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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Mary Winkler Case
Aired April 3, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, as she sits in a jail cell charged with the first degree murder of her minister husband what can be going through Mary Winkler's mind? She met Friday with a psychologist hired by her defense.
And now we'll hear the latest from the Winkler family friend and spokesman Eddie Thompson and from Mary Winkler's defense attorneys Steven Farese and Leslie Ballin.
Also with us is psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti, former Santa Clara County prosecutor Stephen Clark all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Eddie Thompson is with us here in Los Angeles. He's the long- time friend of Matthew Winkler's parents. He helped conduct Matthew's funeral last week and he's one of the trustees of a fund set up for the Winkler daughters. It's www.winklerfamilyfund.com. What's the latest Eddie? What can you tell us about how the daughters are doing?
EDDIE THOMPSON, TRUSTEE OF WWW.WINKLERFAMILYFUND.COM: Well the daughters are doing as well as can be expected. They have -- most of the moments are very good, very positive. They seem to be happy but they have some very dark moments as well.
KING: And they're hold old?
THOMPSON: One, six and eight.
KING: So the 8-year-old and the 6-year-old would be very aware of what's happened?
THOMPSON: Yes and they're extremely bright. They're bright children. They're engaged. They're intuitive and they're very sensitive individuals as well but I would also suggest they're very happy children too.
KING: What do they say though about the mother accused of killing their father?
THOMPSON: Well, I don't know if that question has been posed to them. I know they attended...
KING: It has to have some reaction.
THOMPSON: Yes. They did attend their father's funeral which was quite difficult and was there for the visitation that night before but it's got to be difficult. You know one of the things we're trying to do is make sure these girls get counseling as quickly as possible, as thorough as possible, and for as long as needed.
KING: They are living with?
THOMPSON: Dan and Diana Winkler, paternal grandparents.
KING: The parents of the victim?
KING: All right, Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin, they're both with us in Memphis, they're the co-attorneys. First, Steve, is this a pro bono case?
STEVEN FARESE, ATTORNEY FOR MARY WINKLER: It is, Larry.
KING: And you're doing this why?
FARESE: Well, because we have been blessed to have successful practices. We represent people in need. Not everyone can pay for services and this was one of those special cases that we wanted to help somebody that was truly in need.
KING: Leslie, what is the current demeanor of your client?
LESLIE BALLIN, ATTORNEY FOR MARY WINKLER: She is still lost. I think she's adjusting to her surroundings, that is the McNary County Jail but she's doing as good as we can expect her to do given the circumstances that she finds herself in.
KING: George, what's the latest from the area? This is George Brown, by the way.
GEORGE BROWN, WMC-TV REPORTER: Well first of all, Larry, people here are glad that the...
KING: Hold on. Hold on, George. George Brown is the reporter with WMC-TV in Tennessee. We did not introduce him at the initial opening -- George.
BROWN: I appreciate you having me back. The initial reaction here is a lot of people are glad that the attention here is dying down. This town is pretty small. It was overwhelming for a while and now it appears that they just want to kind of have some time to decompress.
I've been driving around the town a little bit tonight talking with some folks. We went by the church where there are still black ribbons tied to the doors. We've heard that Mary Winkler actually had more than a dozen visitors here at the jail yesterday, including her father and two sisters.
I was told that some cards were brought to her from members of the church that she said that she is doing very well that she's being treated very well in the jail. And she told one woman reportedly that she really appreciated the support that she was getting from the church members.
I don't know if she really has a sense of how much attention this case is getting. Of course, that's probably not really what's on top of her mind at this time -- Larry.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, this is one of the more peculiar cases in which the victim, the accused appears to have as many friends as the victim had.
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D.: Yes, I mean that's what's so interesting about this case. And also when you hear about the support that Mary Winkler is getting it makes you wonder does the community know something that we don't know yet? I mean that's also one possibility.
But it sounds like she's a very well-liked person. There is this damsel in distress quality about Mary where you do want to take care of her and maybe the community is responding to that.
KING: Eddie, you know this family right?
KING: You know Mary too right?
KING: What do you make of it?
THOMPSON: You know it is one of the great puzzles I have ever seen. It is amazing. They seem so happy. They had adjusted well in Selmer. They seemed to be very content in their new work.
When you saw them with the children, the children were relaxed. They were happy. They were engaged. They were crawling on their father and their mother, playing with them as small children would. It is really a mystery. I mean I think all of us would like to know what happened and why it happened.
