Psychologist says Tenn. preacher's wife says husband abused her, forced her to have sex - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Psychologist says Tenn. preacher's wife says husband abused her, forced her to have sex

By BETH RUCKER
Associated Press Writer

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) - A preacher's wife accused of murdering her husband told a psychologist that he often threatened her with a shotgun and forced her to have sex, the psychologist testified Tuesday.

Dr. Lynne Zager said Mary Winkler also told her that, on the day of the fatal shooting, her husband tried to stop their 1-year-old daughter from crying by placing his hands over the baby's nose and mouth.

Prosecution witnesses have described Matthew Winkler, a 31-year-old preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in this west Tennessee town, as a good father and husband. But the defense says he terrorized his family and criticized his wife's every move.

Matthew Winkler was found fatally shot in the parsonage where the family lived in March 2006. A day later, Mary Winkler was arrested on the Alabama coast 340 miles away, driving in the family minivan with her three young daughters.

The psychologist said Mary Winkler suffered from mild depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which started at age 13 when her sister died and got worse because her husband abused her. She could not have formed the intent to commit a crime because of her compromised mental condition, Zager said.

Mary Winkler, 33, could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. The defense has said Mary Winkler intended to hold her husband at gunpoint only to force him to talk about the incident involving their 1-year-old daughter Breanna. The defense said the shooting was accidental.

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

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