In the Myth of Male Power, Dr. Warren Farrel outlines the twelve female only defences for murder. Number four is the battered women's defence. Regardless of the fact that violence against women is inexcusable, violence against men apparently is. The case of Mary Winkler, who killed her husband, is a stark warning to men that the women's murder defence of, "he abused me", even if based on the flimsiest of evidence, is alive and well.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That was the only real evidence of 'abuse' in this case. The fact that psychiatrists testified that she had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder was apparently enough to prove that she was abused by her husband and that therefore she was not guilty of murder.
Wife Who Killed Preacher Set Free
(CNN) -- After spending a total of seven months in custody, the Tennessee woman who fatally shot her preacher husband in the back was released on Tuesday, her lawyer told CNN.
Mary Winkler, a 33-year-old mother of three girls, was freed from a Tennessee mental health facility where she was treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, lawyer Steve Farese said.
"She is out," Farese said.
Never mind that this is pretty much the fallacy of affirming the consequent being admitted into law courts. Just because a person shows symptoms characteristic of PTSD, doesn't mean there was a traumatic incident which caused it. This is supported by the DSM IV which states as diagnostic criteria:
Furthermore, because someone has PTSD it may not have been caused by a specific incident that is convenient. For example in this followup article to the case we find out:
A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
(2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior
Forensic psychologists testified at the trial that Winkler had developed PTSD as a teen after her younger sister died.
So, even if we can accept that something like PTSD is an acceptable defense for spousal murder - even though this defence is never going to be extended to a male - and the fact that she had PTSD symptoms really was proof that she had suffered a traumatic incident; we would still have to accept that the PTSD symptoms were being used to prove that not only did a traumatic incident occur, but it was a specifically chosen traumatic incident and not a traumatic event which we know occured, which is very shaky.
Winkler's case presents an added wrinkle: she may have been traumatized not only by years of abuse but by the killing she committed and the guilt she may have felt over it. "Most people with PTSD are not violent," says J. David Kinzie, a psychiatrist and director of the Torture Treatment Center at Oregon Health and Science University. "So I assume there is something extra added to this, probably some guilt that would have to be dealt with."
If the flimsiness of the defence isn't bad enough, even if the PTSD defence was legitimate, according to the earlier follow-up article; considering she only spent 60 days in the mental institution, she probably did not even receive enough treatment to be cured of the PTSD:
Winkler served about five months in county jail as she awaited trial, then spent two months undergoing therapy at the mental health facility following her conviction for voluntary manslaughter.
Great. So even if:
Winkler's treatment was certainly shorter than the norm. "I'm not saying it's absolutely impossible that her PTSD was resolved, but usually the treatment lasts a bit longer," says Baron. Typically, patients may endure dozens of therapy sessions—one study found that the sickest needed up to 120 separate hourlong meetings with counselors—before they're ready to make peace with their past.
"She may look normal now, but if she has an aggressive confrontation with a male in the future, all the symptoms could come back," says Kinzie. "These patients remain extremely vulnerable to re-activation." Anzia agrees. "You can be removed to a safe place and recover, but if you're presented with an event that's similar to the original trauma, that can trigger [the PTSD] again."
1) She had the symptoms of PTSD, which can't be diagnosed without proof of a traumatic incident.
2) The traumatic incident was abuse and not her sister dying or her killing her husband that caused the PTSD.
She is still not guaranteed to relapse and kill again anyway.
But this doesn't finish there.
Her husband was a preacher. I mean, we all know how violent preachers are. Obviously this is all the more reason to believe that he was abusive.
Winkler never denied shooting her husband, Matthew, the popular new preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, a town of 4,500 people about 80 miles east of Memphis.
On March 22, 2006, church elders found his body -- with a shotgun wound to the back -- in the bedroom of the parsonage after he failed to show up for an evening service. His wife was arrested the next day with the couple's three young daughters in Orange Beach, Alabama, on the Gulf coast.
It obviously didn't count that while there were no witnesses to the 'abuse', there were witnesses that he was a good husband and father. Did I mention he was a preacher?
Prosecutors and Matthew Winkler's family members said he was a good husband and father.
Oh my god! He criticized her and blamed her when things went wrong?? The horror! He put porn on in her presence?? He wanted her to wear platform shoes when they were having sex?? Well, he should be publicly lynched on the basis of that I say (if it's even true).
But on the stand, Mary Winkler described a hellish 10-year marriage during which, she said, her husband struck her, screamed at her, criticized her and blamed her when things went wrong. She said he made her watch pornography and wear "slutty" costumes for sex, and that he forced her to submit to sex acts that made her uncomfortable.
Yeah. Turns out that Mary had a bit of a problem just prior to this argument to force him to talk through their problems:
She testified she pointed the shotgun at her husband during an argument to force him to talk through their problems, and "something went off."
So, she had just gotten a call from the bank, the next day he was going to talk to the bank thus finding out the extent and nature of these financial troubles and the day before happens to be when she has a PTSD dissociative incident and shoots him in the back with a shotgun. One wonders if her claim that he "criticized and blamed her when things went wrong" had anything to do with losing all that money on a Nigerian fraud scam.
Mary Winkler, who is charged with murder, had gotten tangled up along with her husband in a swindle known as an advance-fee fraud, or the "Nigerian scam," in which victims are told that a sweepstakes prize or some other riches are waiting for them if they send in money to cover the processing expenses, her lawyers say.
"I had gotten a call from the bank and we were having trouble, mostly my fault, bad bookkeeping. He was upset with me about that," Mary Winkler told police, according to a statement read at her bail hearing.
Evidently, she also tends to argue with people holding a shotgun and with them facing her with their back because that's the only way this can reconcile with "something just going off" during an argument.
In other news, Michael Vick is going to jail for running illegal dog fights with this article discussing what his punishment should be:
Mary Winkler initially received a three-year sentence in June. But Circuit Court Judge J. Weber McCraw required that she serve only 210 days, and allowed her to serve the rest of the time on probation.
She also received credit for five months she spent behind bars awaiting trial, which left only about 60 days to her sentence. McCraw ruled she could serve the time in a mental health facility.
One year to eighteen months for someone who killed dogs. Around two-thirds of a year for someone who kills their husband.
Myself, I'd classify such a bestial and bloody endeavor as medieval. And judging from the early reactions to news of Michael Vick's guilty plea, I'm not alone. The callers and the message posters seem to believe that Vick deserves a punishment straight out of the Middle Ages.
Federal prosecutors in Richmond are expected to recommend a sentence of one year to 18 months at Vick's plea hearing next Monday. The judge isn't bound by the recommendation, though I hope he honors it.
That's right. Thanks to the constant anti-male lobbying of feminists; taking the life of dogs is officially now worse than taking the life of a husband.