Charged with Murder
Winkler's lawyer Steven Farese Sr. said that his client will plead not guilty and intends to take her chances at trial, which is likely to start in the fall. Farese has not disclosed his defense strategy, but Thompson, for one, voices resentment over reports that Farese might plan on arguing that Mary was a victim of spousal abuse and killed her husband in self-defense. "The best thing for Mary is to confess what she did," says Thompson, a close friend of Matthew's parents, Dan and Diane Winkler, who are caring for Patricia and her two sisters, Allie, 6, and Brianna, 1. "If there was any abuse Mary would have been cautious around Matthew and so would the children. There was zero of that—zero."
Farese complains that the Winklers have prevented the girls from contacting their mother. "All I've asked for is, 'Could you send a picture of the girls?' 'Could you tell us how they are doing in school?'" says Farese. "We aren't asking for much." But Thompson insists that is simply because the Winklers are focused on getting their granddaughters back into a normal routine. "The Winklers are consumed with day-to-day activities," says Thompson, who points out that the couple, who are in their mid-50s, are having to relearn the ropes of raising a family, everything from helping with homework to picking out clothes. "While it's been difficult, there's also been some real joy in being with the girls. This is a very important period where they protect the children."