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According to Mary Winkler, on the day of the shooting her and Matthew's 1-year-old daughter, Breanna, woke them up crying just after 6 a.m. Furious, Matthew physically kicked his wife out of bed. "He would just get irate with that baby monitor and Breanna crying to wake him up," she says. "That's just something that would set him off."

Mary Winkler says Matthew stormed into Breanna's room. "So I went in there after him and took the baby, took Breanna from [him], asked him, let me have her and got her settled back down."

Before he handed the baby to her, Mary Winkler says, Matthew covered Breanna's mouth and nose to "get her to pass out. …He was trying to get her to go back to sleep. I don't think he had intentions of killing."

Matthew returned to their bedroom and Mary Winkler followed after she got Breanna to settle down. Soon, she was holding a 12-gauge shotgun.

Mary Winkler says she doesn't remember getting the shotgun. She says she thinks she held the gun to get his attention. "I just know I was terrified of him, and I just wanted to talk to him," she says. "It was my fear. I was afraid of him. I never in a million years would have dreamed that there would have been something in that…in the gun being loaded. I just thought that was a rule that he always took [the bullets] out."

Mary Winkler says she was afraid for her life but that she only wanted to talk to Matthew and tell him "just to stop, just be happy. He just, he had to be miserable the way he acted, and just to stop being so mean," she says. "I'm safely sitting here right now thinking of what I wish I could have said to him. In the heat of the moment that was not realistic."

Mary Winkler says she doesn't remember aiming the gun at Matthew. "When I heard the boom I just thought that it would have hit the ceiling, the window, and I just thought, 'Oh my goodness, he's going to think I meant to do that on purpose,'" she says. "And so I took out. I just took out of there and took off running. And then at some point I just realized he wasn't chasing me, and I just had to go back in and face the realization."
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FROM: Exclusive: Mary Winkler— The Wife Who Killed Her Pastor Husband
Published on September 12, 2007

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