Prosecutors are seeking to block a request for a gag order in the case against Jesse Matthew Jr. in Fairfax, Virginia.
Matthew, 33, is charged with abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, who was found dead a month later. He is also charged in an unrelated 2005 sex assault and attempted murder in Fairfax, where his defense attorneys asked the court in December to enact a gag order.
Prosecutors filed papers Monday requesting that motion be denied, writing in part, "The Commonwealth has no intention of making public statements that would hinder a fair trial in this matter. However, the Commonwealth should be allowed to address question and concerns from the media that do not infringe upon Defendant's right to a fair trial. This is not the first high profile case tried by this Commonwealth Attorney's Office."
A hearing on several motions, including the gag order request, is scheduled for Thursday in Fairfax court.
Over the weekend, Matthew was once again transferred from Albemarle County to the Fairfax Adult Detention Center.
His attorneys had requested the gag order in response to the prosecution speaking to reporters following each hearing in the Fairfax case. Their filing notes how prosecutors called the victim "a saint" following the last hearing. It also refers to media reports about the specific timing of Matthew's transportation between Fairfax and Charlottesville.
The defense also requested $2,000 to hire their own DNA expert, citing DNA as the only link between Matthew and the assault. The filing says the defense was not provided a copy of the certificate of analysis by the commonwealth but instead got it from the Washington Post.
Authorities have said Matthew was linked to the Fairfax victim through DNA found under her fingernail.
According to a search warrant obtained by NBC29, Charlottesville police found a "wooden tip from a cigar butt" inside Matthew's wallet. The document states that the DNA from that tip provides matches to both the 2005 Fairfax case and the case of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student found dead in early 2010.
Matthew has pleaded not guilty to the Fairfax charges. He has not been charged in Harrington's case.