Former Oxford police officer Matthew Kinne, 40, pleaded guilty to the May 2019 murder of Dominique Clayton, 32, Friday afternoon in Union County circuit court. The guilty plea will spare him the death penalty but he will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
A Lafayette County grand jury indicted Kinne for capital murder a little over two years ago.
He was accused of breaking into the home of the victim and fatally shooting her.
Clayton’s family said that the accused and victim had been in a relationship prior to the shooting.
Lafayette County Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallette provided more information about the crime, saying Kinne and Clayton had been in a long-term relationship. Kinne was married, however, and wanted to keep the relationship secret. His actions that night indicated clear efforts to throw suspicion off himself but the investigation turned up witness and video evidence that proved otherwise.
The Oxford Police Department immediately fired Kinne following the arrest and Kinne initially pleaded not guilty.
A charge of capital murder comes when the killing is in conjunction with another felony, in this case burglary. The capital charge means the death penalty is a possibility.
The plea deal means the victim’s family will not have to endure a trial and court officials said they believe Clayton’s family is satisfied with the sentence.
Neither the victim’s mother nor family members chose to speak at the sentencing but about 30 family members and supporters were present wearing shirts with designs calling for justice for Dominique.
Heavy security was present for the 1:30 p.m. sentencing before Circuit Court Judge Kent E. Smith because of the high-profile nature of the case. The sentencing proceeded without incident, however.
The sentencing was in New Albany because Judge Smith was already in a term of court here this week. Also, Kinne had been incarcerated in the Union County Jail prior to sentencing after having been moved from another facility.
Immediately upon Judge Smith’s accepting the guilty plea and pronouncing sentencing, a special transport team removed Kinne from the courtroom before anyone else was allowed to leave.
Kinne was represented by attorney Tony Farese.
After the sentencing, attorney Carlos Moore, representing the Clayton family, was scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m.capital murder, guilty plea deal, life without parole, Matthew Kinne, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, Oxford, Union County