Chapel Hill News

August 11, 2014

Judge sets hearing date for man accused of killing Durham volunteer minister

The first court appearance for the man accused of killing Durham priest Kent Hinkson lasted less than a minute Monday. In that time, District Court Judge Lunsford Long set an Aug. 25 probable-cause hearing for Matthew John Reed and sent Reed back to the Orange County Jail without bail.

The man accused of killing a 71-year-old volunteer minister in Durham had no questions Monday as a judge set a hearing date on the murder charge he faces.

But Matthew John Reed, a Texas native with ties to Ohio and Raleigh, left a wealth of questions behind as he exited a small courtroom packed with media seeking answers.

Reed, 36, is accused of murdering Kent Torrey Hinkson, whose family reported him missing Aug. 4.

In a court appearance that lasted only a few minutes, District Court Judge Lunsford Long told Reed he would appoint a capital defender to represent him at an Aug. 25 hearing.

Hinkson and his wife moved to Durham almost six years ago to be closer to one of their daughters and her four children.

While here, Hinkson, a father of three and grandfather of eight, had begun to volunteer at All Saints Church. He led Bible studies and helped provide pastoral care to people unable to get to services.

On Aug. 4, Hinkson told his family he was going out to run errands. He drove off in a red 2011 Hyundai Sonata and stopped at a Wells Fargo Bank about a half-mile from his home in the Woodcroft neighborhood.

What happened after he made that deposit is unclear.

Investigators found the Sonata on Wednesday in the parking lot of the Mews Apartments on Williamsburg Road, a complex of modest townhomes off Old Chapel Hill Road almost 4.5 miles from the Hinkson home.

As investigators looked for clues, family, friends and parishioners held prayer services, passed out fliers and searched for Hinkson on their own.

Wednesday was his 48th wedding anniversary with wife, Jeline, but there was no celebration.

About 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the family had received word that Hinkson’s body had been found on a piece of Eno River State Park land not far from the intersection of U.S. 70 and Interstate 85.

Reed, who listed his address as the 3243 Calumet Court in Raleigh, reportedly contacted Durham police from Greensboro and agreed to lead them to the site.

Reed took police to Hinkson’s body in “a somewhat secluded” location off Pleasant Green Road in Orange County, State Parks spokesman Charlie Peeke said. Durham police had notified the parks department that they were bringing a suspect to the park, and park rangers accompanied officers to the body, Peek said Monday.

The State Bureau of Investigation, the lead agency in the homicide investigation, has offered few details about how Reed became a suspect or their theory for motive.

They have not said whether the men knew each other or how Hinkson died.

Hinkson’s body was sent to the state Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.

Reed walked into an Orange County courtroom on Monday afternoon wearing a jail jumpsuit with his legs and wrists shackled.

Reed has a criminal record in Ohio for a burglary charge. It was unclear Monday how long Reed had lived in this area or what he did for a living. In January, he was cited in Wake County for selling malt beverage to an underage person and faces a hearing on that accusation next month.


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