Pastor held after questioning in his wife's death Aug. 8, 2013
Visitation for Homewood pastor's wife found dead today July 27, 2013
Homewood homicide investigated Tuesday; victim identified July 24, 2013
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