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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