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Neighbor says suspect in Durham priest slaying is "nice guy"

Posted August 11
Updated September 17

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— Matthew Reed, the person accused of killing a Durham Anglican priest, is not the former neighbor Amy Barber knows.

Barber, who lived near Reed in a Raleigh apartment complex, said he and his partner were nice guys who lived in the area up until a month ago.

"Here's a nice guy who is being accused of something I don't think he did," she said. "And if he did, there's definitely something else going on."

Reed, 36, made his first court appearance Monday afternoon, charged with first-degree murder in the death of 71-year-old Kent Torrey Hinkson. Reed was held without bond following the two-minute hearing before District Court Judge Lunsford Long. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 25.

Investigators said Reed, of the 3200 block of Calumet Court in Raleigh, called authorities from Greensboro and led them to the body.

They have not said whether the two men knew each other or how Hinkson died. His body, found Sunday in Eno River State Park, has been sent to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

Hinkson went missing Aug. 4 after leaving home to run errands. His disappearance prompted an exhaustive search and an appeal by his family, friends and parishioners at All Saints Church, where he led Bible studies and pastoral care for those who couldn’t get to church.

Friends remembered him as a loving, compassionate family man who was devoted to his faith.

“He was an extraordinary man,” friend Vivi Watkins said Sunday. “We wished this last chapter was different, but he’s leaving a legacy.”

Hinkson’s family announced that a memorial service is set for Saturday to celebrate his life.

Little is known about Reed, who has previously lived in Florida and Georgia. He has been convicted of burglary in Georgia and Ohio and was charged in Wake County in January with selling alcohol to a minor.

"He's moved around a lot in the last few years," Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said. "My understanding is he was spending a lot of time in Durham."

39 Comments

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  • LetsBeFair Aug 12, 4:20 p.m.

    something all cooked up with this one.

  • cinnamon16 Aug 12, 3:17 p.m.

    With nice guys like that I sure would hate to see bad ones.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Aug 12, 2:29 p.m.

    Yea...he killed a priest...sounds like a swell dude. Maybe the neighbors should have him over for a Summer picnic....

  • Thought Criminal WS Aug 12, 2:12 p.m.

    The "nicest" people also have the same capacity for not being so nice. Thats how they AVOID being spotted.

  • cdurham Aug 12, 2:06 p.m.

    This neighbor didn't know that that the accused had led them to Mr. Hinkson's body. I'm sure they don't think he's so nice today. Many comments on this web site seem to be missing that.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Aug 12, 1:50 p.m.

    I wonder how many people thought it was black dude that killed this man? Crazy how it was the... View More

    — Posted by readyforgodswilltobedone

    Quite a few, I imagine. People's prejudices run deep.

  • Grand Union Aug 12, 1:44 p.m.

    news flash to neighbor: "nice guys" do not kill people!

    — Posted by piratepeople2

    Newsflash, yes sometimes they do.

    Its not at all unusual for someone to have a psychotic episode or be driven beyond endurance etc and kill in a flash of totally uncharacteristic anger.The only murderer I ever knew personally was a the gentlest person I ever met.

  • wytlytn Aug 12, 1:34 p.m.

    I think it was said by one of Ted Bundys neighbors that he was also a "nice guy"

  • icdumbpeople Aug 12, 1:23 p.m.

    Something is missing.... I smell a rat....

  • disgusted2010 Aug 12, 12:54 p.m.

    A neighbor in the apartment complex says he couldn't have done it? Is this really news?

    — Posted by common tater

    It IS for WRAL.

    — Posted by disgusted2010

    The real problem with the neighbor's comment is that WRAL only talked with one neighbor. Several... View More

    — Posted by raleighboy524

    WRAL normally always does sub-par reporting. Here, though, they do at least provide quotes from... View More

    — Posted by Alexia

    Problem is WRAL only gets the feedback it seeks, selective interviews and selective editing.

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