Couple seeks damages in Calif. kidnapping case police called hoax
Vallejo police said at a news conference the kidnapping was a hoax and have since apologized
HAYWARD, Calif. — The man charged in a California kidnapping that police initially dismissed as a hoax pleaded no contest Friday to attempted robbery and assault charges in a separate home invasion.
Matthew Muller — a disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney — collapsed and had to be revived in Alameda County court before entering the pleas, the Oakland Tribune reported. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November and faces up to 11 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
Authorities say Muller broke into a San Francisco Bay Area home in June and tried to tie up two residents, but the husband fought back. A cellphone at the scene led investigators to Muller and evidence they are now using to tie him to the March kidnapping of Denise Huskins from her Vallejo home.
Muller's attorney, Thomas Johnson, has said his client will plead not guilty to the federal kidnapping charge. He was expected to be taken into custody by federal authorities sometime Friday, said Teresa Drenick, a spokeswoman for the Alameda County district attorney's office.
Huskins' boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, reported that kidnappers broke into the couple's home March 23, abducted Huskins and demanded money. His lawyers have said he awoke to a bright light in his face, and that two kidnappers bound and drugged him.
Huskins, 29, turned up safe two days later in her hometown of Huntington Beach, where she says she was dropped off. She showed up hours before the ransom was due.
After Huskins reappeared, Vallejo police said at a news conference the kidnapping was a hoax. They have since apologized. Huskins filed a claim against the city Thursday seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Muller has said he acted alone, and that mental illness and a side effect from a vaccine contributed to his behavior, according to the FBI.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press