Minister's Wife Charged With Murder

3-25-06 - A minister's wife was charged Friday with shooting her husband to death in the parsonage in a crime that shocked the congregation and shattered the couple's happy and loving image.

Mary Winkler, 32, was arrested on murder charges and confessed to the slaying after fleeing to Alabama in the family's minivan with the couple's three young daughters, authorities said. She was expected to return Saturday afternoon to Selmer, Tenn., a town about 80 miles east of Memphis with about 4,600 people.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent John Mehr said authorities know the motive for the killing, but he would not disclose it. He said police did not believe it was infidelity.

Mary and Matthew Winkler were married in 1996. They had met at Freed-Hardeman University, a Church of Christ-affiliated school in Henderson where Matthew's father was an adjunct professor. Mary took education classes, and Matthew took Bible classes. Neither graduated.