KING: Steve, I know you had a psychologist spend some time with her did you not?
FARESE: Yes, we did Larry.
KING: And what was that -- what can you tell us about what he -- was it a he?
FARESE: No, it was a she. She visited with Mary Carol on Friday. Of course, we have had some preliminary discussions with her after the visit but right now we're not at liberty to discuss anything that was told her by Mary at this time.
KING: Now, Leslie, I know you defended a lot of people in your time accused of various heinous crimes, this could be considered heinous, yet your client is popular. How do you deal with that? BALLIN: I don't know any suggestions? This is certainly new to me. The doctor described the situation as the accused receiving as much love and well wishes from the community as the deceased.
That's true. She is a likable, likable person. When we spoke last week, I think I described her to you as huggable and she is. Just everything that she is, is inconsistent with the charges.
KING: So, Dr. Ludwig, this to quote "The King and I" is a puzzlement.
LUDWIG: It is a puzzle at this point because we don't have all the information. We don't really know what went on behind closed doors. Something had to have happened because Mary, something triggered that gunshot. She clearly was angry with her husband. Why we don't know. We also don't know about her mental state.
But what we do know is that sometimes criminals are likable and that there is something very ingratiating about them and it doesn't mean that they didn't commit the crime.
KING: George, to your knowledge has anyone come forward to tell anyone a story about friction or inside the family stories not before known?
BROWN: I would say not really. I have heard from some people that, you know, that there were those times where there may have been a little friction sensed between the two of them but really nothing more than perhaps what would be in a normal relationship, a normal marriage.
A lot of people are supporting her and I've heard nothing but good things about her. I mean I've had people tell me that she was not maybe the most outgoing person at times but she was always friendly. She was willing to listen. She didn't necessarily share that much about her family.
But I will tell you, Larry, one thing that was kind of interesting was a woman was talking to me and she said that she believed that the support for Mary was there.
But she also felt that perhaps when women are accused of shooting their husband they get support but when it's the other way that there are more questions asked and she almost wondered if there was a double standard there. I don't know if someone can address that perhaps.
KING: What is the victim's family thinking, Eddie, about her?
THOMPSON: Well when they first...
KING: What is the mother and father saying?
THOMPSON: Matthew's mother and father?
KING: Yes. THOMPSON: When they first met her they told her that they loved her and that they forgave her but the Winklers also understand there are consequences and there are at least three consequences to what Mary did.
First of all, Mary is incarcerated this evening and facing serious charges and the Winklers have confidence in the judicial system, as well as Elizabeth Rice. Secondly, Matthew is gone. He is not coming back. He'll not tuck his children in bed at night. He'll not see their school plays. And, a third is those girls are alone tonight, three little girls who are just precious.
KING: So, are they angry?
THOMPSON: No, I would not suggest they're angry. I mean they love Mary. They've known Mary for eleven years. I believe it's about eleven years. They care for her. They are puzzled. They're anxious. But I must tell you they're focused right now 100 percent on those girls. They are a wonderful couple and they'll do a great job raising those girls.
KING: We'll be back in a moment. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with our panel.
There's a story, Leslie Ballin, there's local speculation, I don't know where it comes from that the case might never go to trial, any thoughts in that regard?
BALLIN: We prepare for trial. Whether or not there will be negotiations between Steve, myself, and Betsy Rice and her staff, absolutely but we don't take this case as anything but a case that's going to be tried in court, witnesses called and jury be asked to make a decision.
KING: With the knowledge you now have, Steve, does it appear to you to be a plea-able kind of case?
FARESE: Well that takes in a number of dynamics, Larry. It would have a lot to do with what the facts are and we don't know all the facts yet. But let's say that we got to a case that was a plea- able type case, the family would have a great say so in this matter.
We know this family to be a very good, strong, Christian family. If we ever got to that point, we would want to call on them to see how they felt about the matter but we're not at that point yet. We're not even close. We've just seen the tip of the iceberg.
KING: George Brown, this is strictly from a reporting standpoint, what is the speculation there?
BROWN: The speculation here that I've heard so far is that this case will never go to trial. Of course that is just the people in town talking. It sounds like they would prefer that it would not go for several reasons.
One, because of the children, they don't want them to be exposed to this, to more attention. Second of all, it would bring more attention to Selmer. And also they really just want to have this kind of go away. They don't want to hear anything bad about their minister if something were to come out in court perhaps.
