FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Jesse Matthew, charged with the murders of college students Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington, was sentenced to three life sentences on Friday in a Fairfax County courtroom. Matthew entered an Alford Plea in June for attempted capital murder and sexual assault on a woman in 2005. DNA evidence collected from Matthew during last year’s investigation of Graham’s disappearance linked him to the Fairfax case, which had been unsolved.
The judge accepted the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s request for three life sentences. While the state addressed the court, Matthew had his hand over his face, refusing to acknowledge the Commonwealth’s Attorney as the told judge was that if Matthew was abused as a child, he should “loathe doing that to someone else. That makes him even more dangerous.”
A letter from the victim, only known as RG, was read by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. She wrote in the letter:
“That night, I died due to a shameful act of human greed.”
Matthew’s family has asked the judge for leniency, and a former girlfriend wrote a letter on Matthew’s behalf saying he was raped as a child. Matthew’s attorney argued that his background should not be an excuse for his actions, but it should be considered for the sentencing and leniency should be considered since Matthew was only 24 at the time of the crime with no previous offenses. Matthews medical issues and alcoholic father were also brought to the judge during sentencing.
Matthew’s mother was described as inconsolable after the sentencing was handed down, shouting at the judge, “I hope you rot in hell.”
As he left the courthouse, Matthew’s father ignored questions from the media.
His trial in the Hannah Graham case is set for July 2016; there he faces a possible death sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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