Criminal Justice

Jury recommends life sentence for lawyer in home-invasion attack; victimized partner makes statement

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Jurors in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Thursday recommended that lawyer Andrew Schmuhl receive two life sentences plus 98 years in prison for a 2014 home-invasion stabbing attack on a law firm managing partner and his wife.

Jurors recommended the sentence after the managing partner, Leo Fisher of the Arlington law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman, testified he has been filled with rage since the attack, the Washington Post reports. Fisher also said his wife, Susan Duncan, has had nightmares since the crime and has no interest in leaving home or seeing anyone.

The judge in the case will decide whether to affirm the jurors’ sentence in a hearing set for Aug. 26.

Schmuhl was accused of targeting Fisher because he had fired Schmuhl’s lawyer wife, Alecia Schmuhl, who is scheduled to go on trial in September. She was accused of waiting in the car during the attack and driving her husband from the scene.

Prosecutors said Schmuhl stabbed both Fisher and Duncan and slashed their necks in a “torture session.” Schmuhl left after Duncan was able to trigger an alarm.

Schmuhl, a former Army judge advocate and military magistrate, had claimed he was on painkillers and other medications during the attack and he doesn’t remember it. He was convicted on Tuesday of aggravated malicious wounding, abduction with pecuniary benefit, using a firearm during a felony, and burglary.

In a statement issued after jurors reached their decision, Fisher said he and his wife are “enormously grateful” that jurors convicted Schmuhl and gave him an “appropriate prison sentence.”

“However, this horrifically cruel ordeal is not over,” Fisher said. “We still face the September trial of his wife, Alecia.

“We simply want our lives back. We never wanted to become thought of as the people who were attacked by these criminals. We were just your son and daughter, your brother and sister, your friends, your colleagues, your buddies and your neighbors. That’s all we want to be—again.

“Sue is my hero. She saved our lives, in the most desperate situation.

“Both Sue and I want to thank all members of the Fairfax County Police and Fire Departments who responded to Sue’s alarm and 911 call for help. They are our heroes. They were true to their calling and we would not be here without them and the skillful actions they took so promptly on our behalf. The support of the Police Department’s Victims Services Section has been extraordinary.

“We also want to thank the doctors, nurses and other staff at INOVA Fairfax Hospital for their prompt and skillful efforts to keep us alive.

“Our families and friends have been steadfast in loving support of us throughout this long ordeal. Our families have been with us from the morning after the attack on us. My dear friends and colleagues at Bean, Kinney & Korman have been unstinting in their efforts to assist in our recoveries. We will never be able to repay adequately our families and friends for their many kindnesses to us.

“We await Alecia Schmuhl’s trial in September and a similarly just result.

“Going forward, we ask that our privacy continue to be respected.”

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