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 on Friday amidst more information being brought forth about the case.
Claiming self-defense, he was neverthelss denied bail.
Winkler was represented by attorney David Weiner, who described the defendant as an “unusual individual.” Winkler, Weiner said, is a 45-year-old with no criminal record, who graduated from as valedictorian from his high school in Iowa. He attended the Air Force Academy, and later attended 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 a picture of 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 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. Todd Winkler had 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 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.
Weiner argued that Winkler was not a flight risk and should be eligible for bail, reading from a list of reasons. 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,” Winkler was being 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.
Te District Attorney’s Office, represented jointly by 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, including times when one of their children was in the room with them.
They pointed out that, contrary to Weiner’s statement that Winkler had “roots” in the community for owning a house there for seven years and living there for four, Winkler lacked ties to the community. 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 March 7 at 8 a.m.