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Accused Murderer to |Stand Trial in Va. in June

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CN) - Jesse Matthew Jr. will stand trial June 29 on charges he abducted and murdered an 18-year-old University of Virginia student last September.

Matthew currently faces four charges in Albemarle County, Va. including first degree murder and abduction with intent to defile Hannah Graham, along with 2 reckless driving counts, all of which occurred in Sept. 2014, according to indictments.

The trial by jury requested by prosecutor Denise Lunsford, is expected to take about 3 weeks with Albemarle County Judge Cheryl Higgins presiding.

Matthew appeared at the first hearing in connection with the case via a video link from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

His attorney, Jim Camblos, citing a "voluminous amount of evidence" associated with the case, requested to have requested to have an additional attorney assigned to the case. Judge Higgins appointed the public defenders' office as co-counsel, and deputy public defender Liz Murtagh was in courtroom with Camblos.

During Wednesday's proceedings, the prosecutor said he has compiled an extensive witness list, and also requested advance notice in the event of Matthew's right to waive a speedy trial as four to six prosecution witnesses will be traveling long distance.

According to Lunsford, the commonwealth requested that witness subpoenas be sealed in the interest of justice for the victims' families, "in the spirit of a fair trial ... so that the trial be heard one time."

After the hearing, Matthew was moved back to the Fairfax County Jail, where he is being held on an unrelated sexual assault charge from 2005.

The next hearing in the case will be on March 3. If convicted, Matthew faces a maximum penalty of a life sentence for each murder and abduction charge, in addition to two years for each reckless driving charge.

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