Jesse Matthew pleads guilty to Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington murders

jesse matthewJesse Matthew, 34, pleaded guilty today in Albemarle County to the first-degree murders of Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington.

The charges stem from the 2014 abduction and murder of Hannah E. Graham, 18, and the 2009 abduction and murder of Morgan D. Harrington, 20.  Matthew was indicted for first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the case of Graham, a University of Virginia student, by an Albemarle County grand jury in February 2015, with capital murder in that case in April 2015.

He was later indicted by an Albemarle County Special Grand Jury with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the case of Harrington, a Virginia Tech student, in September, 2015.

Matthew will serve the statutory maximum for these offenses – four additional consecutive life terms. He is already serving three life terms after entering an Alford plea to a 2005 abduction, sexual assault, and attempted murder charge in Fairfax.

As part of the plea agreement, Matthew waives his right to geriatric, early, conditional release or parole.  He also waives any right to appeal or revoke this agreement.  The Commonwealth nolle prossed the capital murder charge and can re-indict this charge without time limitation should Matthew violate terms of the plea.

“This resolution serves the interests of justice by ensuring the defendant will never again pose a threat to public safety.  It is consistent with the wishes of the Graham and Harrington families, and provides a measure of legal finality in cases that would have been subject to highly public trials and protracted appellate review.  The agreement can be attributed to the outstanding work of law enforcement personnel and volunteers who made Hannah and Morgan’s cause their own,” said Robert N. Tracci, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert N. Tracci, and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Matthew J. Quatrara and Carrene L. Walker prosecuted these cases, with assistance from Deputy and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Darby Lowe and Elliott Casey.  These cases were investigated by the Albemarle County and Charlottesville Police Departments, Albemarle Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, University of Virginia Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Galveston County, Texas Sheriff’s Office.


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