Date Set for Jesse Matthew Murder Trial
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Murder suspect Jesse Matthew is back in Albemarle County. The man charged with killing UVA student Hannah Graham had his first hearing in Albemarle County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Matthew appeared through a video uplink from the Albemarle - Charlottesville Regional Jail. He is facing first-degree murder and abduction charges for Graham's death and two unrelated reckless driving charges. A grand jury indicted Matthew on these new charges on February 2.
Hannah Graham was last seen in September 2014. Video surveillance shows Matthew with her on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. Her remains were found in Albemarle County five weeks later.
Wednesday Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins set Matthew's jury trial for June 29. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Defense attorney Jim Camblos is getting the assistance of two public defenders, Jim Hingeley and Elizabeth Murtagh. "It was a huge undertaking. There's a lot of evidence, a lot of witnesses, it's a major case,” he stated.
Another hearing is set for March 4. At that hearing Judge Higgins will make a critical decision – whether Matthew's defense team can have a motion hearing without the public or media. Camblos didn't say why he wanted the closed-door hearing. We do know Jim Camblos wanted a mental health evaluation for Matthew on a separate case. Jesse Matthew is scheduled to attend the March 4 hearing in person.
Commonwealth's attorney Denise Lunsford also wants some items put under a court-ordered seal ahead of the trial. "My request was simply subpoenas be sealed because obviously there's a lot of interest in this case and the commonwealth has an interest in trying this case one time," she stated.
Matthew will come off a trial in Fairfax just before his Albemarle trial is set to start. He's accused of raping and almost killing a Fairfax woman in 2005.
Authorities say forensic evidence also has linked Matthew to their investigation of the 2009 disappearance and death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. Matthew has not been charged in that case.