NJ pastor accused of stabbing another priest

Edward Fairley

March 3, 2011 6:41:24 PM PST
Religious leaders in northern New Jersey are shocked after a pastor was accused of stabbing another.

"He don't need to be a preacher that's for sure. How you trying to preach to people and you ain't doing no better," said one neighbor.

"You should be ashamed of yourself. How are you going to call yourself a man of God, and go and play your wife dirty," said another neighbor.

A holy man is charged with attempted murder.

Police say Reverend Edward Fairley critically stabbed his former lover and a fellow pastor, Rev. Simone Shields.

These neighbors and former church members of Koinonia and Christian Ministries in Paterson are familiar with the details, but reluctant to reveal their names.

"All during the week, her car would be here and they'd get in the car and go," said one neighbor.

Tuesday afternoon, Shields was at this house on East 26th Street in Paterson, when investigators say Rev. Fairley burst in and violently started stabbing her in the face, and accidentally stabbed himself in the leg.

Minutes after the attack, he was arrested down the street with a bloody knife in his hand.

She was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital.

"She's a very nice person. She's a school teacher. She was with him here all of the time. She used to take care of him. She always had the church set up," said a resident.

Fairley is married, but according to police, had an affair with Shields.

She broke it off two years ago and is now engaged, but police reports say he continued to pursue her.

Eyewitness News tried to contact Fairley's wife at his home where a woman peeked out the door, but refused to talk.

"He just married her. If he was that much in love with this other woman, why would go marry this woman and jump out on her and go have an affair? That's not fair!" said a neighbor.

"He was a convicted felon before, so he's going to do it again," said Landel Lewis, a neighbor.

Fairley was convicted in 1984 for stabbing his then estranged wife and served six years for aggravated assault, kidnapping, weapons possession and burglary.

"The only one who can forgive him right now is God. That's the only one. And if you're a reverend, Jesus Christ, I can't believe you did that. It's hard for me to believe, very hard," a parishioner said.

Fairley is charged with Criminal attempted murder, Possession of Weapon for unlawful purpose, and Violation of Restraining Order.

Bail is set at $1 million.