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Accused UVA Killer Jesse Matthew Expected to Enter Guilty Plea in Two Murders

Accused UVA killer Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. is planning to enter guilty pleas on Wednesday in connection with the kidnapping and murders of students.
Morgan Harrington, left, and Hannah Elizabeth Graham
Morgan Harrington, left, and Hannah Elizabeth GrahamCourtesy of Virginia State Police; Charlottesville Police

Accused University of Virginia killer Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. is planning to cop a plea Wednesday to avoid the death penalty for kidnapping and murdering two Virginia college students.

Matthew's pleas will "resolve both the Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington abduction and murder cases,” Albemarle County Prosecutor Robert Tracci said in a statement.

A booking photo of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. Matthew Jr. was arrested on a beach in the Texas community of Gilchrist by Galveston County Sheriff's authorities, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo announced Wednesday night Sept. 24, 2014. He is charged with abducting a missing University of Virginia sophomore and is awaiting extradition.Galveston County Sheriff via AP

Tracci did not disclose the charges Matthew will plead to. But guilty pleas to murder would likely take the death penalty off the table for Matthew, who is already serving three life sentences for the 2005 rape and attempted murder of a woman from India in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Matthew was charged in February with murdering Graham, an 18-year-old University of Virginia sophomore who vanished Sept. 13, 2014 after a night out with friends.

Seven months later, Matthew with charged with killing Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who disappeared Oct. 17, 2009 during a Metallica concert on the UVA campus in Charlottesville.

A former college football player at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginian, the strapping suspect was a patient technician at the UVA medical center when the coeds went missing.

After cops named Matthew a person of interest in Graham's disappearance, he went on the run and was later captured on a beach in Texas. He was charged with abduction with intent to defile and a DNA sample connected him to the sexual assault in Fairfax County, officials said earlier.

That, in turn, enabled police to connect Matthew to the Harrington murder, they said.

In a letter to the court that was unveiled last September, a former Matthew girlfriend who called him "L.J." said wrote that he had been raped repeatedly as a child.

"He was sexually abused by at least three different individuals (that I'm aware of) through his elementary school years," the unidentified woman wrote. "I have no doubt this repeated sexual trauma during his developmental years played a key role in the allegations against him."