Selmer residents weigh in on Winkler verdict

The preacher's wife, Mary Winkler, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of her husband Matthew.

The preacher murder thrust the small town of Selmer into the national spotlight and now that the verdict is in people in the small town have a lot to say.

The folks in Selmer have spent the last year trying the Mary Winkler case in the court of public opinion.

Now that a real jury has made its decision, many have the same reaction.

A lot of people say Winkler's time on the stand and details of spousal abuse may have saved her time in prison by winning sympathy.

"Until you've been in a situation like that or helped someone in a situation like that I don't think you have any idea how traumatizing that can be," says Selmer resident Jackie Prather.

Angie Willard watched much of the trial and feels bad for Mary Winkler and Matthew Winkler's family.

"For his family's sake and stuff it's probably good she had to serve some time. But I'm glad she's not getting the first degree murder," adds Willard.

Brian Doles says the verdict would have been tougher had Winkler been a man, "he'd probably got life or the death penalty."

That sentiment was heard a lot and started a lot of arguments.

"I own a business and some of the employees went this way, some went that way and had pretty heated discussions," says Jack Davis.

An employee at one hotel says she got in such a heated argument with a co-worker she had to leave work.

Then there was the mother and daughter who fought just hours after the verdict because of their varying opinions.

The discussion won't end anytime soon and is sure to heat up when Winkler is sentenced.

Winkler is staying with a friend in McMinnville, Tennessee awaiting her May 18th sentencing.

She's also named in a $2 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Matthew's parents on behalf of the couple's three daughters.

And Mary Winkler is waiting for a Judge in Jackson, Tennessee, to decide whether she can see her girls.


to email George Brown.