Mary Carroll Winkler (Mary Carroll Freeman, born December 10, 1973) is an American woman who shot and killed her husband, Matthew Winkler, in 2006. Winkler, pulpit pastor at Fourth Street Christian Church in small town, USA. Selmer, Tennessee.
Winkler has drawn national attention due to public speculation about her motives and mental health, allegations of abuse by her husband, her brief escape from the state, and her short sentence. In August 2008, Winkler received full custody of his three daughters.
Mary Winkler, who pleaded guilty to the fatal March 22, 2006 shooting of her husband, was found dead in her home by church members after he missed services that night, according to police. He was hit in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun.
The couple has been married since 1996. A neighborhood family reported that Matthew Winkler had repeatedly threatened to shoot the family’s dog after it strayed onto the Winklers lawn. In addition, other friends, as well as Mary Winkler’s family, allege that Matthew Winkler abused Mary. Winkler insisted that was the reason for the shooting.
Mary Winkler and her children (Patricia, then 8; Mary Alice, then 6; and Breanna, then 1) were in Alabama after police issued an Amber Alert out of fear of being kidnapped. Orange Beach was found. Winkler was detained there and later extradited to Tennessee to stand trial. When asked by investigators about what happened to her husband, Winkler said she and her husband had had an argument over money and said “I think that’s when my ugly thing happened”. A grand jury indicted Winkler on Monday, June 12, 2006, and charged her with first-degree murder.
Friday, June 30, 2006: Mary Winkler’s bond hearing. A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent read out a statement Winkler gave to authorities in Alabama, where she was arrested a day after her husband’s body was found. In the letter, Winkler said she didn’t remember getting the gun, but she did know her husband kept a shotgun in the home. The next thing she heard was a loud bang.
Matthew Winkler was shot in the back as he lay in bed. He rolled from the bed to the floor, still alive, and asked his wife, “Why?” She replied, “I’m sorry.” When she left the house, Matthew Winkler was still in the bedroom, and the phone had been disconnected from the socket. opened. According to the statement, she and her husband argued over a number of things throughout the night, including family finances. She admitted some of the problems were “her fault”.
Mary Winkler lost money in what her lawyer said was a scam. She deposited checks from “unknown sources” in Canada and Nigeria into her and her husband’s bank accounts. Checks for more than $17,000. Winkler was involved in a scam known as the “Nigeria scam” that promised wealth to victims who sent money to pay for processing. She added: “He’s really been criticizing me lately – the way I walk, what I eat, everything. It just builds up to a point. I’m tired of it. I think I get to a point and slam it.”
The bond was later set at $750,000, which defense attorney Steve Farese Sr. claimed was too high and “equal to no bond at all.” A request to reduce the security deposit was made but was subsequently denied. Winkler’s attorneys, Leslie Ballin and Steve Farese Sr., also filed a motion to technically drop her confession, asking prosecutors to say whether they would seek the death penalty (they didn’t), give potential jurors an extensive questionnaire, and other motions related to voir dire.
Winkler’s entire defense team—Steve Farese Sr., Leslie Ballin, Tony Farese, Steve Farese, Jr. attorney and investigator Terry Cox—represented her pro bono throughout the criminal case.