Local News

No death penalty sought in Durham minister's slaying

Posted September 25, 2014

Matthew Reed appears in court on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.

— Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Thursday that he has no plans to pursue the death penalty against Matthew John Reed in the August death of a Durham minister.

Reed, 36, of Raleigh, was arrested Aug. 10 after he led police to the body of Kent Torrey Hinkson in Eno River State Park.

Hinkson, 71, had disappeared six days earlier after he left his Durham home to run errands, family members have said.

According to a search warrant released last week in the investigation, Reed told his mother and his brother-in-law that he had killed Hinkson after "something had gotten out of hand, and it had to do with sex, money and a person with a prominent position in the community."

Reed told his relatives that he tried to blackmail Hinkson not to tell the minister's wife about their meeting, according to the search warrant.


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  • Ishitonthewralcorncobdesk Sep 25, 2014

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    No it isn't. Do you honestly believe someone in a rage or diabolically plotting the death of someone is seriously pondering punishment? The only thing they think is how smart they are to be able to get away with it.

  • archmaker Sep 25, 2014

    clergy have been among the most vocal opponents to capital punishment.

  • Nan Toppin Sep 25, 2014
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    he is not "getting away with it"...the DA is just advising that this will not be a death penalty case.

  • Billy Mae Sutten Sep 25, 2014
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    This is why people keep killing each other. They keep getting by with it. So very sad for the victims family.

  • heymissy Sep 25, 2014

    Simply the fact that it is Orange County should clue you in to the fact that it wouldn't be a death penalty case. There are also many other things that you can get away with there. Food for thought.

  • Brenda Love Sep 25, 2014
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    I think the fact that he confessed and turned himself in has a lot to do with the decision not to seek the death penalty.

  • jurydoc Sep 25, 2014

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    There are very specific requirements that must be fulfilled for a prosecutor to charge capitally. The most crucial of those is sufficient evidence in support of at least 1 statutory aggravating circumstance. Given what little we know about the specific facts of the case, I would guess there was insufficient evidence for an aggravator in this case.

    As an aside, the death penalty, in theory, is supposed to be reserved for the "worst of the worst" murders. This implies that while all murders are awful, some are worse than others and warrant the harsher punishment. While this may be difficult for laymen (and lay jurors) to comprehend in that every murder they encounter (since they encounter relatively few personally) is horrible. None the less the underlying assumption is there is a continuum of heinousness even to murders.

  • Susan Olvera Sep 25, 2014
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    So incredibly sad. This story to me has been so heartbreaking. There is something in Mr. Hinkson's smile that speaks of a kind person, a good spirit, a rare kind of human being. My heart splits in two for his family and their anguish. I'm glad at least that Matthew Reed stepped forward, confessed, and led them to the body, even though it takes nothing away, the horror is still the same. My deepest prayers are with Mr. Hinkson's family.

  • Barbara Sossomon Sep 25, 2014
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    WHY NOT? He killed him.

  • ziva Sep 25, 2014

    So you deleted the entire other story with all the comments? Why?