Mar 24, 2006

Mary Winkler Booked, Facing Extradition

(Selmer, TN) Alabama officials said that Mary Winkler has waived extradition and will be sent back to Tennessee Friday night or Saturday to face first-degree charges for the murder of her husband Matthew.

Selmer Police investigator Roger Rickman said that Mary Winkler has not yet provided a motive.

"Our concern at this point is why the crime took place," he said. "There have been no specific accusations made by Mrs. Winkler."

Also this afternoon a custody hearing was held in Alabama. A juvenile court judge is in the process of deciding whether the parents of Matthew Winkler should take custody of the children. Mary Winkler attended that hearing, according to FOX News.

Matthew Winkler, a 31-year old minister at Selmer's Fourth Street Church of Christ, was found dead in the couple's home Wednesday after he missed an evening prayer service and church members searched for him. Congregants found Winkler dead in the bedroom. He had been shot in the back, but there was no evidence of a struggle, according to police.

Church members described Mary Winkler - who is originally from Knoxville - as a "quiet, unassuming woman" who worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary school.

Addendum - 8:00 PM: Matthew Winkler's father, Dan Winkler, attended the hearing and spoke to reporters after being awarded custody of the couple's three daughters.

"Thank you for your love, support and prayers," he said. "Now we want to turn our attention to remembering our son and to the care of three young children."


Anonymous said...

She looks so tiny; how could this person be a killer? This makes no sense.

LTOLOP said...

Riiiight. All murderers are men usually of African-American heritage, occasionally European American and they are all wife beating female oppressors. C'mon, a GUN does not care how large you are.

historymike said...

Statistics on murder:

1. 86% of white victims were killed by whites.

2. 94% of black victims were killed by blacks.

3. Spouses and family members made up about 15% of all murder victims.

4. Persons with lower incomes are much more likely to become homicide victims than persons with higher incomes.

I think anonymous was just expressing surprise at the seemingly demure Mrs. Winkler and the incongruity of this vicious crime with her public image in Selmer.

kooz said...

I'm a member of a conservative church.

One thing I see throughout traditional/conservative churches is large families being taken care of by the Mother.

Usually, the pastor is pulled away and his responsibilities to the congregation leaves him little time for family. This usually results in the mother at home 24/7 with the kids [usually a lot of kids...because large families are encouraged in the church] The mother is responsible for the everyday activities of caring for the children and in many cases also home schooling them...which they are many times not capable of doing...when you add all this pressure up...what you get is a overly stressed out mother who feels abandoned in some sense by her pastor husband.

I think what you will find is that this woman couldn't handle the stress and burden she felt she was forced to carry...her husband probably made one wrong move or said one wrong thing...and she snapped.

Although I believe in conservative Christianity...this is one area where I think the men in churches are failing by neglecting the needs of their wife...while in total pursuit of God.

Anonymous said...

The word I hear around town (Jackson, TN) is that Matt had to leave his previous 2 youth ministry jobs because of irregular behaviour toward some of the kids under his care. He had a daughter who was 8 years old. I wonder what his behavior toward her had become.

There is a history of sexual abuse among those who are of a very conservative mindset. I wonder if this was the case here and she was dfending her children. Some questions need to be asked.

Stephanie said...


She was working outside the home, so she wasn't home 24/7 and she probably wasn't home schooling her children.

As for abuse, yea or nay, only time will tell. Speculation doesn't get us anywhere.

M A F said...

If she does plead guilty before a judge, all she needs to do is recount the murder without ever offering a reason why. If there is a trial, she could become imfamous, the jurors famous (for at least 15 minutes). and never knowing the real reason why will only add to the hype and speculation.

I can only imagine the inane coverage of the MSM, especially Fox. I have already heard this couple had the perfect marriage, and that she was the perfect wife.

All in favor of marrying the imperfect wife say "I."

historymike said...

I don't think we can write pedophelia off as a "conservative" or "fundamentalist" problem, anonymous.

I had a "liberal" priest in my high school who I recently learned was a pedophile. We knew in the 1980s that he was a little "funny," but the Church did not address the situation until 12 years later, and he had also been committing these disturbing crimes well back into the 1960s.

Note: I am not accusing the late Matthew Winkler of any crime, but rather addressing the assertion that conservatives are more prone to sexual abuse.

It is worth noting, though, that police officials are consistently evading a linkage of sexual abuse to the killing of Matthew Winkler.

At the same time they directly deny that infidelity played a role in Mary Winkler's fatal decision to shoot her husband in the back.

historymike said...