And I've also been told that the Winkler family and her family also really would prefer that this could just be settled quietly between the families but, of course, as Leslie and Steve said, it's not really up to us. It's up to the prosecutors eventually and if a plea could be taken in this case.
KING: By the way, Eddie, a fund has been set up to help the three daughters of Matthew and Mary Winkler. The Internet address is www.winklerfamilyfund.com. The mailing address is The Winkler Family Fund, % Dr. Eddie Thompson, 229 Ward Circle, Suite A-28, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027, and I'll be repeating that again. What happens with this fund?
THOMPSON: We're going to use this fund initially to help the girls with counseling. We want to find quality assistance, the very best in the business and to be engaged as long as necessary. They have faced a real trauma and we love these girls and we deeply love them. We want to help heal their hearts.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, I don't want to practice medicine over the air but doesn't this appear to you to be a major psychological problem here with the facts we know?
LUDWIG: For Mary Winkler, yes. I mean it sounds like she was suffering from depression. It sounds like it's very possible that there was some postpartum depression. Also with Mary's history it's very interesting. She had a sister who died suddenly, I believe while the mother was giving her daughter a bath.
And I wonder what message or what went on in the family, if somebody was considered a killer or murderer or if there was a lot of guilt in her family or origin and if something in her fragile state got played out in this particular kind of way.
KING: You buy that Eddie?
THOMPSON: I don't know. I don't know what the answer is.
KING: Nobody knows.
THOMPSON: Nobody knows. I mean we're waiting like everyone else to find out.
KING: Let's take a call, Dayton, Ohio, hello.
CALLER FROM DAYTON, OHIO: Hi Larry, good evening. How is everyone?
KING: Dayton, Ohio, are you there? CALLER: Yes, I am. I'm here.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I have two questions. The results from the psychological evaluation will that only be released through a trial and not necessarily to the public? And my second question is what are the statistics not saying that this is necessarily a domestic violence case but what are the statistics as far as a man killing his wife or a wife killing a husband?
KING: First, we'll start with the first part of the question. Are we ever going to learn it Steve?
FARESE: Well, certainly there's a good chance that you will learn it. You won't learn it anytime soon. This was done under the province of the defense team. We will use that, analyze it to see if it aids us in our defense or later on according to what the facts are to be mitigation in some sort of plea.
KING: All right, how much of this goes on, Leslie, how much of spouses killing spouses?
BALLIN: Unfortunately it happens in every city in this country and much, much too often. In this particular case, certainly everyone is asking why, why, why? Steve and I are working hard to try to get those answers. One of the things we decided was prudent to do was to ask that she be evaluated and that's why this psychologist did the evaluation.
On Friday there was the MMPI administered. There will be other meetings but getting to the root as to whether or not this was a domestic violence type of situation. That comes under the category of why again, so yes it happens daily.
KING: What's MMTI?
BALLIN: MMPI is a personality test that is a tool used by psychologists and psychiatrists as a diagnostic tool.
KING: We'll be right back with more and more of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A minister's wife who police say confessed to shooting her husband in the back tried to avoid the eyes staring at her in a packed courtroom. As Winkler kept her head down, a defense lawyer took her by the hand to help her sit down. Moments before the hearing began Winkler's father stepped up, leaned over and whispered something in her ear. Then it was time for her to speak briefly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your desire at this point to waive your right to preliminary hearing?
MARY WINKLER: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: George Brown, what about newspaper reports that Mrs. Winkler had rented a condo in Orange Beach, Alabama?
BROWN: Larry, we've heard both, whether it was a condo, we've also heard that it was possibly a motel. I've heard and this is, you know, sort of the speculation that you hear around town, I had heard from someone that said that the police actually kind of knew where she might be headed because that condo or hotel room may have been rented with one of her credit cards and so that they knew she was headed towards the coast.
There was a lot of question as to whether it was rented before the murder or after and what I was hearing was that it was rented before that, which might go towards the premeditated part of the charge of murder in the first degree.
KING: Does that concern you Steve?
FARESE: Well, my father always said if ifs and buts were candy and nuts what a merry Christmas it would be and it would truly be a merry Christmas if all the speculation was true for the prosecution. That's certainly not true concerning...
KING: Not true?
FARESE: ...concerning -- right it's not true about any condo or any pre-renting. First of all, there was no condo. Second of all, there was nothing paid for by a credit card and it was not pre-rented.
