Local News

Warrant: Blackmail attempt alleged motive in Durham priest's death

Posted September 17, 2014
Updated March 23, 2015

Kent Torrey Hinkson

— A Raleigh man allegedly tried to blackmail a Durham priest found dead last month in a state park in Orange County and then admitted to killing him, according to a search warrant released Wednesday in the murder investigation.

Matthew John 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.

An agent with the State Bureau of Investigation – the lead agency on the case – says in the search warrant affidavit for a DNA sample from Reed that Reed's brother-in-law, Mark Hynes, and mother, Lori McCabe, contacted Durham police on Aug. 7 after Reed admitted to his mother that he killed somebody.

"Hynes said that Reed told McCabe that Reed was in trouble, something had gotten out of hand, and it had to do with sex, money and a person with a prominent position in the community."

Police, on Aug. 9, again spoke with Hynes, who said Reed told him that he had been using methamphetamines when he met Hinkson and tried to blackmail him.

"Hynes explained that Reed had told the preacher that he wanted money or he was going to tell the preacher's wife about their meeting," investigators say in the warrant. "Hynes said that Reed admitted to killing the preacher with his own two hands."

Reed called to talk to police later on the night of Aug. 9, and investigators eventually picked him up at a Greensboro McDonald's.

He led them to Hinkson's body, which was at the end of Laurel Ridge Road in Orange County, with his pants around his ankles and belt around his neck, the warrant says.

Reed also told police, according to the warrant, that he met Hinkson about two hours before his death at a Durham McDonald's and that they drove around a bit before going to the park.

The SBI says in the affidavit that Reed admitted to fleeing Eno River State Park using Hinkson's car, parked it at a Durham apartment complex and threw the keys and some of Hinkson's personal belongings in a nearby storm drain.

Police found Hinkson's red 2011 Hyundai Sonata on Aug. 6 at The Mews Apartments on Williamsburg Road – about 4.5 miles from Hinkson's home.

Authorities have not spoken about their investigation, and a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety declined to comment Wednesday.

Brian Ellison, a representative for Hinkson's family, declined to comment on the investigation but said the family has been encouraged by the love and support it has received.

"It's been a very difficult time. It really isn’t any other way to describe it," Ellison said. "But the support they’ve been receiving from so, so many people has been such an encouragement to them and is really helping them get through this."

Hinkson had been in ministry for more than 40 years and was a volunteer minister at All Saints Church in Durham.

Reed, who has criminal convictions on burglary charges in Georgia and Ohio, is being held without bond in the Orange County Detention Center.


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  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Sep 25, 2014

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    Living life as who you are and living double lives are not the same thing. If this was a preacher involved in extramarital sex and drugs he could either live life that way or be a preacher. You can't do both. Sounds like he was pulling the wool over his peoples' eyes for a long time.
    Knowing you, I could also assume sarcasm. Hoping the latter is the case. Good day, Hans

  • ziva Sep 25, 2014

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    SMILEANDNOD - you said the same thing the last time this was reported. How do you know?

  • iopsyc Sep 18, 2014

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    Which man?

  • cw994 Sep 18, 2014

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    could not agree more. They have suffered enough.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Sep 18, 2014

    A shame our society forced this man to sneak around in the shadows instead of allowing him to live his life as who he was without fear of judgement or condemnation.

  • mediawatcher Sep 18, 2014

    Whatever is in the warrant is from the murderer's story. Even a confessed murderer can be self-serving in the details he shares. It's very likely that Mr. Hinkson was abducted, assaulted and murdered, details the murderer left out to make himself look better. The "hey, I was going to blackmail him for what he did willingly but he refused so I killed him in the heat of the moment" scenario could possibly look better in the mind of the murderer/drug addict than a premeditated abduction/assault/murder.

  • raleighboy524 Sep 18, 2014

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    Not sure "activist" is the correct word. "active homosexual" perhaps. But "activist" makes it sound like he was the leaders of an organized, politically engaged homosexual advocacy group. doesn't seem the case here.

  • Ginger Lynn Sep 18, 2014
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    I doubt it, since the family cancelled the visitation and funeral as soon as they learned the details of his death.

  • Nan Toppin Sep 18, 2014
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    the suspect is an addict and was likely prostituting himself for drug money. Saw an opportunity to make even more money by blackmailing the pastor so that his family and congregation would not find out about his activities. If any of you have ever known an addict, this is basically a way to transfer funding of his drug habit to someone else. very much addict behavior. It all could be a lie but it's a very believable scenario. One thing is certain, if this is true then these two men were in contact by phone/text/email, etc and there will be a communications trail that the authorities will be able to follow. Prayers to the family for the loss of their loved one.

  • rfpickett Sep 18, 2014

    Considering Rev Hinkson's affiliation with the conservative Anglican Church, abduction is the more likely scenario. A hate crime perpetrated by a drugged out homosexual activist is more believable.


    Gene Robinson — a divorced priest openly living in a committed gay relationship — was consecrated as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church of the United States. This event precipitated actions by dissenting Episcopal bishops and priests at the diocesan and parish level to disassociate themselves from the Episcopal Church and align themselves with other Primates of the Anglican Communion, including the Primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Bolivia.

    Kent and his wife Jeline with Nathan Gasatura, a Rwandan bishop