Mary Winkler and her late husband’s parents embraced Friday after a judge gave the mother permanent custody of her three daughters.
Winkler said she’s reconciled with the children’s paternal grandparents, who had fought to keep the girls away from her after she was convicted of killing their father two years ago. […more below…]
- In March 2006, Matthew Winlker, a Tennessee minister, was found shot to death in his parsonage. His wife and kids were missing.
- After Mary Winkler and kids were found, she reportedly confessed to police.
- Mary Winkler was charged with first-degree murder, and remained in jail under August, 2006, when she was released on bond.
- Winkler’s family claimed she shot her husband after years of abuse. Earlier, financial pressures had come to light as well.
- In March 2007, Winkler sued for for custody of her children, who were then living in the care of their grandparents — the parents of Matthew Winkler.
- Mary Winkler’s trial took place in April, 2007. During the trial more allegations of abuse were revealed. She told a jury “about her volatile marriage to a preacher she said berated her, forced her to watch pornography and to wear “slutty” costumes for sex. She said she shot him accidentally after he tried to suffocate their infant daughter. “
- On Apr. 19, 2007, Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. In June that year she was sentenced to three years in prison. Later that month she was moved to a mental health facility.
- Meanwhile, the grandparents countered her custody request — one of many moves in a legal tug-of-war over custody and visitation rights.
- In August, 2008, it was reported that Mary Winkler got her daughters back. Apparently the grandparents turned over custody to the mother even though no court order had been filed. As shown below, it now appears that Winkler has “reconciled with the children’s paternal grandparents, who had fought to keep the girls away from her after she was convicted of killing their father two years ago.”
Winkler gets custody of her three children
HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — Mary Winkler and her late husband’s parents embraced Friday after a judge gave the mother permanent custody of her three daughters.
Winkler said she’s reconciled with the children’s paternal grandparents, who had fought to keep the girls away from her after she was convicted of killing their father two years ago.
Dan and Diane Winkler decided to let the children remain with Mary Winkler, about a month after she regained custody of them as part of a temporary agreement.
Friday’s court-approved agreement comes more than a year after courtroom battles began over who should have care of the three girls, ages 10, 9 and 3.
Mary Winkler told reporters she is pleased to have settled the custody issue and to have made amends with her late husband’s parents.
“That was not my first time to hug them, today. We’ve been seeing each other regularly,” she said after the hearing in Carroll County Chancery Court. “We love each other, and we’re getting along. We’ve reconciled.”
Dan and Diane Winkler, who spoke to Mary Winkler for about 15 minutes after embracing her, declined to comment after court. The children were not present for the hearing.
Carroll County Chancellor Ron Harmon announced the court-approved custody agreement Friday afternoon after meeting privately with both sides and their attorneys. He said he was pleased that Mary Winkler and her former in-laws have agreed to work together for the good of the children.
The court order will allow Dan and Diane Winkler, who live in Huntingdon, to see their grandchildren, he said.
• Photo gallery at The Jackson Sun
Sep. 20, 2008 News Summary