Charlottesville Pastor: Don't rush to judgement on Matthew - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Charlottesville Pastor: Don't rush to judgement on Matthew

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

As investigators continue to build their case against abduction suspect Jesse Matthew, his friends and family have set up a donation site asking the public for assistance to help fund his defense. A Charlottesville pastor who knows Matthew is asking the public not to rush to judgment.

Pastor Hodari Hamilton remembers seeing abduction suspect Jesse Matthew around the same time Hannah Graham went missing.

"I actually had a meal with him about 10, 15 days ago. I think he comes off as an average person, not assuming, definitely doesn't come off as threatening or harmful," Hamilton said.

It's why news of his suspected involvement with Graham and now a link to Morgan Harrington's murder finds the Pastor offering compassion.

"The challenge is even when there seems to be so much evidence already, there's been no court process, due process that allows for investigation, interrogation, of all the facts," Hamilton said.

Local blogger Coy Barefoot says he's interviewed key witnesses in the case - including a friend who claimed to be with Matthew the night police say surveillance video shows him leave the Downtown Mall with Hannah Graham.

"He was the kind of guy you would see in the bars a lot, buy each other a shot, and hang out together," Barefoot said describing the friend's association.

The person behind the website raising money for Matthew's defense says she created it because she feels her former classmate is incapable of violence. Monday morning, it had collected some $200. By the evening, donations increased to nearly $2000.

Matthew is set for a bond hearing Thursday morning.

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