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Hannah Graham slaying suspect cleared in 2013 case

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Posted at 6:26 PM, Jan 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-23 18:27:27-05

(CNN) — Virginia authorities on Friday said they have found no link between Jesse Matthew, suspected of killing college student Hannah Graham, and the abduction and slaying of a teenage girl in 2013.

Matthew’s arrest in October in the Graham case prompted authorities to investigate his possible links to a string of unsolved killings and disappearances in the area. One of those cases involved 17-year-old Alexis Murphy of Lovingston, Virginia, who disappeared in 2013 and whose body has not been found.

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Another man, Randy Taylor, was convicted of Murphy’s abduction and murder, but after Matthew’s arrest, Taylor’s attorney asked that evidence in the case be re-examined to check for any links to Matthew.

Friday, the top prosecutor in Nelson County, which includes Lovingston, said fresh DNA testing conducted by the FBI after the attorney’s request excluded Matthew from evidence collected in the Murphy case.

“Law enforcement affirms its earlier conclusion that there is no credible evidence linking Jesse Matthew to the abduction and murder of Alexis Murphy,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin said.

Matthew is charged with abducting and killing Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore whose body was found in October, a month after she vanished after a night out near campus.

He is also charged in the sexual assault of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, in 2005; the trial in that case is scheduled for March.

Authorities said that in September 2005, a 26-year-old woman returning from a grocery store was grabbed from behind and sexually assaulted. The attacker was scared off by a passerby.

Information from the 2005 victim led police to link Matthew to the case of another missing young woman, Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who vanished in Charlottesville in October 2009 and was found dead a few months later. Matthew has not been charged in that case.

Investigators are looking into his possible connection to other similar cases in the area. They include the August 2009 killing of Virginia Tech students Heidi Childs and David Metzler and the October 2009 killing of 23-year-old Cassandra Morton of Lynchburg, Virginia.

Police are also investigating Matthew’s possible ties to the disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke of Orange, Virginia.

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