Both sides prove points in preacher's wife murder trial

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) - In the first week of testimony, prosecutors played an audiotape in which a preacher's wife acknowledges shooting her husband, telling investigators her "ugly came out."

But the audiotape and other evidence presented last week also highlighted the central point of Mary Winkler's defense: She believes her husband threatened her life and was abusing her emotionally and physically.

Matthew Winkler, a 31-year-old preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, was found shot to death in the church parsonage March 22, 2006.

One day later his wife was arrested on the Alabama coast, some 340 miles away from Selmer, driving in the family minivan with the couple's three young daughters.

Prosecutors have described Matthew Winkler as a good father and husband. But the defense has said the evidence will show he was a dictator at home who terrorized his family and criticized his wife's every move.

Winkler told an Alabama Bureau of Investigation agent on the audiotape that her husband had threatened her.

"He said something that really scared me. I don't know, something life-threatening," she said, without elaborating further.

She also said her husband criticized her for "the way I walk, what I eat, everything. It was just building up to this point. I was just tired of it. I guess I just got to a point and snapped."

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