Mac - the MSM has been riding this story for about 30 straight hours now.

The coverage has been focused on "Why, why, why," and I think that - setting aside the crass commercial revenue gain from a story like this - journalists are driven to finding an answer for this killing.

If it could happen to the Winklers, it could happen to anyone.

historymike said...

Kooz -

Interesting analysis. I agree that the pressure to maintain a "perfect family" image must be horrific.

Without rehashing dead history, my family has also struggled at times with the stigma of being "imperfect" after a few events.

And you know what? Once you embrace the idea that your family has its warts and blemishes, life becomes much more simpler.

So what if my grass goes an extra few days before I cut it? Who cares if my garage needs to be painted in a big way?

My family is imperfect, I love every member of it, and I completely enjoy our various imperfections.

Any of my neighbors who have a problem with our imperfect home can kiss my slightly-lardy ass.

Michael said...

People Listen.

We are not talking about a conservative church or an evangelical one .. we are talking of a Church of Christ, A Church of Christ Minister and his family. UNless your prepared to tell me you know first hand about the doctrine about the Church of Christ then you cant comment on what that woman may or may not have gone through.

kooz said...


As a former substitute teacher, I can assure you that it is a role that is hardly full-time. I'm willing to bet her main job was a housewife.

My only point was that being in a conservative church, I know the teachings look negatively at woman working when they have children. The man is supposed to be the provider and so on. I watched interviews with people from their church and it was obvious in their thoughts of Mr. Winkler, that he was a biblically conservative christian.

I'm just making an statement that I see MANY stressed out mothers in the church. I'm not saying they would kill their husbands...but they definitely get overwhelmed being in the home with the kids all the time.

I bet Mrs. Winkler is just one of those stressed out preachers wives who happened to be a few fries short of a happy meal.

Stephanie said...


"...but they definitely get overwhelmed being in the home with the kids all the time."

I am a stay at home mom that gets overwhelmed with my kids, so I understand where you're going with this. I even belong to a conservative church, though not the one in question. However, she doesn't seem as oppressed as you were making her sound. That's my point. She obviously had the choice to work outside the home, even if it wasn't full-time. If her husband was actively preventing her from doing so, she wouldn't have had the part-time job at all.

I'm not saying abuse isn't a factor, or that she wasn't a few fried short of a happy meal. I'm saying we don't know and speculation like this, without access to the facts, isn't going to tell us.

Anonymous said...

Mary Winkler was also attending classes at nearby Freed-Hardeman University, in addition to having begun as a substitute teacher. Their children were enrolled in local schools, so this homeschooling business is wrong.

And the gossip about him "having to leave his two previous jobs" is just that--gossip. Nobody from those churches has said or even hinted at such, and several members and officials from both have been interviewed by media.

historymike said...

Time will tell, anonymous.

However, speculation about what Mary might say was her motive is different from making claims.

The previous poster was reporting information heard in Jackson, TN. Is it gossip? We will have to wait and see.

As much as I appreciate the pain that you are suffering, you need to understand that millions of Americans want answers.

What happened in Selmer could happen anywhere, and this story hits home to many people in a way that few crimes in recent memory have.

Anonymous said...

I find a lot of this just plain irony. Matt's grandfather published an article in July 2003 with many expectations for the preacher's wife. It's bad enough that the congregation already expects a lot from the preacher's wife but to have a minister list these expectations in a public article was uncalled for IMO. After reading that article, I felt bad for Betty, Ruby, Diane, Pam, Lane and Mary (all preacher's wives in the Winkler family).

A preacher's wife

Anonymous said...

Historymike (and so many others- you just happened to make this statement, so I felt the need to respond), while I respect the fact that “Americans want answers”, I have to appeal on behalf of those who love Matt Winkler, and at least request to you that what is purely speculation, and at this point, slanderous accusations, of his behavior be kept to yourselves. His family has suffered a great loss right now, and while the rest of America may want their answers, his family deserves to not have to read or hear unsubstantiated speculation that he was abusive to his family, etc. Please reflect on how you’d feel if this was your son, your brother, your friend, and show some respect for those left behind in the wake of this disaster. You didn’t know this man. You didn’t love him. This is not devastating to you in the way that it is to them. Please, please, people, stop talking of this man as if you can look at statistics and determine his heart. God knows his heart, and will judge justly. In the meantime, Mary’s actions were wrong, and hurtful, and her soul needs prayers. And that is all we know. The rest is speculation and gossip, which may not hurt you, but, trust me, does hurt others.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the same subdivision Mary grew up in, she is a few years younger than me. Her family, especially her father, displayed odd behavior on several accounts. Take a look at the file/charges her father has had placed against him. From looking at the family, this would seem very hard to believe, but, living around them for several years tends to tell the whole story. I pray for the well being of the children at this time.