KING: Why is it a mystery, Leslie and Steve? Leslie, why is it a mystery to you? You've talked to your client. She must have communicated to you and you still say it's a mystery to you, why? Didn't she tell you why?
BALLIN: This is so inconsistent with what 29 years of the practice of law has taught me. Certainly you have the off case where a good person commits a crime but in this particular case it's just so unusual. I don't have a 250-pound, 6'5" tattooed, one-eyed defendant sitting behind me. This is just, it's unusual. It just isn't supposed to happen.
KING: Chicago, hello.
CALLER FROM CHICAGO: Hello, Larry. I love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is for Steve Farese. I want to know when Mary Winkler's next court appearance will be and if they will try to get her out on some sort of bail. FARESE: Well that's a very good question. Let me answer the latter question first. We're still looking at the prospects of getting her out on bail. We need some tests performed and we need more information before we make that decision on whether we will try for bail.
Her next court appearance this is probably not the absolute correct answer but she will go before the grand jury, meaning her case will be presented to the grand jury in June. The likelihood of her next appearance, unless there is some pretrial motions filed, would probably be in October.
KING: Eddie, does she have parents living?
THOMPSON: Her father is living. Her mother passed away.
KING: Does her father get to see the children?
THOMPSON: He did. I think he's seen them at least on three occasions that I know of.
KING: One of the tragedies here will be, assuming they were there, the eight and the 6-year-old might have to testify.
THOMPSON: I've never thought of that until just now.
KING: I mean if they witnessed a crime wouldn't that be possible Steve or Leslie?
BALLIN: Certainly it's possible. Witnesses aged six and eight can testify in Tennessee. I'd certainly hate to see that happen.
KING: But if they were there and you're at trial wouldn't it be logical that the prosecution if they saw the crime they're the only witnesses?
BALLIN: Not every fact needs to be testified to by multiple witnesses. If I was the prosecutor and if I could prove a fact without calling a six or 8-year-old child, I would try in every way possible to avoid putting those kids on the stand.
KING: Setauket, New York, hello.
CALLER FROM NEW YORK: Hello, Mr. King, love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Were the children checked for signs of sexual abuse and if it's not will be checking? Thanks.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, do you think so?
LUDWIG: I would imagine that they would check the children just to rule out all of the possibilities because we're looking for some answers. Was Mary Winkler trying to protect her children in some way? You know again we don't know what went on in the family, so we can't answer those questions but I would imagine that those tests are taking place.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, could she have just snapped?
LUDWIG: It's possible.
KING: For want of a better term.
LUDWIG: Yes, sure. I mean people can snap and, you know, it's not uncommon for spouses to be enraged with the idea and like the idea of a dead spouse. Now if somebody is in a very sick state, it's not unusual for them to say you know what my spouse is doing this to me or they're not helping me. And, during a moment in time if you don't have control over your impulses anything can happen.
THOMPSON: You know, I tell you this is very difficult for me to believe there would be any kind of abuse. The children were extremely comfortable with Matthew. They loved him deeply. There was no caution in their voice or in their activities and I think the speculation is not helpful when it comes to that.
KING: Windsor, Colorado, hello.
CALLER FROM COLORADO: Hi, Larry, thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I heard this the other day and I haven't heard anything since and I wondered if they could address it. The TV interviewed a neighbor that lived next door and she said the family had lived there only about six days and that Mr. Winkler had threatened to kill their dog over something that -- she found him very aggressive and so I wondered if someone could respond to that. I have not heard anything on the radio.
THOMPSON: Well, the only thing I know is that Matthew and Mary had three small children that played outside and my understanding the dogs are Rottweiler and had been roaming the street. And I must tell you if I had three small children, had a dog like that in the backyard, I might be a little cautious too.
KING: George, do you know about the report too?
BROWN: Yes, we talked about this the other night. There was that report that had gone out that he had threatened to shoot the dogs if they came back onto his property. I talked with someone who was a member of the church and I heard from someone who is a close friend of his and it's that same sentiment that the dogs had perhaps chased the children before.
I was told that Mary and the children were sometimes afraid to walk outside and that this had been going on for a while and just kind of culminated and someone said what would you do in this case? You might make a flippant comment or something that might be taken out of context and especially if you're the minister and you lose your cool some people say that gets magnified just a little bit more.
KING: We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: That fund, if you want to help the children, is www.winklerfamilyfund, all one word, winklerfamilyfund.com. Before we take the next call, Eddie Thompson wanted to say something about the family, the father and mother of the victim.
