Clayton Family lawyer: We have questions that need answers

Published 4:32 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

The family of Dominique Clayton stood on the steps of the Lafayette County Courthouse holding up signs saying ‘Justice for Dominique’ on Friday. They were the backdrop of a press conference that was called by attorney Carlos Moore, who is representing the family. Moore, a lawyer with The Cochran Firm – Mississippi Delta was retained by the family on Thursday and spoke candidly about the case.  

During the press conference Moore said there are several questions the family wants answered in this case, beginning with why Kinne was only charged with murder and did not receive a higher charge.  

We want to know why Matt is only charged with murder. We believe Ms. Clayton did not let him in her home,” Moore said. “We believe she was sleeping when he got there. So, how did he get in? If he burglarized her home and then committed murder, I believe that’s capital murder.” 

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Moore went to say if capital murder becomes the charge it carries the death penalty and if a jury decides to convict Kinne of that charge he would ‘happily join the family at the front row of a public death by firing squad.’ 

In 2017 a bill was passed in Mississippi Legislature that made a firing squad a possible option to carry out an execution. The bill also states that a firing squad would only be deemed necessary if lethal injection, gas chamber and electrocution were deemed unconstitutional methods first. The Senate removed the firing squad as an option of execution but the House of Representatives reinstated it into the bill. 

The charges can be upgraded by law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office now or a Grand Jury can choose to indict Kinne on an upgraded charge after being presented the facts of the case. 

Oxford Police interim chief Jeff McCutchen and Mayor Robyn Tannehill were thanked by Moore for their support of the Clayton family and for the OPD’s joint stance with the family of not wanting Kinne allowed a bond.  

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been requested to assist with the investigation to determine if any other police officers were involved or if the City of Oxford were ‘complicit’ in helping cover up the murder in any way, according to Moore. 

“Were there other people involved? Did he lead this lady on to eventually set her up to kill her? Did he do it on his own free will or was there a conspiracy of some sort?” Moore asked “We’re going to look into every single avenue about why this man did what he did. Someone who was sworn to protect and serve.”

A couple hours prior to Moore’s press conference an order was signed by John A. Gregory on Friday morning, denying the former Oxford Police officer bond.

Following Judge Andrew Howorth’s recusal on Thursday, Gregory took over as the presiding judge on the homicide case. 

“We’re also glad Judge Howorth recused himself from the case,” Moore said. “I believe the family had some concerns and to avoid the appearance of any impropriety, I believe Judge Howorth did the right thing to recuse himself and that justice will be served in this case.”

A bond hearing was delayed by Howorth during Kinne’s initial court appearance on Wednesday, citing more time for the state and a public defender to look over the case to make a bond recommendation. With the order being signed on Friday there will not be a bond hearing. Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallette confirmed the order was not contested.

Tony Farese has taken over as Kinne’s lawyer, replacing public defender Tiffany Kilpatrick who represented Kinne during Wednesday’s proceedings.