Cameron Park Life

Winkler claims self-defense, denied bail

Todd Winkler, the man accused of killing his wife in their Cameron Airpark home on Feb. 28, appeared in court for an arraignment and bail hearing in early March.

Winkler claims self-defense, but was denied bail.

Winkler, 45, is represented by attorney David Weiner, who described the defendant as an “unusual individual.” Winkler has no criminal record and graduated as valedictorian from his high school in Iowa, according to Weiner. The suspect attended the Air Force Academy and followed that with college, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and later an MBA. He served in the Air Force for eight years, including his time at the academy, attended pilot training school and later flew F16s in the Asia Pacific Theater. Most recently, he worked as a director of his division in a company that creates medical devices for those with diabetes, Weiner said.

Weiner painted Winkler as a good man, who called his neighbor, attorney David Becker, and told him to call 911 after the incident with his wife. He took his three children to another neighbor’s house and waited until the sheriff’s deputies arrived. He cooperated and continues to cooperate, Weiner said.

There were defensive wounds on his hands, which had until recently been bandaged, and injuries on his inner thighs from scissors allegedly wielded by his wife. They had been sustained in the bedroom during a “marital situation,” Weiner said.

Both parties had known a divorce was coming, with Rachel Winkler already having another boyfriend, identified only as Mr. White, and an argument ensued over money issues, custody and support, Weiner explained, adding that Todd Winkler  felt threatened by his wife.

“Want me to bring Mr. White over here with a gun to kill you?” Weiner quoted from a statement from Winkler.

After having been reportedly attacked by his wife with scissors and striking her in return, Winkler was able to get the scissors and fatally stab his wife in the throat, the attorney said.

Weiner argued that Winkler was not a flight risk and should be eligible for bail. He also noted that neighbors were present in the courtroom to vouch for Winkler. Weiner made the argument that Winkler should be granted bail to continue working and supporting his children. While White and Rachel Winkler had been “busy dividing up his monthly income, assuming she would get the children,” Weiner said, Winkler was nothing but an “asset to the community and country.”

The attorney also noted that Winkler would likely be tried on a count of voluntary manslaughter or self-defense, and that the trial was not likely to conclude with a murder charge.

District Attorney’s Office representatives Lisette Suder and Jodie Jensen argued that Winkler is indeed a flight risk, and that it was irresponsible to have the children in the house during the argument.

They questioned Weiner’s statement that Winkler had “roots” in the community, saying the suspect only owned his house for seven years and lived there for four. He also worked out of the Bay Area, rather than locally, had contacts in Australia from having recently lived there and had worked overseas on numerous business trips. With these contacts and his $300,000 salary, they argued, Winkler presents a significant flight risk.

Based on the evidence presented, Judge Douglas C. Phimister denied bail without prejudice, saying he would be open to reconsidering bail at another time.

Winkler’s next hearing is set for April 16.

Special to Village Life


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