OXFORD • A Lafayette County Circuit Judge has delayed the bond hearing for an Oxford police officer charged with murder.
Saying he wanted to give the district attorney and the defendant’s public defender a chance to discuss possible bond scenarios, Judge Andrew Howorth deferred indefinitely the bond hearing for Matthew Paul Kinne, 38. Kinne will be held without bond until a hearing can be held, possibly next week.
The ruling Wednesday afternoon sparked an outburst just outside the courtroom by the family of the victim, Dominique Lashelle Clayton, 32.
“When do a defendant decide his own bond?” mother Bessie Clayton shouted outside the Lafayette County Courthouse. “This is a joke. This judge needs to go. There is no justice for black defendants.
“He came in the house while he was in duty and put a (expletive) bullet in her head.”
Interim Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen told the media his department supports the family in their efforts to have Kinne held without bond.
“We are with the Clayton family,” McCutchen said. “We don’t want a bond. Matthew Kinne committed murder and we do not want him out. He needs to be in jail.”
Under Mississippi law, when persons of trust – including police officers – are accused of a crime, there must be a probable cause hearing before they can be arrested. That didn’t happen with Kinne, who was arrested Monday night for the Sunday crime.
Howorth ruled that in this case, a probable cause hearing was not necessary.
“I met with the counsels for the state and the defendant and expressed the view that the crime of murder falls outside the lawful duties of a police officer,” Howorth said.
“Ultimately, I asked to defer the bond hearing. The defendant agreed to postponing it to a later date.”
Kinne, a four-year veteran of the Oxford Police Department, was named the Mounted Patrol Officer of the Year during the department’s awards banquet in January. References to Kinne and any pictures have been deleted from the OPD Facebook page.
Oxford police responded to an unresponsive person call at 1009 Suncrest Drive around 2 p.m. May 19. They found the body of Clayton. Her family said the two had been in a romantic relationship for at least a year.
“It was public. Everybody knew about it,” said the victim’s niece, Latia Clayton. “Her kids thought he was a good guy.”
When OPD learned of the relationship between Kinne and Clayton, officials immediately called in the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation as an outside agency to take over the investigation.