Defendant Testifies He Does Not Remember Savage Attack on Virginia Couple

Schmuhl describes medical state, says he doesn't remember attack

What to Know

  • Schmuhl testified that he did not remember attacking his wife's former boss, only waking up in the hospital afterward.
  • Schmuhl listed over a dozen medications he was taking at the time of the attack and said he suffered from severe back pain.
  • Prosecutors pointed out a host of inconsistencies in Schmuhl's claims about his pain to suggest he exaggerated his ailments.

The man charged in the savage attack on his wife’s former boss testified in court today that he did not remember the attack.

Andrew Schmuhl, a former military lawyer, said he suffered from back pain and was heavily medicated at the time. He said he only remembered waking up in the hospital.

Schmuhl and his wife, Alecia, were both charged in the attack of Leo Fisher and Sue Duncan in their McLean, Virginia, home Nov. 9, 2014. The Schmuhls allegedly tased, stabbed and shot the couple a few weeks after Fisher fired Schmuhl’s wife from his law firm.

Schmuhl’s lawyers concede Schmuhl took part in the stabbing but are making the case he was heavily medicated and arguing the attack was Schmuhl’s wife’s plan. They had Schmuhl take to the stand to describe his medical state and the drugs he was taking.

Schmuhl told jurors he was suffering from chronic back pain, high blood pressure, persistent insomnia, constipation and sweats the summer before the attack. He said he spent hours a day in the bathtub to relieve the pain.

“My life was miserable,” Schmuhl said.

Schmuhl listed over a dozen prescription drugs he was taking at the time of the attack, and he said his wife frequently gave him the medication.

Schmuhl said the last thing he remembered before the attack was driving with his wife to Shenandoah National Park, then getting sick in a gas station or restaurant.

He said after that, he remembers waking up in the hospital, handcuffed to the bed.

In a series of questions from the prosecution, Schmuhl answered "no" to remembering any details of the attack.

The prosecution pointed out a host of inconsistencies in Schmuhl’s claims about his pain, questioning Schmuhl’s credibility and suggesting he exaggerated his ailments.

The prosecution also noted discrepancies in Schmuhl’s claims about the source of his back pain, since Schmuhl blamed running in one account and physical therapy in another. They also cited Schmuhl’s participation in an all-day kickball tournament, since it contrasted with his claims of chronic pain. They also showed a photo of him re-roofing his house.

Prosecutors contend the Schmuhls carefully planned the attack, driving together to buy a Taser and prepaid cellphones two days before, but Andrew Schmuhl testified he doesn't remember that, either. His own cellphone was found left behind in his Springfield home.

Late Tuesday Schmuhl's lawyers told the judge they want to use an "unconsciousness defense," which would permit them to take testimony from an expert about how Schmuhl's medications could have affected him. Earlier in the trial, the judge turned down their request to use what's known as an involuntary intoxication defense. He'll rule on this latest request Wednesday morning.

Schmuhl and his wife were each charged with two counts of abduction and two counts of malicious wounding. Alecia Schmuhl faces trial in the fall.

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