Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A "Perfect" Life: Mary Winkler Story

210 Days for a Life

Because she was a first-time felon, Mary Winkler faced a sentence range of three to six years when she stood before Judge McCraw to get her comeuppance. He also had the discretion to order probation.

During a five-hour sentencing hearing, Freeland argued for the maximum six-year sentence. Farese and Ballin argued for probation.

Mary Winkler, who was among the 10 people who testified, read a statement that seemed disingenuous: She rued the loss of the man she killed.

"I've suffered the loss of someone I loved," she said. "I've lost my freedom. I've lost my children, and I've had my life be put on public display. I think of Matthew every day, and the guilt, and I always miss him and love him."

Mary Winkler
Mary Winkler

She said acknowledged there were both good and bad times in the marriage, "And I wish I could have that good Matthew, and we could live together forever...I hope this situation sheds light on unhealthy relationships, and that others will find the strength and have the courage to seek help before such a tragedy occurs again."

McCraw received 90 letters of recommendation written on Winkler's behalf. His 25-minute long sentencing edict, which he recited from a written script, included no chastising words about the defendant.

McCraw said the offense made Winkler eligible for prison since it met the state's legal definition of a "violent, shocking and reprehensible" act. But he added, "In fashioning this sentence, the court has considered the seriousness of the offense, the jury's verdict and the testimony about allegations of abuse of the defendant."

The sentence210 days, minus the 143 already served and 60 days in a mental facilityonce again brought mute reaction in the courtroom.

Mary Winkler simply bowed her head and closed her eyes for about 20 seconds, as if in prayer.

"I'm quite happy," Farese said outside court. "I think in the end he (Judge McCraw) did what was right."

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