Va. Intends to Try Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington Cases Separately

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not plan to combine the Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington cases against Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., reported Henry Graff of WVIR in Charlottesville.

Matthew was arraigned Wednesday in Albemarle County Circuit Court a day after a grand jury indicted him in the death of the 20-year-old Harrington, who disappeared after attending an Oct. 17, 2009, Metallica concert at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Her remains were found in January 2010 in a hay field about 6 miles away. Matthew is charged with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile.

Harrington's parents, Dan and Gil Harrington, were in court Wednesday.

“I have been in the courtroom every chance I’ve gotten because I want him to see my face," Gil Harrington said before the hearing. "I want him to know that I’m not going away after six years. I’m not going away and I know what he did. And today everybody else is aware of what he’s been charged with as well.”

While she has believed Matthew was responsible for a while, she said simply seeing Matthew convicted in another case would be insufficient.

“It was imperative for both me and Dan, and I don’t know what kind of validation it brings, but it really was a gut-level need for us to have acknowledgment of the tremendous injury that has been caused to our family,” she said.

Authorities say forensic evidence linked Matthew to Morgan Harrington but they won't give details.

Matthew also is charged with capital murder in the September 2014 disappearance and death of 18-year-old University of Virginia student Graham.

On the night of Sept. 12, 2014, Graham, 18, met friends for dinner at a restaurant and then attended two off-campus parties. Officials said she left the second party alone, later texting a friend that she was lost.

Surveillance videos showed her walking unsteadily, and sometimes running, past a pub and a gas station and then onto Charlottesville's downtown mall very early the next day. She was also shown with a man whom police say is Matthew. In the video, the man is shown wrapping his arm around Graham.

Graham's remains were found in a rural area five weeks later.

Matthew was arrested Sept. 24 in Galveston County, Texas.

In June, Matthew was convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to kill a woman in Fairfax County. Sentencing is set for Oct. 2.

Prosecutors have said they're seeking the death penalty in the Graham case. The charges in the Harrington case signal the death penalty isn't being sought in that prosecution.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us