Matthew indicted for 2005 sexual assault

Possible links to other cases, including Graham's, remain under investigation


Matthew is facing charges in Albemarle related to the disappearances and deaths of University student Hannah Graham last year and Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009. Those trials have been respectively scheduled for July and October of 2016.

A grand jury in Fairfax County indicted Jesse Matthew on three felony charges Monday in connection with a 2005 sexual assault case. Matthew is charged with attempted murder, abduction and forcible sexual penetration with an object, Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Ray Morrogh said.

The charges are for an assault which occurred on the evening of Sept. 24, 2005 when a 26-year-old woman was walking back to her house from a Giant Food Store. The woman reported her assailant grabbed her from behind and "carried [her] to a grassy area behind a maintenance shed, where he sexually assaulted her," according to an FBI report.

DNA evidence from the 2005 case has been linked to the 2009 disappearance and death of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who went missing after attending a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena. Harrington's body was found in January 2010.

Police subsequently confirmed that evidence from the Harrington investigation is forensically linked to the investigation into the disappearance of second-year College student Hannah Graham.

Matthew is currently awaiting a Dec. 4 court date in Charlottesville on charges of abduction with intent to defile in the Graham investigation. The case was recently updated to a death investigation after a search crew found human remains on an abandoned property off Old Lynchburg Road near Walnut Creek Park in southern Albemarle County.

No charges have been filed in the Harrington investigation.

Morrogh said a bench warrant will be issued for Matthew Thursday and he expects Matthew to appear in a Fairfax court shortly afterward. Fairfax officials will work with Albemarle and Charlottesville police officials to coordinate Matthew's transportation.

Fairfax Police Chief Carl Pardiny said he could not disclose what evidence led to the charges against Matthew.

"I realize that everybody wants answers to questions, ... but we simply cannot comment on the investigation and the evidence in this case," Pardiny said. "The facts and details in this case will be revealed as the case proceeds through the judicial system."

Police are not identifying the woman involved in the 2005 case, but Morrogh said she has been made aware of the charges brought against Matthew.

"The victim is grateful to the lead detective who stayed in touch with her regularly over the course of nine years and promised her he’d never gave up, and he never did," Morrogh said. "I think it's fair to say that she's grateful that the case will go forward to whatever resolution it comes to."

Morrogh said law enforcement officials engaged in a thorough evidence-gathering process before the charges were brought against Matthew and he said he is confident the case is "ready to go forward."

"I've learned the hard way over the past 30 years that this is just the first step," Morrogh said. "The criminal justice system can be a long, hard row to hoe, but I have confidence ... that we will be able to go forward and bring justice in this case."

Morrogh said he did not know whether Matthew would retain the same lawyer for these charges as he has for the charges in the Graham investigation.

"Indirectly [the Graham] case was of value to this department in conducting its investigation," Morrogh said, though he too declined to elaborate on the specific evidence linking Matthew to the assault.

Morrogh said the charges will be handled separately from those Matthew faces in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

"This case stands alone," he said.

related stories