HUNTINGDON, Tenn. (BNc)- Two years after the 2006 death of her husband Matthew, Mary Winkler was today awarded permanent custody of her three daughters.

Mary was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for shooting her husband in the back with a shotgun as he lay in their bed.

The Associated Press reported the court decision earlier today.

After the hearing, Winkler crossed the courtroom and hugged the grandparents, Dan and Diane Winkler. She said she had reconciled with her husband’s parents.

A custody fight had ensued with Matthew’s parents, who appealed to the courts to terminate her rights. Mary gained temporary custody of the young girls, ages 3, 9 and 11,  in August.

“That was not my first time to hug them today. We’ve been seeing each other regularly lately,” Winkler said. She said the grandparents have visited her and her daughters often.

Matthew was minister of the Selmer, Tenn., church at the time of his death.

Mary was sentenced to three years in prison, but served only five months in jail, followed by two months in a mental health treatment facility. She is free on probation.

Her defense before a trial jury in Selmer alleged that she had suffered emotional and physical abuse from her husband.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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