Suspect in Grisly Murder |in Virginia Is Indicted

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – A suspect in the grisly abduction and murder of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was indicted by a grand jury on Monday.
     The indictment charged former taxi driver Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. with the first degree murder and abduction with the intent to defile the 18-year-old.
     He faces a maximum penalty of a double life sentence, in addition to two reckless driving charges punishable by up to two years. Matthew will not receive the death penalty because “[h]e is not charged with capital murder,” Albemarle County District Attorney Denise Lunsford explained during a press conference.
     Graham’s body was found in Albemarle County on Oct. 18, nearly a month after her disappearance from Charlottesville. She was last seen on surveillance footage Sept. 12 2014.
     Matthews is also a suspect in the murder of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared from a Charlottesville Metallica concert. Harrington’s skeletal remains were discovered in Albemarle County in 2010, nearly four months after she was proclaimed missing.
     Lunsford said that although the Graham and Harrington families have been made aware of the indictments, “there are no pending charges against Mr. Matthew with respect to Morgan Harrington.”
     Matthew also faces three felony charges including attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual penetration with an object, related to a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax County where he remains in custody. The identity of the victim has not been released.
     Judge David S. Schnell granted the defense a continuance last week and a trial date is expected to be set this Friday.
     Matthew is scheduled to appear in Albemarle Circuit Court on Wed. Feb. 18. “He is not expected to appear in person,” Lunsford told reporters. “He is expected to have his first appearance by video.”
     “These indictments signal the beginning of the next phase in what has been an incredibly difficult process for the family of Hannah Graham, for our community, and for the men and women of the many departments and agencies who have worked on this matter since September of last year,” Lunsford said.

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