Since the big news yesterday that the FBI was arresting 38-year-old Matthew Muller on suspicion of kidnapping 29-year-old Denise Huskins of Vallejo back in March, Huskins and boyfriend Aaron Quinn appeared at a press conference outside their Mare Island home Monday evening with their attorneys. Though they did not speak themselves, attorney Douglas Rappaport spoke to reporters saying, "Today is a fabulous day. Our clients have been nothing but cooperative throughout. Today the Vallejo Police Department owes an apology to Ms. Huskins and Mr. Quinn." Not surprisingly, the Vallejo PD, which was very quick to dismiss Huskins' abduction as a hoax and, to be fair, the details were bizarre and cinematic enough that many people would jump to that conclusion has not offered that apology, and has offered no comment other than to direct the press to the FBI's news release on the case.
A portrait of Muller is emerging as a mentally troubled, highly educated and perhaps privileged man, with a degree from Harvard Law School, likely living off of his parents since leaving a law practice in 2012.
As the Chronicle reports, further details have emerged about the circumstances leading to Muller's arrest in June, and possible connections to two unsolved home invasions from six years ago. Muller is now accused of a bungled home invasion and assault in Dublin on June 5 in which he broke into a couple's home late one night, apparently alone, and attempted to tie them up. The husband fought back, and while he and Muller struggled for a full four minutes, the wife ran to a bathroom and dialed 911. Muller then fled the scene, dropping a cell phone in the process, and authorities quickly linked the phone to an address in Orangevale, CA, the home of Muller's parents. They then located Muller at his parents' vacation home in South Lake Tahoe, where he was arrested three days later.
Authorities now think that Muller may have been the tall and lean masked man who committed two similar crimes in 2009, in Palo Alto and Mountain View, in which female victims in their 30s were blindfolded and bound late at night in their homes. The two incidents happened within three weeks of each other and were considered highly unusual.
Muller, or whichever of his associates penned the lengthy, highly articulate email to the Chronicle's Henry Lee (I strongly suspect it was Muller), said they had returned Huskins to her father's home in Huntington Beach after they became "horrified at what [they] had done." The email also expressed further remorse, speaking in very lofty terms, saying,
"By the strength of her character, Ms. [Huksins] more or less single-handedly broke up a professional [kidnapping and ransom] ring before it got off the ground. We are not casting her as a saint to try to make things up to her. I'm sure she is as human as the rest of us. But it is the simple truth that she has prevented a great deal of harm to others, and suffered a high cost herself. We obviously have not been good Christians. But for my part, I believe God placed Ms. [Huskins] in our path to prevent us from inflicting even greater harms on the world. And He further tested her with the police and media response in order to root out our last shreds of humanity, to humble and shame us into forever abandoning our horrific plans, and to confess the truth of what happened and what we did. I do not know whether Ms. Victim F even believes in God, but whatever religion she may or may not hold He has undoubtedly worked through her."
The circumstances that led to Muller's disbarment may have everything to do with his diagnosis with bipolar disorder in 2008. He was admitted to the California bar in January of 2011, but it sounds like he only practiced law for a year or so before improperly handling an immigration case and failing to return legal fees to a client. He later was unable to appear at a disciplinary hearing for health reasons, and he's slated for disbarment as of this month.
He had previously served in the Marines from 1995 to 1999 and claimed to have "Gulf War illness and psychosis," though he did not serve during the Gulf War.
Muller's attorney spoke to KCRA suggesting that mental illness may play a role in his defense. "At least initially we're going to be saying not guilty of all charges, Dublin and Vallejo, and then we're going to look at his mental history," says attorney Thomas Johnson.
Below, video of Monday's press conference.