Jesse Matthew was charged with first-degree murder and abduction with the intent to defile in the 2009 death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, CNN reported Tuesday. He faces life in prison for each count and apparently has not yet entered a plea.
He is also accused of kidnapping and killing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham after she went missing in September 2014. The defendant is charged with capital murder for her death. He pleaded not guilty to the Graham charges.
Matthew was earlier found guilty of a June 2015 attack. A jury found him guilty then of capital attempted murder, sexual assault, and abduction with intent to defile for a brutal attack on a Fairfax, Virginia, victim, WUSA-TV reported. He had entered an Alford plea in that case, meaning that he conceded that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. His sentencing in that case is set for October.
Matthew, 33, will face the Harrington charges Wednesday, said the Albermarle County Commonwealth Attorney's office. He was indicted by a grand jury last week. A press conference will not follow the trial since the Professional Conduct for Attorneys of the Virginia State Bar prohibits “extrajudicial statement that may interfere with a fair trial,” the press release said Tuesday. The state “will not comment on the evidence” either, according to the release.
Matthew's name quickly became a top-trending Twitter topic when he was charged Tuesday.
— Clarissa Pyles (@ClarissaPyles) September 15, 2015
Harrington was only 20 years old when she vanished after attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her T-shirt was found on a nearby tree limb and her body was found three months after the concert took place. Authorities said there was a “significant break” in the case after forensic evidence linked Matthew to the case in September 2014, but they never said what the new evidence was.
The development brought relief to the victim’s family. Harrington’s mother, Gil, told WTVR-TV Richmond at the time: “We worked five years to get to this point, so we are relieved.”
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