The Mary Winkler Verdict – What is Our Response?

Todd Clippard sent me an Email giving his response to this news item and I thought it was worthy of sharing with others…

The Mary Winkler Verdict – What is Our

I’m certain most of you have heard the verdict in Mary Winkler’s murder trial. I will be the very first to tell you I believe the verdict is a horriblemiscarriage of justice. I followed the trial online, watching video and readingtranscripts of the testimony. Furthermore, I spoke personally with one who was present during Mary Winkler’s testimony. By all accounts, she murdered her husband and repeatedly lied to the authorities and to the court. Before the trial she made light of the fact that she killed her husband. Her contradictory statements under oath are too numerous to mention. Her accusations against herdead husband were outrageous, unprovable, and refuted by the evidence. Herlawyers treated Dan and Dianne (Matthew’s parents) in a way that I would
describe as disgraceful, unconscionable and obscene.

Despite the evidence, the jury returned a verdict that will probably allow her to walk free in less than two years. Following the verdict her lawyer disgustingly painted her as the victim. Furthermore, I’m sure the rights to the story and the obligatory made-for-TV movie will be worth millions. To any right-thinking person, justice has certainly not been served.

I will tell you that my reaction to the verdict was extreme disappointment and anger. Having known and appreciated the Winkler family for nearly 20 years, I was incensed at the way they were treated and the terrible disappointment they must have felt when the verdict was read.

To their credit, Dan and Dianne Winkler have epitomized the spirit of Christ throughout the entire ordeal. They lost their son. They lost their daughter-in-law. They are now raising three small granddaughters. Though I haven’t spoken with them, I have no doubt they do not
believe the verdict was fair.

Yet, despite the unfairness of the situation, something must be considered . . . What should be my attitude and actions toward Mary Winkler? Whether or not we know her personally, we have a responsibility toward her. As a Christian, and she as a fellow child of God, don’t I at least owe her my prayers? Though not in the same context as our present discussion, I think we
would do well to remember 2 Timothy 2:24-26 . . .

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to
teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God
may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they
may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his
will. ESV

Doesn’t this young woman need to be brought to repentance? Does she not need to escape the snare of the devil? While perhaps not to the same degree, who among us has never been captured by the devil to do his will? Who among us has never been in need of gentleness, patience, correction, and repentance (Romans 3:23; 5:6-8)?

Consider for a moment Peter’s audience in Acts 2. Here were men who had orchestrated the murder of the sinless Son of God. Yet, God did not consider them beyond help or redemption. God takes no joy in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). Rather, God is longsuffering toward us, and not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Let us pray for this good family in their time of grief and disappointment. Pray they will continue to meet their challenges with the same steadfastness of faith they have thus far so ably demonstrated. And let us not forget to pray for Mary, that someone of influence will be able to reach her with a message of love, hope, and forgiveness (James 5:19-20).

Todd Clippard — April 20, 2007


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