Todd Winkler

We have seen cases where a spouse is murdered, or sometimes just disappears and when investigators dig into the surviving spouses background they find this may have not been their first crime.  A second crime can often open up a once closed case to have another look.  This is just such a case.

On February 27, 2012 police in Cameron Park California, a suburb of Sacramento responded to a call at the home of Todd and Rachel Winkler.  They would find the body of Rachel in a bedroom in the home.  It seems that Todd Winkler, her husband, openly admitted from the beginning that he had committed the crime, stabbing his wife repeatedly with scissors, at least once fatally in the neck.  He would claim that they were arguing over the fact that Rachel had recently filled out papers to file for divorce and that she had come after him with the scissors and that he had responded in self defense. Todd Winkler would be arrested and charged with the murder of his wife later that day. 

Winkler would go on trial in October of 2014.  It was at the trial that it appears several different things had come out against him.  Todd had once been an Air Force Fighter pilot but while serving in Japan he would have was considered to described as a psychotic break in which he would be placed in a mental hospital and later released (honorably) from the Air Force.  He spent the next several years of his life having issues with job to job.  It was even shown that he had pretended to have cancer, not once, but twice, going to the extent of shaving his head and coughing up fake blood "to escape the stress of high-level corporate jobs."  It appears that it was the defense who brought these things to light in order to mitigate his actions on the day of the murder.  It also appears that these things were mentioned because his simple self defense strategy was not quite looking so well.  Prosecution witnesses had determined through blood splatter that at the time in which she had initially been stabbed Rachel had been holding her seven month old son, Alex.  Prosecutors would claim that while Rachel cowered in the corner Todd had removed Alex from her arms and placed him in his crib.  He then went back to his wife and proceeded to finish what he had started.  The defense would now say, while apparently holding on to the self defense argument that once again Todd Winkler had suffered from a psychotic breakdown.  He even had an outburst in court but many believed that to be less than genuine.  

On October 22, 2014 Todd Winkler was convicted on charges of first degree murder.  Two months later he would be sentenced to serve twenty-six years to life in prison.

While I cannot be certain that the death of Todd's first wife was mentioned officially in the trial against him in the murder of Rachel, I can say that the information had hit the media.  In 1999 while camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, Todd's first wife Catherine would die in a fiery crash. Todd would escape the crash and later receive $1.2M in insurance proceeds. 

On September 26, 1999 Todd and Catherine had been out camping.  Todd would claim that he had obtained a bug (or was it a bee sting) bite and was having a severe allergic reaction when Catherine was taking him to a hospital nearby.  He claimed that she had lost control of the vehicle and went off the side of the road into a ravine.  He had been able to escape the car before it fell several feet down and burst into flames.  Todd then walked back to the campgrounds, some mile down the road and got two campers who contacted authorities and went to the scene with Todd.  The fire caused by the car exploding would eventually burn over three acres of land.  It was noted in the investigation and questioned by the investigators about the fact that Todd, who was supposedly being taken to the hospital at the time of the crash, was now seemingly fine.  They also noted that he had walked back to the campground to get the other campers and yet without treatment seemed to be just fine.  Despite their suspicions, and the suspicions of Catherine's family there had not been enough evidence to prove Todd was involved.  The family, and investigators were hoping in 2014 with Todd's conviction in Rachel's murder the case would be looked at again.  To be fair I have not found out if this has happened or not.  

There is no real rush charge Todd in the murder of his first wife considering he will be in prison for a long time to come.  

Both Rachel's father and Todd's mother fought in court for custody of the couple's three children.  Todd and his mother argued that Rachel had named his mother as a temporary guardian to the two older children when the couple had been in London when Rachel was pregnant with Alex.  Rachel's father's attorney argued that this was not any sort of guardianship paper for the children but a simple paper allowing Todd's mother to seek medical treatment for the children in their absence.  By all accounts Rachel's father has retained custody of the children.


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