Van Buren murder suspect killed priest in 1963

Robert Burger

A 67-year-old man charged with killing his wife in her apartment in Van Buren served 28 years in prison for stabbing to death a priest in the New York City region back in 1963.

Robert Burger is charged with killing 56-year-old Rebecca Dethlefs, a nurse.

Authorities say Dethlefs' body was found Friday by workers investigating a bad smell at the Village Green Apartment building in Van Buren. Autopsy results show she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Her colleagues had called authorities after she missed several days of work. Investigators found Burger downstate in Middletown.

According to the Post-Standard, Burger was 18 when he killed the Rev. Francis McShane hours after they met at a Yonkers pizzeria in August 1963.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.