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Mary Winkler’s Family Speaks out about Mary’s tumultuous marriage & abuse with Matthew Winkler

32 year old Mary Winkler has been charged in the shooting death of her husband Matthew Winkler. She is presently awaiting trial. Now her family is coming out and discussing the tumultuous marriage of Mary and Mathew Winkler. According to her alleged confession, “she snapped”. The family claims that Mary Winkler was abused, physically, emotionally and sexually.


Mary Winkler’s father, Clark Freeman, says Matthew Winkler abused her physically and mentally. He says the abuse became more apparent during the last three years of their marriage.

Freeman says, “I saw bad bruises, the heaviest of makeup covering facial bruises. So one day, I confronted her.”

Friends also say even though Winkler didn’t talk about the abuse, her growing fear of her husband was obvious.

Rudie Thomsen says, “One Sunday, Mary came into the church and I looked at her and she had a black eye.” (ABC 24 My Eye Witness News)

Mary Winkler’s Family Talks for the First Time About Why She Shot Her Husband

In an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America,” Winkler’s family said she killed her husband because she was abused.

“Physical, mental, verbal,” said Clark Freeman, Winkler’s father. “I don’t know how she took it. She’s a stronger individual than I am.”

Freeman says the abuse became more apparent the last three years of Winkler and Matt’s marriage.

“I saw bad bruises. The heaviest of makeup covering facial bruises,” Freeman said. “So one day, I confronted her. I said, ‘Mary Carol, you are coming off as a very abused wife, very battered.’” (ABC News)

UPDATE I: Winkler’s Sisters Speak Out

Mary Winkler’s family wants everyone to know she’s a loving mother who was trapped in an abusive relationship. Her sisters Tabitha Freeman and Amanda Miller appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to speak about Mary.

“We had seen evidence that she was unhappy and abused,” Freeman said.

Mary’s sisters said Mary is doing as well as can be expected while she awaits trial. Winkler is free on bond living with friends in McMinnville, working at a local dry cleaner. Her sisters said Mary misses her daughters. (News Channel 5)

November 20th, 2006 at 08:17pm Posted by | abused, Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | 17 comments

Mary Winkler, Suspect in Murder of Husband, Out of Jail on $750K Bond

Mary Winkler released from jail today on $750K bond. Mary Winkler is accused of killing her husband, Pastor Matthew Winkler, with a 12 gauge shotgun.

Mary Winkler, 32, is charged with killing Matthew Winkler with a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun as he lay in bed at the parsonage in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee.

She has been behind bars on a charge of first-degree murder since March 23, the day after his death, awaiting trial in late October.
(Fox News)

With the fact that her emotional state had been deemed fragile, one does wonder whether this is the right decision. Not having constant supervision as in jail may not be a good think for Mary Winkler. She will be allowed to see her daughters, but does have many restrictions and will be monitored by the state probation office.

Wife accused of killing preacher walks out of jail

(CNN) — A preacher’s widow walked Tuesday out of the Tennessee jail where she had been held since her March 23 arrest for allegedly killing her husband with a single shotgun blast.

With eyes cast downward, Mary Winkler clutched the hands of her lawyers, Steve Farese Jr. and Leslie Ballin, and sighed as she walked out the McNairy County Justice Center in Selmer, Tennessee, shortly before noon.

Attorneys for Mary Winkler Say Client Had ‘Life Threatening Experience’

What was the reason given why Mary Winkler allegedly killed her husband. According to her attorneys, the Winkler marriage was not a happy one; however, Mary Winkler did not want to speak ill of her husband.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what did she — what did he say on the record she said?

BALLUM: Well, she did not want to talk about why. She didn’t want to talk badly about her husband. She didn’t do it in life and she was persisting in that closed mouth, if you will, and not talking bad about him after his death. She did not want his name smeared in public.

VAN SUSTEREN: Leslie, I know that both of you only talk about what’s public and on the record that we could dig up elsewhere so let me ask you this. Was there any sort of explanation given or presented in court as to whether or not this was an unhappy marriage?

BALLUM: There was an explanation given. At one point in the interview Mary Carol talked about a life-threatening event of some six years earlier. She went on to further explain that as of the year preceding March 22nd, the date of the event that things had gotten bad again. So, she talked about her life being threatened. She talked about things being bad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Leslie, so what was it? What was — I mean, not Leslie, Steve, what was it? What was bad?

