Update: Judge Denies Motion to Suppress Evidence in Matthew Case
Defense attorneys asked a judge to suppress some evidence in the Jesse Matthew case, but that motion has been denied.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - An Albemarle County judge will not throw out evidence collected at murder-suspect Jesse Matthew's apartment.
Thursday, Matthew and his defense attorneys went before Judge Cheryl Higgins with a motion to have seven search warrant items dismissed from the case.
Investigators used a search warrant for a raid on Matthew's Hessian Hills apartment six days after 18-year-old Hannah Graham had vanished from Charlottesville's Downtown Mall.
Matthew, 34, is accused of abducting and murdering Graham back in September of 2014. He is charged with capital murder, and could face the death penalty if he is convicted.
Hannah’s parents, John and Susan Graham, were present for Thursday’s hearing. The Graham's stared at Matthew when he was escorted in, not breaking eye contact with him for a while.
Defense attorneys argued that investigators took items outside the parameters of that search warrant. They called Detective Carper, a forensic investigator, to the stand. Det. Carper was tasked with going to Matthew's apartment for the search warrant execution.
The defense said the following items should not have been collected:
- Samsung phone, because only the phone number but not a phone description was in the search warrant
- Paycheck, because it had a patent finger print on it, and the search warrant only allowed latent finger prints.
- Khaki shorts, boxer shorts, cigar tip, toothbrushes, wallet and receipt all because they were not provided for in the search warrant.
The clothing items are what investigators believe Matthew was wearing the night Graham vanished. The prosecution said those khaki shorts have hairs on them, but Matthew’s attorneys claimed the shorts aren't the right color based off the search warrant description.
Prosecutors also said blood, hair and semen were found in Matthew’s apartment, but didn't say how or if it was connected to the case.
It was revealed that Matthew's phone was missing both its battery and SIM card.
Judge Higgins disagreed with the defenses’ motion, after taking an hour to review case law, saying what was taken by police was not outside the scope of the warrant.
Matthew has another motions hearing scheduled for March 2. His jury trial on the capital murder charge in the Graham case is set for July.