Mary Winkler Murder Trial: Timeline For Day 5 - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Mary Winkler Murder Trial: Timeline For Day 5

The following is a timeline for the fifth day of the murder trial for Mary Winkler, who is accused of fatally shooting her preacher husband Matthew Winkler in his sleep. The shooting took place in the parsonage of Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, a West Tennessee town.


6:46PM: Freeland returns to ask a few more questions. Zager makes clear that she thinks Winkler's PTSD started after the death of her little sister. Freeland asks if the death of the sister 20 years ago - not the death of Matthew Winkler - is the traumatic event. She testifies that it was the first traumatic event. Freeland asks what other event would cause the disorder, and Zager says being in a marriage with the threat of serious physical or emotional harm would also be criteria for this disorder. Zager says Mary's words and the medical records she reviewed lead to that conclusion. Zager testifies that she doesn't have any medical records to support what Mary Winkler told her of actual or threatened injury,  but she does produce a record of "Mary Alice Winkler" with a swollen jaw, which is clearly supposed to be Mary Winkler.

6:40 PM:   Zager is questioned by Leslie Ballin.  Zager is asked whether she did anything unethical - she says no - Ballin stares at Freeland, says "We didn't either" and slams his notebook down on the table.  Zager is asked about the difference between competency in court and whether someone has a mental illness. 

6:33 PM:  Zager says it is not unusual for someone to not want to see their family when they are used to be abused.  In many ways, Mary says her father was a lot like Matthew.  Zager is asked whether there was anything Mary told her - that it was Mary's decision not to be around her family. 

6:08 PM: Zager testifies even though Mary was the one writing the checks - she was not the one controlling the financial information.  Zager is asked if psychology is an exact science - she says no.  She is asked whether the result could be compromised because of the relationship between the psychologist and the subject. 

6:04 PM:   Zager is questioned about V-codes in the DSM.  One of those is called malingering.  Malingering is when someone has a reason to lie about their true mental health status.  Malingering is considered a diagnosis - not a mental illness - but definitely something someone can be doing.  Zager is asked whether it's possible Mary Winkler is malingering. 

5:51 PM:   Zager is asked to go over her initial testing methods again.  She says it is not an intelligence test.  Zager says Mary is an intelligent person.  Zager is asked whether she was asked to do a competency review - she says no - but that is a part of her forensic evaluation.  Zager says Mary is competent to stand trial - in a legal sense.  Zager does not think this is a case involving insanity.  She is asked to talk about DSM - and how it's used. 

5:47 PM:   Zager is asked why this case was of interest to her - why did she take it?  She says the issues involved are something she is really interested in.  She says she did not do it for the publicity.  Zager is asked whether she was looking for a platform to speak about spousal abuse when she took this case.

5:38 PM:   Zager is cross-examined by Walt Freeland.  Freeland asked whether Zager told her 90 minutes ago - that her deciding whether Mary was incapable of forming intent was compromised.  She says yes - but they wrangle over the meaning of the word COMPROMISED.

5:35 PM:   Zager testifies she thinks Mary was not capable of forming the intent to kill her husband. 

5:31 PM:   On the day of the murder -- Mary says she put the baby back to bed - got up to make coffee.  The next thing she remembers is the sound of the gun.  She also remembers the smell of the gun.  Mary also remembered her daughter coming into the room - she got baby socks and told the girls they were going on a trip.  Mary also told her that as a child her family had taken a trip to the beach - that's why she wanted to take the girls to the beach. 

5:29 PM:   Winkler told Zager that Matthew threatened Mary several times with the shotgun.  Zager says Mary also described a time when Matthew bruised her jaw and went to the doctor. 

5:26 PM:   Zager testifies about what she remembers from the day of the murder. Winkler described the movie - they had sexual relations that night.  Matthew was upset because the baby monitor was not on.  Matthew went to the baby who was crying and put his hand over her mouth. Mary said he had done that with the other 2 girls - but she was especially worried about Breanna because she was born premature.  5:21PM:  Zager says Mary was asked to do things sexually that she wasn't comfortable with - she was asked to wear clothes, watch pornographic movies, etc.  Mary said he forced her to have anal sex - even though she asked him to stop.  Zager testified that Mary was grieving over the death of her husband.  Zager says Mary talked about Matthew's death in bits and pieces.  She remembered some things - but not other things about the morning of his death.  Zager says it is not uncommon for someone to block out parts of a traumatic events - she says most people remember bits and pieces.

