Judge Grants Permission for DNA Expert in Jesse Matthew Trial

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Jesse Matthew, Jr. made his first in-person appearance in an Albemarle County Court Wednesday for a pre-trial motions hearing. The judge granted a motion delaying the start of his murder trial for the death of Hannah Graham.

Matthew was set to stand trial at the end of June, but a judge granted a motion to delay those proceedings to give the defense more time to hire a DNA expert.

"The judge granted the motion for the DNA expert to be identified at at later time, and granted to motion for a continuance setting it to be certain on May the fifth to determine a new trial date," said Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford.

In court, Lunsford said the case against Matthew relies "in some way on DNA evidence." She said she did not object to the defense's motion.

"I'm not going to talk about specific evidence, but we've had a number of things at the lab for a while, and they have been very good on working with us," Lunsford said.

Matthew's family was in court Wednesday, and so were Hannah Graham's parents, and the mother of murder victim Morgan Harrington. Matthew has been forensically linked to her death.

While in court, Matthew quietly asked his lawyers questions, and looked around the room, several times making eye contact with the Grahams, and with Gil Harrington.

"I didn't want to glare at him, or stare at him, but again my role now is to witness," said Harrington.

Morgan Harrington was murdered in 2009. Although there is a DNA link between Morgan's case and Hannhah's, Matthew has not been charged in Morgan's death.

"There are very few tasks that I can do for Morgan. Being here, and being a witness to these proceedings is one of the last things I can do for her, and I intend to be here as often as I can," Harrington said.

Harrington said she came to support the Graham family. In court the two mothers embraced after the hearing.

"It's a strange feeling, but we know a lot of people that have not had this resolution. We know a lot of people who's family members, and loved ones are still missing. Although it's an odd place to be at, we really are grateful for this opportunity for justice to occur," said Harrginton. "We really are trying to carry the burden together."

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