DNA clears suspect of rape charges

This week, Christopher Matthew’s name and picture was all over the news in connection with a recent sexual assault. Matthew was arrested after a U.Va. graduate student heard his voice over the police radio and identified him as the man who raped her. Local media speculated that Matthew could be responsible for just about every sexual assault since 1997 — could this be the serial rapist, brought to justice at last? — only as it turns out, DNA evidence clears Matthew of all charges, and he was released today. The local media, I’m sure, will report on Matthew’s innocence with equally prominent headlines.

In other news, Charlottesville police are still waiting for the real serial rapist to voluntarily submit to a DNA test.

7 thoughts on “DNA clears suspect of rape charges”

  1. Interesting; I hadn’t before heard how Matthews was identified in the case. If the student had heard a white man who was a prominent member of the community and told the police “that’s him! that’s the guy who raped me! It sounds just like him over your radio there!”, would there still have been an arrest? (My guess is there would have been strong pressure for the guy to give a DNA sample but no arrest; I hope I would be wrong.) Anyway, sounds like pretty flimsy grounds to me; maybe there is more evidence than is being reported, but nonetheless my heart goes out to Mr. Matthews and his family having to endure a false accusation and trial-by-media.

    On the upside, although the story is buried on the Regress website, it’s the lead piece on WINA’s and NBC29’s sites. Hopefully the same holds true for their shows.

  2. she IDed him over the radio, and the cops used that to arrest him and plaster his name and picture all over the media? jeez, no wonder CPD can’t catch the real serial rapist. “which one of these voodoo dolls resembles your attacker the most? that’s it! let’s go get ’em, boys!!!” ugh.

  3. Unfortunately the media around here moves to the beat of the Charlottesville Police department’s drum. Hopefully this incident will give all the stations some real fire to check and balance the police and other government agencies.

  4. The Progress did not blow Matthew’s arrest out of proportion in the first place like the local broadcast media did and therefore should not have to include news to redeem him on its front page. Consistently, the paper has reported this incident on the inside pages: First, a news brief on page A2, then an other brief on A3 and today a full story on A2 about his being cleared.

  5. Whether or not anyone blew this out of proportion is up for a long debate… But at the time Christopher Matthew was trying to get his good name back, Charlottesville police would not comment on any speck of the investigation… They refused to talk about the fact this DNA from the latest attack wan’t linked to the serial rapist. They sat on that information for more than 15 hours before holding a press briefing. THIS IS A CLEAR ERROR WHEN YOU’RE DEALING WITH SUCH A HIGH-PROFILE INVESTIGATION. This information has to be conveyed to the public immediately. Chief Tim Longo doesn’t seem to understand this simple rule.

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