Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall announced he will not seek the death penalty for a man charged with killing of a retired Durham minister.
Matthew John Reed, 36, who lists his address as 3243 Calumet Court in Raleigh, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kent Torrey Hinkson in August.
If Reed is convicted of first-degree murder, the only other penalty he could face is life in prison without parole. Woodall said he talked with Hinkson's family before deciding not to seek the death penalty.
A search warrant released earlier this month said the two men met only hours before the homicide on Aug. 4. Reed led SBI investigators to Hinkson's body on Aug. 10 in the Eno River State Park, near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Interstate 85 in Orange County.
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The warrant, for a sample of Reed's DNA, indicates blackmail may have been his motive.
Reed's mother and brother-in-law, who live out of state, have told investigators that Reed contacted them shortly after Hinkson disappeared. According to the warrant, Reed told his family that he had been taking methamphetamines and tried to blackmail a prominent minister he had met. Reed reportedly told them he killed the person, the warrant states.
Reed's next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 in Orange County Criminal Superior Court.