Prosecutors: Attack on Virginia Couple Was Supposed to Be Worse | NBC4 Washington

Julie Carey, David Culver and the News4 team covering where you live

Prosecutors: Attack on Virginia Couple Was Supposed to Be Worse

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on prosecutor revelations that the vicious attack on a McLean couple might have been much worse. (Published Wednesday, May 25, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Officers testified Alecia Schmuhl was coherent while Andrew Schmuhl appeared to be in and out of consciousness.

    • Andrew Schmuhl's lawyers are conceding he attacked the couple on that night but are using an "involuntary insanity defense."

    • Tuesday’s court proceedings followed two emotional days of testimony by the victims, describing what they went through that night.

    A vicious home invasion attack on a Virginia couple could have been far worse, according to prosecutors.

    Attorneys Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl were charged abduction and malicious wounding for the 2014 attack on a lawyer, Leo Fisher, and his wife, Sue Duncan, in a McLean home. The Schmuhls are being tried separately with Andrew being tried first. Alecia Schmuhl will be tried in the fall. Fisher is a partner in an Arlington law firm that fired Schmuhl's wife, Alecia, two weeks prior to the attack.

    Fisher and Duncan suffered serious injuries in the attack, but the prosecution presented physical evidence Wednesday suggesting the ultimate plan was to kill them.

    Police dashcam video shows the Schmuhls surrendering. Their SUV was packed with incriminating evidence, which a crime scene detective showed to jurors, Wednesday.

    Schmuhl was wearing only a diaper when he was arrested. Clothing left in the SUV included a white men's shirt with a reddish stain -- likely blood.

    Inside a suit jacket pocket was a Taser with two darts missing. Fisher had been tased twice when Andrew Schmuhl burst into the house.

    A semiautomatic handgun with one cartridge gone was in a Best Buy bag. Duncan was shot once, the bullet grazing her head.

    Investigators also found a folding pocket knife. Both victims were repeatedly stabbed.

    A more curious discovery was gasoline in a plastic bottle, a pair of men's shoes soaked in gas and an automatic timer device altered with clamps. At the couple’s house, a detective found the entry way rug also soaked with gasoline.

    "I put that together that we have the components of an incendiary device," the detective testified.

    Prosecutors think Andrew Schmuhl intended to activate the timing device when he left the house and torch it with the victims still inside. But prosecutors believe before Schmuhl could finish setting it all up, Duncan hit the house panic alarm and the defendant fled.

    Some physical evidence shown to jurors may help the defense. Items seized from the Schmuhl home include lots of prescription medication. Schmuhls’ attorneys have said they will use an involuntary intoxication defense, arguing their client was so heavily medicated he didn't know exactly what he was doing the night of the attack.