Winkler Found Guilty of Lesser Charge

Selmer, McNairy County (WVLT) – A West Tennessee woman is convicted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in the shotgun slaying of her pastor husband.

Mary Winkler sat with a stoned face as one by one the jurors confirmed to the court their decision which will send her to jail for up to just six years. The faces of Matthew Winkler's family showed a different story as Mary hugged her family. Describing it as being hit with a tennis ball in the head instead of a bowling ball, the defense was pleased.

"My reaction is, the verdict was most probably just," Mary Winkler's Attorney Steve Farese says.

Mary Winkler didn't say a word coming out of the courtroom following the verdict, but her attorneys said it was her testimony of abuse they believed made the difference.

"She was honest. She had to bear and tell the world what went on behind closed doors," Leslie Ballins says.

Mary's attorneys also hoped the case raised awareness of spousal abuse and that Mary would be allowed welcomed back into society.

"The jury heard the truth and they made a decision based on everything. Those that shun Mary don't know what she's been through," Ballins continues.

In a prepared statement, Dan Winkler spoke for the family thanking everyone involved and the family's love of their son Matthew.

"We treasure the memories of the love that he had for his family, for his Lord, for his church, for us, his parents," Dan Winkler says.

Mary Winkler's attorneys say out of jail alternative sentencing options can also be considered by the judge. Sentencing is set for May 18th.


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  • by Brenda Location: Knoxville on Apr 20, 2007 at 01:40 PM
    I think that our justice system has a lot to be desired when you can kill someone and only have to serve 3 to 6 years. I think Mary Winkler should have served life. I can only hope that her children do not have to return to her care. I am sure they would be afraid to go to sleep at night, Afraid their mother would shot them in the back with a shot gun.
  • by Rhonda Location: Bean Station, TN on Apr 20, 2007 at 12:19 PM
    I don't think anyone should be convicted of murder ever again after the OJ incident.
  • by Robin D. Smelcer Location: Dandridge, TN on Apr 20, 2007 at 11:25 AM
    I feel great sorrow for the family of Matthew Winkler. Not only was he murdered but his character was assasinated after the fact by the guilty party. I believe Mary Winkler just got away with murder!
  • by sam Location: Harlan, KY on Apr 20, 2007 at 11:17 AM
    This is another demonstration of the double standard we have in this country. Had it been a Male, would have been death penalty. She will probably end up getting 30 days unsupervised probation simply because she is Female.
  • by Virginia Location: Maryville on Apr 19, 2007 at 11:08 PM
    Mary though today was her judgement day but, no the Lord God will have the final say as to her verdict. Thou shall not kill.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 19, 2007 at 09:17 PM
    Preachers families are very mean and abusive.I would have voted not guilty.

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