Susan said...

I did grow up in the Church of Christ or as we "reformed" members put it the CofC.Unless you grew up in this "cult" you cannot imagine how suppressed women are. You cannot teach adult males, you cannot hold any church office and you must be in submission to your husband. And if you are a preacher's wife you are constantly scrutinized and under the lens. And forget a nice glass of wine to relax at night. That will send you to hell, along with a long list of offenses including dancing!

Gina said...


I'm sorry you feel that way, but as a woman in the Church of Christ, I do NOT feel oppressed. Please don’t put your perspective on the entirety of the church, or on all women in it. I do quite a lot with our church, including working with the youth and teaching bible classes to children. I have many female friends who also teach, organize mission work, and serve God in so many other ways.

There are scriptural reasons that we worship in certain ways, and I’d encourage anyone to actually sit down and look at those- in fact, I Peter 3:15-18 encourages knowing the reason for your beliefs, and having a reason for the hope that we have.

That said, I’m sure HistoryMike doesn’t intend for this to become a place to debate religion. I do want to say that I and everyone I know in the church are praying for the entire Winkler family, in love, and praying for Mary. From what I’ve heard, she has done much in her life that was good, and my prayer is that she accepts the love of God and the church, and comes to walk in the light of God again. There are consequences for our decisions, and she’ll have to live with hers, but God forgives.

Anonymous said...

Her family was so lovely, she had three beautiful, healthy girls and her husband surely looks devoted to her and the children in the christmas photograph. everyone seems to think it was HIS fault that she shot him, like he was a bad or evil person...maybe she is bad/evil. maybe they just didn't get along well and she couldn't handle "life."

Anonymous said...

Nothing EVER justifies MURDER---NOTHING, NO REASON, except perhaps self defense at that very precise moment in time that one may have to attack back, which is yet to be seen in case...but it seems highly doubful in my mind....

Susan said...

I too will not use this forum to debate religion. That said, after 45 years in that church and having taught and served in many capacities, I believe it si a difficult group for any educated woman.

My pure speculation is that something was done to one of those children. It would explain the reaction of a mother.

Anonymous said...

Having a conservative mindset doesn't make anyone more prone to cause sexual abuse. It just makes the news media go crazy to hear about it. Sexual abuse happens in all sorts of families, but mostly those in Christian families become sensationalized. But yet, this is ONLY speculation.

Being a conservative Christian and working outside the home have nothing to do with each other. I am a member of the church of Christ and have been all of my life. I have "church friends" who stay at home with their children, and "church friends" who work outside the home. BOTH ways of life can produce stress on the family.

And, a "list" of expectations of a precher's wife wouldn't be much different than any other women's role in the church. The precher's wife serves as a role model.

I don't want to get into a religious debate but the church of Christ is not a cult and women are not suppressed in any way. I have known of the Winkler family for many years, and pray for them to be comforted. I also pray for Mary's soul. Every member of the family envolved needs love and comfort right now. The rest will show itself in time.

Anonymous said...

The church of Christ is not a cult it's a church that tries to follow the Bible as closely as possible. The roles women play in the church are very important but it's important for people to remember that God authorizes our roles not us. If one believes in the Bible then we believe that God had his reasons and they are good. We are to submit to Him. Men and women. I respect that. I am convinced that God in his wisdom did not intend for women to feel or be oppressed in the church. There are many examples of strong women throughout the Bible. Taking things out of context is where we all get into trouble. You don't have to agree with the Bible on this but don't put the church of Christ down for trying to follow it. It's not the word of God that is imperfect, it's us. Of course there are faults with people, in the church and out, and there certainly are men that take the submission issue to the wrong extreme. It's important to realize that the Bible first tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church, so much so that he died for it! Men that love their wives enough to die for them get the concept. When people love each other the way God designed then the submission is not an issue. People that are constantly struggling against each other don't stay married long. There are certainly scriptures warning of excessive abuse of wine. It says do not be drunken. It does not say do not drink a glass of wine. I do not choose to drink though I do not feel that a glass of wine would send me to hell. (my christianity is not based on saved one minute, lost the next!! I'm so glad he sees my heart.)It's certainly interesting that Jesus' first recorded miracle was turning water to wine. The bottom line is Mary Winkler made a terrible choice. We don't know what motivated her to do this but it obviously has changed many lives forever. No matter what caused her to kill her husband it's important to realize that being a Christian certainly didn't cause this! There are lots of stressed out, overly burdened mothers out there. I've been there and done that and we get through it. There are lots of "submissive" preacher's wives juggling many things. They don't decide to kill the father of their children on a whim. Something went terribly wrong, either with Mary or Matthew or both. Whatever the reason, it was the wrong decision. I don't know these people but I attend church with many families that are just like them. Seemingly good families on the outside but not perfect by any means. Hiding our problems whether mental or physical is dangerous. We all do this to some extent, acting happy when we really aren't. God has never asked this of us but our pride often prevents us from seeking help. It does no good to speculate. I do know as a mother I would hope that I would think of my children before I made a life altering decision but that's what I think I would do. It's easy to think rationally when you aren't the person in that situation. I only know that my heart goes out to the little girls that have lost their mother and father and to the families.
Metropolis, IL

Anonymous said...

To ALL! I know the doctrine of the church of CHRIST well. I was raised there. Furthermore, I was raised at the very congregation that Matthew was born at and his father preached at.

They ARE EXCEPTIONAL Christian individuals. We must refuse to speculate about a person who can no longer defend himself. Furthermore, Paul the apostle, was a murder. Hence, Mary too, still has the right to forgiveness.

We are all still in great emotional pain. We love these families and pray God will grant them peace, and understanding. My heart aches for them now as Dan, Michael's father, and Wendell his grandfather are EXCELLENT role models.

May we express our love for them. Find some answers, and healing, and help others who are in similar situations.

julie from PA said...

Julie from PA...
We are all so stunned by the happenings of the world and ask Why? Let's face it...Matthew WInkler has gone to meet the gracious LORD before all of us and the cross left to bear is Mary and Matthew Winkler's families. PRAY
and Forgive for We donot know WHY>>>nor should we be the first to cast a stone. We should hope that nothing every causes such a cross to pass our way nor should we ever have to bear the cross that is now palce onthe poor Mary's shoulder.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it.. being a christian doesn't automatically make you a moral person. Who knows why Mary killed her husband? But one thing is for certain: If her religion was all it was cracked out to be, killing him wouldn't have even been an option in her mind.

God Kills and commands Death - so it's ok sometimes, right?

Tally up the number of people killed or hurt by Satan (Lucifer, Devil, etc.) in the bible... and then count the number of people killed or hurt by God in the bible (If you can count that high.) Compare what you find and you'll think twice about praising His "holy" name.

Let's face the facts. Mary's actions were inspired by God. Read 'em and weep.

Anonymous said...

I am a Member of the fourth street Church of Christ, Selmer, TN. I am amazed at the speculations that are flying around. We know that Matthew is dead. We know that Mary confessed. We know that the children will more than likely be raised by someone other than their parents. However, they are luckier than most-- they have good grandparents that are willing to take on the responsibility of rearing these beautiful girls.
Isn't the whole situation bad enough without adding "our think-so's" and "what-if's". We are all wondering what could have pushed her over the edge. But WHY tear down a man's or a woman's reputation until you know for sure about what really happened.
This is a tragedy that will not be forgotten for some time. The winkler family is suffering. Our church family at 4th street is suffering. Our community members are suffering.
When a member of your birth family is suffering do you add to their already weakened state with a continuous battering. Of course not. I challenge each of you to wait for facts. I dare say that nothing will be swept under the rug. Actions demand consequences. We are thankful that we have a forgiving God. Mary has requested forgiveness. I God will forgive her. Are we greater than God?

Anonymous said...

Read 'em and weep? Maybe you should get the good book out again and read more about what God says about repentance and forgiveness and not focus so much on tallying numbers between God and Satan. God always comes out ahead anyway.

Anonymous said...

"God always comes out ahead anyway."

Of course he does. That's exactly the point. Let's hear it for unbridled violence and senseless dehumanization! Virtually none of which is even remotely associated with Satan. (The one account is alternatively attributed to David in another part of the Old Testament.) I've read the bible.. God is evil. There's absolutely nothing good about your "good" book.

Repentance? Forgiveness? Who cares when you put loyalty ABOVE morality? Exactly which definition of "good" justifies the messages to stone rape victims, homosexuals, and anyone else that doesn't agree with you?

By the way.. I'm not judging Mary at all. What she did was wrong.. but the extent of her wrongdoing depends on the facts as to her state of mind at the time, which has yet to be determined. All I can do is sympathize with her considering current fact that she was surrounded by a horribly immoral religious environment.

Thank God for athiesm!

Susan said...

How poignant that so many of these remarks are written anonymously....

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is going to find out that she was protecting her children. One of the reasons I say this is because she ran off with the children and didn't harm them. She's not someone who cracked under the stress of being a housewife.

Kooz, I'm guessing you're a man to think women are so weak that one word or one wrong thing said can make them snap. For the most part, women have been raised in a society where they're now expected to work AND take on caring for the children AND do the housework, etc. One wrong word and the woman snaps? Come on now. Think about what you're saying here.

Michael, I know...but how could YOU know what a woman would go through? Maybe you've been responsible for three children and had to present yourself as being the perfect family to set an example for the church? Nonetheless, you've never been a female taking on all the responsibility of a family. I am amused that you're so condescending.

Few fries short of a happy meal? How about a woman who saw danger and protected her matter WHAT. Maybe she was even protecting herself. When faith and religious beliefs are so engrained into a person, does that person just commit murder one day out of the blue? Think about every moral or value you have. Then, think about what could really cause something like this to happen. If you so strongly believed that you would be condemned to hell for committing murder, then what would have to transpire in order for you to commit such an act? Would it be that someone said the wrong word? Probably not. Would it be that you were stressed out? I doubt it.

Could it be that something major happened that caused you to see no end to what was going on? Maybe...

historymike said...

Good point, Susan.

Some of the most "brave" of posters - the ones who make the most extreme statements - hide behind a cloak of anonymity.

When I believe in something and speak out, I do so with my name out in front. What good is it to believe in something if you cannot stand behind it.

At the very least, people can sign up for a Blogger identity. It would be nice to have some idea of the person who is posting.

Fr. Kenneth Allen said...

The phenomena of senseless shooting by seemingly ordinary Christians certainly seems to be on the rise. The mindset is obviously perturbed, and disturbed.

You can just hear the interior dialogue: "I can't take it anymore! What can I do... I can't talk to anyone, especially not my husband, my friends or my family; or anyone that I pray with. And it would simply be unseemly for me to go to counseling about these anger issues. How can I be seen in a counseling session... I'm the minsiter's wife for heaven sake! how embarassing that would be! And divorce is out of the question. What would people think! No... there is no viable option. I've got to simply shoot him. And then run away and hide in a condo on the beach, where I can live quietly and happily ever after with my children."

Now she's joined the ranks with David Ludwig of those wearing orange stripes and ankle chains. Betty Friedan will glorify her case as a supreme example of the oppressed woman, and find some lawyer specializing in twinkie defense to claim that perhaps she was just over worked and stressed out, temporarily insane, or just driven over the edge by a mad Christian hypocrite.

Most of us are overworked and stressed out, but we don't pick up a gun and take it out on those we promised to love honor and obey. There's not a scratch or a bruise on her. She's a cold blooded killer, who shot her husband in the back. That's not judgement; it's simple observation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

I deleted that comment because it was an obvious attempt to troll and start a flame war.

Behave, kiddies!

Anonymous said...

I hate to veer off topic, but since Mike himself brought it up, I guess it's ok to go there.

If I were to reveal my identity, I fear that my life would be in danger in this country full of christian fanatics. I don't doubt for a second that some nut would come after me. After all, surely there's a nice heavenly prize from God himself for dutifully sending Him a blasphemous soul on a silver platter.

What good is freedom of religion when you've got a population full of crazy people who think their God's wishes (whatever they are) are above morality itself?

No thanks.. I'll remain Anonymous, thank you. It's not quite safe enough to "come out of the closet" as a proud athiest just yet in this country.

LuLu said...

My sister is an atheist. I am a christian. I love her just as much whether she believes in God or not. People have problems whether they are christian or atheist. We ive in a free country. For those of us who believe in God he gives us that choice as well. I'm amazed by the lack of respect by the anonymous atheist for the rights of people that believe in God. "He/she" reminds me of the people in Afghanistan chanting "death to Christians" that I just read about this morning. So many people want to muddy the waters with talk of religion. Mary Winkler chose for whatever reason to shoot her husband. Christians and non Christians make bad decisions. If she wasn't a ministers wife I guarantee this would NOT be getting this kind of attention. People place a different set of expectations on certain people and when they mess up the people who are waiting for them to mess up come out in full force to proclaim "see, I told you so." Christians do not set themselves up on a high/perfect pedestal. We mess up just like everybody else. We have problems too. The difference is we have faith in God. This is probably hard for a non-believer to understand but it's a comfort for us to know that we have a second chance spiritually.

LuLu said...

I need to add to my last comment about christians and second chances that not for a moment did I mean it's ok to do kill someone as long as you ask for forgiveness. I'm sure most would not interpret this in this way but I just don't want the angry atheist to misinterpret. He obviously has that issue of misinterpreting the written word.

BeenThereDoneThat said...

If this family is involved with the Church of Christ that believes some of the following tenets, then I think Ms. Winkler may have grounds for pleading a form of insanity. There are different flavors of Churches of Christ. By far, the most disabling for women believe the following:

Women are to be keepers at home.
Women are to keep the head covered during worship.
Women are not to wear pants since those are the clothes pertaining to men.
Women are to keep silent in the church and ask their husbands in private about issues of religion.
Counseling is discouraged, if not forbidden, because counselors do not understand the Church of Christ teachings.
If women work outside the home when children are young, it reflects negatively on the husband.
Women cannot teach baptized men, which includes 13 year old boys who have been baptized.
Women must not defraud their husbands, which is usually defined as refusing sex.

I would urge journalists to research this particular branch of the Church of Christ. They will find a mantra that every person involved will repeat. You will begin to think, these people all say the same things in the same way. The leadership raked my young son "over the coals" for stating that instrumental music with Christian lyrics was not a sin. They refused to let me teach a pre-school class because I did not cover my head. If any of this sounds familiar to any of the posters, I urge you to seek the advise of a professional counselor who specializes in religious cults. If you are afraid to do so on the grounds that it is ungodly, then you are in deeper than you think. I know of a lady who, when she found out about her husband's infidelity, thought it LESS sinful to kill him than to divorce him. Fortunately, she sought the advice of a professional counselor, and she divorced her Church of Christ preacher husband. She is now married and attends a more conventional church. Warning, one of the detriments of coming out of this church can sometimes be a sincere sense of loss of faith.

Susan said...

If one wants to research the first days after Andrea Yates killed her children - the preacher at her husband's side was from the church of christ.

Terri said...

Lets face it, unless she was a total wack job, he was abusing. I just hope it was not the children.

Gina said...

BeenThereDoneThat, thank you for pointing out that the factors you listed are not all present in ALL churches of Christ. While some of those things are true- and as I previously stated, these are for biblical reasons- many of them are not in most churches of Christ. Having heard Matthew Winkler preach, and having briefly attended the congregation where his father used to preach, I feel comfortable saying this family was not part of the type of congregation of which you’re speaking. While, as Laurie from Metropolis stated, God has ordained different roles for men and women, ALL people are seen as valuable in His eyes and in the church (see Galatians 3:26-29).

It’s true that some people will take the word and twist it in such a manner that the spirit and heart are neglected- look at the Pharisees in the days of Jesus and you’ll see that this is nothing new. However, this doesn’t mean that God is evil or that all religion is wrong. It means that mankind doesn’t see things with the wisdom of God, and we must look to the only reliable source that we have- God’s word- rather than the words of other people (1 Corinthians 1:25- “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength”).

Terri, while I understand your desire for answers, may I please point out that you don’t know these people, and your harsh judgment without the presence of facts is hurtful.

May God bless you all.

Minister's Wife said...

I just found out today that Mary's mother is also deceased which may have attributed to her depression.
Only time will tell what really caused her to kill her husband but I would be willing to bet that there was emotional and maybe physical abuse in this marriage.
I think this will all bring Mary out to a better place and that she will look back and be so grateful for the forced change that will come into her life.
She will be someone who will become known and will be able to help people.

Gina said...

I'm going to figure that you're either being sarcastic, attempting to be funny, or trying to stir up trouble. Either way, this post is one of the most disturbing and ludicrous things I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Romans 1 :29-32 “Those filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hate for god, despite, proud, boasters, inventions of evil things, disobedience to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, unnatural affection, implacable or unmerciful nature: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death”.

By God's own word, it doesn't matter why she killed her husband. He could have been the devil himself. It doesn't matter. Come on Christians!! You should know your own book of "morality".

If this were the day and age of the early christians, she'd be stoned to death before sunset.

Those of you who think Mary Winkler deserves to at least make her case.. are thinking with your hearts and rational mind, not with your bible. Good for you.

And those of you who are blaming the deceased.. shame on you! You have NOTHING to base your claims upon. He was shot in the back!! At least give him benefit of the doubt... at least until doubt has been replaces with the facts, that is.

Minister's Wife said...

Gina: I am not trying to be funny or sarcastic. I was a minister's wife for 27 years until I broke out of the traces eleven years ago.
I won't begin to tell you how badly I was treated but I will say that it took him getting fired after 17 moves for me to have the courage to say "enough is enough" and get out and start making a living at the age of 46. I now am purchasing a modest home on the lake and am happier than I have ever been.
I believe that what appears to be very bad can actually lead a person to a brighter day.
Nothing is really bad it is how we grab hold of the circumstance or situation and turn it around.
I believe God will protect Mary and she will have a better life than before.
God does work in mysterious ways!
He can pull strings for us when least expected and move mountains.
This may also help set the stage to cause people to quit looking up to the clergy.
I see organized religion mostly as a dead way of living. Too often the clergy is made up of people working for a pay check and the front job becomes more important than what goes on inside.
I know God is going to take care of Mary and that she will look back within the next few years and know that is true!
I am also believing that she will not have to spend time in prison.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember the tv show "Dragnet"???

Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts.

THAT is what I am waiting to hear. I want to hear it right from Mary's mouth, to our ears and to GOD's ears...WHY SHE KILLED HER HUSBAND IN COLD BLOOD!!!

Why did she do this???? Why did she take away her precious daughters' father?? How could she??

I wish she would had had to watch her little girls following their father's casket today at his funeral. Would that have been enough to make her regret it??

I'm so disgusted with people making excuses for her. Let us hear the REAL truth!

Anonymous said...

All of us are wanting for there to be a "justifiable" reason (if there can be such a thing except self defense by law). Anyway, I don't know and I don't understand. But I do think that Mary was deeply disturbed. The doctrine of her church may have been the reason she chose murder. I have limited knowledge on the Church of Christ. I heard it referred to as a "sect" last night when I was watching the news. I'm going to look deeper into it. It's possible that he controlled her, and she was scared out of her mind of him. Obviously, she felt trapped and wanted away from him. Does anyone know how long they were married?

Minister's Wife said...

Mary and Matthew were married ten years which can be an awfully long time as a minister's wife.
The Church of Christ comes down hard on divorce -- better to die than divorce. It is like the unforgivable sin.
I think being so overbearing on this teaching is one more way the group which I grew up in exercises control.
I was taught you better not marry anyone who has been divorced or you will go to hell.
I see a sweet girl when I look into her face -- especially the side angle -- I believe in the pink jump suit. She is younger than two of my children.
I stand behind what I've been saying. Somehow this is going to work out to her advantage.
Fortunately I am coming to believe her church group may be more loving than some. One church member there told me today when I called her inquiring that she just wanted to hold her.
I think this story may make waves that will not only put her on a better path but turn the nation toward looking at organized religion.
Being a minister's wife for 27 years before, before I broke loose 27 years ago, I've seen the inside.
There's something about rote religion that deadens the soul which is what I see in all too many organized religions.

Anonymous said...

Too late, Mary is already serving prison time. And I don't see any reason why she shouldn't serve more. Parole priviledges dependant entirely on future information regarding the situation.

About being a "loving" church. It doesn't seem like "love" when you blindly stand behind someone of your faith. All of those women from her church are in turmoil. They are in lots of emotional distress... but they put themselves through all that for God. In other words.. they're standing in support of a person they don't agree with for the sake of God. They think they're doing what God wants.

I'm sorry.. but it's not love when you think your feet are being held to the fires of hell for doing otherwise.

However.. if they're supporting her because she had the guts to do something that they all wish they could bring themselves to do to their husbands. Then that's a completely different issue altogether!!

Susan said...

Being a past member of the Church of Christ and a divorced woman - I agree that divorce is not an option in that church. You are a nonperson. My ex-husband is still well respected and accepted and i am someone who has "gone wrong."

Anonymous said...

I personally hope this issue becomes a question of women's rights in the church communities. It'd be wonderful it went to the supreme court or something and rule that certain discriminating beliefs are unconstitutional or something.

Just "pie in the sky" dreaming.. I know. =)

Jill said...

Susan I know what you're talking about. I was raised C of C and in order to get away from that Church I divorced my husband and moved out of State. I was raised that only C of C where going to heaven, and I truly do not beleive that is true. I'm sure Mary had lots of presure, and stress. I don't understand why anyone would kill their husband without a reason. I'm praying for her, her family, and her husband's family.

Laurie said...

It is so very sad and unfair that people are blaming the church Mary attended for possibly being behind her decision to murder her husband. You are placing blame on the wrong thing. Nobody's really quite sure where that blame should be right now. But tell me what is wrong with her church members supporting her? That does not mean they supported her decision to shoot her husband but this woman is their sister in Christ. They care about her. Her emotional state is precarious. Maybe just maybe they have the amazing capacity to love her at her worst. I'm proud of them and I hope they hear something positive. I think this is what we are supposed to be about. This is faith in action! I attend the church of Christ and believe me this is no sect. I'm sure there are churches out there going by the same or similar names that aren't like the one I attend but I don't believe that this particular congregation is one of them. Until everyone knows the facts they should not attack any church no matter what the name. This business about the church of Christ not recommending counseling is rubbish. I attend a church that has certified counselors and they counsel church members and non church members alike. I've been myself and so has my son. There are problems, divorces, teenage pregnancies, etc. People act like the church is condemning the person. They don't! There are things worth avoiding in life. Is it wrong to encourage people to do this? Trying to help an ailment is what it's about. This is no different than someone going to a doctor with an illness. We certainly believe in physicians. Do doctors always fix the problem? Does this mean that we think it's waste of time to go to the doctor? Of course not! We do everything we can in life to improve our physical health and some of us believe in improving our spiritual health. Please people quit tearing apart a good group of people going through a really devastating event that are trying to show compassion to someone in a horrible situation. Mary should not have murdered her husband. Bottom line. That's not to say that there won't be circumstances that make us understand what drove her. For those of you who still believe in prayer I hope you will pray for this situation.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting someone. I only call into question WHY. Do they support her because they truly care about her, for her own sake. Or do they support her just because they fear God?

No.. religion is not to blame for her acts. She did it, she is to blame. However, had she not been forced into so many situations by the church.. to hide her anxieties, to constantly project a feigned aura of wellness, to believe it is a sin to judge or critic your own husband, etc., etc.

Religion is not to blame at all. I'm just saying that blind faith and blind support don't help one bit. What good is any kind of healing, let alone spiritual, if the same faith places much less value on life than on death (afterlife)?

Laurie said...

Dear Anonymous,
I sincerely believe they are supporting her because they care about her and because they are motivated by love rather than fear. I don't know their hearts but love is the predominant message of the New Testament not fear and love covers a multitude of sins. It's up to the law and God to judge her and that will be done. The laws of the land will have her pay the penalty for her crime. Mary's relationship with God is between her and God. I've been married 20 years and I can honestly say that I've never been encouraged by the church or the Bible to fake anything. The world in general can encourage that type of denial.

Lynn said...

Ok, now listen up. I'm a C.O.C. preacher's kid, I grew up in the church of Christ, and my father is a preacher in the church of Christ. Yes, they are "cult-ish", and that religion has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, and I really can't follow their silly practices anymore, but let's use our heads here. YES, the preacher's wife is under intense scrutiny. So what? It doesn't excuse murder. My mother is now deceased, but she went through a lot in her life. HOWEVER, having said all of that, we're talking about MURDER here. My mother went through sheer HELL at times being the minister's wife, but she remained gracious and loving and we were never afraid she'd kill Dad. You can psychoanalyze this church and their beliefs, and have a heyday with it in another forum (there's plenty to scratch your head about in the COC) but it's no excuse for taking a man's life. If he was abusive in some way, perhaps that would explain it, but we have no evidence of that yet. However, you can't blame it on the religion. A lot of people have passed through the doors of the church of Christ, and a lot of preacher's wives have come and gone, but I dare say very few murders because of the weirdness of their stringent doctrine. There is something far worse amiss here, and to blame it on the religion is dismissing Mary Winkler's personal responsibility for her actions.

Anonymous said...

Just picked up a copy of People Magazine today. Front page devoted to the Winkler murder. I read the article which revealed nothing new, but some of the photographs were intersting. The close-up of Mary Winkler showed her hands. They looked like the hands of a contruction worker, not a preacher's wife. Also the photo of the children at the funeral...the oldest girl was smiling??

Anonymous said...

Of course she's smiling.. everyone knows her father is in heaven now!! Isn't that a good thing?

Anonymous said...

There may be a simple explanation for the shooting. Why won't the police say why she did it? Because the motive she gave them is probably delusional.

There is a problem of human physiology related to the vision startle reflex capable of causing a sudden unexplained psychotic break.

It was discovered when it caused mental breaks for office workers in the 1960's. The cubicle is designed to block peripheral vision and stop exposure to Subliminal Distraction.

All she had to do was accidentally create the "special circumstancrs" for long enough. In hospital intensive care units one in three people who spend more that five days in the ICU has the mental break.


Susan said...

Any updates on this story or her motives?