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Accused UVA Killer Jesse Matthew Pleads Guilty In Two Murders

by Corky Siemaszko /  / Updated 

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The so-called "UVA Killer" pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing two coeds and received four life sentences.

In doing so, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. closed a painful chapter for the loved ones of the two Virginia college students he admitted killing — Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington.

A booking photo of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.Galveston County Sheriff via AP

"This resolution serves the interests of justice by ensuring the defendant will never again pose a threat to public safety," Albermarle County Prosecutor Robert Tracci said. "It is consistent with the wishes of the Graham and Harrington families. "

Graham's father, John, said the agreement "has our full support."

It denies Matthew the ability to "inflict his depravity on young women," the grieving dad said. "Today's events do not bring Hanna back to us, of course. But at times like this, we must take comfort where we can."

Harrington's mother thanked law enforcement for tracking Matthew down and everyone who supported them on the "hard road."

"They say it takes a village to raise a child," Harrington's mother, Gil, said. "I know it takes one to bury a child."

Matthew, 34, did not shed any tears as he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abduction with intent to defile in a Charlottesville, Virginia courtroom. He received a life sentence on each charge.

Matthew also appeared to show little emotion as two impact statements were read by members of the Graham and Harrington families.

Susan Graham said that Matthew murdered her daughter for his own wicked perversions, leaving her body "to be picked over by buzzards".

Matthew did not give a statement during the hearing, though his lawyer said that Matthew was sorry for what happened.

The pleas take the death penalty off the table for Matthew, who was already serving three life sentences for the 2005 rape and attempted murder of a woman from India in Fairfax County, Virginia. And it all but assures he will never be a free man again.

Under the deal, Matthew will not be eligible for appeal or a geriatric release, Tracci said.

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, Virginia, Matthew 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 nabbed 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.

"No outcome could bring about closure," Tracci said. "But this is a time for recognition for the thousands of volunteers that made Hannah and Morgan's cause their own."

Morgan Harrington's mother, Jill, spoke about the long journey for justice her family had been going through. She thanked law enforcement and media for their persistence.

"For six and a half years, you were determined to find the predator that hunted in this community," she said.

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