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Posted: 4/18/2007 6:13:46 PM EST
Preacher's Wife Says Gun Fired Accidentally
By BETH RUCKER
AP
SELMER, Tenn. (April 18) - A preacher's wife testified at her murder trial Wednesday that her husband abused her physically and sexually, but she said the shotgun fired accidentally as she pointed it at him in their parsonage bedroom.


Mary Winkler  heard a "boom" but said she did not pull the trigger, prompting prosecutor Walt Freeland to ask her later whether she understood how a trigger worked.

"You know that pulling a trigger is what makes it go boom?" Freeland asked on the final day of testimony.

"Yes, sir," Mary Winkler replied. She said she remembered holding the gun but not getting it from the closet.

She said that she just wanted to talk to her husband, Matthew, when she went into their bedroom that day in March 2006, but that she was too terrified. "He just could be so mean," she said.

But, she told Freeland, her husband did "nothing" for which he deserved to die.

Her depiction of her marriage contrasts radically with the description by the prosecution, whose witnesses described Matthew Winkler as a good father and husband. The couple's 9-year-old daughter, Patricia, testified that she had a good father and that she never saw him mistreat her mother.

Matthew Winkler, 31, was fatally shot in his back. A day later, his wife was arrested 340 miles away on the Alabama coast, driving the family minivan with her three young daughters inside.

Mary Winkler said she planned to return to Selmer but wanted time alone with her daughters. "All I knew was that the stupid gun had went off, and nobody would believe me and they would just take my girls away from me," she said.

Mary Winkler said that despite being abused, she still loved her husband.

"I was ashamed," she said, explaining why she told no one of the abuse. "I didn't want anybody to know about Matthew."

Mary Winkler testified her husband punched her in the face, kicked her at times and refused to grant her a divorce. Shortly after they were married, "he just got me down and told me that I was his wife and we were family now, and he just screamed and
hollered," she testified.

Said defense attorney Steve Farese: "If you look up spousal abuse in the dictionary, you're going to see Mary Winkler's picture looking back at you."

But the prosecution said in closing arguments that there was no medical evidence of abuse.

"He was a good daddy who didn't abuse anybody," Freeland said. "He didn't abuse his little girl. He didn't abuse Mary."

Speaking about their sex life, Mary Winkler spoke quietly and hesitantly, with eyes downcast. She said her husband forced her to view pornography, dress "slutty" and have sex she considered unnatural.

The defense showed the jury a pair of white platform-heel shoes and a wig Mary Winkler said her husband wanted her to wear during sex. She described a skirt he wanted her to wear as "very, very short." Pornographic photos she identified as coming from their home computer were entered as evidence.

In his closing argument, Farese said the prosecution "absolutely, positively" did not prove Mary Winkler intended to kill her husband, something required for a conviction of first-degree murder. But Farese left open the possibility that she could have been guilty of a lesser crime.

"Have they proven any crime? Well - and this is hard for me to say - maybe," Farese said.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Mary Winkler could be sentenced to as many as 60 years in prison.

A psychologist testified Mary Winkler could not have formed the intent to commit a crime because of her compromised mental condition. She suffered from mild depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which started at age 13 when her sister died and was worsened by her husband's abuse, Dr. Lynne Zager said.

The jury will begin deliberating Thursday, the judge said.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:30:24 PM EST
Too. Much. Information.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:33:27 PM EST
She's lucky she's got a White Christian Male to blame everything on.

Don't know the makeup of the jury, but if there's more than a couple of women on it I predict she'll walk.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:35:03 PM EST
I also heard on the radio today that she had fallen prey to one of those Nigerian scams.

Which also means that she's as dumb as a post.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:41:29 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:43:02 PM EST

She said she remembered holding the gun but not getting it from the closet.


So the gun magically appeared in her hands? And we're supposed to believe she didn't pull the trigger?
"My car just started going really fast and it banged into the other car! I didn't touch the pedal!"
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:43:59 PM EST
It's porn's fault.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:46:14 PM EST
She felt "trapped" and wanted a way out.

Shes nuttier than a squirrel turd.... and a liar to boot.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:47:02 PM EST

Quoted:

She said she remembered holding the gun but not getting it from the closet.


So the gun magically appeared in her hands? And we're supposed to believe she didn't pull the trigger?
"My car just started going really fast and it banged into the other car! I didn't touch the pedal!"


"The accelerator stuck!" That's what all the old geezers who mistake the gas pedal for the brake say after they panic, freeze and run down twenty people....
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:47:31 PM EST
Sectarian Violence!

Stop Christian on Christian bloodshed....

Oh wait.....
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:49:22 PM EST
I like her quote, " My ugly came out ". Well. now it's time her ugly goes to prison.  TT
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:53:11 PM EST

She said her husband forced her to view pornography, dress "slutty" and have sex she considered unnatural.


<skulks away to hide guns from wife>
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:01:54 PM EST

Quoted:

She said her husband forced her to view pornography, dress "slutty" and have sex she considered unnatural.


<skulks away to hide guns from wife>


There are husbands that don't do that?  
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:07:31 PM EST
There were video excerpts of her testimony on the local news, and she came off as somewhat believable.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:13:22 PM EST
Prosecution needs to get that shotgun, put a blank in, take safety off, and beat it against every fucking thing and establish that UNLESS YOU PULL THE BOOM SWITCH, THEY DON'T JUST GO OFF.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:14:56 PM EST
It is a viable defense and makes for good jury argument.  I saw a guy walk on the same claim.

You see, you want to give the jury options, especially when the nucleus  of operative facts are not in question (who, what, when, where, and even why is known), and you have a sympathetic defendant that the jury, or one of them, could relate to.  "The gun just went off" is believable enough in certain situations, especially domestic.  "I just wanted to scare them", or " I was worried for my safety, so I had the gun, and it just went off..."  Could mean an involuntary manslaughter conviction rather than murder 1.  In the case where I saw the guy walk on the claim of "it went off" the DA did not charge the lesser included offense of manslaughter so the jury acquitted.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:20:49 PM EST
I don't condone what she did, but the is some truth to what she is saying. I have family that knew them, he was very controlling, very short tempered, they said there was just something about him. She was like a dog that had been beaten all its life, she would just cower around him, never speak.

Now does that justify shooting him in the back? Don't know. If what she said about what he was doing to the baby at the time is true, I would have shot his ass too.

Only two people know what happened that night, and one is dead.
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 7:32:57 PM EST
Reminds me of a couple of good quotes from the musical play/movie "Chicago."

"So I took the shotgun off the wall and fired two warning shots -- into his head."

"And then he ran into my knife... he ran into my knife ten times."

He had it coming.
He had it coming.
He only had himself to blame.
If youda been there,
If youda seen it,
I betcha you would have done the same.
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