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Winkler pleads not guilty in husband’s slaying, says she’ll seek bond


Mary Winkler pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder charges in the March 22 shooting death of her husband and told a judge she would seek bond. Winkler was charged Monday with the premeditated slaying of Matthew Winkler, 31, minister of the Fourth Street church in Selmer, Tenn. She appeared in court briefly to answer questions from Circut Judge Weber McCraw, who accepted her plea and set a bond hearing for June 30. Winkler, 32, walked into the court room looking much the same as her last court appearance, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles on her ankles. But her attorney, Steve Farese, said his client is much more responsive and aware of her surroundings than she was in the days following her March 23 arrest in Alabama.
Worried church members found Winkler’s body just before 9:30 p.m. on March 22 after the family failed to show for Wednesday night services, authorities said.
Winkler was found inside the church-owned home that the couple shared with their three daughters: Patricia, 8; Mary Alice, 6; and Breanna, 1. Matthew Winkler’s parents, Dan and Diane Winkler of Huntingdon, Tenn.,were awarded custody of the children during a hearing in April.
If convicted of premeditated murder, Winkler could face the death penalty.
Investigators have said Mary Winkler admitted shooting her husband – a claim Farese denies – but no motive has been disclosed.
Fourth Street members have consistently and publicly supported MaryWinkler in the three months since their minister’s slaying. Many havevisited Winkler or sent personal items – including a study Bible – tothe McNairy County Jail.
June 14, 2006

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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