A Mississippi officer arrested in the killing of a 32-year-old woman found dead Sunday went before a judge Wednesday in his first court appearance.
Oxford police officer Matthew Kinne is facing a murder charge in the death of Dominique Clayton, according to local station WREG. Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials arrested Kinne on Monday after launching a probe into the killing.
According to interim police Chief Jeff McCutcheon, the beginnings of their investigation revealed that Kinne might have been involved in a romantic relationship with Clayton, a connection the woman’s family confirms. That’s when the MBI was called in to conduct what McCutcheon promised to be an “independent and unbiased” investigation.
“We want to assure you that we will not hide behind our badge,” McCutcheon said. “Our hearts go out to the family of Dominique Clayton. To the family, we thank you for your patience and your trust in us to see this through.”
On Monday, a relative said Clayton, a mother of four, was found lying in bed and that there was a large amount of blood at the back of her head. Local station WHBQ-TV corroborated that claim, reporting that Clayton was found shot in the back of the head by her 8-year-old son after he was dropped at home by a family member.
Shyjuan Clayton, the slain woman’s sister, said to station WHBQ that Kinne was having an affair with her sister.
“She was having an affair with Matt, the police officer with OPD,” Shyjuan Clayton said. “He bought my sister a car and kept it in his name. He was about to get her a house. He just basically didn’t want his wife to find out.”
By Tuesday, Oxford Board of Aldermen reacted to the arrest by voting to fire Kinne.
During Wednesday’s court appearance, Lafayette County Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth told prosecutors and the defense that it was likely a “reasonable” bond amount could be worked out for Kinne next week, a declaration that angered the dead woman’s family in a state in which murder defendants often are denied bond.
The incensed family members also complained afterward that the judge laughed during the hearing.
“They are allowing the killer to decide his bond!” Bessie Clayton, the victim’s mother, said to reporters outside the courtroom. “That man came through the bushes while he was on duty and walked in behind my daughter’s home, put a bullet in the back of her … head and executed her. And they laughed. They should discuss with him what his bond should be? We need help in Oxford! We need intervention in Oxford!”
For now, the officer remains jailed in neighboring Panola County.
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