Bond set at $750,000 for pastor’s wife charged with murder

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MEMPHIS (AP) — Bond was set at $750,000 Friday for a small-town minister’s wife charged with killing her husband at their church parsonage.

“For her, that’s tantamount to no bond at all,” said defense lawyer Steve Farese.

Mary Winkler, 32, has been held without bond since March 23, the day after her husband, Matthew Winkler, 31, was found dead in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis.

If unable to post bond, Mary Winkler will remain behind bars awaiting her first-degree murder trial. It is scheduled to begin Oct. 30.

Prosecutors refuse to say if they will seek the death penalty and have until 30 days before the trial to decide.

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Winkler told police she shot her husband after they argued over finances and other family matters. She was later arrested in Alabama with the couple’s three young daughters, who are now living with their paternal grandparents.

Authorities say Mary Winkler deposited $17,500 in checks from unidentified foreign sources in family bank accounts over several months prior to the killing, and a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent accused her at a bond hearing last week of “check kiting.”

Farese said Matthew Winkler knew about the overseas checks, from Canada and Nigeria, and both he and his wife were victims of a financial scam.

The scheme was apparently similar to the “Nigerian scam,” a long-running, worldwide con in which victims pay upfront fees for shares of a hidden fortune.

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AP, via, USA
July 7, 2006

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