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Winkler freed; served 67 days in spouse’s death

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) — A minister’s wife convicted of manslaughter in her husband’s shooting death was freed Tuesday after serving 67 days in custody.

Mary Winkler was released from a mental health facility where she has been in treatment for about two months, defense attorney Steve Farese Sr. said. He has declined to identify the facility where Winkler was held.

Farese said Winkler was headed to McMinnville, about 65 miles southeast of Nashville, where she lived and worked at a dry cleaning shop for eight months while she was free on bond and awaiting trial.

“She’ll go back to work soon,” Farese said.

Winkler, 33, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shotgun slaying of her husband, Matthew, a 1993 Austin High School graduate, at the Church of Christ parsonage in Selmer in southwestern Tennessee where the couple lived with their three young daughters.

She was given a three-year sentence June 8 but had to serve only 67 days in custody because of credit for time in jail before her trial, the nature of the offense and no previous criminal record. Under the terms of her sentence, she spent 12 days in jail and the rest of the time in a mental health facility.

Winkler had been charged with first-degree murder, but jurors convicted her of the lesser charge after she testified that her husband abused her and demanded sex she considered unnatural.

She will serve the rest of her three-year sentence on probation.

Farese’s law firm is helping her try to regain custody of her children from their paternal grandparents, Dan and Diane Winkler.

“It will be a continued friendship and to aid her in every way to get her children back,” Farese said.

The children have lived with their grandparents since their mother’s arrest on Alabama the day after the shooting.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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