IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jesse Matthew, Suspect in Hannah Graham Case, Has History of Bad Acts

Charges in the disappearance of Hannah Graham are just the tip of the iceberg in a long, tangled criminal history for the Virginia suspect.
Get more newsLiveon

For the man accused of abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, charges in the disappearance of the 18-year-old are just part of a long, tangled history of bad acts.

A look into the criminal records of Jesse Matthew, 32, reveals a string of accusations ranging from sexual assault to forensic evidence potentially linking him to a previous killing. A number of the allegations have come to light since Matthew, who worked as a patient technician at the UVA medical center since 2012 and was a taxi driver before that, was detained last month in connection to Graham's disappearance.

Graham vanished on Sept. 13. Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in the case. On Saturday, authorities announced human remains had been discovered in an abandoned property during the search for the college sophomore, who was last seen on surveillance video with Matthew.

Investigators have not yet confirmed that the remains belong to Graham — one of five women who disappeared in the area around Charlottesville, Virginia, in the past five years. Police have said since arresting Matthew that forensic evidence links him to the murder of another one of the women, 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, whose body was found after she went missing in 2009.

Matthew's attorney has repeatedly declined to answer questions about his client.

Here are accusations and charges that Matthew, a former college football player who used to volunteer with Christian youth, has faced:

  • Questioned in a 2002 sexual assault: Matthew attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 2000 to 2002, where he played football. The Lynchburg Commonwealth attorney told NBC News that Matthew was questioned in connection with a sexual assault in 2002 when he was a Liberty student, but said charges were not filed against him because the accuser did not want to proceed with the case. Matthew left the school shortly after the incident.
  • Accused of a 2003 sexual assault: Just 11 months after the Liberty University allegations, Matthew was involved in another sexual assault investigation. He attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia — where he was also on the football team — from January 2003 to October 2003. The university said a sexual assault was reported on campus on Sept. 7, 2003, and that Matthew ended his time on the football team five days after that. He was questioned but again not charged, and left the school the following month.
  • Charges in a 2005 sexual assault: Authorities announced on Monday that Matthew, already in custody for Graham's case, now faces additional charges in a Sept. 24, 2005, sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman in Fairfax County, Virginia. The woman was dragged into a wooded area and assaulted while walking home from the grocery store on a Saturday night; Matthew is charged with abduction, rape and attempted capital murder in the case. Few details have been released about the new charges, but police said the forensic evidence that connects Matthew to the 2009 killing of Morgan Harrington is linked by DNA to the 2005 Fairfax County sexual assault.
  • Linked to student's 2009 death: Morgan Harrington was last seen at a concert on the UVA campus in October 2009. Her body was found on a farm three months later. No one was charged with her murder. While investigators say Matthew's recent arrest gave them a forensic break in her unsolved homicide, they have not filed charges against him in her case. Three others went missing within 50 miles of Charlottesville in recent years: Samantha Ann Clarke, 19, disappeared from Orange County in 2010. Alexis Murphy, 17, disappeared from Shipman in 2012. DaShad Laquinn Smith, 19, also vanished in Charlottesville in 2012. None of their bodies has been found, although a jury convicted Randy Taylor of Murphy's murder in July and a person of interest has been named in Smith's case. Charlottesville police do not have evidence that the cases are connected, but the repeated disappearances have left the community reeling.
  • Accused of assault and attempted grand larceny in 2009: Matthew was accused of assault after attempting to steal a cell phone in June 2009, but all charges were dropped, legal records show.
  • Convicted of trespassing in 2010: The circumstances surrounding these charges are not clear based on court records.
  • Accused of possession of stolen property in 2012: This charge, of which no details are available, was dropped. Matthew also has several traffic infractions on his record over the years.
  • Charged with abduction with intent to defile in 2014: Matthew was arrested in Texas in Graham's disappearance after a widespread manhunt for him. No murder charge has been filed yet in the case. Graham had gone missing in the early hours of Sept. 13 after leaving an off-campus party, and witnesses and surveillance video pointed to Matthew as the last person seen with her. Matthew was initially brought in for questioning as a person of interest, but left the police station with no charges filed against him. He fled and was later charged once police searched his apartment and car. He was arrested in Galveston County, Texas, on Sept. 24, and extradited to Charlottesville. He is being held without bond.