Selmer Speaks Out

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Selmer, TN (WVLT) -- A West Tennessee community is speaking out after a woman is convicted in killing her pastor husband.

Today, Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb who is the only local TV reporter in Selmer spoke with residents, neighbors, and a church deacon whose pastor was killed.

"We must make the presumption that justice has been served," said Robert Shackelford, "that is the viewpoint that I take on it, that justice has been served."

Shackelford is a deacon at the Fourth Street Church of Christ where Matthew Winkler served as pastor until his death in March 2006. His death brought a lot of attention to the small town of Selmer, but Shackelford says the church has remained resilient.

"Our members have been faithful", Shackelford said. "We have not lost any members during this time. We've just moved forward, that's all we can do."

On the witness stand, Mary Winkler says she was sexually and physically abused by her husband.

"I never saw any proof of the allegations that were made," Shackelford said, "that's really all I can say."

A year after the murder, Matthew Winkler's car is still in the driveway. While many people saw him as a loving, caring father, some people in the neighborhood don't see it that way.

One neighbor feels Matthew Winkler was an abuser, claiming he even made a threat to her children.

"He walked up to them with the dog laying right there with them and said if that dog ever comes out of this yard I'm going to shoot it," said Sharyn Everitt who is a neighbor of the Winkler's. "Well, you know, you don't tell a two year old something like that."

Some residents agree.

"I definitely think there was some form of abuse whether it be sexual or physical but I thought it was a just verdict," said Gary Kerby, a Selmer resident.

Mary Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and faces three to six years in prison on May 18th. Now that the jury has spoken, members of the church and community hope to move forward.

"All we can do is affect what's happening in the present and look for the future," Shackelford said. "That's what we've chosen to do."

Shackelford says he feels sorry for Mary Winkler and it will have effects for generations to come.

He says anytime you do something like that there are consequences.


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  • by Karen Location: China on Apr 22, 2007 at 04:34 AM
    I agree with the Selma residents that justice was served. Yes, she shot her husband, there's no getting around that, and she must receive some punishment for that. However, there were mitigating circumstances -- and having been a pastor's wife myself, with an abusive husband, I know exactly how that can just turn a perfectly rational person into a feeling of being trapped with no where to go. You can't talk to anybody, because, after all, your husband's the preacher -- you're the people everyone else comes to with their problems. If you divorce him, it ruins everyones' lives -- he can't continue his pastoral career if he's a divorced man, it would devastate the church...there just doesn't seem to be a solution in this situation. But considering the trauma this woman went through -- and I found her testimony quite convincing, even though normally I'm quite a skeptical person, I would say that it was highly likely that she could have felt so humiliated and angry that she could have temporarily lost rational reason, and did this terrible act. For this she does deserve some punishment, but I think some time in jail, and losing her children is enough. She doesn't need to be in prison all her life.
  • by Cathy Daugherty Location: Lafayette, TN on Apr 21, 2007 at 08:07 PM
    Yes, he was an abuser,and he used being a minister as a cover up. He put his wife, Mary out to do all the dirty work so he could keep his name in the clear.
  • by Jim Location: Ardmore on Apr 21, 2007 at 04:34 PM
    Executing a sleeping person is NEVER justified. Why not walk away?

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