THOMPSON: First, I want to suggest the girls are in great company tonight, even though Matthew and Mary did not tuck them in, Dan and Diane Winkler did. This is a great couple. Diane taught school for years. Diane has a calming effect, lighthearted, she can touch the girls or any of the grandchildren and they relax. She is a wonderful person and will be a great role model. And Dan Winkler --
KING: Your friend?
THOMPSON: Yes. I think the world of Dan Winkler. He's pensive, he's thoughtful, he's deliberate, he's bright. His golf game is terrible.
KING: They're in their 50s, right?
KING: Holly Hill, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Mary Winkler committed murder, yet the panel is saying everyone sympathizes with the accused. I wonder if there is a cultural double standard because she is a Christian. If this was a Muslim woman who shot her husband in the back, how different would people's reaction be then?
KING: Do you think it would be different, Robi?
LUDWIG: We do tend to be more lenient on women who commit spousal homicide. In part because we don't see women as dangerous as we see men. There are many biases that go into how we feel about various alleged perpetrators. There is something about Mary that you get the sense she is not a rebellious, dangerous person so in order for her to get to this boiling point, something must have happened.
KING: Steve, what do you think? Would it have been different if it was different circumstances?
FARESE: I disagree theoretically with your caller in that she started off by saying this woman committed murder. No one knows that. In our system of justice, you're innocent, supposedly, until proven guilty. Sometimes people don't understand that. Would she be treated differently? I don't know. It's according to how she lived her life up until the event. I never look at cases based upon religion, race, ethnicity, any of those things. I look at what's going on in that person's life at that time, and what kind of life they've lived. This is not Ted Bundy, this is not John Gacy, this is a woman, as Mr. Thompson has said, is from a good family. Something has gone terribly wrong and what we all have to do including the Winklers and our role as judicial officers, is to try to find out what happened. That's what we're trying to do.
KING: Florence, Alabama.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. King, I appreciate you taking my call. My question is for Mr. Farese. If motive got out, would he ask for change of venue?
FARESE: Was the question was if the motive was leaked, would we ask for a change of venue, Larry?
FARESE: We don't know if we would ask for a change of venue or not. Again, a lot of dynamics play into that. We would have to see what they say the motive is. Saying it doesn't necessarily make it so. Sometimes it might help me if somebody says 'A' is the motive when I know in fact 'A' is not the motive. There are many other dynamics, but that alone, no, that would not cause us to move for a change of venue.
KING: Leslie, there doesn't have to be a motive, does there?
BALLIN: Motive is not an element of any type of homicide offense. It certainly is important in a prosecution to be able to tell a logical story in an effort to convince a jury to convict an individual, but motive is not an element of the offense charged.
In Tennessee, I think it's important to point out at this time, every homicide is not considered a murder in the first degree. We have different degrees of homicide in Tennessee. There's murder one, murder two, voluntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, all having different elements.
Depending on the facts of the case, you try to put the facts and match the offense. We're going to see what we've got here. I know that in the end, be it October or whenever we get to trial, the truth is going to come out.
KING: Before George Brown leaves us, George and Eddie will be leaving us at the end of this segment, and two former prosecutors will join us. I know you've been up all weekend covering the terrible weather in Tennessee. What's the aftermath?
BROWN: I was up in Carruthersville, Missouri, last night and Dyer County today. I've covered a lot of tornadoes, a lot of storms. We have massive damage in this area. Dyer County, which is up kind of near the boot heel of Missouri is basically closed tonight. Once the sun went down, they shut down the county, they are not letting people out.
As you know we have dozens of deaths in this area. Schools have collapsed, windows blown out, homes that are gone. Some of the oldest trees in some of those counties were toppled. What I was hearing from the weather service, they are guessing this was an F-3 tornado. You have winds in excess of 120 miles an hour.
A lot of attention that shifted to that part of the state in the Midwest. They will have a tough time up there. It will be a long recovery.
KING: How's Tennessee doing?
BROWN: Tennessee is doing OK. Dyer County had the most deaths out of this storm but really recovering fast. They're getting a lot of attention and help. I talked with people last night who came from other states and drove there to give their assistance in this case. We've already had churches and government agencies in there. Schools were closed in Dyer County yesterday. We haven't gotten word on that for tomorrow yet.
