Small Tennessee town braces for minister's wife's murder trial

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) - People in the small western Tennessee town of Selmer have been waiting for more than a year to find out why a quiet, unassuming preacher's wife might have killed her husband.

Tomorrow, the process that could produce answers begins with the opening of jury selection for the first-degree murder trial of Mary Winkler.

Her husband, 31-year-old Matthew Winkler, was the popular minister at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer.

He was found dead last March in the bedroom of the church parsonage by members of his congregation.

Authorities said he had been struck by a single blast from a 12-gauge shotgun as he lay in bed.

His wife was arrested a day later in Orange Beach, Alabama, with her three young daughters.

Police say she admitted shooting her husband.

If convicted as charged, Winkler would be sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 51 years.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)