The lawyer for a man who is charged with abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham and allegedly is linked to Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared from Charlottesville in 2009, said Tuesday that authorities have the evidence under seal.
“I am waiting to see evidence that links my client to either of these cases,” said James Camblos, who represents Jesse L. Matthew Jr., charged in the abduction of UVa student Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18.
Camblos, a former commonwealth’s attorney for Albemarle County who is now in private practice, said he met with Matthew, 32, of Albemarle County for 2 ½ hours and was retained by his family.
The Virginia State Police announced Monday that Matthew’s arrest in the Graham case led to an unspecified “forensic link,” described as a “significant break” in the investigation of the slaying of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20. She disappeared after leaving a concert at Charlottesville’s John Paul Jones Arena on Oct. 17, 2009.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Monday that the evidence is a DNA match.
A spokeswoman for the state police said there would be no further comment on the case. Timothy Longo, the Charlottesville chief of police, did not return calls Tuesday.
The News & Advance in Lynchburg reported Tuesday that Campbell County Sheriff Steve Hutcherson said his office is “taking a closer look” at whether Matthew was involved in the death of 23-year-old Cassandra Ann Morton, whose body was discovered in November 2009 on Candlers Mountain.
“We had a conversation about that early on when we found out that he went to Liberty [University] and was familiar with the area,” Hutcherson told the newspaper.
Matthew was a student at Liberty University from 2000 to 2002. He was accused of rape there, but no charges were filed, authorities have said.
Morton’s family reported her missing several days after she was last seen. Her body was discovered Nov. 30, 2009, by a hiker on Camp Hydaway Road.
Her body was heavily decomposed, leading authorities to believe it had been there for quite some time. Medical and dental records were needed to make a positive identification.
Harrington’s remains were discovered on an Albemarle County farm in January 2010, more than three months after she disappeared and about 10 miles from where she was last seen in Charlottesville.
Graham has been missing since early Sept. 13. Police said she was last seen on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville with Matthew. He was arrested last week near Galveston, Texas, and was returned Friday to Charlottesville.
The FBI announced in 2012 that DNA linked the Harrington case to an unsolved 2005 sexual assault in the city of Fairfax.
The suspect in that attack was described as a black man, with black hair and facial hair at the time of the attack. He was believed to be approximately 6 feet tall and between the ages of 25 and 35.
The 26-year-old victim was grabbed from behind and taken to a grassy area behind a maintenance shed, where she was assaulted.
Matthew, charged in the Graham case with abduction with the intent to defile, is set to appear for a bond hearing in Charlottesville General District Court on Thursday morning.