Court records: Jesse Matthew allegedly punched driver twice, then drove man to hospital

Posted at 10:55 PM, Sep 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 15:16:19-04

CHARLOTTEVILLE , Va. -- For those who know Jesse Matthew, the accusation that he abducted Hannah Graham or that he is linked to the Morgan Harrington case in any way, is hard to believe.

One of the Covenant High School football players coached by Matthew, who was a volunteer,  told CBS-6 he was stunned by the allegations.

"He was a good guy, he was very religious," the  player said.

Deyard Milligan, who works at the Charlottesville barbershop Matthew frequented, agreed.

"He was a quiet guy," Milligan said. "He was very quiet."

Joe Gurak, whose father worked with the suspect,  said Matthew "didn't seem like a guy who would do something like that."

In fact, friends from Monticello High School described Matthew as "the big man on campus" and, "a teddy bear."

However, court records obtained by CBS 6 News reveal a man who may also have had a violent temper at times.

In 2009, the then 27-year-old was accused of following a driver he thought had cut him off, then punching the man in the face twice and taking his phone near a convenience store.  Strangely, that driver also claims Matthew actually drove him to the hospital after the confrontation.

Additionally, Matthew was found guilty of trespassing in 2010 at the now closed Bucks Auto Repair after he was asked to leave four times.

And it has been widely reported that Matthew was accused of sexual assault on the campus of Liberty University in 2002.

Criminologist on Matthew

Forensic and serial criminal expert Mike Banks says Matthew's friends' perspective may not necessarily be relevant, because suspects accused of even the most heinous crimes may not stand out as dangerous.

"Sociopaths fit very easily into society. Many of them have families who have no idea what they do on their own," Banks said.


Specialized crews continue searching for Hannah Graham. Joe St. George reported that crews searched off Route 20 south of Charlottesville on Tuesday. Some of the terrain includes high weeds, which can make for difficult ground to cover. That's one reason why officials are asking residents to search their own land.

Where is Hannah Graham?

It was late on a Friday night and a freckled, blue-eyed University of Virginia student named Hannah Graham was partying in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.

Graham, described as an accomplished athlete and straight-A student, was seen various times before her disappearance in the early hours of September 13.

She was at a party and later at an apartment complex, just blocks away.  A surveillance camera caught her outside a pub, where she was turned away.

She was next seen running past a gas station, and witness accounts have her walking onto the Downtown Mall, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with restaurants and shops. There were a few people out walking around, and surveillance cameras help capture the track Graham took.

A surveillance camera at an Italian cafe captured her walking eastbound along the mall about 1:06 a.m. A camera at a jewelry store recorded her passing two minutes later.

That camera footage appears to show her walking with Matthew, which a witness confirmed, saying Graham was approached by a man who put his arm around her.

Matthew was originally spotted on a camera mounted at the Italian café, heading the opposite way  Graham was. The video shows him cross over and fall into step behind the 18-year-old.

Police said that at 1:20 a.m., she texted her friends to say she was lost and trying to find a party.

However, she told her friends, according to police, that she was lost at a location near her apartment – which was 1.5 miles from where she was spotted on camera ten minutes before the text.

One witness told police she and a man were seen having drinks at a bar between 1:30 and 2 a.m.

But the owner of the restaurant released a contradictory statement, saying that Matthew had been inside the bar, but Graham had not.

She may have been under the influence of alcohol, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said, and may have been vulnerable or unable to defend herself.

Jesse Matthew

DNA links Matthew to Morgan Harrington Case

Matthew's bond hearing will take place Thursday morning in General District Court.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed to CBS 6 reporter Laura French that Matthew has been forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington,

Those sources indicated that forensic evidence belonging to Graham suspect Jesse Matthew Jr., matched forensic evidence collected during the Harrington investigation.

The sources would not indicate what Matthew may or may not have done with Harrington, however the sources indicated that the forensic evidence match showed Harrington had some sort of contact with Matthew the night she disappeared outside John Paul Jones arena on October 17, 2009. Her remains were found in January 2010 on an Albemarle County farm.

Matthew also was questioned in connection with an alleged sexual assault nearly 12 years ago, authorities said.

But no charges were filed because the woman didn't want to go forward with the case and investigators determined there wasn't enough evidence to arrest Matthew, said Michael Doucette, the commonwealth's attorney for Lynchburg, Virginia.

According to a statement from Lynchburg police, the woman reported she was raped on the campus of Liberty University on October 17, 2002.

Matthew told authorities that the woman consented, Doucette said, adding that there were no witnesses.

Matthew's father spoke publicly, for the first time, to CBS 6. He said his son would not have harmed Graham.

"For a big man, he's as gentle as they come," Jesse Matthew Sr. said. "The only thing I could see, him, maybe trying to give the girl a ride or help her out.

"To kill or hurt somebody, that's not my son."

Last week Matthew appeared before Galveston County Judge Mark Henry on a charge of giving false information to a Texas police officer.

Matthew's Virginia-based lawyer had little to say about his client when approached this week outside his Charlottesville office.

"I am Mr. Matthew's attorney," James Camblos said. "I was hired on Saturday. That's the only thing that I'm going to confirm at this point. The family and I -- nobody is making any statements at this point in time. We might later on, but right now we are not."

Matthew willingly went to a police station last weekend, along with several family members, walking through the front door and asking for a lawyer, Longo said. There was no warrant for his arrest at that time.

Matthew and the lawyer spoke and then left, the police chief said, giving detectives no clearer picture of what may have happened the day Graham disappeared. Because he has retained counsel, police cannot question him.

What’s next in the search for Hannah Graham? 

Charlottesville Police have received 2,400 tips so far in the case. The first weekend after Graham’s disappearance, more than 1,200 volunteers and Virginia Department of Emergency Management officials spent the weekend searching for clues that would lead them to Graham.

Authorities say they think people who know Matthew may be helpful in the search for Graham.

"If you know Jesse, and many people do because Jesse grew up here," Longo said. "He went to school here. He has family here. He went to church here. He worked here. Lots of people know Jesse."

Longo also asked property owners to check their land for anything suspicion.

He asked owners that have checked their land to call the Hannah Graham tip line at 434-295-3851 or email to let investigators cross those properties off the list.

“If you have seen tire tracks…that seem suspect, again, contact us,” Longo said. “We will make the assessment of what is relevant.”

The chief also asked for the help of Charlottesville-area realtors.

“If you are a realtor who serves the greater Charlottesville area, we are asking you to go to vacant properties to follow the same directives that we have asked property owners.”

The city of Charlottesville, the University of Virginia and the local community have contributed $100,000 to a reward for “information leading to the cause” of Graham’s disappearance.

Anyone with info is asked to call the tipline at 434-295-3851. All surveillance videos can be seen here. All reports filed on this case can be found here.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the latest updates on this important story.