5:19PM:   Zager says Matthew was obsessed with Mary's weight.  She was not allowed to have chocolate in his presence.  Mary said the Winklers were disappointed when their 3rd child was a girl - they really wanted a boy. 

5:10PM:   Zager says Mary also told her there were issues involving spousal abuse.  Zager is asked, "What are the key elements of domestic abuse?"  She says the biggest issue in abuse is control - it can be emotional, physical or sexual abuse.  Experts say emotional and verbal abuse are more destructive than physical abuse.  Zager says Mary didn't want to portray her husband in a negative life.  As time went on - Mary began to open up more.  Zager says she was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by Matthew.  Many abuse victims are isolated by their abusers.  Zager says that is what happened with Mary.  Zager says many abuse victims will stay because they are too afraid to leave - that fear can be paralyzing. 

5:06PM:   Zager testifies Mary is suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder as well as a mild form of depression.  She says Mary most likely has had her PTSD since she was 13 years old.  She says Mary also had dissociative episodes - where when she encounters stressful issues.

5:00PM:   April 23, 2006 was the 3rd visit between the 2 women.  Zager brought her ink blot cards to that session.  That was in an effort to open Mary up.  Mary was still holding things back at that point.  Mary began telling Zager about her dreams.  Zager says Mary loved her husband very much and was using the dream to deal with what had happened.

4:49PM:   Zager testifies she saw Mary a 2nd time on April 11, 2006.  At that meeting, Mary didn't want to say anything bad about Matthew.  Zager says she learned a lot about Mary's history during that meeting. Zager said Mary had a sister who was mentally and physically disabled - that was a defining point in Mary's life.  Mary was a caretaker for her little sister.  Even though they had separate rooms, Mary often slept with the little girl.  Patricia (the sister) died unexpectedly when she was 11 years old - that was the beginning of Mary's mental health problems.  Mary would have been 13 years old at the time.  Mary initially talked to a counselor at school - but her family discouraged her from doing that.  The family wanted to deal with it on their own.  Zager thinks Mary was being truthful about the events of her childhood.  Zager testified Mary became more comfortable with her as time went on4:30PM: Zager is declared an expert by the court. Zager testifies she was asked to take this case pro bono. Zager says she has done thousands of forensic evaluations. Zager is asked to describe a forensic evaluation. She says the first thing she does is talk to them about the limits of confidentiality. She says she first saw Mary on March 31st 2006 at her office in Jackson. She began the evaluation of her mental condition.  She says she has spent more than 40 hours with Mary since that time.  Zager says she got very little information out of Mary the first time she met her.  Zager says Mary was very cordial and polite - but wasn't forthcoming with any information involving the shooting.

4:20PM: Dr. Lynne Zager - Mary Winkler's Psychologist - is questioned by Steve Farese.  Zager testifies about her credentials and who her patients are.


2:49PM: Questioned by Farese - Fisher testifies the blunt force trauma could have been caused by a hand, a foot, anything like that - not necessarily a softball.  Fisher is dismissed.

2:41PM:   Dr. Fisher is cross-examined by Walt Freeland.  Dr. Fisher says he doesn't remember the office visit - he is basing his testimony on her medical record. 

2:36PM:   Dr. Timothy Fisher - a McMinnville doctor -- is questioned by Steve Farese.  Dr. Fisher says he has treated Mary Winkler.  He is COC.  August 22, 2002 - Mary came in to his office claiming she was hit by a softball in the cheek.  Dr. Fisher's nurse practitioner wrote the softball "was Mary's story." 

2:34PM:   Ballin asks Dunlap about the New Year's Eve photos.  Dunlap says she discussed the incident with Judge McCraw.  She says Mary didn't do anything wrong.  Dunlap is dismissed.