FARISE: Well, their situation was bad. As Leslie has talked about there was a situation some years ago. She only spoke in general terms because she was being very careful to protect her husband. But it was very clear to us, as it was to the interviewers that something terribly wrong had occurred and she again was trying to protect him, so she didn’t go into any details. In fact, at times she said things like “Let me be the bad person in this.”

Read the full transcript from Greta Van Susteren here.

August 15th, 2006 at 01:30pm Posted by | Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | one comment

Nigerian Money Scam and Mary Winkler; An Odd Couple Indeed

We hear and read about the Nigerian money scams all the time on the internet. We get emails from long lost friends and relatives in Nigeria promising us fortunes if we would just help them. I did not even realize I had family living in Nigeria. The fact that this scam is so widely known just makes it all the more amazing that it involved Mary Winkler and the eventual killing of her husband Matthew Winkler. I just never knew people could still fall for this. It is a sad event where “Nigerian scam” not only caused financial hardship, but also death.

Mary Winkler, who is charged with murder, had gotten tangled up along with her husband in a swindle known as an advance-fee fraud, or the “Nigerian scam,” in which victims are told that a sweepstakes prize or some other riches are waiting for them if they send in money to cover the processing expenses, her lawyers say.

“They were always kind of living on the edge of their budget,” defense attorney Steve Farese said, “so I’m sure this would have just wrecked their budget.”

The financial problems gave rise to arguments between the couple that wound up in Matthew Winkler shot to death, Mary Winkler charged with his murder and their children without parent. Who said that the Nigerian scam only affect people monetarily.

“He had really been on me lately, criticizing me for things – the way I walk, what I eat, everything. It was just building up to a point. I was tired of it. I guess I got to a point and snapped.”

Advance-fee scams became associated with Nigeria in the 1980s when government corruption and a failing economy left many well-educated, English-speaking Nigerians unemployed. “But we see it from all over the world,” said John Kane, research manager for the National White Collar Crime Center.
(Seattle PI)

July 19th, 2006 at 06:34pm Posted by | arrested, Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | one comment

Mary Winkler To Have Bond Hearing Today in Death of Husband Matthew Winkler

Mary Winkler who has allegedly confessed to the murder of her husband Matthew Winkler is to seek bond today on the murder charge. Mary Winkler has been held in jail without bond since March 23, 2006.

A medical examiner has said Matthew Winkler was shot in the back at close range with a shotgun. No motive has ever been disclosed.

Defense lawyer Steve Farese plans to call members of Matthew Winkler’s church as character witnesses for his client at the hearing.

Farese said a statement Winkler made to police may be presented at the hearing.

Investigators call the statement a confession, though defense lawyers disagree with that description.
(Eye Witness News Memphis)

Mary Winkler appears in Selmer courtroom

Mary Winkler appeared in a Selmer courtroom just after 10:45 Friday morning, as part of a judge’s routine docket.

Winkler is accused of killing her husband, Matthew Winkler, who was pastor of the Fourth Street Church of Christ. Members of his congregation found him dead in the couple’s bedroom at the parsonage on March 22nd after he failed to appear for an evening church service.

Town looks for answers in preacher’s killing
Minister’s wife accused of murder asks for bond

SELMER, Tennessee (CNN) — For three months, the 4,500 souls of this God-fearing town have been left to wonder if a demure preacher’s wife shot her husband in the back and ran off to the beach with their three girls.

And if she did it, why?

Mary Carol Winkler, 32, pleaded not guilty to killing the charismatic new preacher of the Fourth Street Church of Christ and the congregation has turned the other cheek.

But the residents of Selmer haven’t come close to understanding why it might have happened.

UPDATE: Winkler states that she was arguing with her pastor husband about money before she shot him

A TBI agent today read a statement Mary Winkler gave to police after her preacher husband was found shot to death in Selmer.

Agent Brian Booth quoted from the statement, saying Winkler told investigators she and her husband, Matthew Winkler, had argued about several things, including finances. Advertisement

In the statement, Mary Winkler is quoted as saying she doesn’t remember getting the shotgun from a closet at the parsonage, but recalls holding it and said the blast wasn’t as loud as she had expected.

The statement said Matthew Winkler rolled out of bed onto the floor and asked why she had shot him.

Mary Winkler said she wiped blood from his outh and said she was sorry and that she loved him.

