October 31, 2014 / 9:45 PM / 5 years ago

Suspect in Virginia student murder arraigned in separate assault case

FAIRFAX Va. (Reuters) - The man charged with abducting Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student whose body was discovered earlier this month on a farm after a five-week search, was arraigned on Friday on three murder and sexual assault charges in a separate case.

Jesse Matthew, 32, is seen in a booking photo from the Galveston County Sheriff's Office taken September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Galveston County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

Jesse Matthew, 32, was arraigned on three felony charges stemming from a 2005 case in which police say he grabbed a 26-year-old woman walking home from a Fairfax grocery store, dragged her into a wooded area and sexually assaulted her.

Matthew made his first public court appearance at the Circuit Court of Fairfax County via video from Albemarle County Regional Jail in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. Matthew wore a black-and-white striped prison uniform as he sat quietly next to his attorney James Camblos.

He was arraigned on charges of attempted capital murder during abduction, abduction with intent to defile, and sexual penetration with an object during the Sept. 24, 2005, incident. He did not enter a plea.

Matthew asked Fairfax County Circuit Court Chief Judge Dennis Smith to appoint Camblos as his attorney, who is already representing him in the Graham case.

“I wanted to confirm Mr. Camblos to be my attorney because I have built a relationship with him,” Matthew said.

Smith allowed Camblos to represent Matthew and also appointed public defender Todd Petit as co-counsel to ensure a speedy trial.

Camblos objected to co-counsel, saying it would be like “two chiefs, not enough Indians.” He also asked Smith for permission to have Matthew undergo a psychological evaluation.

Smith ordered a hearing for Nov. 14 to schedule a trial date.

Matthew is also charged in the disappearance of Graham, an 18-year-old sophomore last seen with Matthew on Sept. 13. Searchers discovered her remains Oct. 18 outside Charlottesville.

In addition, Virginia State Police have said forensic evidence links Matthew to Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared after leaving a Charlottesville concert in October 2009. Her body was discovered in 2010. 

Charlottesville TV station WTVR has reported that forensic evidence had linked the Harrington case to the Fairfax attack. 

Matthew was arrested in Texas on Sept. 24, a day after he was charged with abduction with intent to defile in the Graham case. He was also the main suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. No charges were filed. 

Reporting by John Clarke; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech

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