FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - A judge has rejected a request to delay the attempted murder trial of a Charlottesville man who is also charged with the murder of a University of Virginia student.
Lawyers for 33-year-old Jesse Matthew said Friday that they needed more time to prepare for his case in Fairfax County, where he is charged with a attempted murder and sexual assault. Matthew is accused of raping a woman as she was walking home from a grocery store in Fairfax in September 2005.
Prosecutors in Fairfax opposed the delay, noting the trial was already delayed once.
Matthew's public defender, Dawn Butorac, said that going forward with the trial date will "obliterate" Matthew's right to a fair trial. In court papers, she said she needs time to investigate about 40 suspects in the police file. Butorac argued the commonwealth has had nine years to prepare this case, while they've had just six months to sift through thousands of pages of documents and evidence.
The judge denied the continuance motion, the trial will go on as scheduled June 8. It is slated for eight days.
"In Fairfax, Northern Virginia, they do things faster than in other parts of the state. They have a very difficult docket to deal with and they try to keep things on schedule," said NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook. "The commonwealth was ready to go. The commonwealth said 'hey listen, you've had a lot of time to prepare. This isn't the murder case. This is a rape case.'"
Matthew is also charged with capital murder in UVA student Hannah Graham's death last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.