California Man Sentenced for Stabbing Wife to Death With Scissors

A judge sentenced him to up to life in prison.

ByABC News
December 9, 2014, 7:16 AM

— -- A former Air Force pilot and pharmaceutical executive faces up to life in prison after he was sentenced for stabbing his wife to death with a pair of scissors in 2012.

A judge in California on Monday sentenced Todd Winkler to 26 years to life in prison two months after a jury found him guilty of killing his wife, Rachel Winkler.

In court, Winkler heard from his wife's grieving family and friends.

"How will I ever explain or even comment on the question, 'Why did daddy kill mommy?'" asked her father, Don Hatfield.

"Why Rachel? She had so much to live for," said her friend Shannon Thurman.

Rachel Winkler had been having an affair when an argument over the couple's crumbling marriage erupted into violence inside their home in northern California.

"This 230-pound man comes into that room -- repeatedly stabs her with scissors, kicks her, punches her and bites her all over her body," said prosecutor Lisette Suder.

Winkler admitted to killing his wife but claimed he acted in self-defense and that he had suffered a psychotic breakdown. During the trial, he had a bizarre outburst, yelling, "You are not samurai! You do not speak truth! You only want to destroy!"

Before his sentencing, Winkler apologized for what happened to Rachel.

"I feel deep remorse for what's happened," he said.

The jury also heard about the death of his previous wife, Catherine Winkler, who was killed in a fiery car crash in Georgia in 1999. Winkler collected nearly $1.2 million in life insurance money after her death.

While he was cleared of any wrongdoing, her family hopes his conviction spurs a new investigation into her death.

"It's been a long time coming," said James White, who was having an affair with Winkler before her death. "He's not going to hurt anyone anymore."