Jesse Matthew Trial
In a hearing May 5, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford upgraded charges against Jesse Matthew to capital murder. Matthew is charged with abduction with intent to defile and the murder of late second-year College student Hannah Graham. The prosecution requested the charges be increased after DNA evidence was certified by experts.
The Court requested that counsel with experience in death penalty litigation be appointed to the defense. Virginia Capital Defender Douglas Ramseur and Michael Hemenway — a private attorney in Charlottesville — will replace Jim Hingeley and Jim Camblos, Matthew’s current counsel.
Matthew will appear in court in Albemarle again June 25, at which time the Court will hear motions, including a possible motion to recuse Judge Cheryl Higgins, whose second-year daughter attends the University. Higgins said her daughter and Graham had no contact.
Before his next Albemarle trial Matthew is scheduled to appear for a trial in Fairfax for the alleged rape and attempted murder of a 26-year old woman. The trial in Fairfax will begin June 8.
Lawsuits against Rolling Stone
Following Dean Nicole Eramo’s open letter to Rolling Stone CEO Jann Wenner, an organization called “True Hoos” began raising funds on a crowd-funding website for Eramo’s potential legal fees in the event she presses defamation charges. The website, which has raised approximately $23,000 already, lists a goal of $500,000.
Donations have come from individuals such as Claire Kaplan, director of gender violence and social change at the Women’s Center and Patricia Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer. Parents of current students, and Board of Visitors student representative Meg Gould, a 2015 College graduate, have also donated to the website.
Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity implicated in the now-retracted Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus” — the same that painted Eramo in a negative light — announced their intention to sue the magazine April 6. The legal details of the case are still to be determined.
Virginia State Police Report and Martese Johnson Hearing
The Virginia State Police completed its report on the incident of rising fourth-year College student Martese Johnson’s arrest, which occurred in the early hours of March 18. The office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is currently reviewing the report, but it is expected to be released “in the next couple of weeks,” according to a statement from Williams Mullen, the law firm of Johnson’s lawyer, Daniel Watkins.
Johnson is scheduled to reappear in court May 28, following his initial appearance March 26. The date is subject to change pending the findings of the investigation.
President Teresa Sullivan’s contract is currently under evaluation by the Board of Visitors for an extension to her contract, which is set to end July 31, 2016.
University Rector George Martin said Sullivan’s contract evaluation will be completed by the end of June. The review process includes input from a variety of University community members, former Board of Visitors student representative Meg Gould, a ‘15 College graduate, said.