Suspect Indicted in Murder of University of Mary Washington Student Grace Mann - NBC4 Washington

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Suspect Indicted in Murder of University of Mary Washington Student Grace Mann

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    Suspect Indicted in Murder of University of Mary Washington Student Grace Mann
    Steven Vander Briel and Grace Mann

    The suspect in the murder of University of Mary Washington student Grace Mann was indicted Monday by a Fredericksburg, Virginia grand jury. 

    Steven V. Briel is charged with first-degree murder, abduction and strangulation.

    Police say Briel strangled Mann to death in the home they shared with two other people near campus. Earlier this month, one of Mann's female housemates testified in court that before she got home, she received a chilling text message from Briel asking when she and another roommate would be home.

    He wrote that he had been in the room Mann and the other roommate shared, "and I made a mess," the roommate testified.

    When the women arrived at the home, they found the door to that bedroom closed. The two knocked, and a sweaty, fast-talking Briel emerged, police said.

    The roommates testified that Briel told them he strangled Mann after a disagreement. 

    The women then described finding Mann's body under a purple comforter. A plastic grocery bag was over her head and several were stuffed into her mouth. 

    The motive in the case is still unclear. 

    Mann had been active on campus, particularly with a feminist group that is seeking a federal gender discrimination investigation of the state university. Feminists United said that some of its members -- including Mann -- have been threatened on the social media site Yik Yak, and that the university didn't do enough to investigate the threats.

    Mary Washington President Richard V. Hurley has said there is no evidence to support a connection between the social media attacks and Mann's death.