There is a lot of cleanup to do. This is really the start of this. Storm season is still early on us, and we've had bad years in the past. Memphis got hit a few years ago with a massive windstorm. Unfortunately, it happens a lot.
KING: Thanks for all you do, George. And thanks for all your assistance on this program, and Eddie, thank you for coming down L.A. The address, www.winklerfamilyfund.com, if you want to help the children.
The mailing address is Winkler Family Fund, care of Dr. Eddie Thompson with a P, 229 Ward Circle, Suite A23, Brentwood, Tennessee, 37027.
We'll come back. Two prosecutors will join us. Don't go away.
KING: Let's introduce the panel. In Memphis, Steve Farese, the attorney for Mary Winkler, along with Leslie Ballin, the other attorney for Mary Winkler. They are working pro bono and they have been praised by one of our upcoming guests.
Dr. Robi Ludwig remains with us, the psychotherapist, author of the new book "Till Death Do Us Part: Love, Marriage and the Mind of the Killer Spouse."
And now joining us in Los Angeles is Mary Fulginiti, the former federal prosecutor. And in San Francisco, Steven Clark, the former prosecutor for Santa Clara County. Mary, what do you make of this?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, this is a very difficult case.
KING: I know you admire her lawyers very much. FULGINITI: Oh I hired them for a case once in a high-profile matter and they did a tremendous job. So they've got their hands full, but I have to tell you, they're used to having their hands full. Like all great defense attorneys, they don't run away from challenges, they run towards them. And that's exactly what these guys are doing.
KING: Is this the kind of case you'd want to prosecute?
FULGINITI: You know, no. This is actually a terrible -- it's a sad case because clearly Mary was beloved also in the community, as well as her husband. Something happened. She has been accused of the killing and she's been charged with murder one.
So I have to say it's going to be a very difficult case for the prosecution and for the defense here. I mean, it's not an easy case when you have a wonderful person who has no criminal record, that really hasn't done anything wrong in their life, so to speak, we're aware of, potentially commit such a heinous crime.
KING: Steve Clark, former prosecutor for Santa Clara County, what's your read on this?
STEVEN CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well I think the defense has done a great job of creating this sympathetic impression of their client, which is exactly what they're supposed to do. And getting her to be remorseful at an early stage of the proceedings.
But they are glossing over a lot of information in this case. I mean, we're all assuming that Mary Winkler is this wonderful person. However, did she get the gun from the closet? Did she load the gun? What was the last thing that her husband said before she shot him?
We're glossing over a lot of premeditation here and jumping to the conclusion that Mary Winkler is a very sympathetic character, when in fact, she could be a cold-blooded killer. What did she do after the shooting? Did she call the police? Was the car loaded and ready to go?
I think we're making a leap of faith to say that Mary Winkler is this sympathetic, wonderful person. She shot somebody in the back.
KING: Steven, how about all the people in the community who love her?
CLARK: I understand that they're sympathetic to her situation. But we're assuming that they all love her. But she did shoot somebody in the back. She is remorseful for it, but what led up to that? What kind of planning went into it. I mean, we don't know a lot of that. But clearly, she got the gun. I want to know whether it was loaded or not when she got it, did she know how to use it and what was said before she shot him?
KING: Would you want to prosecute this case?
CLARK: I would. I would not be saber rattling about the case. And I think the prosecution thus far is handling it very well. They're not beating their chest, saying "Let's put her in prison for the rest of her life or let's give her the death penalty." But they are still responsible to the community to do the job. And they don't have to revel in it, but it is their job to prosecute this case.
KING: Leslie, does Steve have a good point?
BALLIN: No, I think he's given us way too much credit. He haven't created a sympathetic figure -- sympathetic client. She is what she is. The questions that Steve has are real questions. They're questions that will asked by the defense. Hopefully they will be questions that the jurors want answers to. And depending on what those answers are, the jury will come up with an appropriate decision.
KING: Steve, it is important, where did the gun come from? Was it loaded? All the things Steve said -- I'm talking to Steve Farese now, all the things Steven Clark said are true, aren't they?
FARESE: Well of course. Those questions are important questions. They're questions that go to premeditation. What was her knowledge of the gun? Where was the gun? Who got the gun? Was the gun loaded? Of course, those questions have to be answered at some point in time. The only question Steve didn't ask was why.
KING: And Mary, is that a key point or does the prosecutor not have to ask that?
