Fairfax judge denies delay for Jesse Matthew trial

FAIRFAX, Va. — A Fairfax County judge has rejected a motion from Jesse Matthew’s lawyer asking to delay his trial for a charge stemming from a 2005 sexual assault.

With the ruling, Matthew’s trial is scheduled to begin June 8.

Public defender Dawn Butorac had said her client’s constitutional rights were being “obliterated,” because she didn’t have sufficient time to process DNA analyses, which were provided recently.

Circuit Court judge David Schell disagreed, saying Matthew’s lawyers had “ample, or at least sufficient time” to review discovery in preparation for trial.

Matthew was indicted in October for three felonies: attempted capital murder, abduction with intent to defile, and object penetration. He faces three life sentences in the Fairfax case.

Matthew is also charged with capital murder in Albemarle County, in the death of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Prosecutors in the Graham case say they’ll seek the death penalty if the case goes to trial.

Matthew’s Fairfax attorney told the judge that prosecutors have not specified whether the victim, who was attacked in a wooded park in the City of Fairfax, Sept. 24, 2005, would be able to identify Matthew as her attacker, in addition to presenting the DNA evidence.

During arguments Friday, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan said the defense “complaints are baseless,” and the defense is “grasping at straws” in seeking a delay.

After Schell’s ruling, Butorac told the judge “this case is coming back,” on appeal. The judge did not respond to Butorac’s statement.

Matthew did not address the court during the hearing.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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