OXFORD • The family of a woman shot and killed by a former Oxford policeman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit and is asking for unspecified damages.
Attorney Carlos Moore, who represents the family of Dominique Clayton, filed the 15-page complaint Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Oxford. The civil suit, which demands a jury trial, names the city, Police Chief Jeff McCutchen and former officer Matthew Kinne as defendants.
Kinne, 40, pleaded guilty to capital murder on July 30. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole by Circuit Court Judge Kent Smith. Following the hearing in New Albany, Kinne was immediately carried to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl to begin serving his sentence.
The lawsuit claims that Kinne was acting under the color of law when he conducted a welfare check on Clayton, 32, and shot her in the head while she slept in her own bed in May 2019. It alleges he was in uniform and in a marked Oxford Police Department vehicle, making witnesses believe he was there on official business.
The lawsuit claims the city and police department are liable because they hired Kinne despite an allegedly checkered past. In the complaint, Moore claims that while Kinne was working for another law enforcement agency, his wife at the time died from suspicious circumstances. Moore claims Kinne was a person of interest in her death, which he said was eventually ruled a suicide.
“The law enforcement agency who employed defendant officer Kinne conducted an internal investigation and informed Kinne that, based upon their findings, if he did not resign, his employment with that law enforcement agency would be terminated,” Moore wrote in the complaint.
Attorney Anthony Farese, who represented Kinne in the criminal case, disputes Moore’s claim and says Kinne’s first wife is, in fact, still alive.
Moore told the Daily Journal on Thursday he did not know the supposedly dead woman’s name or when she died.
“We talked with the (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation) investigator this morning and he confirmed it,” Moore said Thursday afternoon. “It was MBI that used the term ‘then-wife.’ We assumed it was his wife. It could be a mistress. We won’t know for certain until we get his personnel file from Olive Branch.”
Under the causes of action, the complaint said Kinne violated Clayton’s Fourth and 14th amendment rights “to be free from excessive force” and to be free from “city law enforcement evincing reckless disregard.” The complaint additionally blames the department for the negligent training, supervision and retention of Kinne.
The complaint asks the court for compensatory and punitive damages, “any and all damages allowed by state and federal law ... in an aggregate amount well above the jurisdictional amount needed to bring this case in this court.”
The complaint lists Clayton’s daughter, Shyjuan Clayton, as the plaintiff on behalf of the family.
When Moore sent the city a notice of claim in 2019 that the family was planning to file a civil suit, Clayton’s mother, Betsy, was listed as the plaintiff. That document also specified the family was asking for at least $5 million in compensatory and/or punitive damages.
Kinne was married with an infant child when he met and began having a roughly nine-month affair with Clayton. He reportedly would visit her 1009 Suncrest Drive home in the Brittany Woods subdivision late at night for sex.