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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