Update 8-15-07: Apparently after serving only less then 7 months in custody, Mary Winkler apparently is out free! Mary Winkler, 33, was freed from a Tennessee mental health facility where she had been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to her lawyer Steve Farese, She will fight a legal battle for custody of her three daughters. She also must defend a $2 million civil suit filed by the parents of Matthew Winkler.
Prosecution: She Hoped to Hide Money Scheme
AP story by BETH RUCKER
SELMER, Tenn. (April 12) -- A preacher's wife was trying to protect her young daughter from her abusive husband when she pointed a shotgun and accidentally shot him, her attorney said in opening statements Thursday.
Update 4-20 The Defense Works Again! The preacher's wife accused of killing her husband took the witness stand this week and dredged up every embarrassing detail, talking about the abuse in front of TV cameras and family members. The risky decision to testify had a powerful effect on the jury and probably explains why Winkler will not spend the rest of her life in prison.
A jury found Winkler guilty of voluntary manslaughter Thursday after eight hours of deliberation. The prosecution had sought a conviction for first-degree murder, a far more serious offense.
In powerful testimony Wednesday, Winkler testified that her husband abused her physically and sexually. But she still claimed that the shotgun went off accidentally as she pointed it at him.
Because Winkler has no prior convictions, she faces a sentence of three to six years in prison. She would be eligible for parole after serving a third of the sentence and will receive credit for the five months she already spent in jail. If Winkler, 33, had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder, she would have gone to prison for 12 years to life.