Testimony in Mary Winkler‘s first-degree murder trial started before the lunch break with the prosecution calling Matthew’s father, Dan Winkler of Huntingdon, as its first witness.
It was Dan Winkler’s birthday when his son Matthew was shot to death on March 22, 2006, he testified. Mary Winkler is accused of intentionally killing her husband with a shotgun while he lay in bed that morning in their Selmer home. In opening statements, one of Mary’s attorneys suggested that the defense will try to prove that she was only trying to scare Matthew by pointing the gun at him, and that it went off accidentally. The defense also has suggested that Matthew dominated, abused and belittled his wife and children.
Dan Winkler testified that on some occasions Matthew acted strangely while having an adverse reaction to prescription medications he was taking for a toothache and a stomachache. In one instance, Matthew locked Mary out of their house in Pegram, where the couple lived in the 1990s, Dan Winkler said. His reaction to the medication made Matthew think someone was trying to hurt him, and Mary was aware of the reason for his behavior, he testified.
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Dan Winkler also said that despite what previously had been reported by a family friend, he did not forgive Mary for the shooting because she did not tell him she was sorry.
Dan Winkler and his wife have custody of Matthew’s and Mary’s three young daughters, and are suing Mary for wrongful death on the children’s behalf.
Court will resume at 1:30 p.m. with Dan Winkler continuing his testimony. Matthew’s mother also is expected to testify.
The trial, before Judge Weber McCraw, is not expected to run past next week. The jury will be sequestered during the trial. Four of the 16 jurors will be alternates, but it is believed that those alternates won’t be identified until closing arguments are made.
If convicted, Winkler could face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 51 years.