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First-degree murder trial for Mary Winkler to begin April 9

The minister’s widow has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and is free on bond, living and working in McMinnville, Tenn.
Mary Winkler’s attorney Steve Farese Sr. said April 9 was anagreed-upon date. “I think everyone is ready to get this tried,” hetold the Jackson Sun.
Several witnesses testified Thursday in connection with a motion by thedefense to suppress evidence seized from the church-owned home in whichthe Winklers were residing at the time of Matthew Winkler’s death.
Farese says police searched for and removed the evidence – includingbank records – without a warrant. Walter Freeland, assistant districtattorney general, testified Thursday that search warrants were obtainedafter the crime scene was processed.
McGraw is expected to issue a written ruling about the admission of the evidence in question within the next few days.
The evidence is considered crucial because of the defense’s allegationsthat financial distress is a factor in the case. Additionally, defenseattorneys imply that Mary Winkler was physically and emotionally abusedby Matthew Winkler.
Prosecutors have refused to give a motive for the shooting, but havewhat they believe is the shotgun used in the slaying as well as astatement from Mary Winkler after her arrest in Orange Beach, Ala.,saying she shot her husband after a night of arguing over finances andother family matters. The statement’s admission also has beenchallenged.
The Winkler case has continued to draw national, if not sporadic,attention in the media. Cell phone photographs of Mary Winkler holdinga cigarette and alcoholic beverage as she sat in a restaurant withfriends on New Year’s Eve have been widely circulated, according toTennessee news organizations.
Mary Winkler is said to be attending the Central church in McMinnville,where Matthew Winkler was youth minister for three years before thecouple moved to Selmer.
Feb. 24, 2007

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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