Richard Lee Shahan was arrested January 1 at Nashville's airport, approximately five months after his wife was stabbed to death in the couple's home. After going through 3,000 of his emails, prosecutors say they learned of Shahan's plan to meet his boyfriend in Europe, traveling first to Kazakhstan—where he'd told relatives and friends he was going on a three-year mission trip—and then settling in the UK.
"He planned to become a citizen there and begin a new life with his boyfriend... who he intended to marry," Deputy Jefferson County District Attorney Leigh Gwathney told AL.com. "He had no intention of ever returning to the United States. He had no home to return to and he had said his goodbyes to his family."
Shahan's bond was set at $100,000, on the condition that he remain under house arrest until his trial.
"They are doing everything they can to try to manufacture a murder case," his attorney John Lentine told AL.com.
Shahan was jailed for "investigative purposes" after his wife's death in July but was released after 48 hours. Not long after his release, he took a paid leave of absence from his job as Children and Families Pastor and the Facilities Director at First Baptist in Homewood, Alabama. He resigned from the job on December 31.
It's not clear what caused prosecutors to finally press charges.