Mental evaluation sought for ex-officer charged in killing

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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A defense attorney is requesting a psychiatric evaluation for a white former Mississippi police officer charged with killing a Black woman with whom the officer allegedly had a romantic relationship.

The former Oxford Police Department officer, Matthew Kinne, is charged with capital murder in the May 2019 death of 32-year-old Dominique Clayton. He is accused of breaking into her Oxford home and fatally shooting her in the head as she slept. Her 8-year-old son found her body.

Clayton’s relatives have said she and Kinne were in a relationship at the time, and Kinne was married to someone else.

Kinne was arrested two days after Clayton was killed, and he was later fired from the police department.

His attorney, Tony Farese, filed court papers Sept. 11 seeking the evaluation of Kinne to determine if the former officer is mentally fit to stand trial, The Oxford Eagle reported Wednesday.

Kinne was indicted in August 2019. The case was set for trial late April, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement. October is the next circuit court trial session in Lafayette County, but with the request for an evaluation, the case may be delayed until next year.

Kinne has been held without bond since his arrest. He was moved to the Union County jail in August 2019 after a photo showed him eating outside his cell, unguarded, in the jail of Panola County, which is near Oxford.

Employees at the Union County jail confirmed to The Associated Press that Kinne was still being held there Wednesday.

Carlos Moore, an attorney representing Clayton’s family, told the AP on Wednesday that the motion for a psychological evaluation is a delay tactic.

“It is time for Mr. Kinne to face a jury of his peers,” Moore said. “I just do not believe the good mayor and board of aldermen put a gun in the hands of a mentally ill man and swore him to protect and serve. … He’s trying to get out of jail free by playing crazy.”

Farese told the AP it’s not unusual to seek a mental evaluation for a defendant in a criminal case.

“I respectfully disagree with Mr. Moore,” Farese said. “This is not a delay tactic, nor is it a frivolous motion.”

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