Former Hospital Worker Accused of Murdering 2 Female College Students Pleads Guilty
Jesse Matthew, the man charged with murdering Hannah Graham, right, and Morgan Harrington, has pleaded guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
A former hospital orderly has pleaded guilty to the kidnappings and murders of two Virginia college students in a deal that spares him the death penalty.
Jesse Matthew, 35, showed no emotion Wednesday as he was sentenced to four consecutive life terms after pleading guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of abduction with intent to defile in the 2014 death of 18-year-old Hannah Graham and the 2009 death of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington.
He made no comment to the judge, CBS News reported.
The victim's families read emotional statements in court describing the irreplaceable losses of their daughters.
Hannah Graham's mother, Sue, described how Matthew "dumped her like a bag of trash to be picked over by buzzards" on an abandoned property.
Her daughter was the "the most optimistic person we've ever known," she said, and described her grief at being denied Hannah's smile and her quick wit.
Dan Harrington Harrington said his daughter Megan was lovely, smart and talented. His family feels her loss "acutely, every second, of every day in the 6.5 years since that wicked act occurred," he told the judge in a Charlottesville courtroom.
Matthew robbed Megan of her "future, her potential to educate others, to be married, have children and to grow old," Harrington said.
"The brutality and intentionality of Morgan's murder pierces our every day, and will continue to do so until we join her," her father said.
The young woman vanished five years apart in Charlottesville. Harrington disappeared after stepping outside a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia and then being denied entry to the college's arena.
Graham went missing after having dinner and drinks with friends. Surveillance video showed her stumbling near a gas station and a restaurant. She texted a friend that she was lost.
Footage from Charlottesville's pedestrian mall showed her leaving a restaurant with Matthew, whose arm was wrapped around her.
Graham's disappearance prompted a massive search. Her body was found five weeks later about 12 miles from campus and about six miles from where Harrington's body was found in 2010.
Matthew ran after police named him as a person of interest Graham's disappearance. He was later arrested on a Texas beach.
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