FULGINITI: In most criminal cases, the why is completely irrelevant when it comes to what the elements of the crime are. Now in this particular case because it's a murder and homicide and of the one elements is that she had to intentionally kill her husband and she had to do it with some premeditation, the why is probably going to come into play somewhat, especially more so by the defense than really by prosecution.
KING: Does the why come into play if she takes the stand? With Scott Peterson, we've never known the why.
FULGINITI: No, that's absolutely right. And in many murder cases, we don't know the why, actually. And in many crimes, we don't actually know why. And why someone does commit a crime is in most criminal charges, it's completely irrelevant.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, in your book, do you know the why's?
LUDWIG: The more information I get, I think I have a pretty good idea of what was going on during that moment of time. I don't with Mary because I don't know her whole situation. And in some cases, the murderer actually doesn't know the why. They're not introspective. They're not insightful. All they have is this bundle of emotion that they need to release and this is the way that they release it.
KING: Good point?
FULGINITI: No, it is a good point. I mean, most crimes, I think, are pretty irrational. You know, and I think to the normal person, the lay person, they doesn't understand the why even when they hear it. So I think in many cases, the why is irrelevant and not understandable by most of the public.
KING: John Roberts and Heidi Collins will co-host "A.C. 360," Anderson getting the week off. And John checks in with us now. What's up tonight, John?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, thanks Larry. Coming up next on "360", we're taking a look at those deadly tornadoes that swept across parts of the country. Hardest hit was Tennessee, where we know at least 23 people were killed. We'll talk to a survivor and a police officer who videotaped a tornado right in front of his patrol car with his dashboard camera.
Also, a medical breakthrough. Some patients in desperate need for a transplant aren't waiting for a donor. They're getting it from themselves. It's an incredible story that you have to see to believe. All that and much more coming at the top of the hour. Larry, we'll see you then.
KING: Got to watch that, a self-transplant, one body part to another?
ROBERTS: Growing your own organs, it's the frontier of medicine, Larry, and it's a really incredible story.
KING: Wow, that's tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern with John Roberts and Heidi Collins. We'll be right back, take some of your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Why Winkler might have pulled the trigger is still a mystery. Police and prosecutors won't say. And after getting their first look at Winkler's alleged confession to police, the defense will only tell CNN it confirms the couple had problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Belleville, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call, Mr. King. I'm a big fan of yours.
KING: Sure, thank you.
CALLER: My question is for Steve Farese. Earlier, one of the other guests stated that people are hoping this doesn't go to trial. And my wonder -- I was wondering, are steps being taken that visitors cannot be putting pressure on Mary to plead out to this? That, you know, are there people in the church that don't want this coming up in a trial?
KING: Steve? FARESE: Well there are always outside influences and as attorneys, we do not know what those influences always are. I would not expect that pressure would be occurring. I think we have developed enough of a relationship with Mary at this point in time, although we have got a long way to go, that there would be no pressure exerted on her, and if there were, she would let us know. So right now, is it possible? Certainly that's possible. But we think we can prevent that from occurring.
KING: Steve Clark, is this going to be a tough jury to pick, assuming it goes to trial?
CLARK: It certainly will be and I think that's the problem with having it in such a small town. I mean, everybody has an opinion about the case and there may be a lot of witnesses on the jury veneer that might come forward because they know the couple.
So yes this is going to be a difficult case to pick a jury because everyone is going to be in two camps on this case from the outset. And I think that's why it's smart that the D.A. and to some extent the defense are keeping the facts close to the vest.
KING: Atlanta. Hello.
CALLER: Hey Larry. The question is I heard early in the week on another program that the religion is somewhat extreme, maybe even a cult or sect, that they only believe that they will go to heaven. I wonder if that played a part in this.
BALLIN: Well, I'm a little Jewish kid from Memphis. I don't know that I'm the right person to answer that.
KING: I think it was a fundamentalist Christian church, right, Mary?
FULGINITI: Yes, that's what I've heard.
KING: We understand.
KING: And they would tend to bind together behind her, wouldn't they?
FULGINITI: You know, I think so. But he's also the minister of that community. So, you know, like Steve had said, there might be a very large split although there may be those that are forgiving. I think at the end of the day, he was the minister of this entire town.
KING: Steven Clark, isn't this awfully puzzling to you?
CLARK: It certainly is. I mean, you want to put a why to this. I mean, clearly that is something that we all want to do. But people kill people all the time. And, you know, just because there may be a why, I think she needs to be held accountable. I mean, that's just the way it is. She shot somebody in the back.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, would you comment on that statement, is that true?