2:28PM:    Donna Dunlap - Mary Winkler's probation officer - is questioned by Leslie Ballin.  She is asked whether she would believe Winkler under oath.

2:31PM:   Dunlap is cross-examined by Walt Freeland.  Dunlap testifies she has seen Mary every week since her release last fall.  Dunlap is questioned about a clause in Mary's release statement - she says Mary has never to her knowledge violated that order. 


1:56PM: Defense Attorney Steve Farese starts questioning and asks if a reason could be because Mary had been beaten by her husband for several years. There is an objection, but Tabatha starts nodding her head. Tabatha says she knows why Mary didn't get to see her, but doesn't give the reason.

1:55PM: Tabatha says Mary got along with her brothers and "all of us." Tabatha testifies that she saw Mary twice over 4 or 5 years, and she has never met Breanna.

1:50PM: Assistant District Attorney Walter Freeland cross-examines the witness. Tabatha says Mary's relationship with her father is "good now." She testifies that she's pretty sure the 2 didn't speak very much in March of 2006. Freeland asks if the reason Mary didn't come around her father wasn't because Matthew was controlling her, but because she didn't want to be around him. Tabatha says she doesn't think so, but it's an "opinionated question." Freeland also asks if Mary didn't want to be around her brothers who had legal problems. Tabatha says she can't speak for her, but that's "not Mary."

1:49PM: Tabatha is putting herself through school right now. Tabatha testifies that Matthew & Mary never invited her to functions (like birthday parties, etc.).

1:46PM: Tabatha testifies that her family saw Mary for about 2 hours on Christmas of 2005. She believes they were coming from an event the Winklers were having. Tabatha says when Mary was with the family, many times Matthew just left. He'd go visit people he knew in the area, and sometimes he'd leave angry and Tabatha had no idea what he was angry about. One time he left because he was upset about the dinner arrangements, and Tabatha just left, too. She testifies that often happened. Tabatha testifies that she saw Mary a normal amount of time in the beginning, but as time went on, it got less and less. It became very abnormal that they never got to spend any time with them.

1:37PM:  Tabatha Freeman - Mary Winkler's sister - is questioned by Steve Farese.  Tabatha was adopted as a child along with several of her siblings.  Tabatha is a student at UT Knoxville.  Tabatha says they grew up in a Christian household - Daddy was the head of the household.  She says they were raised in a household where what Daddy said goes.  Tabatha testifies that as time went on in her marriage, she noticed changes in Mary. A bubbly, outgoing sister became very subdued, and she didn't get to see Mary. She says their mom died of cancer when she was a senior in high school.  Matthew called all of her siblings together - they said they were upset they hadn't seen Mary, and Matthew said their sister wasn't their sister anymore and she would never be that way again. Tabatha says Matthew pretty much dictated everything Mary did, and she wasn't allowed to make any decisions for herself. She always had to check with Matthew if they wanted her to do something or go somewhere, and the answer was almost always no. Tabatha says she would describe Matthew as "controlling."

1:35PM:  Parish is cross-examined by Walt Freeland. Parish says he was not given a chance to see the statement until recently.  He was not given a chance to go over it and make corrections - Parish is dismissed.

1:20PM: Timothy Parish - pulpit minister at the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville - is questioned by Leslie Ballin. He started at the church in March 2004 - he says he is about a year younger than Matthew. Matthew was the youth minister at the church. Parish says he talked to the defense last month - and wanted to have a copy of his statement to the TBI sent to him for review.  Parish says there are things in the TBI statement that he didn't think he said. Parish says the report may not be completely accurate. He called both the defense and the prosecution about the problems with the statement. Parish testifies he and Matthew worked together for about 10 months. Parish says he tends to compare other people's marriages to his own. He says he has an exceptional marriage. Parish says he didn't think Mary & Matthew's relationship was as good as his.  Matthew inherited an un-disciplined group of kids. Matthew took it upon himself to try and correct that. 

