June 13, 2015
Jesse Matthew, who was charged with killing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, on Wednesday ceded that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him of abduction, sexual assault and attempted murder in a different, decade-old crime, a Virginia prosecutor said.
In a Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom, Matthew entered an Alford plea in connection with the 2005 case, which means he does not admit to a criminal act but acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence to win the case.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh said he considers Matthew’s action equal to a guilty plea. Morrogh said the prosecution couldn’t have stopped Matthew from entering an Alford plea and no deal was made with the defense to secure a lesser punishment.
“The defendant pled guilty to all of the charges, which means he faces the full range of punishment,” he said.
In November, Matthew pleaded not guilty to the three charges tied to the September 24, 2005, incident in Fairfax, a city 20 miles west of Washington. The indictment claimed that he”did feloniously, willfully, deliberately, intentionally and with premeditation attempt to kill (the victim) in the commission of or subsequent to an abduction with the intent to defile.”
Authorities say a 26-year-old woman there was returning from a grocery store when someone grabbed her from behind and sexually assaulted her.
“We saw her purse on the front sidewalk,” said neighbor Stacey Simkins. “He had already dragged her behind our units to the dark pool area.”