LUDWIG: Well, she certainly has to be held accountable. And I think that she is. And we have to understand her mindset. We need to understand what was going on during that moment in time. We need to understand a little bit about her history.
This didn't happen for no reason, so we do need to find out a little bit more. Otherwise we're just, you know, guessing, basically. And I don't think she should be punished without knowing all the facts, and I think most people would agree with me.
KING: Do you think, Mary, we'll ever find it all out?
FULGINITI: Maybe not, because if this doesn't go to trial and if for some reason they are able to enter into some negotiations for probably not murder one but something beneath murder one, we may never ever understand the why.
KING: Does she ask about her children, Leslie?
BALLIN: Yes. She misses those kids greatly. She understands why she's where she is but she misses those kids. That's the first thing and utmost thing on her mind.
KING: As a client, what is she like to deal with, Leslie?
BALLIN: She's very reserved. She's not very forthcoming with us yet. Steve and I were able to meet with her yesterday for a few hours. I can only tell you that it started to get productive, and I have said this many, many times, I like her as a client, I like her as a person, and we're going to work hard for her.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with some more moments, a few more calls as well. Don't go away.
KING: London, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. King. I would like to direct my question to Mr. Farese, please.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: Has anyone ever questioned her as to what she has gone through verbally with her husband? A wife in this position, which I have been, has nowhere to turn when there's a problem of great magnitude.
KING: Can there be verbal abuse, Steven? There can be, obviously.
FARESE: Well, obviously, there can be verbal abuse. And I think your caller has an interesting question, and some outlooks on that and that is, in her position, being the wife of a minister, a beloved minister, surrounded by church people, who does she go to discuss problems?
If she goes to other church members, then that would hurt the career of her husband, the bread winner. So she probably would have been in a real quandary if she had problems of that type. But, yes, of course.
KING: Right, Robi, that's a form of...
LUDWIG: Absolutely. And also, if you are sitting on anger for a long period of time and it has nowhere to go, that can lead to violence. I think it's interesting too that Mary's mother died recently. Was she a confidante for Mary? And once that was gone she was really at a loss and maybe that is when she expected more from her husband. We just don't know.
KING: Memphis, hello.
CALLER: Yes. This is to Leslie and Steve. I want to say, has she been checked for depression? I know this last year, I have suffered severe depression and from the outside, everybody thought I was fine but on the inside, there was such a battle that was going that was so different from what I really was a year ago. That constant battle, it's just a killer inside. And I wonder if she has been diagnosed with depression?
KING: Leslie, has she?
BALLIN: We're looking into that. When I say we, the defense team, that includes the psychologist. We know from just our personal experiences, what an awesome disease that depression is and how it can just control one's life, and certainly, yes, we're looking into that.
KING: Mary, what do we -- we just wait until October? Where do we go from here?
FULGINITI: Well, I think, you know, the prosecution is going to put their ducks in a row and prepare for the grand jury, which will be in June.
KING: But we want to know everything. And we have to know it now.
FULGINITI: I know we do.
KING: You can't put us off.
FULGINITI: I don't think...
KING: October, what are we going to do?
FULGINITI: I know, Leslie and Steve aren't going to give anything up here apparently. And I am not so sure the prosecution...
KING: The prosecutor doesn't appear anywhere.
FULGINITI: But, you know, as much as we want to know, it is the right thing to do because you don't want it to be tried in the court of public opinion. If it is going to be tried, it should be in a court of law. And we should just wait and see what the facts are.
KING: And hopefully we will learn them just out of curiosity. Well, this is a puzzle?
FULGINITI: No, it is a puzzle. And, as I said earlier, it is troubling and difficult for both sides. And I don't mean to minimize the fact that we have a murder here and that needs to be, you know -- and she needs to be held accountable for that if she did it.
KING: Thank you all very, very much. Always good seeing you.
Tomorrow night, our special guest -- speaking of being in predicaments -- Yanni. Now, they threw out charges against him. There were charges filed against Yanni, one of the major performers worldwide. Yanni will be our special guest tomorrow night.
Anderson Cooper has the week off. So he is able replaced by the dynamic duo in New York of John Roberts and Heidi Collins. There they are. Don't they look great together?
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Larry.
KING: Hey Heidi.
John Roberts and Heidi Collins, what is up tonight, Heidi?
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