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Preschool Teacher Marries Convicted Killer Thomas Bird

August 5, 1988

LANSING, Kan. (AP) _ A former church pastor who killed his wife and plotted to kill his lover’s husband in a tryst that inspired a TV miniseries married a preschool teacher in a prison ceremony.

Thomas P. Bird, 38, and Terry Lyn Smith, of Kansas City, Kan., were married Thursday at Kansas State Penitentiary, officials said.

Bird is serving a life prison term for first-degree murder in the slaying of his wife and a term of 2 1/2 to seven years for solicitation to commit murder.

The second charge stemmed from an unsuccessful plot to kill Martin Anderson, the husband of Lorna Anderson Eldridge, who was identified in court testimony as Bird’s lover. Anderson later died in a separate incident.

Mrs. Eldridge, former church secretary for Bird, was sentenced to five to 18 years after pleading guilty to two counts of criminal solicitation to commit murder in the plot.

Mrs. Eldridge was the subject of the CBS miniseries ″Murder Ordained,″ which aired last year after she was charged in Anderson’s death. The movie focused on Anderson’s death and the death of Bird’s wife, Sandra.

Mrs. Bird’s death in July 1983 initially was ruled a traffic accident when her car was found in the Cottonwood River near Emporia.

The investigation was reopened after Anderson was shot to death in a Geary County field in November 1983, and Bird’s association with Mrs. Anderson became known.

No one has been convicted in Anderson’s death.

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