Man pleads guilty in killing of college students

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2015, file photo, Jesse Matthew is escorted out of court after a hearing on two different murder charges in Charlottesville, Va. Matthew, charged in the slayings of two Virginia college students, is scheduled to appear in Albemarle County Circuit Court on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile for the slayings of two college students.

Jesse LeRoy Matthew Jr. entered the pleas Wednesday in Albemarle County Circuit Court and received four consecutive life terms.

Matthew already was serving three life terms for a 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia.

The former hospital orderly pleaded guilty in the September 2014 killing of 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham and the 2009 slaying of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who vanished after a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia.

Through his attorney, Matthew said he was sorry and loves his family very much. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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