Winkler attorneys refine strategy

Attorneys for the Mid-South preacher's wife accused of killing her husband say her rights were violated and any so-called "confession" to the crime should be thrown out.

Mary Winkler's lawyers are changing their strategy for their hearing Wednesday to get Winkler's statements thrown out.  They were going to argue that her statements were no good because they weren't voluntary, as per her protection under the Fifth Amendment.  We now know they're going to argue that police should never have treated her like a suspect in the first place.

"What we understand happened is that the Alabama authorities - acting on the request of the Tennessee authorities - immediately put her under arrest.  That is a violation of her rights," says defense attorney, Leslie Ballin.

Prosecutors say Winkler killed her preacher husband, with a shotgun blast to the chest.  In the days after his body was found, Mary Winkler and her children were simply considered missing.  Her lawyers say when Alabama police found her, they treated her like a suspect too soon, instead of simply locating her and verifying her safety.

Police and prosecutors say Winkler made statements of guilt while she was in custody.

Defense attorneys Leslie Ballin and Steve Farese will argue that Mary Winkler's Fourth Amendment rights were violated, when - they say - authorities searched her home and vehicle.  "We are alleging that the search and seizure of the defendant herself was without probable cause, without articulate facts, without good reason.  She simply was the subject of an Amber alert," says Ballin.

If Mary Winkler's lawyers win on that front, their entire defense could benefit.  And they've got two months to go until trial.

The last motion Winkler's lawyers brought to Judge McCraw was denied.  And that was an effort to have her bond reduced from $750,000 to a $315,000 property bond.  Her lawyer, Steve Farese, tells us he's hoping to make an announcement about her ability to pay the full amount on Wednesday.