James Chastain, Theresa Chastain: ‘Killer Clergy’ — Lethal Georgia Preacher Murdered First Wife In Fire, Planned To Kill Second

Traciy Reyes - Author

Oct. 31 2016, Updated 11:22 a.m. ET

This week’s Killer Clergy on Investigation Discovery is about the case of James Chastain, a Methodist preacher who killed his first wife, Theresa Gail Chastain, almost 40 years ago, and planned to kill his second wife, Luanne “Louanne” Chastain, a decade later. Killer Clergy‘s episode based on the Chastain case is titled “Ashes to Ashes.” Viewers will see a reenactment of the case with commentary from law enforcement.

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Killer Clergy: “Ashes to Ashes” on Investigation Discovery

A passionate preacher finds himself in trouble after a note with the plan to kill his second wife is discovered. And when investigators dig into the Methodist pastor’s past, they believe that a number of suspicious fires and the death of his first wife may all be connected.

The Fire-Starting Preacher

Killer Clergy will begin their story with Pastor James Chastain and his work as a minister in several Methodist churches in Georgia. Always preaching with passion and fervor, Pastor Chastain was a stickler for his written notes, Killer Clergy‘s episode will show.

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But what members of the congregation didn’t know about their preacher was that he had a troubled past that followed him everywhere he went. He was married to a God-fearing woman named Luanne Chastain (Louanne), who seemed to be good for him. When they first married, James and Luanne Chastain were very much in love.

Plot To Kill

But his mood swings took a toll on the relationship, according to John Glatt’s book For I Have Sinned. Over time, the marriage completely crumbled, and Luanne soon found out why. To her surprise, her husband wanted her dead. She discovered this by accident while she was cleaning their home. There was no doubt about it. James Chastain’s plan to kill her was written out as plain as day and in great detail.

Luanne Chastain knew it was true because as she thought back, she remembered believing that he had tried to kill her twice before. Once, he set fire to their church home, but she wasn’t there. On another occasion, he tried to smother her while she slept.

With the latest evidence, there was no point in trying to save their marriage. It became brutally apparent that if Luanne Chastain didn’t go to the police, she would definitely end up dead.

Killer Clergy‘s coverage will show that police took the written murder plan seriously and questioned James Chastain about it. That led to police doing a background check, which uncovered that his first wife, Theresa Gail Chastain, had died in 1979, just ten years before.


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