1:20PM: Boyd is dismissed

1:10PM:   Boyd is cross-examined by Walt Freeland.  She says she worked for the church - and would help out the preachers as needed.  Boyd testifies about Matthew's job responsibilities at the church.  She says she left because she wanted to just be a church member - there was a part-time lady that could do her job just fine.  Boyd says she has seen some streaming video of the trial.  Boyd is questioned about whether the kids were locked in the office.  She says it wasn't her business to get involved.  She says there were matches in the office - but she was more concerned about the girls being left alone.  She says it happened a few times.

12:52PM:   Lori Boyd - a secretary at Central Church of Christ in McMinnville - is questioned by Leslie Ballin. Boyd testifies Matthew was extremely nice at first. She says their working relationship deteriorated. She says he tried to make it known that she worked for him. She says she considered him to be cruel at times. She says he was mentally and emotionally berating - very hard to work with. She says there were several times he stepped over the line. Boyd says Mary & Matthew had a different relationship in public & in the office. She says behind closed doors - there was a tension between the 2.  Boyd says on a couple of occasions - she heard Matthew speaking angrily to Mary.  Boyd is asked about a time when Mary bought feminine hygiene products - Matthew didn't think she needed it.

When Mary would bring lunch for both of them - many times she was told not to eat it because she was getting fat. Mary is always very polite and humble. Boyd testified that she defended Mary to Matthew at times. Boyd says men should be a leader by example not by force. Boyd testified he was very proud of the way Mary dressed - he picked out her clothes. Boyd is asked what Matthew did to the kids.  Boyd testified her son is the same age as Mary Alice - there is a daycare in the church downstairs. The kids would wait for them at the end of the day.  She says he would lock them in a room at the church. Boyd testified she also did bookkeeping at the church. She says Matthew made lots of purchases on the church accounts - they never saw. She says she discussed that with one of the church elders - she created a "Matthew" file. That church elder was also a VP at the bank. She says the file was in the drawer when she left. 


11:17AM:  Thomsen is dismissed

11:15 - Thomsen is questioned again by Steve Farese.  Thomsen says he now knows more about Mary and Matthew's relationship.  Thomsen says he feels guilty he didn't do more to stop what happened.  Thomsen testifies often it is hard to know what goes on behind closed doors.

11:11 - Thomsen is cross-examined by Walt Freeland.  Thomsen says his child had no problem with Matthew as his youth minister.  Thomsen says he doesn't know exactly when he saw Mary at church with the black eye.  Thomsen says Mary is in good spirits - he says she seems happier now then when she was with Matthew.

11:02 -  Rudi Thomsen - Winkler family friend - is questioned by Steve Farese.  Thomsen lives in McMinnville and was a member of the Central Church of Christ.  Thomsen testified he saw Mary one Sunday at church with a black eye.  Mary claimed she got it while horsing around with the girls.  Thomsen says Mary's personality changed when Matthew was around.  Thomsen began to question who Mary was being treated by Matthew.  Thomsen testified he opened his home up to her after she was released on bail.  Thomsen says he saw a woman who came to his home who was hurt and hurting - now she has blossomed into a person who cuts up and treats his child as a little brother.  He says he enjoys her presence in his home.  He says he talks about her children all the time.

Thomsen says Mary is a truthful person - he would believe her under oath. 

11:01  - No cross examination - Allen is dismissed 

10:53 -  Jonathon Allen -- a 21-year old student at Freed Hardeman -- is questioned by the defense.  He is a social work major who plans to work for the TN Department of Children's Services.  Allen testifies he was questioned by the TBI last year.  He knew Matthew Winkler from the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville.  He says Matthew was a friend. Allen testified Matthew was not busy - but kept the youth in line.  Jonathon says he saw the 2 of them arguing.  He saw Matthew yelling at Mary on a few occasions.  He says Mary seemed like a reserved woman.  Allen testifies Mary always did what Matthew said in the 3 or 4 years he knew them.  Allen testified some of the kids at church didn't like the way Matthew dealt with them.  Allen says at times Matthew was stern.  Allen testified Matthew's personality clashed with 2 or 3 members of the youth group.

10:53 - No cross examination - Patterson is dismissed

10:43  - Howard Patterson - a criminal investigator with the TBI - is questioned by the defense.  Patterson is questioned about the hard drives taken from the Winkler home.  Patterson says there were images found on the hard drives.  Patterson testifies they were able to see things that had been deleted.

