Jesse Matthew’s hearing for the Hannah Graham case was set on Friday in a Fairfax, Virginia, court as he entered a not guilty plea in a different case from 2005.
Matthew was accused of attacking a Fairfax woman and charged with attempted capital murder, sexual assault, and rape, according to CBS 6. A trial date was set for March 9, 2015.
The 26-year-old woman from Fairfax was walking home from a supermarket when authorities allege Matthew grabbed her and forced her to go to a park, where he assaulted her, according to the Washington Post. Authorities believe he left the scene quickly when someone passing by scared him off.
Jesse Matthew is also suspected in the disappearance and death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. Harrington went missing from Charlottesville after attending a Metallica concert in 2009, and her remains were found in Albemarle County in January 2010, according to WDBJ7.
Forensic evidence from the Fairfax woman’s abduction matches evidence found in the Morgan Harrington case. DNA recovered from the Fairfax victim’s fingernail of the sexual assault victim also connected Jesse Matthew to the abduction of Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student.
Graham was last seen alive in a surveillance tape walking with Matthew in September. Her body was found around six weeks later on an abandoned property about five miles away from where Harrington’s body was recovered.
The Fairfax victim did not attend court on Friday, but she may take the stand when the case goes to trial. A legal analyst from CBS 6 commented that the victim was showing great courage to face her alleged attacker in the courtroom and to relive her moments of terror.
“She was brave to come forward with this in the beginning and she’s brave to be coming back, and I think she serves a great example.”
Jesse Matthew’s attorney was not present at his hearing for the 2005 sexual assault case, and it is not known why he was not there. The hearing only lasted about 20 minutes.
Prosecutors believe they have a strong case against Jesse, despite the rape case being almost 10 years old because they claim to have DNA evidence.
“Normally it would be tougher for the prosecution, but when you’re talking about DNA it’s a little bit different because that’s like a time stamp,” CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone explained.
Jesse Matthew will be going back to Charlottesville for a hearing on December 4 to address the Hannah Graham case.
[Image via Pix11]