Judge refuses to drop out of case; sets U.Va. slaying trial

AP News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 4:53 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A judge has set a July 2016 trial for the man charged with abducting and killing a University of Virginia student.

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins scheduled Jesse Matthew Jr.'s trial date Thursday after rejecting a defense motion that she recuse herself from the case.

Matthew's attorney asked for another judge because Higgins approved search warrants that will be challenged at trial. He also pointed out that the judge's daughter is a second-year student at U.Va., as was the young woman Matthew is accused of killing.

Higgins denied having any bias but said she will ask another judge to rule on the search warrant motions as a precaution.

Matthew is charged in the September abduction and slaying of 18-year-old Hannah Graham. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.