Marianna- Winter McLemore has remained silent since the shooting of her husband, Tranum last April. But Thursday, she broke that silence and spoke candidly about her marriage, her affair, and the night of her husband's death.
Winter described the last five months of her life as nothing shy of a nightmare. But she also said life before her husband died was no picnic either.She told us Tranum frequently physically abused her. But Winter said she had never experienced anything as violent as she did the night of April 4.
"He lost control that night" she explained. "I think that he knew and realized that he had just tried to kill me. Like really, meant for me to be dead. I don't have a doubt in me [he wanted me dead]. He came to from whatever took over him and he said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' That was Tranum- he was sorry. Why he did what he did directly following that, I can't answer. But he did it."
That was when the investigation into Tranum's death began. According to Liberty County Sheriff's Investigators, Winter fled their home and drove to the sheriff's office. Deputies found Tranum face down in a pool of blood with three bullet wounds. One to the head, one to the groin, and another in his arm. Liberty County Investigators ruled the death a suicide.
But a subsequent Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigation declared the shooting was neither suicide, nor murder, but inconclusive. Both agencies agreed Winter was the last person to see Tranum alive. Thursday, she tearfully recounted those moments.
"I said, 'please let me go get our girls' and he opened the door. We were face to face and he said, 'you better run fast because you don't want to see what I'm about to do'. And I did. I ran like the wind and that's all I remember. Just trying to get out to get help- to get help for him, help for the girls- and just not believing I was actually alive. I remember every time I came to [consciousness] I was thinking, 'this is how I'm going to die. I'm about to die'" she told us.
Winter said trying to carry on in her small hometown had become difficult. She said since the shooting, she's had to endure the suspicion of her neighbors.
"I want to move. I don't want to live in Bristol anymore. I was born and raised in Bristol. It makes me so angry to think that I don't even want to live there anymore because of the gossip. You never know if the lady at the check out counter, or someone beside you pumping gas is looking at you- what they're thinking or what they've heard or what they may believe."
She says the FDLE's inconclusive report, coupled with the fact she was having an extramarital affair, has made her out to be the villain.
"I had an affair- I did. And as wrong as I know that that is, and as much as I'm not justifying that to you today- that is what it is. And that had nothing to do with April the 4th. In no way shape or form. Tranum lost control that night. And control is the one thing that he always had in our home- always."
Since that night, Winter said she's focused all of her attention on helping herself and the couple's three children heal from the trauma.
"I can't stop" Winter said tearfully. "I've never been able to just not get out of bed. I've never had that luxury because I've got three little girls who are depending on me to put a smile on my face and tell them everything's going to be OK. And that's what I've done."
But she did admit it was not always easy to do. "I cry and I break down while they're at school" she said. "I pick up the pieces and we have a good afternoon. We have a fun afternoon with family and friends. I do things to keep them and myself busy so that we can hopefully, one day soon, be able to breathe again."
But she also knows she may be holding her breath for a while. We asked Winter what she would say to Tranum now, if given the chance.
"I forgave him when this happened. I forgave him and I let that go" she said. "Because I do know that Tranum loved me. I do know that. And I haven't ever questioned that. So I forgave him. But for the five months of hell that me and three little girls have had to endure- I hope he can see. That's all. I hope he can see what his selfishness that night has put on us for five months. And there's no end today."