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Fairfax victim’s ID of Jesse Matthew Jr. could be ‘tainted by use of internet’

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Posted at 10:34 PM, May 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-20 06:36:49-04

FAIRFAX, Va. – Jesse Matthew Jr.’s defense filed two motions ahead of the suspect’s attempted capital murder trial that begins in Fairfax on June 8.

The defense wants the court to suppress all evidence of pre-trial identification and any in-court identification of Matthew. The motion was filed on the grounds “that the identification procedures were impermissibly suggestive and the identification unreliable,” and violated his due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The defense called the description she offered of a man who accosted her from behind in a poorly-lit area at night “very generalized.”

The defense’s motion states there is no indication that the complaining witness ever gave a detailed, specific description of her attacker or that she was ever asked to view a physical or photo lineup. The motion alleges that because the victim is “familiar with the internet” she may have seen images of Matthew, and her ability to make an in court ID is “completely tainted.”

The prosecution has not provided information of a pre-trial ID, or whether the alleged victim will be asked to identify Matthew in court. The judge will have to set a hearing on the motion.

The second motion requests that Matthew be kept at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center to prepare for trial.

DNA that links Matthew to other cases

DNA from the Fairfax case linked Matthew to murdered Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington the night she disappeared from UVa’s John Paul Jones Arena in 2009. That DNA was also collected in the Hannah Graham murder case, in Charlottesville.

Those close to Matthew in 2009 when Harrington disappeared, told CBS 6 News that they informed investigators that they would joke with their former co-worker that he resembled a sketch of the man linked to a 2005 rape in Fairfax — and the man linked to Harrington. They said Matthew would at times brush it off. But at other times, they said Matthew would get visibly upset and disappear for hours.

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Defense previously filed motion to postpone trial

Recently the defense filed a motion to postpone the scheduled trial in Fairfax.

“The Commonwealth has had over nine years to investigate and prepare for this case; the defendant has had approximately six months to investigate and prepare for trial,” Matthew’s lawyers wrote in the motion that was denied.

Matthew was recently charged with capital murder in the abduction and murder of Graham, a second-year University of Virginia. Matthew will be eligible for the death penalty in the Graham case. He has a court day set in Albemarle County for June 25.

The Fairfax Case

Documents unsealed in March revealed new information in the Jesse Matthew attempted capital murder sexual assault case in Fairfax. Prosecutors said Matthew abducted a woman on a path near her Fairfax apartment on September 24, 2005. Court documents alleged Matthew choked her and sexually assaulted her with his hand. DNA was taken from the victim and that sample linked Matthew to the offense, according to the documents.

That evidence prompted Matthew’s defense to request funds in the amount of $2,000 for a DNA expert.

This is a developing story.