Former Neighbors React to Winkler’s Sentence

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - Knoxville native Mary Freeman Winkler is on the way to jail, but not for long.

A judge gave Winkler a three year sentence in connection with the shotgun slaying of her minister husband Matthew in march of 2006.

She was taken into custody immediately and will serve 210 days in jail, though sixty can be served in a mental health care facility.

Jim Freeman spoke with some of her old neighbors here in South Knoxville.

Certainly a bit on the awkward side, but the comments are very supportive.

Neighbors along Frontier Trail in South Knoxville shared their thoughts with me this afternoon about the sentencing of Mary Carol Freeman Winkler. And they spoke fondly of the girl who used to live just down the street. The girl many call ‘Carol’.

"I just believe that she should get a lighter sentence. I know what she did was wrong, but if I knew the whole story, it might be different,” says Mary Cook.

Ruth Lawson's daughter attended South Doyle High with Mary Winkler. Mary even spent time at the Lawson home as a youngster. “Well, I hope she gets off and is able to get custody of her children again because she's a very loving person and a very loving mother to her children."

Eugene McCammon lives across the street from the home where Mary's father, Clark Freeman, still lives. "I don't have any, you know, any strong feelings that I hope this will happen or something else happen mainly because I think it's a legal issue and so I trust the court."

Hearts go out throughout the neighborhood Mary Winkler once called home.

"I hope it's probation,” David McMahan says before the sentence is handed down.

"I just don't think that she should be sentenced you know to the full extent,” says Margaret Hughett.

Winkler's attorneys certainly fought to keep her from serving to that full extent.

"I think her attorneys have done a masterful job. I'm no attorney. But I can't imagine any better defense than they put up,” McCammon says.

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  • by pam Location: missouri on Aug 4, 2008 at 04:38 PM
    I am so proud mary has regained some custody of her girls and hope she gets full custody permanently again soon. That motherinlaw seems like a spiteful woman and just wants to use these kids against their mother any way she can. Those girls need to be with their mother. Thank God that someone actually realized some women are not only physically abused but also mentally abused which my opinion is that can be alot worse. I had an abusive husband and believe me they can call you names, degrade you so bad that you make alot of mistakes with your own life. These people that have made some of these comments about saw no abuse, blah blah blah. you don't have to see it for it to happen and again I was raised in the church of christ and I saw hipocrits every day I attended this church that has made me stir away from organized religion to this day. I do believe in God and he is all of our final judge. GOOD LUCK MARY AND I HOPE YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN CAN BE HAPPY. FIND A GOOD COMPANION.
  • by Brian Location: Oregon on Jun 11, 2007 at 04:22 AM
    Scott, the answer to your question would be YES.
  • by Dennis Location: Washington on Jun 11, 2007 at 04:20 AM
    Mary, Mary, Mary! No abuse was EVER proven. nobody saw any abuse. Her daughter even said she didn't see anything. Wake up. You probably still believe that stripper Crystal Mangum that she was actually raped by the Duke Lacrosse players even after the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina declared them innocent and the victims of a miscarriage of justice. But then crystal IS a woman after all and she did have a good excuse (she wanted to avoid involuntary commitment) IMHO Winkler is nuts. She got away with murder by being a woman and claiming abuse. I feel sorry for the kids and the husbands parents. Other than self defense or the defense of your loved ones what kind of person would shoot any person in the back while they were sleeping particularly with your own children in the next room? Answer that question truthfully and logically then you know what kind of person we are dealing with. We haven't heard the last from the scam artist Mary Winkler.
  • by Brian Location: Oregon on Jun 10, 2007 at 02:32 PM
    Ignacio Ramos 10 yrs and Jose Compean 11 yrs. in federal prison for shooting a drug smuggler in the ***, Scooter Libby 3 yrs. for perjury, Mary Winkler 60 days and time served for shooting her husband in the back while sleeping and leaving him there to bleed to death while her children are in the next room - PRICELESS
  • by Lee Location: Smith on Jun 10, 2007 at 03:14 AM
    You have got to be kidding me!!! She takes a life and gets a smack on the wrist? Unbelievable.
  • by Jim Location: Knoxville on Jun 9, 2007 at 09:49 PM
    This is absurd!!! The woman killed her husband, someone she is to love and spend her entire life with and you all want her to get off easy because she is a loving person. Obviously, she is NOT a loving person, she killed a man in cold blood for crying out loud. She oughta be thrown UNDER the jail for at least 20 years, at least to give her kids time to realized how worthless the woman is so they'll never speak to her again. You neighbors of Mary Winkler need to think about the man she killed and his family, not her. She doesn't deserve anything but a few scraps of food a day.
  • by Lucille Location: NY on Jun 9, 2007 at 08:48 PM
    I am so happy for Mary and hope she is soon reunited with her girls. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. I sure was not impressed with her goody, goody mother in law.
  • by Brian Location: Oregon on Jun 9, 2007 at 07:56 PM
    Yea lets shoot our spouse in the back while they are sleeping. That's the way to deal with your marital problems. Then lets get a couple of months in jail and defame our spouse so that we can just go back and start over where we left off. HELLO! You people are nuts. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE EXCEPT FOR THE ASSERTIONS MADE BY SOMEONE THAT WANTED TO PLAY THE VICTIM CARD TO STAY OUT OF PRISON! Did she ever go to the authorities? No! Were the police ever called to their house? No! Did she ever go to a womens shelter? No! Was there ANY corroberating testimony given? No! Did the judge in the sentencing hearing even say ALLEGDED abuse and then count this as a mitigating circumstance anyway? Yes! What a courageous little woman. She shoots her husband in the back while he is lying down in bed with their children in the house. Leaves him there to bleed to death. Flees the scene and then and only the cries abuse. It's all a little far fetched and even if it was true which is highly doubtful. It's not a death sentence. So all of you participating in this pity party are of the opinion that any time a FEMALE spouse CLAIMS abuse she has the right, no the duty to kill her spouse.
  • by MARY Location: TENNESSE on Jun 9, 2007 at 05:40 PM
  • by Scott Location: Arizona on Jun 9, 2007 at 10:36 AM
    Are you people crazy? "I hope she gets off and is able to get custody of her children again" This poor person murdered a 31-yr old man while he slept? If she was abused then where was the police reports, the hospital visits? The truth is there is no evidence that Matt was this horrible, abusive person. There is evidence that Mary was invovled in a check-scheme and didn't want to tell her husband so she killed him like a coward and lied to keep herself out of jail. And now she want her children back after she murdered their father? There are people who really do deserve sympathy in this world. But a person who shoots someone in the back while sleeping is not one of them. What happened to "thy shall not kill"?
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