ROANOKE (WSLS 10) — Gil and Dan Harrington have waited years for justice for their daughter, Morgan.
“For 6 1/2 years,” said Gil Harrington. “That’s a long time.”
The wait is expected to end Wednesday when Jesse Matthew Jr. makes a plea agreement in the Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham abduction and murder cases in Albermarle County Circuit Court.
Gil Harrington said she knew the defense and the prosecution teams were both working toward a plea as a possible solution but did not know that they would be successful, she said.
“I think we are all seeking and hoping for some piece of something that will make us understand why,” she said when asked if she had any hopes a trial would bring her answers in the death of Morgan. “How could someone kill our daughter, how can that be,” she questioned. “But it’s not a logical act. There’s no answer that will make the act make sense.”
Her focus instead remains on justice.
“Justice for Morgan is really about, for us it is about finality. There is an endpoint to this process rather than it being infinite. There is finality as well as accountability. That he will admit blame.”
It’s unclear whether Matthew will enter a guilty plea or another plea that would allow him to maintain his innocence. In October 2015, Matthew was sentenced to three life sentences after entering an Alford Plea in an attempted capital murder and sexual assault case in Fairfax County from 2005. An Alford Plea is a plea in which a defendant does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence but admits the prosecution could prove the charge.
“I would prefer the standard guilty instead of the Alford guilty,” Harrington said. “But again, the main thing for me is that he is prevented from being in a situation where he can hurt anyone ever again.”
Harrington says, helping save the next girl has been her goal since Morgan’s death.
“I didn’t need to harm him. I really wanted to protect others from him and this will certainly do that.”
Harrington describes the plea agreement as the most logical and compassionate solution, saying it saves a great deal of resources as well as anguish for the family.
Gil and Dan Harrington will be at the 1:30 pm hearing Wednesday, as they’ve been at every other before now. It will fulfill a promise she made to Morgan, she said..
“It’s almost like a covenant or a promise that I had with Morgan, that I would do everything within my power to rectify not rectify her murder but respond as fully as I could to her murder. Tomorrow will be the punctuation on that promise.”