Minister in custody in Ala. murder

Richard Shahan, pastor to children and families at First Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., is being held without charges in the July 23 murder of his wife.

By Bob Allen

An associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was taken into custody Aug. 8 in connection with his wife’s slaying two weeks earlier.

The Homewood Police Department said Richard Shahan came in voluntarily on Aug. 7 to speak with detectives. “He is currently being held for investigative purposes at the Homewood City Jail,” police said in a statement released to local media. “At this time, he has not been charged with any crime.”

Karen Shahan, 52, was discovered at about 11:15 a.m. on July 23 on the couch of the couple’s home by police called for a welfare check when she didn’t show up for work. Police did not release details about the cause of death but said it was apparently murder and the home was in disarray.

First Baptist interim pastor Charles Carter quoted a detective who called it “the most brutal murder that he had ever examined.”

richard shahanRichard Shahan was told of his wife’s death while visiting family out of town.

Shahan, 53, serves at First Baptist as children and families pastor and facilities director. He came to the job in 2009 after seven years as associate pastor in education and administration for Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and two years producing church resources at Kimble Knight Ministries in Brentwood, Tenn.

He was ordained to the ministry in 1983 and graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1985. Shahan lived in Birmingham previously, serving as associate pastor for childhood education and family growth at Shades Mountain Baptist Church from 1989 until 1999.

From 1986 till 1989, Shahan was on the staff at First Baptist Church in Bryan, Texas, as associate pastor in education and family development. He formed his own company – an Internet-based curriculum provider called One Vine Inc. – in 2003 and ran the business through 2010.

According to the Birmingham News, the couple filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

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