The second Springfield lawyer accused of brutally stabbing a McLean couple last week was denied bond Tuesday after new details emerged about the attack that prosecutors have described as a “torture session.”
Andrew Schmuhl, charged with two counts of malicious wounding and abduction by force, appeared at a hearing in Fairfax County.
Prosecutors say he broke into the McLean home Nov. 9 and left homeowners Leo Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan, with life-threatening injuries. Prosecutors say Andrew Schmuhl was accompanied by his wife, Alecia, who had recently been fired by a law firm where Fisher is managing partner.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Pierre Priale, a defense attorney for Andrew Schmuhl, said that in a 2012 accident, his client suffered a spinal cord injury affecting his mobility. Priale argued that because of the injury, his client should be released on bond so his parents can take care for him. Andrew Schmuhl’s parents attended the hearing.
But a prosecutor displayed a photo of Schmuhl, 31, playing in a kickball tournament in August. In reference to the night of the attack, Fairfax County Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan said, “He had no trouble making his way around that night.”
Last week, prosecutors at a bond hearing for Alecia Schmuhl, 30, described the attack as an act of revenge. Charged with two counts of malicious wounding and abduction by force as well as felony eluding and obstruction of justice, she was also denied bond.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh (D) said at Friday’s hearing that Alecia Schmuhl, also a lawyer, was angry over her recent dismissal from Fisher’s law firm, Bean, Kinney & Korman.
At Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors said the motive for the attack was clear. “I submit this is all over the firing of his wife,” Lingan said.
Prosecutors say that Andrew Schmuhl broke into the McLean home, using a stun gun on Fisher, and stabbed him and Duncan. Prosecutors have said that the couple were held hostage in their home for hours and have described the incident as a “torture session.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors revealed several new details about the attack. Prosecutors said that while Fisher and Duncan were tied up, Andrew Schmuhl pressed Fisher to log onto his computer to get personal details about other lawyers at the 70-person firm.
While Fisher was on the computer, Duncan was able to move from a bathroom where she was being held. Andrew Schmuhl fired at her, authorities said, and Duncan thought she had been shot in the head. Prosecutors would not confirm after the hearing whether she was.
Duncan played dead, prosecutors said, and then hit a fire alarm. The alarm scared Schmuhl, and he and his wife fled in a car, authorities said. Officers later spotted the vehicle on the Capital Beltway and were led on a four-mile chase before they could pull it over.
Police said they found Andrew Schmuhl wearing only a diaper. Bloody clothes, a Taser, a prescription pill bottle and a gun were also recovered from the vehicle, authorities said.
Other partners at the firm were at Tuesday’s hearing and were noticeably relieved by the bond decision.
Lingan declined to comment on the health of Fisher or Duncan or whether they are still in the hospital. Fisher and Duncan are 61.
The case has stunned the McLean neighborhood, which sees little crime. It has also shocked some in local legal circles.
Alecia Schmuhl, 30, was fired from Fisher’s law firm Oct. 29 after working there for almost two years. Her husband had been accused by Fisher’s firm of committing fraud on a refinancing application. Andrew Schmuhl had been out of work for 2
Some who know the Schmuhls have had a tough time understanding what went wrong.
Alecia Schmuhl speaks three languages and served on the board of the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Andrew Schmuhl was a former judge advocate in the Army.
Neither had a criminal record in Fairfax County. They both graduated from Valparaiso University Law School in 2009, the school said.
Justin Jouvenal and Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.