Angry Caller Prompts Increased Trial Security - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Angry Caller Prompts Increased Trial Security

SELMER, Tenn.- An angry caller to the McNairy County Justice Center Saturday prompted increased security for the Mary Winkler murder trial.

A man, who called earlier in the week, called the county clerk's office, angrily suggesting that Winkler was not being prosecuted "with enough gusto," according to NewsChannel 5 reporter Chris Cannon, who is covering the trial in Selmer. Selmer is 165 miles west of Nashville.

Winkler is accused of fatally shooting her husband, Matthew Winkler, father of her three daughters and a fifth-generation Church of Christ preacher.

Cannon said before Saturday morning, jurors, witnesses, media and others could freely enter and leave the justice center

"Someone who is apparently is not happy with the way the prosecution is handling their part of the case, in his view," said court spokeswoman Sue Allison.

Now, individuals have to pass through metal detectors before they enter the courtroom. Winkler is now taken out of the back of the courthouse and more McNairy County sheriff's deputies are posted throughout the property.

More observers are standing outside the courthouse for the third day of trial, which has attracted international attention.

Cannon said that the caller, whose identity was not revealed, was a Tennessee resident, but he didn't live in McNairy County.

The sheriff said he thinks he knows who this person is and that authorities will be questioning him.

The caller did not threaten to shoot anyone or to set off a bomb but "it was something taken very seriously because of the anger of his voice," Cannon said.

The caller did not make specific threats against specific people.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is helping with security.

Defense attorney Leslie Ballin said Winkler's defense attorneys were glad to have more security six days into the case.

"We were saying, where are the metal detectors," Ballin said. "We've got them now, and that's a good thing."

Security issues didn't interrupt testimony. The state hammered its theory Winkler was involved in a check writing and cashing scam.

Prosecutors said she killed her husband so he wouldn't find out about her financial problems.

Bank employees for much of the morning and early afternoon testified about the Winkler's financial practices. Steve Scott, a firearms expert with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation testified about the shotgun used to fatally shoot Matthew Winkler, a preacher at Fourth Street Church of Christ.

"I told her that if we can't get it straightened out and things didn't get worked out, I'm sure we could get it worked out, but if she didn't come in and see about it there could be criminal charges," said Mary Paulette Guest, a Regions Bank employee who also worships at Fourth Street Church of Christ where Matthew Winkler was a preacher.

The third day of testimony ended around 5:15 p.m. The murder trial is expected to resume at 8:15 a.m. Monday.

There will be a four-hour recap of highlights from the trial begins at 7 p.m. Saturday on NewsChannel 5 Plus cable Channel 50.

Gavel to gavel coverage on the trial on Channel 50 until the verdict comes in on NewsChannel 5 Plus as well as via streaming video at www.newschannel5.com.

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