Jury Recommends 2 Life Terms Plus 98 Years for Ex-Lawyer Convicted of Torturing Virginia Couple During Home Invasion

A former military lawyer is facing life in prison after being convicted of torturing a Virginia couple during a home invasion.

A jury recommended two life terms plus 98 years behind bars for Andrew Schmuhl. The decision followed emotional testimony from one of the victims and from Schmuhl's mother. 

Schmuhl was convicted on Tuesday of breaking into the McLean home of lawyer Leo Fisher and his wife, Sue Duncan, and holding them captive for three hours as he shot, stabbed and tased them. 

Prosecutors argued the attack was an act of revenge against Fisher, who had fired Schmuhl’s wife, Alecia, from his law firm weeks earlier.

Prosecutors had asked jurors to recommend five life terms but said Thursday that they were satisfied with the result. Fisher, speaking in a statement, thanked jurors.

"Sue and I are enormously grateful that the jury has convicted Andrew Schmuhl on all charges brought against him, and that he has received an appropriate prison sentence," he said. "We simply want our lives back. We never wanted to become thought of as the people who were attacked by these criminals."

Fisher said in court Thursday that the brutal attack left both he and his wife with permanent scars and impairments.

"I've never been a person who hated before, and I hate now," he said. 

Duncan has constant nightmares about someone trying to kill her, her husband said.

"I just don't want this guy and his wife, these two monsters, to ever do this to anyone else again," Fisher told jurors.

Schmuhl's attorney and parents asked jurors for leniency. The lawyer argued Schmuhl was so overly medicated for back problems and other health issues that he did not know what he was doing as he tortured Fisher and Duncan.

Schmuhl's mother apologized, speaking directly to the victims.

"Your tragedy is our tragedy as well. On behalf of our family, my apologies," she said.

Fisher and Duncan got up and left the courtroom.

Alecia Schmuhl will be tried in September for her alleged role in the attack. 

"We await Alecia Schmuhl’s trial in September and a similarly just result," Fisher said in his statement.

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