CNN: Mary Winkler told authorities she didn’t remember getting gun

Booth testified that Winkler told police she knew her husband kept a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun in the closet of the home where they lived with their three daughters. She said she didn’t remember getting the gun.

Mary Winkler’s statement of the time leading up to the shooting was as follows:

Winkler said the two had argued throughout the evening about several things, including family finances. The problems were “mostly my fault,” she said, because she was in charge of keeping the family books.

“He had really been on me lately criticizing me for things — the way I walk, I eat, everything. It was just building up to a point. I was tired of it. I guess I got to a point and snapped,” Booth read to the court.

June 30th, 2006 at 12:21pm Posted by | Court Hearing, Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | no comments

Mary Winkler indicted for premeditated murder of her husband Matthew Winkler

Mary Winkler, the wife of Tennessee pastor Matthew Winkler, was indicted for Mary Winkler 3premeditated murder of her husband. Mary Winkler had previously confessed to the murder of Matthew Winkler; however, has never given a motive. Mary Winkler has not yet entered a plea and remains jailed.

Mary Winkler, indicted by a McNairy County grand jury, has been in custody since the day after the March 22 slaying of her husband, Matthew Winkler. Authorities have said she confessed but they haven’t disclosed a motive.

Matthew Winkler, 31, a minister at the local Church of Christ, was found dead in his bedroom after he failed to show up for an evening service. (AP via Yahoo News)

Mary Winkler indicted on first-degree murder charge

The McNairy County Grand Jury indicted a Selmer minister’s widow Monday on a charge of first-degree murder in the March shooting death of her husband.

Mary Winkler

Mary Winkler will be arraigned on the charge during a 9:30 a.m. session Wednesday of the McNairy County Circuit Court, a circuit court clerk said.

Police have said Winkler confessed to firing the single shotgun blast that struck her husband, Matthew Winkler, in his back, killing him. Authorities believe she planned the murder. (Jackson Sun)

Slain Preacher’s Wife Indicted with 1st-Degree Murder

A Memphis grand jury returned Monday a first-degree murder indictment against Mary Winkler.

No official details were given. A first-degree murder indictment means she was accused of killing her husband, Matthew, with premeditation. (WTVF)

June 12th, 2006 at 07:54pm Posted by | Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | 4 comments

Mary Winkler in Court Today for Preliminary Hearing

At this mornings court appearance, Mary Winkler waives rights to a preliminary hearing and also to bond. She will go back to jail and await the outcome of the grand jury as to indictments against her for the murder of her husband, Matthew Winkler.

Winkler’s lawyers told the judge she would not request that a bond be set. Now she will remain in jail until she appears before a grand jury in June. If she is indicted by the grand jury, then a trial date will be set.
(WTVF 5)

Todays court appearance was to address the following issues:

That hearing was set for Thursday, March 30, at 9 a.m., at which time Gray said he will address the matter of bail and decide whether or not to bind the case over to the Grand Jury. Representing the state were 25th Judicial District Attorney Elizabeth Rice and co-council Van McMahan. In addition to Farese, his son, Steve Farese, Jr., Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin and Mark Garner of Atlanta are representing Mrs. Winkler.

March 30th, 2006 at 10:13am Posted by | Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | 2 comments

Mary Winkler, Sad & Depressed. Lawyer Will Request Psych Evaluation

The attorney for Mary Winkler says his client is very depressed and very sad. Winkler mary 5Winkler was very somber during her court appearance the other day. With all the speculation as to the motive and the manner of the murder of her husband; Mary Winkler’s condition is some what understandable.

Thirty-two-year-old Mary Winkler made her first court appearance Monday in Selmer. She said nothing at the arraignment except “no sir” in a clear and strong voice when the judge asked if she had any questions about the charges against her. When Winkler shuffled through a side door in chains, several church members in the courtroom sobbed and dabbed at their eyes. Winkler did not look at them but kept her head down.


Attorney says minister’s wife ‘very confused’ Winkler mug shot

Mary Winkler, the woman charged with killing her minister husband, is “very confused and overwhelmed” by what’s happening, her lawyer told NBC News on Tuesday.

She is “very detached, very detached from the gravity of the overall situation, very reserved, very quiet, very confused and overwhelmed,” Steve Farese said on the “Today” show.


Mary Winkler’s attorney, Steve Farese, stated that he wanted a psychological evaluation performed on his client. Winkler has supposedly confessed to the crime and has even told authorities the motive; however, they have refused to disclose it.

