Mentally ill kidnapping suspect Matthew Muller appeared in an Alameda County court in Hayward this morning and promptly fainted, necessitating his having to be revived. As the Contra Costa Times reports, Muller subsequently pleaded no contest to charges of battery, robbery, and assault related to a home invasion in Dublin in June, during which Muller left behind a cell phone that led police to arrest him in South Lake Tahoe and connect him to the aborted March kidnapping of Denise Huskins in Vallejo.
We also get some new details about the Dublin case, in which Muller broke into the home of 60-year-old Chung Yen and his wife, masked and dressed all in black. Though Muller proceeded to try to intimidate the couple much like he did with Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn, in this case it backfired, the husband (at age 60!) fought Muller, the wife ran to the bathroom and called the cops. Muller then took hit Yen on the head with a flashlight, leaving a gash, and took off, leaving behind a white Samsung Galaxy phone.
Yesterday, Muller's defense attorney withdrew a motion to suppress the cell phone as evidence, as the Mercury-News reported. Earlier Muller's attorney had argued that the means by which police identified the owner of the phone dialing 911 from the phone and getting the dispatcher to give them the number associated with it constituted an illegal search, because the phone had been locked.
Muller, 38, was a Harvard-trained lawyer whose law career was apparently cut short as mental illness took over his life. This may have been around 2009, when police believe Muller was responsible for three separate home invasions in Palo Alto and Mountain View involving women who were bound and blindfolded, and in at least one case threatened with sexual assault. Though details remain unclear, it's been suggested that there was an assault in Huskins' case as well.
It's also been suggested that Muller knew or had some connection to all of his victims, including the Dublin couple, and that Huskins was not the intended target of the March kidnapping that was apparently Quinn's ex-fiancé who no longer lived in the home. (You got all that?)
In a jailhouse interview in July with KPIX, Muller appears to have admitted to the kidnapping of Huskins, as well as saying that he acted alone earlier reports had suggested there were one or two accomplices involved and that he was severely mentally ill. He said he suffered from bipolar disorder with "extreme paranoia and psychosis," and he was "relieved to be in jail."
It's unclear when Muller will face federal charges in the kidnapping and alleged assault of Huskins, or when he will be sentenced in the Dublin case.
Yesterday we learned that Huskins and Quinn were set to file a lawsuit against the City of Vallejo for having initially dismissed their case as a hoax.