"Mary Winkler, the Tennessee woman who shot her minister husband to death while he slept, was released back into society this week after serving just 67 days, most of it in a prison hospital. Did she get away with murder? Many think she did, including two TODAY experts, former judge and prosecutor Jeanine Pirro, and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow.
“You can’t give Mary Winkler, in my opinion, any kind of clean bill of health that she won’t be violent in the future,” Ablow told TODAY host Meredith Vieira on Thursday.
“I think it sends a terrible message about the criminal justice system, that you can commit a homicide and literally get away with it,” added Pirro...
During her trial in April, she claimed that she had been abused by her husband, with whom she had appeared to have an ideal marriage. She claimed not to remember getting the shotgun from a closet in their bedroom nor discharging it.
Winkler said that her husband, mortally wounded, rolled off the bed and asked her, “Why?” She said she told him she was sorry.
She was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, but on April 19, after eight hours of deliberation, the jury found her guilty of voluntary manslaughter. On June 8, she was sentenced to 210 days in prison, with credit given for 143 days she had spent in jail the previous year before making bail. The judge allowed her to spend 60 of the remaining 67 days of her sentence in a mental health facility.
“Justice was definitely not served here,” Pirro told Vieira. “You had a preacher, who by all accounts was loved in his community, who was shot in the back while he slept. You have a woman who says she was abused with no history, no shred of evidence.”