Custody rights restored to wife of slain minister - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Custody rights restored to wife of slain minister

HUNTINGDON, TN (WMC-TV) - A woman convicted of shooting her minister husband to death two years ago has been granted permanent custody of their three young daughters.

Mary Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 death of her husband Matthew, a Church of Christ minister in Selmer, Tenn.

After a court hearing Friday, Winkler said she has reconciled with her husband's parents, who after his death sought to take away her parental rights.  Outside the courtroom, she was seen hugging and talking to them.

"We love each other," Winkler said. "We have been getting along.  We have reconciled.  We've just felt a true feeling of forgiveness."

That forgiveness was important to Chancellor Ron Harmon, who presided over Friday's hearing.

"I am very pleased the grandparents and mother reached an agreement retaining custody of the children to the mother," Harmon said. "The grandparents will have time with the children."

Winkler has had temporary custody of her children since August.  Friday's hearing was called to discuss disbursement of money in a trust fund set up for the Winkler children by well-wishers, but Harmon spent the day instead talking in private with Winkler and the grandparents about custody matters.

The trust fund hearing will be held another day, the judge said. Records on the fund are under court seal but the discussions center on how it will be controlled. The amount of money in it has not been publicly disclosed.

Matthew Winkler, 31, was killed by a shotgun blast to the back at the residence he shared with his wife and children in Selmer, a small West Tennessee town about 80 miles east of Memphis.

Winkler, then 33, said she accidentally shot her husband with a shotgun she had intended to use to scare him after a night of arguing. She told a trial jury in Selmer that she had suffered years of emotional and physical abuse from her husband.

She drew a three-year prison sentence, but was granted probation for most of it and was sent to a mental institution after sentencing for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The hearing was held in Huntingdon, the hometown of grandparents Dan and Diane Winkler.  The couple has never commented about this case to the media, and chose not to after Friday's hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Click here to send an email to Janice Broach.

  • News on WMCTV.comNewsMore>>

  • Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:47 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:47:19 GMT
    Terry Halloway (Source: submission)Terry Halloway (Source: submission)

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:43 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:43:14 GMT
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
  • Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:39 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:39:58 GMT

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, casualties may increase

    Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, casualties may increase

    Sunday, April 30 2017 12:31 AM EDT2017-04-30 04:31:34 GMT

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    More >>

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    More >>
  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly