Update: Mary Winkler was just sentenced to three years in prison, but to serve only 210 days of her sentence. — Heart
The parents of Mary Winkler’s violently, sexually abusive pastor-husband have denied her contact with her kids, save two very brief visits when she was in jail. She’s been out on $750,000 bond for over six months now, has been working and living quietly, since that morning when she couldn’t take it anymore and shot him, a moment which she doesn’t precisely recall. The jurors believed Mary Winkler was telling the truth and were moved by her testimony of years of verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse at her husband’s hands. But the grandparents say Mary “lied” when she told her oldest daughter she didn’t kill Matthew Winkler, and that’s why her kids shouldn’t be able to see their mom. Winkler agreed to give the grandparents temporary custody until her trial for the murder of Matthew Winkler was concluded, but she never agreed they had the right to keep her children from her forever
Now the grandparents have filed to terminate Mary Winkler’s parental rights and for permanent custody. They are attempting to take her three daughters away from her and to ensure that she and her sisters, their aunts, and Mary’s family members will never see them again. They have also filed a “wrongful death” action against her. They are, in other words, attempting to finish what their son began.
Mary will be sentenced Friday and is expected to receive a sentence of 3-6 years minus the five months she has already spent in jail. Her attorneys are going to petition for a new trial with charges of either voluntary manslaughter or criminally negligent manslaughter. They believe that the publicity around the case means the judge who sentences Mary this Friday will give her jail time, even though she is clearly no threat to anyone, as battered and abused women rarely are a threat to anyone. She has worked and lived responsibly on bail for months, although she has been relentlessly hounded and stalked by various unsavory types. She has abided by every provision of her release on bond. If the judge doesn’t grant a new trial, Winkler’s attorney will ask that she be released on bond pending appeal of her sentence and spend no time in jail.
I hope these grandparents — the grandfather is a pastor like his son was, and the great grandfather was a pastor in four states in the South for 60 years– and their attorney get everything they have coming to them. I hope Mary Winkler does no jail time. I hope Breanna, Mary and Patricia Winkler are restored to their mother and soon. They’ve been through enough. All they need is to spend the rest of their growing-up years in the environment which produced a misogynist like Matthew Winkler and surrounded by people who could stand silently, idly by as their pastor-father abused their mother.