Image: The Winkler family
AP file
Mary Winkler, middle, was convicted of fatally shooting her husband, whom she accused of abuse. After her arrest, the Winklers' three children were sent to live with their paternal grandparents.
updated 8/14/2007 6:02:11 PM ET 2007-08-14T22:02:11

The woman convicted of manslaughter in the shotgun slaying of her minister husband was freed Tuesday after serving 67 days in custody.

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

Winkler, 33, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shotgun slaying of her husband, Matthew, at the Church of Christ parsonage in Selmer, where the couple lived with their three young daughters.

She was 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.

Winkler was sentenced June 8 to three years in prison but had to serve only 67 days — 12 in jail and the rest in the mental health facility — because of credit for time in jail before her trial, the nature of the offense and lack of a criminal record. The remainder of her term will be spent on probation.

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 bail and awaiting trial.

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

A day after her husband’s body was found, Winkler was arrested 340 miles away on the Alabama coast, driving the family minivan with her three young daughters inside.

Since her arrest, her children have lived with their paternal grandparents, Dan and Diane Winkler. Farese’s law firm is helping her try to regain custody of the children.

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