Two attorneys accused of a brutal and bizarre revenge attack on a partner at an Arlington law firm and his wife are scheduled for preliminary hearings in Fairfax County on Tuesday.
Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl, of Springfield, are accused of hatching a plot to take the couple hostage inside their McLean home in November in retaliation for Alecia Schmuhl's dismissal from the firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said at an earlier hearing that the hours-long ordeal was so violent and harrowing that it was best described as a "torture session."
Andrew Schmuhl rang the doorbell of Leo Fisher and Susan Duncan's McLean home around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9, Morrogh said. Schmuhl was posing as a police officer and Tasered Fisher, 61, when he answered the door and then handcuffed him with flexible cuffs. Duncan ran to the front door to check on the commotion, and she was also handcuffed and pushed inside a bathroom.
Over the next several hours, Morrogh said Fisher and Duncan were held and threatened. According to prosecutors, Andrew Schmuhl fired a shot over Duncan's head and flicked the lights on and off inside the house, as if to signal someone. Morrogh said Duncan saw someone that fit Alecia Schmuhl's description outside their home, and Andrew Schmuhl was seen by the couple talking on a cellphone to someone.
Eventually, Andrew Schmuhl stabbed Fisher in the face and upper body and then stabbed Duncan, Morrogh said. Duncan managed to hit an alarm, and the Schmuhls fled the scene in a car driven by Alecia Schmuhl. Fairfax County police said they arrived at the home around 10 p.m. and took a "dying declaration" from Fisher, who described his attackers. That sparked a massive search as Fisher and his wife were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Officers spotted the Schmuhls’ car on the Beltway about 30 minutes later, and Alecia Schmuhl led them on a high-speed chase for about four miles before police pulled her over in the Springfield area, Morrogh said. Officers were greeted with a strange sight: Andrew Schmuhl was found in the car wearing just a diaper. He was surrounded by bloody clothes, a Taser and a gun.
The crime shocked the local legal community and friends of the Schmuhls. Alecia Schmuhl speaks three languages and served on the board of the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Andrew Schmuhl is a former judge advocate in the Army.
The Schmuhls have each been charged with two counts of malicious wounding and abduction by force. Alecia Schmuhl has also been charged with felony eluding and obstruction of justice.
The law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman released a statement on Monday, saying Fisher and Duncan continue to recover.
"Their recovery has been heartening and we remain committed to doing everything necessary to help the healing process," the statement read. "Leo and Sue are enormously grateful to the many, many people who have offered their encouragement, prayers and well wishes throughout this difficult time."
The preliminary hearings are scheduled to begin after 2 p.m.