Search warrant reveals new details of evidence in Hannah Graham case

WASHINGTON —A day-long pretrial motions hearing in Albemarle County, Virginia, exposed new details as Jesse Matthew — charged with killing Hannah Graham in 2014 — appeared in court.

Monday night, a judge ruled that the prosecution did not intentionally mislead the magistrate to get search warrants for 34-year-old Matthew’s car and apartment.

Fourteen witnesses were subpoenaed to testify, as the hearing shed more light on prosecutors’ case against Matthew.

Police dogs detected traces of the University of Virginia sophomore inside the apartment and on Matthew’s car door, a detective testified Monday.

Former Louisa County detective Stuart “Buck” Garner said that his bloodhound found Graham’s scent on the passenger door of Matthew’s car. And, he says the dog also alerted to her scent inside Matthew’s apartment and at a nearby dumpster.

Garner also testified that based on his hound’s reaction, he believes that Graham rode in a car with the windows down to a mulch pile on Market Street, a mile and a half from the downtown mall. At that distant location, the dog detected a scent pool indicating fear and adrenaline.

Matthew’s defense team argued that Graham had never been inside the apartment and that police misrepresented and omitted information from applications for warrants to search his car and apartment after Graham disappeared from downtown Charlottesville in September 2014.

Her remains were found more than a month later at an abandoned property in Albemarle County.

During questioning by the defense team, police testified that a witness didn’t choose Matthew out of a photo lineup and that investigators had identified another man seen in surveillance images from the downtown mall as a person of interest.

An affidavit for the search warrant of Matthew’s car said that the last text message from Graham was at 1:28 a.m. on Sept. 13, which is later than what police had previously said was her last communication with her friends.

After Judge Cheryl Higgins’ ruling Monday night, she disclosed new information in the investigation as she read the search warrant in open court.

According to the warrant, credit card receipts showed Matthew buying drinks at Tempo Bar, at the time a witness saw him with Graham.

During a search, a detective also told Matthew investigators had video of him with Graham from that night. The warrant states that when the detective asked Matthew about Graham, he responded, “I was pretty drunk that night, I don’t remember.”

In her ruling against the defense, Higgins said that not every detail in the search warrant had to be right, saying, “they were attempting to find Hannah Graham alive.”

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report from Albemarle County.

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