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Judge denies majority of Jesse Matthew’s defense motions

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Capital murder suspect Jesse Matthew Jr. was in Albemarle County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon, as a judge considered several pretrial motions filed last month by his defense attorneys.

Judge Cheryl Higgins considered a dozen motions, including allowing Matthew to not be shackled in public and appear in his personal attire during the trial

Although this motion was denied, Higgins decided that Matthew will wear prison attire and be shackled for pre-trial hearings, but will be able to wear personal attire during the trial.

She also considered a request to bar displays of any symbols that support second year University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, believed to have been murdered by Matthew in Sept. 2014.

Higgins has said she will not address the insignia during pretrial hearings. She has put that motion under advisory.

Graham, 18, went missing before dawn on September 13 after she was last spotted on surveillance video in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall area.

In October, authorities found her skull and bones on abandoned property eight miles from where the college sophomore was last seen.

The location was not far from where the remains of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington were found in Jan. 2010. Matthew is forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of Harrington, by DNA that linked him to a 2005 rape and attempted murder case in Fairfax.

In June 2015, Matthew entered an Alford plea for the charges, and faces life in prison.

Surveillance video and other accounts led authorities to identify Matthew as a suspect in Graham's disappearance.
Matthew, a 33-year-old former cab driver, was taken into custody on September 24 on a beach in Galveston County, Texas, about 1,300 miles away from where Graham was last seen.

A map shown in court indicates that he was headed to Texas.

The trial is slated to four weeks for  to begin in July 2016. want to get 250 potential juror. 12 seated , 4 alternates Commonwealth have hundreds of pieces of evidence for the trial.

The motions discussed in court were:

• Motion invoking Matthew's 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights specifically not to speak to law enforcement, the prosecutor, the attorney general's office and other government agencies. No ruling, not applicable.

• Motion for Matthew to be present at every hearing. This motion was agreed upon. Matthew doesn't have to be present, but he has the right to be present at every hearing.

• Motion asking for Matthew to not be shackled in public and appear in his personal attire during the trial. Denied. Matthew will wear prison attire and be shackled for pre-trial hearings, but will be able to wear personal attire during the trial.

• Motion to bar tokens or insignia of support for either side during trial. Denied, but will be taken under advisement for trial.

• Motion to appoint judge to hear expert funding requests. Denied.

• Motion to preserve all evidence, including biological evidence, physical evidence collected from crime scene and alleged weapons among others. Denied

• Motion to preserve law enforcement notes. Denied.

• Motion to stop any additional state evidence testing or examination without notifying the defense for approval. Denied

• Motion to have notice of parts of Jesse Matthew's criminal past planned for use during any sentencing hearing. Mutual agreement. The Commonwealth of Virginia will give them this information by December 31, 2015.

• Motion for particulars on statutory aggravators the commonwealth would use at a capital sentencing. Denied

• Motion to examine evidence without the prosecutor or investigators present. Denied

• Motion to prohibit extrajudicial statements including any talk of a guilty plea and other matters by lawyers. Denied

***reporting using CNN wire contributed to this report***