SELMER, Tenn. – Lawyers for a small-town minister's wife argued Thursday that police illegally searched her family's residence after her husband was found shot to death on a bedroom floor.
Mary Winkler, 32, is charged with first-degree murder, and defense lawyers don't want prosecutors to introduce evidence seized at the Church of Christ parsonage, including bank records.
Matthew Winkler had been pronounced dead by a physician and no one else was in danger when police searched the residence on March 22, defense lawyer Steve Farese argued.
"Once that place was secure, they had to get a search warrant," Farese told Judge Weber McCraw.
Prosecutor Walter Freeland said local police and agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted themselves properly at the Winkler residence, about 80 miles east of Memphis. He said the family's finances would have been investigated regardless of what was found in the home.
Weber said he would issue a written ruling on the defense request, but gave no indication when.
Prosecutors refuse to give a motive for the shooting, but Winkler told authorities she shot her 31-year-old husband after a night of arguing over finances and other family matters.
Her lawyers say the family had fallen victim to a foreign check scam. They also imply their client was physically and emotionally abused by her husband.
Winkler is free on bond while awaiting trial.