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Minister's wife spoke of abuse

April 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

SELMER, TENN. — A preacher's wife accused of murdering her husband told a psychologist that he often threatened her with a shotgun and forced her to have sex, the therapist testified Tuesday.

Dr. Lynne Zager said Mary Winkler also told her that on the day of the fatal shooting, her husband tried to stop their 1-year-old daughter from crying by placing his hands over the baby's nose and mouth.

Prosecution witnesses have described Matthew Winkler, a 31-year-old preacher at the 4th Street Church of Christ in this west Tennessee town, as a good father and husband.

But the defense says he terrorized his family and criticized his wife's every move.

The psychologist said Mary Winkler suffered from mild depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which started at 13 when a sister died and became worse because her husband abused her. She could not have formed the intent to commit a crime because of her compromised mental condition, Zager said.

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