‘My daughter was murdered’ mom says after Jesse Matthew Jr. charged in Morgan Harrington’s death

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 08:43:27-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- An Albemarle County Grand Jury issued two indictments against Jesse Matthew Jr. in the abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared in 2009.

The two charges of first-degree murder and intent to defile, carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"This is the verification that my daughter was actually murdered," said her mother Gil Harrington. "This is another step in the marathon we have ahead of us, but it also shows that there are consequences."

Morgan Harrington

"It's hard to be happy, because [ultimately] you know your daughter is murdered," she told CBS 6 reporter Laura French.

Harrington disappeared outside John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, almost six years ago, while attending a Metallica concert on Oct. 17, 2009. Her body was discovered on a rural Albemarle County farm in January 2010.

In November 2014, police forensically linked Matthew to Harrington. Matthew faces a capital murder charge in the abduction and murder of second-year UVa. student Hannah Graham.

Graham disappeared Sept. 13, 2014.  On Oct. 18, 2014, her body was discovered just over five miles from where Harrington’s body was found.

Matthew’s DNA was found on the black “Pantera” shirt Morgan Harrington wore the night she disappeared, according to a search warrant obtained by CBS 6 reporter Laura French.

Last year, sources confirmed with reporter Laura French that at least two local cab employees informed federal and state investigators that Matthew was working as a cab driver the night Harrington disappeared.

File photo of Jesse Matthew - person of interest in Hannah Graham case.

File photo of Jesse Matthew

The cab that Matthew drove in 2009 was seized by authorities from a farm a year ago, as part of their active investigation. Those sources indicated Matthew was among the cab drivers who police interviewed after Harrington disappeared.

Career cab Driver Melvin Carter, who knew Matthew, said in a previous interview that he reached out to investigators five years ago after being questioned about local cab companies.

"He could have made an impression on her. Because what I heard from her mental state, she was upset. So she may have found someone who was loving and trusting and comfort her," Carter said.

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.

Jesse Matthew Jr.

In June 2015,  Matthew entered an Alford plea in a September 2005 abduction, sexual assault and attempted murder in Fairfax, Virginia. He will serve life in prison for that crime.

He faces a capital murder charge in the death of Hannah Graham. That trial is set to begin in July 2016.

"The indictments result from the dedicated investigative efforts over the past six years by the Virginia State Police, Albemarle County Police, Charlottesville Police, University of Virginia Police, and the FBI," state police wrote on Facebook.

Matthew will appear in court on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers are Working For You.

Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.