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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Judge sets bail at $2 million for Vancouver man accused of killing former roommate

Investigators say victim was beaten to death with hammer

By , Columbian staff reporter

A judge set bail Monday at $2 million for a Vancouver man accused of beating a former roommate to death with a hammer in January and taking his gun.

Dustin R. Brink, 31, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 15.

Court records identified the victim as 50-year-old Matthew Vincent Reynolds of Vancouver.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino and defense attorney Megan Peyton noted Brink appears to have mental health issues.

“You have an individual that the state is alleging has just killed someone with a hammer and is walking around town with (the victim’s) firearm,” Gasperino said. “He indicated a couple statements, as mentioned in the probable cause affidavit, one that he ‘completed the mission’ and another that — post-Miranda (rights) — that ‘the devil made him do it’ in relation to the homicide itself.”

At about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 17, a man, identified as Brink, called 911. He said he was being followed by “the jokers,” and “there’s literally going to be a murder here,” the affidavit reads.

Brink said he was armed and outside a store in east Vancouver. Vancouver police contacted Brink and found he had a loaded 9 mm handgun, court records state.

He also pointed officers to a large duffle bag nearby that he said had “all of the evidence in it.” A luggage tag on the bag had the name Matthew Reynolds on it. Officers also learned the phone number Brink called from was associated with Reynolds, according to the affidavit.

Brink was then taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. Police seized the firearm and duffle bag, court records state.

When an officer later searched the duffle bag, he found a bloody carpenter’s hammer wrapped in a mattress pad. DNA from the hammer later returned as a match to Reynolds and Brink. The gun was also found to be registered to Reynolds, according to the affidavit.

That night, police went to Reynolds’ duplex, 1100 N.E. Keyes Road in east Vancouver, but no one came to the door. The next day, detectives with the Major Crimes Unit made entry into the unit and found a man, later identified as Reynolds, dead inside, the affidavit states.

Investigators determined Reynolds died from severe head trauma. Situated on Reynolds’ abdomen was a carpentry hammer, similar to the one found in Brink’s duffle bag, according to court records. Police said Reynolds appeared to have been dead for at least a day when they found him. There were no signs someone forced their way into the duplex.

Officers also noticed several bleach bottles and other cleaners, along with soiled paper towels. Investigators said it appeared someone tried to clean up the area, according to the affidavit.

An anonymous tipster told police Brink and Reynolds had a falling out after Reynolds learned Brink was involved with his girlfriend. The tipster also said Brink used to live with Reynolds at the duplex, the affidavit states. Police said they found an old report from that address in which Reynolds reported a burglary and said he suspected his old roommate, whom he identified as Brink, may have been involved.

Investigators obtained a neighbor’s security footage. Movement could be seen in Reynolds’ driveway at about 6:40 p.m. Jan. 16. Officers said they could hear banging noises in the footage, according to court records.

At about 7 p.m., a person resembling Brink could be seen running away from the residence and then returning about nine minutes later, before leaving again about a half-hour later. He could then be seen on a convenience store’s surveillance video carrying the duffle bag, the affidavit states.

Brink was also captured on a Ring doorbell camera approaching a house in the 12200 block of Northeast Second Street. He talked to the resident through the doorbell camera and said he “completed the mission he was given.” He also said he was sent by the leader of the jokers, according to court records.

Officers found Brink on Sunday in Battle Ground and arrested him, according to the affidavit.