Monday, September 20, 2021

Kinne Admits Guilt in Murder of Clayton, Family to File Lawsuit

Matthew Kinne awaits his sentencing at the Union County Courthouse Friday. Kinne pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Former Oxford police officer Matthew Kinne will spend the rest of his life behind bars in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman for killing his lover Dominique “Lucy” Clayton in 2019.

Kinne stood before Circuit Court Judge Kent Smith Friday afternoon at the Union County Courthouse in New Albany wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, with his attorney Tony Farese by his side as he admitted to shooting Clayton on May 29, 2019.

“Are you guilty of the crime of capital murder of Dominique Clayton?” Smith asked Kinne.

“Yes, sir,” Kinne replied.

Kinne, who was married while involved with Clayton, was arrested two days after Clayton was discovered dead in her bed by her youngest son. She died from a single gunshot to the head. A grand jury indicted him on capital murder in August 2019.

Last week, his attorney notified the court that Kinne wished to plead guilty to the crime in hopes of avoiding the death penalty. In Mississippi, the crime of capital murder only has two sentencing options – the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole or early release of any kind.

Lafayette County Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallette read the facts of the case and what the prosecution would have shown in court had it gone to trial.

Friends and family of Dominique Clayton, along with their attorney Carlos Moore, gather on the steps of the Union County Courthouse for a press conference. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Court records show that after Kinne and Clayton visited on the Square while he was working as a police officer on patrol on May 28, Kinne drove Clayton home. Records show Kinne got off duty and went to the OPD horse patrol farm where he left his phone before driving to Brittany Estates to Clayton’s home. He loaded one bullet into his gun and went into Clayton’s home where he shot her while she was asleep.

Kinne, 40, left the home. While driving back to the horse farm to retrieve his phone, he threw his pistol out of his window. He then sent a text to Clayton’s phone, in an attempt to cover his tracks, Mallette said.

During his interrogation by investigators, after he was taken into custody, Kinne admitted that he and Clayton had been in a relationship and that he shot and killed Clayton, who was 32 years old when she died.

Prior to Smith accepting the plea agreement and sentencing Kinne to life in prison, Farese submitted a mental evaluation that showed Kinne was sane the night he shot Clayton and able to stand trial.

Dozens of Clayton’s family members and friends appeared in the courtroom, many wearing red shirts that read “Say Her Name” or “Justice for Dominique.”

Kinne did not make any statements to the family, nor did the family make any victim impact statements to the judge. However, Smith did ask if the family was in agreement with the plea agreement to which they replied they were.

Dominique “Lucy” Clayton. Photo via Facebook

After the hearing, Clayton’s family attorney, Carlos Moore, said while the family received some justice Friday, it wasn’t enough. He announced the family’s intent to file a formal civil rights lawsuit within the next week against the city of Oxford and Kinne. Moore alleged the city was responsible since Kinne was employed as a police officer at the time of the crime.

Moore also said an investigation done by his office showed Kinne’s first wife died while he was a police officer in another jurisdiction. The death was eventually ruled a suicide. Moore claimed Kinne was originally a suspect in her death.

“My investigation shows he was a suspect in his first wife’s death … And Oxford hires someone who is suspected of killing his first wife,” he said outside of the courthouse. “This is a bittersweet day. There was some justice today, but it won’t bring back Dominique Clayton.”

Clayton’s first cousin Reggie Clayton said the last two years have been tough for the family, especially Clayton’s son who discovered his mother’s body when he was 8 years old.

“He had nightmares for three months. … He would cry in his sleep … reaching for his mom,” Reggie said. “But now the healing process can begin.”


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