Jury To Start Deliberating In Preacher's Wife Murder Trial

Selmer, Tenn. (AP) -- A Selmer jury will begin deliberations today in the first-degree murder trial of a preacher's wife accused in the shooting death of her husband.

Mary Winkler testified Wednesday on the final day of testimony in her murder trial that her husband abused her physically and sexually.

Winkler said the shotgun fired accidentally as she pointed it at her husband, Matthew, in their parsonage bedroom last march.

Winkler said she heard a "boom" but she did not pull the trigger.

But, she told a prosecutor, her husband did "nothing" for which he deserved to die.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Steve Farese said the prosecution "absolutely, positively" did not prove Mary Winkler had the intent to kill her husband.

Intent is a necessary factor in the first-degree murder charge against her. If convicted she could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.

But the jury could consider lesser charges, such as voluntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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