June trial for man accused of killing Virginia student Graham

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 13, 2015 3:59 PM

By Lacey Johnson

FAIRFAX, Va. (Reuters) - The hospital worker accused of murdering University of Virginia student Hannah Graham will face trial in June on charges of raping a woman in 2005, a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge said on Friday.

Jesse Matthew Jr., 33, of Charlottesville, Virginia, appeared briefly in court to receive his trial date in the 2005 rape case on charges including attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual penetration with an object.

Police say that in the case he attacked a 26-year-old woman as she walked home from a grocery store in Fairfax, a suburb of Washington. Matthew has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Matthew wore a green prison uniform and a dreadlocked ponytail to court. He listened quietly as Circuit Court Judge David Schell scheduled his trial to begin June 8.

Matthew is also facing first-degree murder charges in the disappearance of Graham, 18, who was last seen leaving a Charlottesville bar with him on Sept. 13.

Searchers discovered Graham's remains on a farm outside Charlottesville in October. The case drew national attention and shook the college town about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Washington.

Matthew was arrested in Texas in September, a day after he was charged with Graham's abduction. He is being held in a Fairfax County jail and is scheduled to make his first appearance in the Graham murder case in Albemarle Circuit Court by streaming video on Wednesday.

Deputy Public Defender Dawn Butorac requested that Matthew be moved to Albemarle County to attend proceedings for the Graham trial, but Schell denied the motion.

Matthew also has been forensically linked to the death of Virginia Tech University student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared after leaving a Charlottesville concert in October 2009, Virginia State Police have said. Her body was discovered in 2010, but no charges have been filed in the case.

In addition, he was the main suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, although no charges were filed.

Matthew’s trial in the Fairfax case is expected to last two weeks.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Will Dunham)