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Selmer, Tenn., deals with new tragedy, days after sentencing in Winkler case


The media once again have descended on tiny Selmer, Tenn., about 80 miles east of Memphis, as authorities investigate the deaths of six parade-goers struck June 16 by a drag-racing car when its driver lost control.
Jeremy Weekley, minister of teh Fourth Street church, said no church members were injured in the mishap, but that he and others wre counseling families who had lost children.
“This community is really good about pulling together,” Weekley said. “We’ve seen it before, and now we’re seeing it again. They’re looking for help in the right places.”
Just a few blocks away, the woman who first thrust Selmer into the national spotlight continued at press time to await transfer  from teh McNairy County Jail to an approved mental health facility.
Mary Winkler, 33, was sentenced June 8 to three years for voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her husband, Matthew Winkler, then minister at Fourth Street. The sentence amounted to half of the maximum penalty under Tennessee law.
She was ordered to serve 210 days behind bars, but recieved credit for the 143 days she had already spent in jail, leaving 67 days. Up to 60 of the adys could be served in a facility where she could recieve mental health treatment, according to the sentence. Upon her release, she will be on probation for three years.
Dan and Diane Winkler, Matthew’s parents, have petitioned a court to terminate Mary Winkler’s parental right. They want to adopt the couple’s three children, who have lived with them since Matthew Winkler’s deat. But Mary Winkler wants the children returned to her.
The custody fight continues.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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