Update: Tues., 10/21/14 4:41 a.m.
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ Authorities have brought additional charges against the man accused of abducting an 18-year-old college student in Virginia: the abduction, rape and attempted capital murder of a 26-year-old woman in a Washington, D.C. suburb. A Circuit Court grand jury in Fairfax County handed up the indictment against Jesse L. Matthew Jr. on Monday. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh declined to discuss details of the case, but did say the victim is cooperating. The 32-year-old Matthew had already been charged with abduction with intent to defile University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham, who disappeared Sept. 13. Authorities searching for Graham found human remains last weekend that have been taken to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond for identification. A spokesman could not say Monday when the results would be ready.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia higher education officials are making it easier for students to take online classes and for universities to offer them. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia announced the joining of a multi-state reciprocity agreement on Monday that deals with authorization and payment for distance learning courses. Colleges and universities that offer distance learning to students in other states were previously required to seek authorization from those states. Officials say that process is both costly and complex. The pact addresses those issues by automatically allowing schools to offer those classes to out-of-state students if the courses are approved by another state’s higher education organization. Officials say the hope is to have all 50 states and the District of Columbia ultimately participate in the agreement.
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The Commonwealth Transportation Board is holding public meetings this week on the state’s six-year highway improvement plan. One meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northside High School. The other meeting will be held Wednesday in Bristol at the Holiday Inn Bristol Conference Center. Similar meetings have been held in Lynchburg, Chesapeake, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Weyers Cave, Fairfax and Culpeper. The board allocates funding for essential highway, bridge, rail and other transportation projects. In June, board members approved a final $13 billion transportation blueprint for Virginia over the next half-dozen years.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia health officials are launching a campaign to help cigarette smokers kick the habit. The Virginia Department of Health says it is counting down to Virginia Quit Day on Nov. 20. Tips and support will be posted on the agency’s Facebook page every day leading up to the event. The agency also is including information for people helping support friends and family in their decision to quit smoking. State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine says quitting tobacco is the single most important step a person can take to improve their health and quality of life. The Virginia efforts are being done in concert with the Great American Smoke Out campaign.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia State Crime Commission is examining whether police are doing enough to ensure the accuracy of eyewitness identifications. The commission is set to hear a report on the issue Tuesday. Thirteen of the 16 people wrongly convicted in Virginia and later exonerated by DNA evidence originally were misidentified by eyewitnesses. A study released last year by a University of Virginia law professor found that most law enforcement agencies in the state are using outdated eyewitness identification procedures. Only 6 percent of the 144 agencies responding to a survey had implemented a model policy recommended by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services in 2011. A new study by the National Academy of Sciences reinforces the need for the type of policy recommended but not fully implemented in Virginia.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Gov. Jim Gilmore’s super PAC is paying for new ads in support of Senate candidate Ed Gillespie and other Republicans. Gilmore announced Monday that his political action committee will air radio and TV ads in support of Gillespie, who is facing Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Warner. The super PAC is also paying for radio ads in support of GOP Senate candidates Joni Ernst in Iowa and Scott Brown in New Hampshire. A spokesman for Gilmore declined to say how much the ad buy would be in Virginia, but said the entire buy for all three states is in the low six figures. The Growth PAC reported raising only $7,500 from two donors in its most recent quarterly campaign finance report. Warner easily defeated Gilmore in the 2008 Senate race.
Update: Mon., 10/20/14 4:03 a.m.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Police blocked off roads and were searching for clues in an area where they found remains that could be missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. The 18-year-old Graham hasn’t been seen since Sept. 13 after a night out with friends. The remains were found Saturday about 12 miles from campus. The man Graham was last seen with, 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham. He’s being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 4. It’s not clear how long it will take authorities to identify the remains they discovered over the weekend.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A new report says support staff salaries at three public higher education institutions in Virginia exceed the average of similar schools nationally. According to the report, the average salaries of upper- and mid-level support staff at most public higher education institutions were near or below the average of their peers nationally. Average salaries at the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech topped the average of similar schools nationally. The report says the primary reasons for the higher-than-average salaries appeared to be the base salaries of top executives, senior institutional officers and academic and associate deans. Virginia Tech, U.Va. and VMI tell the Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1sYNlwB) that the report’s conclusion is based on faulty peer groups. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission released the report last week.
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Police are investigating the cause of a ceiling collapse that killed a Roanoke County woman. County spokeswoman Amy Whittaker tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/1CGs2Rw) that part of the living room ceiling collapsed on 68-year-old Helen Arthur Craig in her home in southwest Roanoke County. Craig died at the scene. Whittaker says Craig’s husband was able to crawl out after the ceiling fell and get help. He didn’t require hospitalization. The accident occurred Friday afternoon.
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands wants to double the school’s $800 million endowment and make the university one of the top 100 world research institutions. The Roanoke Times reports Sands made the comments Friday at his official installation, four months after taking the job. Sands also wants to make a Virginia Tech degree affordable for any Virginia student who can qualify for admission. The comments come as Virginia grapples with a $2.4 billion budget shortfall that has already led to $45 million in cuts to higher education. Sands is the school’s first president since James McComas to have no previous ties to Virginia Tech. He has spent much of his time in office meeting with students, faculty, staff and state and local leaders to listen to their concerns.