Court Documents: DNA Links Matthew to Harrington Case

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Jesse Matthew's Fairfax County booking photo Jesse Matthew's Fairfax County booking photo
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - NBC29 has obtained an unsealed search warrant in the Morgan Harrington murder investigation. The warrant details how police have linked Jesse Matthew to Harrington. 

Harrington, a Virginia Tech student, disappeared on October 17, 2009 after leaving a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Her remains were found on an Albemarle farm three months later.

Matthew is charged with at least two attacks on women - an attempted sexual assault in Fairfax in 2005 and abduction with intent to defile in the case of University of Virginia second-year student Hannah Graham.  He has not been charged in the Harrington case at this point. 

Information in the warrant offers a better idea about how Matthew has been forensically linked to the Harrington case. While investigators had confirmed a forensic link between Jesse Matthew and the Harrington case, the search warrant provides the first confirmation of what that evidence is.  The warrant says Harrington's Pantera T-shirt had multiple DNA stains on it. The shirt was recovered after Harrington disappeared in 2009.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science was able to collect DNA from Harrington's shirt. That DNA matched the DNA collected from the 2005 attempted sexual assault investigation in Fairfax.

Charlottesville police found a "wooden tip from a cigar butt" inside Matthew's wallet. The DNA from that wooden tip is a match to both the Harrington case and the 2005 Fairfax case.

On the search warrant, police list the crime as first- and second-degree murder. However, that doesn't mean Matthew will be charged with those specific counts.

The four-page search warrant also asks for years of Matthew's cell phone records.  

A spokesperson for Virginia State Police had no comment.
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