FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ A former girlfriend of Jesse Matthew says that he was raped as a child and that it played a key role in allegations that he raped and killed multiple women. Matthew is awaiting trial in the killings of college students Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington. Earlier this year, Matthew was convicted in Fairfax County of sexual assault for an attack on a woman in 2005. He will be sentenced Friday in that case and could get life in prison. In a letter to the judge made public Tuesday, the girlfriend, whose full name was not included in the letter, said Matthew was sexually abused by at least three different people. In another letter, Matthew’s mother begged for mercy and said her son “has always shown respect to everyone around him.”
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Twelve Virginia schools are being honored by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Each has been named a National Blue Ribbon school, signifying academic rigor and dramatic gains in student achievement. Seven public schools and five private schools are being recognized. The public schools are Central High School in Woodstock, Cosby High in Midlothian, Crystal Spring Elementary in Roanoke, Great Neck Middle School in Virginia Beach, Patrick Henry Elementary in Arlington, Riverheads High in Staunton and Snow Creek Elementary in Penhook. The private schools are Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk, Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Potomac Falls, St. Mark Catholic School in Vienna and Trinity Lutheran School in Newport News. They’ll be recognized at a ceremony in November in Washington, D.C.
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s attorney general is launching an initiative across the state to train police officers how to use force appropriately, de-escalate dangerous situations and recognize potential biases they may bring to the job. At a press conference Tuesday in Arlington, Attorney General Mark Herring said he was motivated to act over the last year after rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. He acknowledged that Virginia has had incidents of its own that have called into question whether police have used excessive force or might be targeting minorities. Herring says the training will not be mandatory, but will be made available to police agencies across the state. And he says local agencies are eager for the opportunity. The training will highlight bias awareness, professionalism, use of force, de-escalation and impartial policing.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An aide to Virginia Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain says Obenshain will not be running for governor in 2017. Nick Collette, a political director for Obenshain, said Monday that his boss has made a decision not to run for statewide office in 2017. Obenshain narrowly lost the state attorney general election in 2013 and was widely viewed as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate. Collette said Obenshain had made the decision not to run for personal reasons. Other potential GOP candidates for governor include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
From the National Weather Service Offfice in Blacksburg: Flash Flood Watch in effect through Wednesday morning… The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued a Flash Flood Watch for portions of North Carolina and Virginia…including the following in North …Carolina… Alleghany NC… Ashe… Caswell… Rockingham… Stokes… Surry… Watauga… Wilkes and Yadkin. In Virginia… Alleghany… Amherst… Bath… Bedford… Botetourt… Campbell… Carroll… Craig… Floyd… Franklin… Grayson… Halifax… Henry… Montgomery… Patrick… Pittsylvania… Pulaski… Roanoke… Rockbridge and Wythe. Numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain are expected today and tonight.
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Most Virginia voters aren’t paying attention to upcoming legislative elections in November that will determine which political party controls the state Senate, according to a new poll. The poll released Friday from the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows 39 percent said they weren’t paying close attention and 27 percent said they were paying no attention. Only 34 percent of respondents said they were paying attention to the campaigns. Professor Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center, said the poll suggests only about 26 percent of registered voters will turn out on Election Day. Virginia is among a handful of states that have off-year legislative elections, when turnout is usually lower. “These results demonstrate a classic pattern in Virginia’s off-off-year elections,” Kidd said. “A far greater proportion of voters say they intend to vote than are actually paying attention to news about the elections or paying attention to candidates for office.”
HOUSTON (AP) _ Texas prison officials are helping Virginia carry out a scheduled execution next week by providing that state with the lethal drug pentobarbital that corrections agencies nationwide have had difficulty obtaining. The disclosure, confirmed Friday by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, has surfaced in court documents in an Oklahoma death penalty case. Lawyers for Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossi also said in a federal court filing Thursday that Texas is “compounding or producing pentobarbital within its department for use in executions.” Texas prisons spokesman Jason Clark said the Texas agency gave Virginia three vials of the drug, but said the state does not have a license to manufacture its own pharmaceuticals. He said Virginia provided Texas with a backup pentobarbital supply in 2013.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement on the announcement that Speaker John Boehner will resign from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of October: “Speaker Boehner has been a tireless public servant for his constituents. I respect his courageous decision to step down at the end of October in an effort to unite the Republican Conference, and thank him for his leadership in the House, as well as for his personal friendship over the years. I wish John and Debbie the best as they start a new chapter in their lives. The fight for the conservative cause must go on. Now is the time for House Republicans to renew our resolve to unite and plot a path forward to address the issues facing the American people today.”
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Fifty-four schools in 10 districts will share $5.3 million in state funding to develop and implement year-round instructional programs. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the Extended School Year Grant Program awards Thursday. The General Assembly created the program in 2012 in response to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report on the effectiveness of year-round instruction in raising student achievement. School divisions receiving funding are Bristol, Charlottesville, Henrico County, Loudoun County, Lynchburg, Manassas Park, Newport News, Petersburg, Radford and Roanoke.