Suspect in Va. abduction charged
Fairfax, Va. — Authorities have brought additional charges against the man accused of abducting an 18-year-old college student in Virginia: the abduction, rape and attempted capital murder of a 26-year-old woman in a Washington, D.C. suburb.
A Circuit Court grand jury in Fairfax County on Monday handed up the new indictment against Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, who is already in custody in the case of Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore who disappeared Sept. 13.
At a news conference Monday, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh declined to discuss any details of the case, but did say the victim is cooperating. Police had previously said that on Sept. 24, 2005, a 26-year-old woman was walking home from the grocery store about 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, when her assailant grabbed her from behind, dragged her into a wooded area behind some townhomes, and sexually assaulted her.
The man fled the area when he was startled by a passerby, police said.
Morrogh said he will seek a bench warrant later this week requesting that Matthew be brought to Fairfax for an initial appearance, and he expected that to be granted. But no court date has been set. Morrogh said he was not sure whether Matthew would be tried first in Charlottesville or in Fairfax.
“I’m willing to go first, last or whenever,” Morrogh said.
Matthew’s attorney has repeatedly refused to discuss his client, and a message on his law office telephone on Monday said he was not taking questions in the case.
After an extensive search for Graham, law enforcement officials found human remains on Saturday in a heavily wooded area that is dotted with farms, about 12 miles southwest of the Charlottesville campus of U.Va. They continued to search the area Monday for additional evidence or clues.
The remains were taken to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond to be identified. A spokesman in the office could not say Monday when the results of the forensic examination would be completed.
Police let Graham’s parents know about the discovery before they publicly released the information.
One of the officials who made the discovery said the remains were found just as he and his team were about to move on to another site.
“We were on our way back to our vehicle and I just decided to keep going,” Sgt. Dale Terry of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department told WRIC TV. “So we swept a different area and luckily we just came upon what we came upon. … Divine intervention is the only thing I can think of.”
The remains were discovered roughly 6 miles from where the body of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington was found after she vanished in 2009. Police have said forensic evidence connects Matthew to Harrington’s killing, which in turn is linked by DNA to the 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia.
In addition to the new capital murder and rape charges, Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham. He is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He has not been charged in the Harrington killing.
As for the link between the Graham case and the Fairfax case, Morrogh would only say that “indirectly, that case was of value to the department in conducting its investigation” but declined further comment.
Fairfax City Police Chief Carl Pardiny credited his investigators with their work on the case, going back to 2005.
“We never gave up, not over nine years,” Pardiny said.
Graham hasn’t been seen since after a night out with friends. She had met friends at a restaurant for dinner before stopping by two off-campus parties. She left the second party alone and eventually texted a friend saying she was lost, authorities said.
In surveillance video, she can be seen walking unsteadily and even running at times, past a pub and a service station and then onto a seven-block strip of bars, restaurants and shops.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.