Winkler case: defense claims Jekyll, prosecution claims Hyde

"My ugly came out" is what jurors heard in the trial of a preacher's wife accused of killing her husband today. Two sides were presented during opening statements in Mary Winkler's murder trial on April 12, 2007.

One side paints her as an abused wife who just snapped. The other, a woman who killed her minister husband so he wouldn't find out about a check cashing scam.

A stoic Mary Winkler arrived at court for the start of her first degree murder trial. Once inside, the opening statements set the tone for two very different Mary's.

The prosecution paints her as a shrewd killer, one who chose to kill her husband instead of admit to him she fell prey to an expensive Nigerian check cashing scam. It was when the banks became aware of these fraudulent checks, the prosecution contends, Winkler acted.

The defense however casts Mary as the victim of a loveless and abusive marriage, and on March 22, 2006, she snapped shooting her husband once in the back with his own shotgun.

Winkler, who still wears a wedding band, had a hard time in court hiding her emotions. She would bite her upper lip, wipe away tears and at one point even mouthed the word "wow" when listening to the prosecution. It's unclear if Winkler will take the stand in her own defense.

Jurors listened to a police interview of Winkler recorded in Alabama the day after Matthew's body was found.

On the audio recording Winkler tearfully recounted what happened, and is heard to say she didn't want her husband's name smeared. Also on the recording Winkler said her husband said something that really scared her and a lot of little things had built up. She also said there was just one shot fired. Matthew's body was found by members of his Church of Christ Congregation.

Winkler's trial began April 9, 2007, and is expected to last several weeks. She's facing a first degree murder charge. If convicted as charged.Winkler would be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 51 years.


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