Bond hearing postponed as Kinne makes first court appearance

Published 3:10 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

For the first time since being arrested on Monday, Matt Kinne made his first appearance in circuit court on Wednesday. A hearing to determine probable cause and the possibility of setting bond was scheduled to take place at the Lafayette County Courthouse.

Kinne, who is an Oxford Police officer, is charged with the murder of Dominique Clayton, 32, who was found dead in her Brittany Woods home on Sunday afternoon.

Judge Andrew Howorth oversaw Wednesday’s proceedings and provided background on why a probable cause hearing could be necessary, or not, prior to Kinne’s arrest. Howorth cited Mississippi Code Title 99-3-28, which states certain procedural requirements to be me prior to issuance of arrest warrants for teachers or sworn law enforcement officers.

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“(Tuesday) I, along with the State, was wrestling with the question of whether or not this defendant who is charged with the crime of murder was entitled to a probable cause hearing,” Howorth said during the hearing. “I’ve met with counsel for the state and the defendant and expressed basically the crime of murder is always going to fall outside of the performance of official duties of a law enforcement officer. Sharing my opinion, I do not believe a probable cause hearing was necessary prior (to today).”

A bond hearing was also scheduled to be held but was postponed to a date to be determined by Howorth, who stated it could happen next week. The reasoning behind the postponement was at the state’s request to have more time to look over the case in an effort to make a bail recommendation instead of the court making one on Wednesday. Both Mississippi District Attorney Ben Creekmore and the defendant’s counsel, Tiffany Kilpatrick, were in agreement to postpone the hearing to a later date.

Kinne remains in custody at the Panola County Jail until a bail hearing is held.

Members of Clayton’s family were in attendance, filling up one side of the courtroom in support for Dominique. Once Howorth made the decision to postpone the bail hearing several family members got up and left the courtroom before the hearing was adjourned.

Clayton’s mother, Bessie Clayton, was among those who voiced their displeasure with Wednesday’s proceedings and began screaming as she made her way out of the courthouse to the outside grounds.

“This is a joke. We’re going to handle this,” Clayton said outside to members of the media. “I’m going to do something with this city. …This judge needs to go. There is no justice for black people. I have never seen a black defendant decide their bond. They’re allowing the killer to decide his bond.”

During a press conference outside the Oxford Police Department on Tuesday it was revealed during the early stages of the investigation that Kinne and Clayton were ‘involved’ in some capacity, per interim chief Jeff McCutchen. After Wednesday’s hearing one of Clayton’s nieces spoke to the media regarding the nature of their relationship.

“It was public,” Latia Clayton said. “They were going to dealerships, buying her cars in public with her. Everybody knows. Not only one person knows. It wasn’t just two. Everybody knew about it and everybody knew about them. Her kids met (Kinne). They thought he was this good guy, but found out he’s not.”

After Wednesday’s hearing McCutchen spoke to the media and gave the OPD’s stance on a potential bond, echoing the sentiments of Clayton’s family.

“We are with the Clayton Family. We support them and we don’t want a bond,” McCutchen told the media. “Matthew Kinne committed murder and we do not want him out. We support them and we will stand by them and we will be direct. We do not support a bond. He needs to be in jail.”