Trial Delayed for Man Charged in Hannah Graham's Slaying

The trial for the man charged with abducting and killing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham has been delayed.

With Graham's parents, John and Sue, looking on, a shackled Jesse Matthew Jr. attended Wednesday's hearing in Albemarle County on pretrial motions. During that hearing, the judge granted both a trial continuance and a request for a DNA expert.

The new trial date will be set on May 5.

Matthew, 33, is charged with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile. Matthew's trial was originally scheduled to start June 29.

Graham's parents left the courthouse after the 15-minute hearing without speaking to reporters.

When they arrived in the courtroom, the Grahams were greeted with a hug by Gil Harrington, the mother of another slain college student. Authorities have said forensic evidence links Matthew to the 2009 death of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who vanished while attending a Metallica concert at U.Va. Matthew has not been charged in that case.

"I really felt honor-bound as Morgan's mother to be here today,'' Harrington said after the hearing. "Being a witness to these proceedings is one of the few things I can do for her.''

Harrington said she made eye contact with the handcuffed and shackled Matthew when he was brought into court.

"It's a strange feeling,'' she said.

Matthew looked around the courtroom upon entering but said nothing during the hearing.

Matthew's family members also were silent as they left the courthouse. When asked how Matthew was doing, defense attorney Jim Camblos said, "He's holding up.''

Prosecutors did not object to the defense motion to delay the trial, which had been set for June 29.

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins also approved a defense request that the state provide a DNA expert. Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford did not object.

Matthew also faces trial June 8 on charges of attempted murder and sexual assault in Fairfax County.

The former hospital worker and cab driver also was accused of sexually assaulting students at Liberty University and Christopher Newport University when he was a defensive lineman on their football teams more than a decade ago. Those cases were dropped when the women declined to prosecute, officials have said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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