9-year-old preacher's daughter heard father's fatal shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Janice Broach reports

9-year-old preacher's daughter heard father's fatal shooting

The prosecution rested its case Monday after four days of testimony in the case of a preacher's wife on trial for murdering her husband but not before calling Mary Winkler's 9-year-old daughter to testify.

The child was wearing a black and white polka dot dress and medium heeled sandals. She walked up the stand confidently seeming much older than her nine years.

She seemed prepared except for the two times she broke down.

The judge asked her if she knew was a lie and the truth are. She said she did. She was fine until the prosecutor asked his first question 'when is your birthday'. She started sobbing.

Prosecutors asked the fourth grader what she heard and saw the morning a year ago when her mother shot her father.

During earlier testimony, Mary Winkler sat in the middle of the defense table where she had been for the entire trial.

She moved her chair to the edge of the table just before her daughter took the stand.

Mary looked at her and smiled in what looked like a supportive way during her testimony.

Patricia Winkler told prosecutors she found her father laying face down on the floor of the bedroom on the morning of the murder.

"At first I heard this big boom. It seemed like something fell. I went to my Mommy and Daddy's room," Patricia Winkler said. "My Daddy was face down on the floor, he was just groaning."

Matthew Winkler's family listened as the child said her mother told the children, "Momma said she called 911 for an ambulance" as they were driving away from the house.

Patricia said her mother looked just like her normal self.

Patricia said as they drove she asked her mother, "where are we going. She said, "we're going some place special."

She asked her mother if they would be meeting daddy and her mother responded.

"No, because he might not be able to take this with Brianna crying," said Mary Winkler.

Brianna the Winkler's youngest daughter was one year old at the time.

Mary Winkler cried during her daughter's testimony, along with several jurors.

Matthew Winkler, a popular 31-year-old preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ, was found dead in his parsonage by church members last March.

Mary Winkler was arrested a day later with the couple's three children in Alabama.

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.

The judge ordered the cameras turned off in the courtroom when 9-year-old Patricia Winkler took the stand.

Patricia told Winkler's attorney she still loved her mother but didn't want to see her anymore. She couldn't really say why.

She said "Because I didn't want to see her."

Then she said "I still love her" before breaking down again and sobbing.

The defense was expected to begin calling witnesses Tuesday, and defense attorney Leslie Ballin has hinted Mary Winkler could take the stand.


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