Minister Murder Illustrates Some Landlord Concerns About Tenants

I have debated for several days about writing this.

But I think I have a few things to say about one of today’s most notorious murder cases; The Mary Winkler Case or what has been better known as the Minister Murder.

You never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

Ring of Fire

This is a very personal post.


I have debated for several days about writing it.


But I think I have a few things to say about one of today’s most notorious murder cases;  [tag-tec]The Mary Winkler Case[/tag-tec] or what has been better known as the [tag-ice]Minister Murder[/tag-ice].


Mary was the wife of a popular Church of Christ minister, Matthew Winkler, who was also a fifth generation preacher from Tennessee. 


On Wednesday  morning, March 22, 2006, Mary shot and killed  Matthew with a very large shotgun  and then fled with her children to the safety of the Gulf Coast. 

I know many of the people involved.  I have heard the murder victim’s father preach. I have many friends at Freed Hardeman University where Mary was a  part-time student.   


And I’m a member of  the Church of Christ.


It’s a modern Shakespearian tragedy.  That’s my feeling about it all.

Keys in Door

But it goes to show none of us really knows what really goes on behind closed doors.


Which brings me to another very important point about landlording.  And it’s kind of ironic we have had to deal with damages left behind by a tenant this week- while watching the trial on local Nashville television.


What had gone on in that tenant’s unit?    


We strongly suspect the tenant had had some kind of fire in her condo. We’ve never had  a unit with smoke damage before.  Soot covered the walls.  It has taken one coat of blanket to prime them plus the regular paint. 


What happened? 


We don’t know.  She may have been grilling in the living room with an outside grill, pushed inside the sliding glass door.  (Which is totally against the rules of the Condominium Association, by the way).


But she had been a problem.  Her neighbors had complained about her with one actually calling the police at one point. 


She had also  constantly locked herself out; another sign of irresponsibility.


We were lucky. Nothing else was damaged except for a large red stain of some sort on the carpet.  We were able to get that out.


She had not burned the building down which was a possibility. 


She’s gone now, thank goodness.    


But I’m saying all of this because all you can do is put your systems and rules in place.  If you have a tenant who won’t abide by your requests, move that person out as quickly,  smoothly and discretely  as possible.  


Yes, there will be times you’ll misjudge a tenant.  You thought the person could handle living in a tiny 740 square foot unit.  Frankly, some people can’t.  It’s too much of a challenge.  They probably really do need to go directly from college to Assisted Living.  No kidding.


But like the [tag-self]Minister Murder[/tag-self], you can only make reasonable assumptions, until you have all the facts. 

Incidentally, I believe Mary Winkler lost her case on Saturday when her lawyer performed a botched "O.J. Style" demonstration with the murder weapon.

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