Morgan Harrington’s mother: ‘It’s been a long six years’

The families of Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham are joined by tragedy, and await murder trials of Jesse Matthew. (AP Photos)

WASHINGTON — The parents of Morgan Harrington believed it was only a matter of time before Jesse Matthew — the man indicted on a charge of murdering University of Virginia student Hannah Graham — also would be charged with murdering their daughter.

On Tuesday, Gil and Dan Harrington learned that an Albemarle County grand jury had indicted Matthew of first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the 2009 disappearance and death of their 20-year-old daughter, who disappeared after a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia.

“It’s been a long six years,” Gil Harrington told Charlottesville television station NBC29.

“When there’s an act as heinous as abducting and murdering someone, there should be consequences,” said Harrington.

“That whole domino cascade of consequences for abducting and murdering Morgan Harrington has started.”

The remains of the Virginia Tech student from Roanoke were found three months after her disappearance, in January 2010, in a remote hay field on an Albemarle County farm, outside Charlottesville.

Matthew will go on trial in July 2016 for last year’s murder of Hannah Graham. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

In the Harrington case, the first degree murder and abduction with intent to defile charges each carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

In May, Matthew entered an Alford plea in the 2005 sexual attack on a woman in Fairfax City. Police have said DNA evidence linked the Harrington and Fairfax cases.

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford told NBC 29 about the timing of the decision to seek an indictment in the Harrington case, before trying the Graham case.

“We decided a month or two ago it was time to proceed, and ask the grand jury what they thought,” said Lunsford.

Gil Harrington will be in the courtroom Wednesday, when Matthew makes his first appearance in her daughter’s murder case.

“I want him to see me. I want him to see my face, and I want him to know that I know what he did,” said Harrington.

 

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