Now, just as a disclaimer here, this woman committed murder in cold blood, and must be held accountable for it. I wholeheartedly believe that. However, I believe this woman was most likely a victim of abuse, and here are my reasons:
"It's just a lot of stupid stuff," she said. "I love him dearly, but gosh, he just nailed me in the ground. ... The first of our marriage, I just took it like a mouse, didn't think anything different. My mom just took it from my dad -- that stupid scenario."
Winkler told Alabama Bureau of Investigation agent Stan Stabler on the tape that her husband had threatened her physically. "He said something that really scared me. I don't know, something life-threatening," she said, without elaborating further.
But she also says she doesn't want her husband's name smeared.
"He was so good, so good, too. It was just a weakness. I think a lot of times he had high blood pressure that he'd never go enough to the doctor to get medicine for it. He was a mighty fine person, and that's the thing," she said.
"Just say, 'The lady was a moron, evil woman,' and let's go on with it. That's fine. ... That's my point of view."
The major thing that jumps out at me here is her vehement defense of her husband, and her own self-loathing words. This is actually a classic sign of abuse; many victims will defend the abuser and blame themselves.
I also know from personal observation that many CoC women try to be Stepford wives, and try to live up to that blasted Psalm in the babble describing a "virtuous woman." After trying to plaster a smile on your face while dear hubby berates you for the 1000th time, you might have a breakdown too.
It does not surprise me one bit that a CoC minister was probably domineering, controlling and abusive. Fundamentalism tends to bring out the really ugly side of people through sexual repression and fear. i wish someone would've gotten Mrs. Winkler some help.
My grandmother was a CoC minister's wife, and he wouldn't let her get a driver's license, spend any money without making her cry afterward, or wear pants outside of the house. She to this day still believes he was a wonderful man.