Tennessee Preacher's Wife Convicted Of Voluntary Manslaughter In Shooting Death

Thursday, April 19th 2007, 7:30 am
By: News On 6

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) _ A preacher's wife who claimed her husband abused her was convicted Thursday of voluntary manslaughter for shooting him.

Mary Winkler, 33, showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

Prosecutors had asked that Winkler be convicted of first-degree murder, but the jury settled on the lesser charge after deliberating for eight hours. She faces three to six years in prison.

Winkler had told jurors that her husband, Matthew, abused her physically and sexually, but she said the shotgun went off accidentally as she pointed it at him.

The prosecution said it was ludicrous to suggest the shooting was an accident.

Matthew Winkler, a 31-year-old preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ, was found in the church parsonage fatally shot in his back in March 2006. One day later, his wife was arrested on the Alabama coast, driving the family minivan with their three young daughters.

Prosecution witness described Matthew Winkler as a good husband and father, and the couple's 9-year-old daughter testified she never saw her father mistreat her mother. Mary Winkler also said under cross-examination that her husband did nothing for which he deserved to die.