ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Jesse Matthew Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.
During a Tuesday morning news conference, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford announced Matthew Jr. was indicted Feb. 2 on the murder charge, as well as abduction with intent to defile. He is not charged with capital murder.
“A great deal of serious thought went into this determination, including the impact on the community, the Grahams, and the need to provide Mr. Matthew with a fair trial,” Lunsford said.
Matthew Jr. was already charged in Graham’s disappearance in September. In a statement late Tuesday, Dave Chapman, the Commonwealth’s attorney from Charlottesville, said he had requested to withdraw the city’s earlier charge of abduction with intent to defile, so as not to duplicate the county’s new charge of abduction with intent to defile.
18-year-old Graham’s remains were found in the southern part of Albemarle County, near where Matthew Jr. previously lived, about a month after her disappearance.
“The prosecutions for the abduction and murder of Hannah will bring Mr. Matthew to justice for these crimes, crimes that were committed against Hannah Graham, against her family, and against her community,” Lunsford said.
Matthew Jr. will make his first court appearance in Albemarle County on the new charges, on Wed., Feb. 18, via video.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office also indicted Matthew Jr. on two reckless driving charges for a Sept. 20 incident.
Investigators also suspect Matthew Jr. in a 2005 Fairfax rape case, which has been linked forensically to the 2009 death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in Charlottesville. Lunsford said Harrington’s family is aware of the murder indictment in the Graham case, but that charges are not pending against Matthew Jr. in the Harrington case.