Grand Jury Indicts Wife in Preacher Slaying

The wife of a minister who was shot to death in his church's parsonage was indicted Monday on a charge of premeditated murder.

Mary Winkler, indicted by a McNairy County grand jury, has been in custody since the day after the March 22 slaying of her husband, Matthew Winkler. Authorities have said she confessed but they haven't disclosed a motive.

Matthew Winkler, 31, a minister at the local Church of Christ, was found dead in his bedroom after he failed to show up for an evening service.

His 32-year-old wife and the couple's young daughters were found the next night in Orange Beach, Ala.

Mary Winkler has not yet entered a plea and remains jailed in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis.

Her attorneys have not made a statement on whether she says she is guilty, but attorney Steve Farese said last week, "We'll have a defense." He did not elaborate.

Members of Matthew Winkler's fundamentalist Christian congregation had described him as dynamic and popular and his wife as quiet. At the time of the killing, she was a substitute elementary school teacher.

Church members say they saw no trouble with the marriage.

After Winkler's arrest, defense lawyers said she was unable to talk about her husband's death and were worried about her emotional health. But Farese said she has begun to talk more.

"Her head is much clearer now, and she's able to answer questions and concentrate," he said. She has not seen or talked to her children, who are in the custody of their father's parents.