Winkler Jury Deliberates - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Winkler Jury Deliberates

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) -- A preacher's wife accused of murdering her husband testified Wednesday that she doesn't remember picking up the shotgun or pointing it at her husband, but she said she did not pull the trigger. She heard a "boom" as the shotgun fired, she said.

"Something went off," Mary Winkler said, crying on the witness stand.

She said she just wanted to talk to her husband, Matthew, when she went into their bedroom, but she was terrified. Her husband was physically and sexually abusive, she said.

That day, she said, she just wanted to stop him from being so mean.

She said she ran from the house after the gun fired. "I thought Matthew would be mad at me, and I didn't know what he would do to me."

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Later, she returned to their bedroom in the parsonage and found Matthew on his back, with blood coming out of his mouth, nose and ears. "He was dead," she said. A forensic pathologist testified that Matthew Winkler had been shot in the back.

Mary Winkler said that despite everything, she still loved her husband.

"I was ashamed," Winkler said. "I didn't want anybody to know about Matthew."

Questioning by her attorney ended at midday and the prosecutors were to question Winkler later Wednesday.

Her depiction of her marriage contrasts radically from the description by the prosecution, whose witnesses described Matthew Winkler as a good father and husband.

Matthew Winkler, 31, was found fatally shot in the parsonage where the family lived in March 2006. A day later, his wife was arrested on the Alabama coast 340 miles away, driving the family minivan with her three young daughters inside.

Earlier Wednesday, Mary Winkler testified her husband punched and kicked her, forced her to have sex she considered unnatural and refused to grant her a divorce.

The defense showed the jury a pair of white platform-heel shoes and a wig she said her husband wanted her to wear during sex.

Mary Winkler, 33, talked quietly, her eyes downcast. She identified pornographic pictures as those she saw on her husband's computer, and those photos were entered as evidence. She said he wanted her to look at pornography before sex.

She testified that he once kicked her in the face during an argument, and that he also hit her in the face, pushed her down and hit her with a belt. Shortly after they were married, "he just got me down and told me that I was his wife and we were family now, and he just screamed and hollered," she testified.

"I just wanted out," she said.

Mary Winkler said her husband kept her away from her family and criticized her appearance: "I was fat, hair wasn't right. With the girls, if something went wrong, it was my fault. If it rained, it was my fault," she said.

In closing arguments Wednesday, defense attorney Steve Farese said the prosecution "absolutely, positively" did not prove Mary Winkler had the intent to kill her husband.

The jury could consider lesser charges, such as voluntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.

The judge said the jury will begin its deliberations Thursday.

If convicted of first-degree murder, she could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. But a psychologist who testified for the defense said she could not have formed the intent to commit a crime because of her compromised mental condition.

Dr. Lynn Zager testified that Mary Winkler suffered from mild depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which started at age 13 when her sister died and was worsened by her husband's abuse. The disorder made it more likely that Mary Winkler would have "dissociative episodes" in which she lost track of her ability to think and feel, as though she were living in a fog, Zager said.

The defense has said Mary Winkler intended to hold her husband at gunpoint only to force him to talk about the incident involving their 1-year-old daughter, Breanna, and that the shooting was accidental. She testified that her husband had put his hand over Breanna's nose and mouth to make the baby stop crying.

Several witnesses for the prosecution said they never saw any sign that Matthew Winkler was abusive. The couple's 9-year-old daughter, Patricia, testified that she had a good father and she never saw him mistreat her mother.

Last week, prosecutors played an audiotape in which Mary Winkler acknowledged shooting her husband, telling investigators her "ugly came out." She told authorities that her husband criticized her constantly and that she got tired of it and just "snapped."

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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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