Monday, August 4, 2008


Mary Winkler released. Returns to her three children.

Family photo shows the Winkler family of Selmer, Tenn. In photo are Breanna Winkler, 1, left rear, Mary Winkler, mother, Matthew Brian Winkler, father, right rear, Mary Alice Winkler, 6, front left, and Patricia Winkler, 8. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, File/ AP Photo )

Mary Winkler, Mug shot

Winkler Regains Custody Of 3 Children
Attorney Says She Is 'Absolutely Overjoyed'

POSTED: 11:04 am CDT August 4, 2008 / UPDATED: 6:55 pm CDT August 4, 2008 Copyright 2008 by / Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Mary Winkler, the woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her minister husband, has taken custody of her three daughters, one of her lawyers said Monday.

Rachael Putnam, a custody attorney, said the former minister's wife picked the girls up Friday from the slain man's parents, Dan and Diane Winkler.

"She is absolutely overjoyed," Putnam said. The lawyer said the children will live with Winkler at her home near McMinnville, about 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

Winkler, 34, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter last year for shooting her husband, 31-year-old Church of Christ minister Matthew Winkler, at their Selmer home in March 2006.

She declined an on-camera interview with Channel 4 on Monday because she said she didn't want her kids involved. Channel 4's Cara Kumari asked her whether she was happy to have custody, and she pointed to a big smile on her face.

Sentenced to three years in prison, she received probation for most of it, spending only 12 days in jail after her sentencing and two months in a mental health facility before being released.

The children -- ages 11, 9 and 3 -- had previously been living with their grandparents and had court-ordered visits with their mother.

"It should be seen as a sign that the family is healing," Putnam said of the custody arrangement. "It's a good thing for everyone."

Putnam said a court order giving Winkler custody has not been completed, but she said the custody case between the grandparents and Winkler will eventually be concluded.


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