Tennessee officials have said they know a motive but have refused to disclose it. Farese said it is possible the motive will not be presented until a trial, adding, “but they will have to tell us in discovery.”

The Winkler case has drawn national attention due to the nature of the crime and the victim, a pastor, involved in the murder. The case had all the makings of a media frenzy when first a pastor was found shot to death, his wife and three children were missing causing an Amber Alert to be issued. As Mary Winkler’s attorney stated, its a circus.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in Selmer is a preliminary hearing, at which Tennessee prosecutors must make only a prima facie or “sufficient evidence” case to move the investigation toward a possible indictment.

“This is a media circus,” he observed Monday. “Everybody was there except the Taiwan Times, and they probably will be there Thursday.”

(Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal)

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March 29th, 2006 at 12:48am Posted by | Crime/Murder, Mary Winkler | 5 comments

Mary Winkler, Wife of Murdered Pastor Matthew Winkler Arraigned

Mary Winkler, the wife of accused of Pastor Matthew Winkler was formally arraigned in the shooting death her husband. Mary Winkler was charged with first-degree murder at the arraignment. Mary Winkler

Mary Winkler, 32, did not enter a plea. She is accused of killing 31-year-old Matthew Winkler, the preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, Tenn., a small town 80 miles east of Memphis.

(FOX News)

There was no plea entered, bail decision delayed and no motive was provided for the killing. There will be a preliminary hearing on Thursday to determine these outcomes.

General Sessions Court Judge Bob Gray delayed a decision on bail until Winkler mug shota preliminary hearing, set for Thursday.

Police said Friday she confessed to shooting her husband twice in the back. Her defense attorney said he is looking into reports of a confession to determine whether it actually happened and if so, whether that confession was legal.

Preacher’s Wife Appears In Court

Authorities have said Mary Winkler confessed to killing her husband on Wednesday and then leaving town with their three young daughters, though officials haven’t suggested a motive for the attack. The minister was found dead that night in the church parsonage.

(CBS News)

Friend Says Mrs. Winkler Is Apologetic According to reports, Mary Winkler has confessed to the crime of killing her husband Matthew Winkler and has also Winkler Mathewapologized and the friend says that Winkler is sorry for everything that has happened.” Of course an apology and confession does not stop one from “lawyering” up and coming out with a much different account.

Mary Winkler now has a Memphis lawyer, who describes his client as tired, and confused.

Wife of Slain Preacher Apologizes to Church

The preacher’s wife charged with murdering her husband wanted his congregation to know “she was sorry for everything she has done,” said church member Pam Killingsworth, who visited Mary Winkler.

(LA Times)

March 27th, 2006 at 03:59pm Posted by | arrested, Mary Winkler | one comment

Mary Winkler, Wife of Pastor Matthew Winkler Charged with First Degree Murder

Mary Winkler waived extradition and will return to Tennessee to face first-degree murder charges in his death of her husband, Pastor Matthew Winkler. Winkler mug shot

Orange Beach Assistant Chief of Police Greg Duck said Friday she had waived extradition and would be sent back to Tennessee later in the day or on Saturday. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent John Mehr said authorities were charging her with murder in her husband’s death after interviewing her during the night.

“We’ve known from the beginning that she was either a suspect or a victim,” said TBI spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson. (AP)

So far there has been no report as to what the motive may have been as to why Mary Winkler allegedly murdered her husband.

CNN: Mary Winkler, wife of slain minister Matthew Winkler, has confessed to killing him, police in Selmer, Tennessee, say.

SELMER, Tennessee (CNN) — The wife of a slain Tennessee minister has confessed to killing him, police said Friday.

Selmer police said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, which is taking part in questioning Mary Winkler, informed police of the confession.

Winkler, 32, faces a charge of first-degree murder for the death of her husband, Matthew Winkler, 31.

Police: Slain Minister’s Wife Confessed to His Murder

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The wife of a pastor found shot dead in his house has confessed to his murder, Tennessee police said Friday.

Mary Winkler, 32, told Alabama authorities that she killed her husband, according to Roger Rickman, an investigator with the Selmer, TN. Selmer, TN., Police Department. She has agreed to return to Tennessee to face first-degree murder charges.

(Fox News)

Criminal Affidavit and Arrest Warrent

Winkler arrest warrent

(Click on Arrest Warrent)


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March 24th, 2006 at 12:55pm Posted by | arrested, Mary Winkler | 3 comments