A church priest in Pennsylvania is accused of beating a pregnant woman to death while she was sleeping in a hospital bed.
The Rev. William D. Zemel, 46, was arrested Friday after the 37-year-old woman woke up from a coma in a local hospital with a “significant head injury,” according to a police report.
Zemel told the woman he wanted to kill her, and that he was going to put her body in a garbage can and burn it.
She died the next day, the report said.
The woman’s family told police that she was a church volunteer, according to police, and her mother told them she was told by the priest to “stay quiet,” the report stated.
A doctor who examined her later told police she had a “severe head injury” and needed to be hospitalized.
Zepel was taken into custody after his arraignment Friday.
He was charged with first-degree murder, according the report.
The priest was fired from the Catholic Church in 2014 for allegedly assaulting two women in a Catholic-run hospital in Pennsylvania, according a Catholic news agency.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Altoona, Pennsylvania, a city about 45 minutes away from the hospital where the woman died, the Allegheny County district attorney’s office said.