Matthew Winkler Murder: Where is Mary Winkler Today?

Matthew Winkler Murder

Matthew Winkler Murder: Where is Mary Winkler Now? – The gruesome murder of Matthew Winkler is the subject of Investigation Discovery’s “Sex & Murder: The Pastor’s Secrets.” At the time of his death, Winkler was serving as the pulpit preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, Tennessee. On March 22, 2006, his congregation discovered him dead inside his home after failing to attend the Wednesday night service he was scheduled to conduct. He had received a backshot.

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How Did Matthew Winkler Die

Matthew Winkler’s Cause of Death

Matthew Brian Winkler was born on November 21, 1974, and passed away on March 22, 2006. Dan and Diane Winkler, who reside in Huntingdon, Tennessee, were his parents. Matthew came from a Christian family. Throughout his formative years, he and his two brothers, Daniel and Jacob, participated in church activities. Matthew was a talented football player in high school who chose to forgo a possible sports career in favour of his studies of the Bible. It felt natural for him to seek the ministry, given that his father Dan, uncle Mike Winkler, grandfather Wendell, and great-grandfather Merlin Paul Winkler, Sr. were all gospel preachers. He went to Freed-Hardeman College. He first met Mary Carol Freeman, the woman he would later marry. They tied the knot on April 20, 1996. Patricia, their first child, was born two years later. Then, in 2000, Mary Alice, their second child, was born.

Matthew served as the youth minister for Central Church of Christ in McMinnville from 2002 to 2005 after earning his degree from Freed-Hardeman in 1999. He was appointed to the position of pulpit minister at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, Tennessee, in January 2005. On March 9, 2005, Mary gave birth to their third child, a girl named Brianna, while they were staying at Selmer.

When it was learned that Matthew Winkler had been murdered on March 22, 2006, at his Selmer home, the circumstances surrounding his death swiftly gained national attention. The church learned that the Winklers had missed midweek Bible Study on a Wednesday evening. When the elders couldn’t reach them, they decided to visit the preacher’s home, where they learned that Matt had been shot in the back and that Mary and the girls were missing.

Minister Slain, Selmer, USA
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Russell Ingle/AP/Shutterstock (6383777c)
Mary Winkler Matthew Winkler returns to the McNairy County Justice Center, in Selmer, Tenn., during jury selection. Winkler is charged with first degree murder in the March 2006 shooting death of her minister husband, Matthew Winkler, in the parsonage of their church
Minister Slain, Selmer, USA

Who was Matthew Winkler’s killer?

Unaware of the horrible killing’s nature, a national amber alert was issued for Mary and the kids. The news that had initially stunned the country about the disappearance of Matthew’s wife and children swiftly became even more shocking when it was learned that Mary had really fired the gun. The police in Orange Beach, Alabama, 400 miles distant from Selmer, found her van the following day. She was then arrested, and after an inquiry and her confession, she was given a murder charge for the death of her husband. While Mary was soon deported back to Tennessee, the children were given into the care of Dan and Diane, Matthew’s parents.

Where is Mary Winkler Today

Where is Mary Winkler Now?

Mary Winkler allegedly admitted to shooting her husband to death on March 22, 2006; his body was found in their home by churchgoers after he skipped that evening’s service. A 12-gauge shotgun had struck him in the back.

Since 1996, the couple had been wed. One neighbor’s family said that after their dog wandered onto the Winklers’ lawn, Matthew Winkler repeatedly threatened to shoot it. Additionally, Mary Winkler’s family and other people both claimed that Matthew Winkler had abused Mary. This, according to Winkler, was the trigger for the shooting.

Patricia, then 8, Mary Alice, then 6, and Breanna, then 1, were found with Mary Winkler in Orange Beach, Alabama, following the police’s issuance of an Amber Alert due to concerns of kidnapping. There, Winkler was taken to jail and eventually returned to Tennessee for prosecution. Winkler responded, “I guess that’s when my nasty came out,” when detectives questioned her about what had occurred to her husband after an argument about money. On June 12, 2006, a grand jury indicted Winkler and charged her with first-degree murder.

On August 12, 2006, Winkler made his bond and was scheduled for release. She was initially detained due to issues caused by the bail bond company’s suspension in 1999. Winkler was granted parole on August 15 after posting a $750,000 bond and agreeing to reside with friends Rudolf and Kathy Thomsen in McMinnville, Tennessee. The prosecution took a break on April 16, 2007, after the trial had started on April 9. Two days later, the defense took a break.

Mary Winkler stood up in her own defense on April 18, 2007. She claimed that her spouse frequently “berated” her and made her wear “slutty” costumes for sex in front of a jury made up of ten women and two men. The audience gasped when she showed them a wig and a pair of high-heeled shoes as proof. Winkler asserted that she merely inadvertently shot her husband. She claimed that to pressure him into solving their issues, she went to the bedroom closet and took a shotgun. She sobbed, “I just wanted him to stop being so cruel,” she added. Winkler informed the jury that “something went off,” despite her denial that she had actually pulled the trigger. She fled the house as soon as she heard a boom because she anticipated his wrath.


The jury returned its decision on April 19, 2007, finding the defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter. After debating for eight hours, the jury decided on the lower charge despite the prosecution’s request that Winkler is found guilty of first-degree murder.


On May 18, 2007, the sentencing phase was supposed to start, but one of the attorneys’ schedules conflicts caused it to be postponed. For being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a Tennessee judge sentenced Mary Winkler to 210 days in jail on June 8, 2007. The judge allowed her to spend up to 60 days at an unnamed mental health facility in Tennessee and gave her credit for the five months she had previously served. She was to serve the remainder of her sentence on probation.

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