Mary Winkler Seeks Custody of 3 Daughters

The woman who killed her minister husband with a shotgun is seeking custody of her three daughters, or at least frequent visits.

A petition filed in Carroll County Chancery Court argues that Mary Winkler's continued separation from the girls — ages 2, 8 and 10 — is "unconscionable and detrimental" to the children.

Carroll County Chancellor Ron Harmon set a hearing for next week on her motion.

Her former in-laws, Dan and Diane Winkler, who have had custody of the girls since their mother's arrest, are seeking to terminate her parental rights and adopt the girls.

Winkler, 33, shot Matthew Winkler in the parsonage of Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer on March 22, 2006, after what she described as an abusive marriage. She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, but served only five months in jail, followed by two months in a mental health treatment facility.

Separately, Harmon denied without comment the Winklers' motion to try to prevent Mary Winkler from appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Wednesday.

But later in the day, McNairy County Judge Weber McCraw denied the woman permission to travel to Chicago to talk with Winfrey in person. The show is produced in Chicago.

Part of Mary Winkler's "Oprah" interview had already been recorded. A spokesman for the show said Tuesday evening that the taped interview will air as planned.

Her in-laws had argued that "it is in the best interest of the children to live normal lives and it is not in their interest for their private lives and problems to be aired in the newspaper and on television. No good can come of it."

The couple's attorney, Jake Adams Jr., declined to comment.

According to Winkler's request to travel, she had been asked to appear on Winfrey's live show to discuss "Battered Women's Syndrome" and to "advise the public of the dangers of not recognizing and addressing the symptoms associated with BWS."