Judge delays Jesse Matthew trial so lawyer can find DNA expert

Posted at 10:40 AM, Mar 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-04 17:46:12-05

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. -- The judge hearing the Jesse Matthew case in Albemarle Circuit Court granted Matthew’s lawyer a motion to delay his June 29 trial. A new trial date will be set during a May 5 hearing. Matthew is accused in the September abduction and murder of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

The defense argued more time is needed to challenge DNA evidence the prosecution intends to present at trial.

"A defense expert could really add some context to the DNA evidence and help show that it might not mean what the prosecution says it does," said CBS 6 Legal Analyst, Todd Stone.

"I'm not going to talk about specific evidence but we've had a number of things at the lab and they've been very helpful working with us," said Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney, Denise Lunsford.

Gil Harrington

Wednesday was the first time John and Susan Graham, and the mother of murdered Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who is also linked by DNA to Matthew on the 2009 night she disappeared, came face to face with the man they believe was responsible for their daughters' deaths.
"It's a strange feeling," said Gil Harrington, Morgan's mother. "Although it's an odd place to be, I'm grateful we do have this opportunity for justice to occur," added Harrington.

Harrington says she needed to attend Wednesday's hearing to honor her daughter.

"There are very few things that 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. I intend to be here as often as I can," said Harrington.

Harrington also wanted to support the Grahams who she embraced when they entered the court room.

"I'm just trying to be there for them just as they are trying to be there for us. That's all we can do is try to carry the burden together," said Harrington.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for complete coverage of this important story.