U.Va. murderer Jesse Matthew transfers prisons after cancer diagnosis

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., who pleaded guilty in 2016 to the murders of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham and Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, has been diagnosed with cancer, and has been transferred to a prison near Richmond, so he can receive treatment.

Albemarle County prosecutor Robert Tracci, who secured Matthew’s guilty plea released a statement saying he was informed of the transfer Monday.

“I advised the parents of Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham,” Tracci said. “Under the terms of the 2016 guilty plea entered in the county of Albemarle, Mr. Matthew is not eligible for early release or parole.”

Virginia Bureau of Prisons records show Matthew has been transferred from the “supermax” Red Onion Prison, in Wise County to Sussex I State Prison, in Waverly, Virginia, approximately 40 miles south of Richmond.

Lisa Kinney, director of communications with Virginia Department of Corrections told WTOP Matthew was transferred Monday.

In his first interview since being sentenced, on May 8, Matthew told CBS 6 he had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He did not provide specifics of his diagnosis, or his prognosis.

Gil Harrington, whose daughter Morgan was abducted and murdered in 2009 by Matthew after attending a concert in Charlottesville, said officials informed her Matthew has stage four colon cancer, meaning the disease has spread to other parts of his body.

“I had a fairly muted reaction,” Harrington told WTOP. “Once Jesse Matthew was contained, arrested, and sentenced and was not able to hurt anyone anymore, I really have not thought about him much.”

Harrington and her husband, Dan, formed the Help Save The Next Girl safety advocacy group after their daughter’s murder.

“I am content for justice to unfold as it will, and when he received 7 life sentences we knew he would die in prison — it appears that may happen sooner than anticipated,” said Harrington. “Perhaps that is the next stage of justice, his destiny, his karma.”

Prison officials have not specified where Matthew will receive his treatment, but the Richmond television station said Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical Center has a “secure care unit” for inmates with medical needs, including chemotherapy.

Matthew was arrested in September 2014, approximately two weeks after Graham disappeared from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. He was captured near Galveston, Texas.

Matthew also pleaded guilty to the 2005 rape and attempted murder of a woman in Fairfax, after DNA linked him to the Graham and Harrington murders.

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