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The Latest: Judge leaves murder case after criticism

May 23, 2019

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a Mississippi police officer charged in a killing (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

A Mississippi judge is stepping away from a murder case after the victim’s mother said the judge was being disrespectful.

Judge Andrew Howorth presided Wednesday during the initial appearance of a former Oxford police officer, Mathew Kinne (KIHN’-ee), who is charged in the shooting death of 32-year-old Dominique Clayton. Prosecutors mentioned the possibility having another hearing to consider bail for Kinne.

The victim’s mother, Bessie Clayton, later said Howorth had laughed during the hearing. She told reporters: “The judge has got to go.”

The Oxford Eagle reports Howorth issued an order Thursday recusing himself from the case. The order said it is unusual for a family to request a judge’s recusal but when someone is killed, relatives “should not necessarily be expected to behave rationally.”

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11:35 a.m.

A Mississippi city has fired a police officer charged in the killing of a woman with whom he was romantically involved.

An Oxford Police Department spokesman confirmed Thursday to the Oxford Eagle that city aldermen met in closed session Tuesday night and fired Mathew Kinne (KIHN’-ee).

Kinne is charged with murder in the shooting death of 32-year-old Dominique Clayton, who was found shot in the back of her head Sunday at her Oxford home. Kinne is white and Clayton was black. Her relatives say they were in a romantic relationship.

He remains jailed in a neighboring county.

Clayton’s mother, Bessie Clayton, expressed outrage Wednesday after a prosecutor told a judge that prosecutors and defense lawyers might agree next week on “reasonable” bail for Kinne. She said: “There is no justice for black people.”

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