10:42 -  No cross-examination - Hampton is dismissed

10:39 -  Hampton testifies there were a lot of images on the 4 hard drives.  There were 263, 76, 5 and 3 images on each of the 4 computers - no word on what the images are. 

10:35 - Sidebar

10:24:30Philip Hampton - a computer forensic expert - is questioned by Leslie Ballin. Hampton was given a computer from the Winkler home by the TBI.  He describes what a hard drive is.  He testifies he received a hard drive on April 3 of this year.   They were able to access 4 hard drives - one had images they couldn't access.  One of those hard drives had missing images.  Hampton says even when something is deleted - it still lives on the hard drive.  He compares a computer hard drive to a card catalog at the library.  The card index may be missing - but the book is still there.  He testifies about the difference between allocated and unallocated space on the hard drive.  The computer images are admitted into evidence. 


10:08:08   Jones is dismissed

10:07:26 - Defense attorney Steve Farese redirects the witness. Jones testifies that Matthew lived up to his reputation during the incident he described. He doesn't recall any other preachers who are bullies.

10:00:50 - Jones is cross-examined by Assistant District Attorney Walt Freeland.  Freeland asks if Jones ever gave a statement to the defense team. Jones testifies that he did talk to them this morning, and he is telling the truth. Jones testifies that other nicknames he has given people include "Bugs Bunny," "Elmer Fudd," some of the characters on Green Acres, and probably more.  Jones testified that Matthew Winkler's actions made him more sad than mad because of who Matthew was in the community and in the church.

9:58:45 - Jones testifies that other neighbors talked about Matthew Winkler, and he had a reputation for being a bully in that neighborhood.

9:46:40 - The defense calls Jimmy Jones to the stand. He is a sergeant with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He lives in McMinnville. Defense attorney Steve Farese asks him if he had ever met Matthew Winkler. Jones testifies that the Winklers lived very close to his grandmother in McMinnville, and he had an experience with the Winklers on the day before his grandmother died in August of 2004. Jones says Mary Winkler had made several trips to check on his grandmother. On that day, Matthew came over, and Jones says that he could tell by Matthew's demeanor that he was upset as he was approaching the yard. When Matthew got close, he began to shout and raise his arms - and was basically out of control. Jones testifies that Matthew was shouting about a small dog. Jones says that his brother has 2 kids and a small dog, and Matthew said the dog kept him up last night from sleeping. Jones testifies that he told Matthew that it couldn't have been that dog, but there was no reasoning with Matthew.

Jones testifies that the incident didn't surprise him because he had "already heard things," and Matthew had a reputation. Jones says Matthew was acting like a bully, and Jones jokingly gave him the nickname "the Tasmanian Devil."

9:45 - The jury returns


9:27 - Special agent Donna Nelson is excused from the stand.

9:26 - Assistant District Attorney Walt Freeland  returns to continue questioning the witness. Nelson says the difference between the two scenes is that one of the phones is only a few feet away from a dead body.

9:24 - Defense attorney Leslie Ballin asks a few more questions of the witness. He points out that the telephone was also on the floor at the hotel room in Orange Beach.

9:12:37 - Assistant District Attorney Walt Freeland asks a few rebuttal questions. He has agent Nelson circle the top shelf of the closet in the photos of the bedroom and he has her mark the position of the nightstand in another photo. At 9:21:20, they show a photo of the items and blood on the floor after Matthew's body had been removed.

8:52:30 - The defense redirects, and agent Nelson testifies that the diagram of the Winkler home is not to scale.  They discuss many details - like how much distance there is from the wall to the bed, and they show and discuss several crime scene photos (including a couple of photos that show a bloody floor) and photos of details in the bedroom.

8:43:50 a.m. - Freeland and Nelson go over some of the crime scene photos and talk about where the blood swabs were taken. Nelson testifies that her analysis reveals the stain on the Winkler bed was human blood, and it belonged to Matthew Winkler. Nelson testifies about the stain taken from the garbage can in the kitchen area.

