Judge to consider recusal motion in UVa slaying case

Jesse Matthew Jr.,
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2014 file photo Jesse Matthew Jr. looks toward the gallery while appearing in court in Fairfax, Va. A woman who authorities say was sexually assaulted by the same man charged with killing a University of Virginia student came face to face with her alleged attacker in a Fairfax courtroom Thursday. The encounter was brief, and the woman's testimony was focused on a narrow legal question, though she did testify that his face looked familiar. But it provided a preview of the courtroom drama expected next week, when a jury trial begins for 33-year-old Jesse Matthew. (AP Photo/The Washington Post, Bill O'Leary, Pool, File)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The man charged with abducting and killing a University of Virginia student is due in court.

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins will consider a defense request that she step down from the case at Thursday’s hearing. Jesse Matthew Jr.’s attorney says in court papers that Higgins approved search warrants that will be challenged at trial. He also notes that the judge’s daughter attends the university.

WAVY Special Coverage Hannah Graham 

If Higgins rejects the recusal motion, she may set a trial date.

Matthew is charged in the September abduction and slaying of 18-year-old Hannah Graham. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Earlier this month, the 33-year-old Matthew was convicted of attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual assault in an unrelated 2005 case in Fairfax County. He’ll be sentenced in October.

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