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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