Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A "Perfect" Life: Mary Winkler Story

Heartbreaking Testimony

The Winklers' oldest child, Patricia, then a fourth-grader, appeared as a prosecution witness, giving brief but heartbreaking testimony that often left the child, her mother, many jurors and spectators in tears.

Prosecutor Freeland asked whether Matthew had been a good father, and the child softly replied, "Yes, sir." Asked whether he had ever been "ugly" with her mother, she responded, "No, sir."

The girl, dressed in a black-and-white polka dot dress, said she and her sisters were startled awake by a "big boom or something" on the morning of the slaying. She said she crept into her parents' bedroom and found her father on the floor groaning.

Winkler Family
Winkler Family

Her mother, she said, "was just walking around, and she saw us and closed the door...Me and Allie was scared."

The child said she has seen her mother only once since her arrest.

"I didn't want to see her," she said. "I mean, I still love her, I just don't want to."

Matthew's mother, Diane, later testified that during the children's first visit with Mary, she told them that she had not killed Matthew. She indicated that both she and the children were angered by what they saw as a bald-faced lie.

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