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Hannah Graham Suspect Enters No Plea for 2005 Abduction, Sex Assault

The suspect in the disappearance of the University of Virginia student appeared in court for a separate case he faces charges in: a 2005 assault.

The suspect in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham appeared in court Friday for a separate case he faces charges in: a 2005 abduction and sex assault. Jesse Matthew, 32, did not enter a plea.

Graham, 18, vanished on Sept. 13 and was found dead weeks later. Matthew has been charged with abduction with the intent to defile in her case, but also has a litany of other accusations against him.

Friday's court appearance stems from a Sept. 24, 2005, sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman in Fairfax County, Virginia. Authorities have said the woman was walking home from a grocery store when a man grabbed her from being and forced her into a wooded area, where he assaulted her.

Investigators charged Matthew with the 2005 assault after taking him into custody for Graham because of forensic evidence that linked him not only to the assault, but to a 2009 murder of another student, Morgan Harrington, who attended Virginia Tech.

Because Matthew is currently being held in Albemarle County, he appeared in Fairfax County court via video link. He is charged with attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual penetration with an object.

In his brief court appearance before the judge, he appeared alongside lawyer James Camblos, but did not enter a plea due to issues with counsel. He requested to be solely represented by Camblos, who is representing him in the Graham case in Charlottesville, but Judge Dennis Smith denied that request. Instead, he assigned Matthew co-counsel, citing the need for a speedy trial.

Camblos will co-represent Matthew with two Fairfax County public defenders going forward.

Camblos asked that his client undergo a psychiatric evaluation to evaluate his sanity at the time of the 2005 offense, but the judge said he wouldn't hear a motion on that during this court appearance due to procedural issues.

A status conference is scheduled for Nov. 14, and a trial date will be decided at that time. Matthew is expected to appear in Fairfax court in person.

Fairfax Prosecutor Ray Morrough said the victim in the 2005 case is "relieved" and "satisfied that maybe we'll get some resolution." The victim has never been publicly identified and is not currently in the country. Morrough said she will be returning for the trial and that there is a possibility she may testify against Matthew in court.



—Katie Wall and Elizabeth Chuck