OXFORD, Miss. — Former Oxford police office Matthew Kinne was sentenced to life without parole Friday in the death of 32-year-old Dominique Clayton.
Kinne entered a guilty plea in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Clayton, a 32-year-old mother of four, was shot dead at her Oxford home May 19, 2019. The victim’s family previously said they would seek the death penalty.
“My cousin has justice today,” said Clayton’s cousin, Alicia Vaughn. “My family has justice today and we are happy about it.”
Kinne, then an Oxford police officer, was arrested in connection to the crime two days after Clayton was killed. He was fired from the Oxford Police Department following his arrest.
Kinne’s attorney says the two were in a relationship and Clayton threatened to tell his wife. In court Friday, Clayton’s family listened to the evidence prosecutors gathered, including surveillance video and witness statements.
“He expressed remorse in his statement. He’s asked God for forgiveness. He’s asked the Clayton family for forgiveness,” said attorney Tony Farese. “The reason he did not speak today was so that he didn’t aggravate the pain of the family any more than it needed to be.”
That pain has touched her entire family for the last two years, especially her four children, including her 8-year-old son who found her body.
“He’s crying in his sleep,” said cousin Reggie Clayton. “He’s crying in his sleep. He’s reaching for his mom.”
To avoid enduring a trial and uncertainty of a jury, the family gave their blessing to a plea deal.
“While the family would’ve loved to see the death penalty, under the circumstances with him taking responsibility for his acts, we believe life without the possibility of parole was an adequate sentence,” said the family’s attorney Carlos Moore.
The family is finding what little comfort they could in Friday’s closure to at least this chapter.
“You know what I can do now?” said Clayton’s aunt Betty. “I can sleep. I can eat. Things I couldn’t do waiting on this day. I can do it now.”
The attorney for Clayton’s family says now that the criminal matter has been resolved they will move forward with a civil lawsuit against Kinne and the City of Oxford. They plan to file that in the next week.