Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Virginia College Students

He got 4 life sentences but no death penalty
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2016 3:57 PM CST
Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Virginia College Students
Jesse Matthew walks out of court Wednesday in Virginia after pleading guilty to the abduction and murders of two college students.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The man known as the "UVA killer" will in all likelihood spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty to killing two Virginia college students over the past seven years, NBC News reports. Jesse Matthew was sentenced to four life sentences on Wednesday as part of a plea deal that will allow him to avoid the death penalty. The deal was supported by the families of both of his victims, according to WTVR. Matthew's lawyer said his client agreed to the plea "to not have the sentence of death hanging over his head," the Washington Post reports. NBC states the deal "all but assures he will never be a free man again." Matthew has no chance of parole, early release, or geriatric release.

Twenty-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington disappeared in 2009 after attending a concert at the University of Virginia. Eighteen-year-old Hannah Graham was a UVA student when she disappeared five years later. Matthew worked at the UVA medical center at the time of the disappearances. "Today's events do not bring Hannah back to us," Graham's father said during Wednesday's hearing, per NBC. "But at times like this, we must take comfort where we can." Graham's mother described her daughter as a "heroine" for giving her life to help police arrest “a serial rapist and murderer hiding in plain sight." Matthew was sentenced to three life sentences last year for sexually assaulting and attempting to murder a 26-year-old woman in 2005. (More Jesse Matthew stories.)

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