Video: Winkler gets out on bail

updated 8/16/2006 8:40:30 AM ET 2006-08-16T12:40:30

A minister’s wife accused of shooting her husband to death after the two argued over money was released from jail Tuesday on $750,000 bond.

Mary Winkler, 32, is charged with killing Matthew Winkler on March 22 at their church parsonage in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis.

She was arrested the following day in Alabama, where she had taken the couple’s three young daughters, and has been behind bars on a charge of first-degree murder since then. Her trial is scheduled for October.

Winkler walked out of the jail between two of her defense attorneys, keeping her head down and refusing to answer questions. Her father, Clark Freeman of Knoxville, drove her away from the jail.

As part of her bond, Winkler is required to live with friends in McMinnville, 65 miles southeast of Nashville, where she will work at a dry cleaner and be supervised by the state probation office.

‘Fragile’ emotional state
Defense attorney Steve Farese said Winkler is eager to see her three young daughters, who are living with their paternal grandparents, but no arrangements have been made for visits.

“Her emotional state is fragile. Certainly she’s apprehensive,” Farese said.

In a statement to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Winkler said she shot her husband after a night of arguing over finances and other family problems.

The couple had gotten tangled up along in a swindle known as an advance-fee fraud, or the “Nigerian scam,” in which victims are told that a sweepstakes prize or some other riches are waiting for them if they send in money to cover the processing expenses, her lawyers have said.

No one has said how much money the Winklers may have lost, or what role the financial strain might have played in the shooting.

Defense lawyers have implied that Mary Winkler was emotionally abused by her husband.

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