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Jefferson County Man Accused of Murdering Girlfriend in Court

The preliminary hearing for the man who allegedly killed his girlfriend at a motel in Jefferson County was waived. Now the case will be presented to a grand jury.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The preliminary hearing for the man who allegedly killed his girlfriend at a motel in Jefferson County was waived. Now the case will be presented to a grand jury.

Matthew Gilbert is charged with second-degree murder after he allegedly killed his girlfriend Ann Chapman at the Northgate Inn in Charles Town. Gilbert will now see his case go before a grand jury after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday at Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

"A wave of the preliminary hearing is not uncommon. A lot of defendants chose to do so in order to gain a benefit," said Neil Zahradnik, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney. "In some instances its early discovery and some instances it is a bond reduction. In this case, the defendant requested early discovery and waved his right to have a preliminary hearing."

Police say on December 1, 2013 both Gilbert and Chapman checked into the motel where a fight erupted leading to the beating death of Chapman. They say it was not until Thursday morning the hotel staff discovered the body notifying police.

Zahrednik says he was not surprised by the defense's decision to waive.  

"I'm not surprised by the decision the defendant was charged with a serious offense, but he has more to gain by requesting the discovery to have more time to prepare for his case, rather than force a preliminary hearing today," said Zahradnik.

Zahrednik says he feels confident in state's case against Gilbert.  

"Our sheriff's department is doing an excellent investigation. We have three of the finest detectives on the case," said Zahradnik. "We are confident they will uncover the truth in this matter." 

If Gilbert is convicted he could face up to 40 years in prison. Both attorneys expect the grand jury proceeding to take place in April 2014 at Jefferson County Circuit Court. 

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