(AOL NEWS)A woman convicted of shooting and killing her husband after allegedly suffering years of abuse wants women to know they can get help without resorting to violence.
Women are sometimes “hesitant to speak out and ask for help,” Mary Winkler told NBC’s “Today” show this morning. But, she said, “someone will believe you.”
Winkler, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the March 2006 killing of her preacher husband, Matthew Winkler, served less than a year behind bars. Just two years later, in 2008, she
regained full custody of her three daughters. But the Tennessee woman said justice was served.
“I felt like it was a very fair verdict,” she said. That’s because Winkler, 36, says her husband raped and abused her for years before she finally snapped and shot him in the back while he slept.
“I was just so scared because I thought I’d never see the girls again. I didn’t think they would believe me. But they did,” she said of the jury. Winkler says she prayed to God to “work through these jurors to help with the verdict.”
She says her husband’s family has been understanding as well. When Winkler was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year and became sick, she says her former in-laws helped take care of her daughters while she received treatment.
“The Winklers were wonderful because the girls had gone for a weekend visit and that turned into three months,” she told WAFF48 in May. “So the Winklers were just right there for the girls and took great care of them.”
Forgiving herself, however, is something she says she still struggles to do. “It comes and goes. It’s just a daily issue.”