Nelson testifies that the stain found on one of the pillows was the blood of an unidentified female individual, and that person could be a possible child of Matthew & Mary Winkler.

Nelson testifies that the blood found on the pillow found in the Winkler girl's bedroom belongs to an unidentified female that could be the child of Matthew and  Mary Winkler.

8:39:50 - Assistant District Attorney Walt Freeland begins cross-examining the witness. Nelson testifies her sketch of the scene was hand-drawn and then made neater on a computer.  They then show the computer-generated sketch on the scene, and Nelson discusses which room was which.

8:23 - Donna Nelson takes the stand. She is employed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as a special agent / forensic scientist. She responded to the crime scene at the Winkler residence with a crime scene team, including Lauren James, Erica Catherine, and Francesca Sanders (all spellings are estimated). The perimeter was already established when she arrived at the scene. Nelson testifies that she met some officers from the Selmer Police department and TBI Special Agent Chris Carpenter at the scene. Carpenter gave her information so she'd know the background of what was in the crime scene, and he shared any information he thought she should know about.

Nelson testifies that she did a walk-through of the crime scene, and then came out to brief her team members. Then, they began processing the scene. Nelson testifies that they sketched, took photographs, and took video of the crime scene. That was all according to TBI policy.

Nelson testifies that they took the following evidence from the crime scene: 2 pillows from bedroom #2 (bedroom in the middle), a sheet from floor next to victim, a swab from kitchen garbage bin, a swab from sheet on bed, under victim's body, miscellaneous checks, computers from the basement, computer printer & printer paper from the dining room/living room area.

Francesca Sanders received all the items (except the computers) to be logged. The computers were taken to a TBI agent in Nashville. The other items were taken to Memphis for serology analyzation (serology is the scientific study of blood serum, but that wasn't defined on the stand).

8:22 - Judge calls court into order, and the defense begins its case.

8:21:07 - Jury comes into the courtroom.

8:15 a.m.- Everyone is in the courtroom, but the judge and the attorneys have a sidebar.

2007 Headlines
4/19 Winkler Jury Deliberates
4/19 Possible Charges Against Mary Winkler
4/18 Defense Says Preacher Terrorized Winkler Family
4/17 Winkler Daughter Called To Witness Stand

4/14 Bank Employees Discuss Winkler Financial Problems
4/14 Jurors, Winkler Listen To Taped Interview
4/14 Angry Caller Prompts Increased Trial Security
4/13 Third Day For Jury Selection In Winkler Trial

4/11 Jury Seated In Mary Winkler Trial
4/11 Witness Lists Released In Winkler Trial
4/11 Jury Selection Begins In Winkler Trial
4/04 Mary Winkler Charged With Husband's Death

3/19 Mary Winkler Asks For Custody Of Children
3/28 Family Of Slain Minister Sues Mary Winkler
3/22 Selmer Braces For Winkler Murder Trial
Prosecutor Not Seeking Death For Winkler

2/23 Winkler Trial Date Set
Mary Winkler Appears In Court
Mary Winkler Spied Out And About On New Year's
Mary Winkler's Story Continues Through Glamour

2006 Headlines
12/18 Wife Of Slain Pastor Living Quiet Life In McMinnville
Mary Winkler's Bosses Give Her A Chance
Winkler's Sisters Speak Out
Top Stories Of 2006: Minister's Wife

9/27 Judge Lets Minister's Wife's Confession Stand
Preacher's Wife Asks For Statement To Be Thrown Out
Mary Winkler Released From Jail On Bond
Minister's Wife Expected to Post Bond Friday

9/18 Preacher's Wife Remains Behind Bars

04/19/2007 Winkler Defense Team As Jury Begins Deliberating
04/19/2007 Winkler Jury Begins Deliberations
04/18/2007 Analysis of Morning Session In Winkler Trial Day 6
04/16/2007 Winkler Daughter Called To Witness Stand
04/14/2007 Highlights From Day 3 In Mary Winkler Trial
04/14/2007 Angry Caller Prompts Increased Trial Security
Mary Winkler Spied Out And About On New Year's
12/29/2007 Year In Review: Wife Kills Minister Husband

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