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Mary Winkler Is Out Of Jail And Wants Her Girls Back

By KJ Mullins     Sep 24, 2007 in World
She took a rifle and shot her husband to death. She tearfully told the jury about years of abuse. The jury believed her. Now she wants her children to come home to her. Grandma and Grandpa say no way!
Mary Winkler convinced the jury of her trial that her husband abused her for years until she shot him to death. She claims to have no memory of the act itself where she took a shotgun from the couple's closet and pulled the trigger.
For now the children reside with their father's parents. Judge Ron Harmon heard Winkler's request for private visits with her three daughters and refused her. The girls have mixed feelings towards their mother and the issue of her mental health were the reasons Mary Winkler were given for the denial.
Their grandfather Dan Winkler told the court that the girls have nightmares when they speak to their mother on the telephone.
Both sides will have a difficult custody battle to win. Generally parents have more pull when the custody battle is between them and the grandparents. In this case though Winkler will have to jump through many hoops to prove she is stable enough to care for the girls.
If the grandparents win in this Tennessee case Mary Winkler's parental rights will be stripped away so that they can adopt the three girls aged 2,8, and 10.
When one parent wrongfully kills the other parental rights can be terminated. That law though has been in the works for a short time. It was written for the cases when the living parent is incarcerated for such a time period that there is no possible way for them to raise their children. Winkler,33, was found guilty of manslaughter which fits the law. After spending seven months in custody, two of those months served in a mental facility for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, she is free on probation.
“We can begin healing together,” she told a judge who granted supervised visits with the children to begin Saturday.
Mary Winkler has at least one person in her corner, Lynne Gold-Bikin, a Pennsylvania lawyer who specializes in child custody and family law who does not have a connection to the case.
Should we take these children away from a loving mother and give them to somebody who hates her?” Gold-Bikin said. “Here is a little backwoods woman married to a very popular preacher and her entire self-worth has been undermined. She’s been made to parade around in high heels and no clothes, to do things she considers perverted. And she’s got nobody to talk to because nobody is going to believe her.”
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