A Virginia man who has been charged with murdering college student Hannah Graham stands trial on Monday on a separate accusation of rape and attempted murder.
The suspect, Jesse Matthew Jr., 33, of Charlottesville, is charged with attacking a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, a Washington suburb, in 2005, Reuters reported. Jury selection begins Monday.
Matthew, a former hospital worker, is accused of grabbing a 26-year-old woman from a grocery store, dragging her into the woods nearby and sexually assaulting her. Matthew was interrupted by a passerby and ran off.
He is also charged with abducting and murdering Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore, last year in a case that sparked national controversy. Graham vanished in September 2014 after a night of partying with her friends. Matthew was the last person seen with her, authorities say. Graham’s remains were found about five weeks after her disappearance.
Albemarle County prosecutors charged him with capital murder last week in Graham’s case, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted in that case.
The rape trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court is scheduled to span over two weeks’ time. Matthew faces life in prison for that crime if he is convicted. The victim arrived in the United States last week from India to testify against him. She is expected to take the stand although it could be days into the trial before she is brought in. Monday’s hearing begins at 10 a.m.
Matthew has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted capital murder during abduction, abduction with intent to defile, and sexual penetration with an object.
Virginia State Police have said forensic evidence links Matthew to Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared after leaving a Charlottesville concert in October 2009; her body was discovered in 2010.