State Supreme Court will not intervene in Winkler custody case

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied a request to intervene in a case that will determine whether Mary Winkler regains custody of her three young daughters.

Winkler was hoping the court would the court to stop an attempt by the children's paternal grandparents, Dan and Diane Winkler, to adopt them over their mother's objections.

Winkler gave the grandparents temporary custody of the children in 2006 after she was arrested in the shooting death of her minister husband at the Selmer parsonage where they lived.

Winkler's attorney in the custody case, Kay Farese Turner, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Tuesday morning.

She has asked a juvenile court in McNairy County to return the children and in April a court appointed guardian testified that the girls could go back to their mother.

But the juvenile court halted its proceedings without a ruling when the grandparents asked a chancery court where they live in Carroll County to terminate Winkler's parental rights and let them adopt the girls.

The filing before the Supreme Court said Winkler has seen her daughters only twice since March 2006 and not at all since September.

It claims the grandfather threatened to call the sheriff if Winkler tried to see the children.

"The three minor children continue to be withheld from their mother without just cause resulting in substantial mental and emotional harm to mother and her children," according to the court petition filed last month.

Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in April.

She was freed last month after spending 12 days in jail and about two months at a mental health facility.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has declined previously to get involved in the custody battle, claiming it did not have jurisdiction over the case.

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