Insanity Plea For Slain Pastor's Wife?

4-1-06 - A minister's wife charged with shooting her husband to death in the church parsonage waived her right to a hearing that would have aired evidence against her.

Defense attorneys said Thursday that Mary Winkler was emotionally fragile and also wanted to protect her three young daughters from any painful details that might have emerged at the hearing, where she could have requested bail. "Her condition is pretty fragile right now," defense attorney Leslie Ballin said. "We're concerned about it."

Winkler, 32, was ordered held without bail on charges of first-degree murder in the March 22 shooting of Matthew Winkler, the minister at Fourth Street Church of Christ in the small town of Selmer, 80 miles east of Memphis. The case against her now goes to the grand jury, which is set to meet in June and will decide if there is enough evidence to support murder charges against her.

Authorities say Mary Winkler confessed to shooting her 31-year-old husband and planned the attack, leaving town with their daughters. Church members have described Mary Winkler as a quiet, unassuming woman who was a substitute teacher at an elementary school.


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