Local News

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

Posted August 11, 2014 3:21 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2014 12:24 p.m. EDT

— 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."