Virginia ex-lawyer Alecia Schmuhlwas sentenced in tears to 45 years in prison for the home invasion and attack of her former managing partner and his wife.
Virginia ex-lawyer Alecia Schmuhl, age 32, was sentenced in tears to 45 years in prison in a Fairfax County court room last Thursday for the home invasion and attack of her former managing partner and his wife. Her accomplice, husband Andrew Schmuhl, also a former attorney, is facing two life terms plus 98 years, after five weeks of trial. Alecia received the maximum sentence under a plea deal with called for 10 to 45 years.
On November 9th, 2014, Alecia waited in the couple’s car outside while her husband entered the home of attorneys Leo Fisher and his wife, Sue Duncan, and bound and interrogated the homeowners for several hours. Once Andrew had decided enough was enough, he kicked Leo in the head, stabbed both victims repeatedly, then sliced Fisher’s throat and shot Duncan. He ran out, leaving the couple for dead. However, both miraculously survived to tell law enforcement what happened, although they will experience lifelong trauma, both physical and mental.
Since the incident, Leo has difficulty swallowing and permanent scarring from the throat injury, which severed nerves on the side of his face. It’s difficult for him to control his tongue and he often slurs his words when he gets tired. He also experiences Post-Traumatic Stress related issues, including fits of uncontrolled anger and resentment toward his aggressors. While others would normally describe Leo as a mild mannered, easy go lucky guy, he’s found it to be difficult to maintain that persona. Thinking of the horrific night causes him to feel hatred, which is something he claims he’s never experience before in his life.
Sue has ongoing ringing in her ears and concussion related symptoms. She also has scarring on her back from the stab wounds and is experiencing severe back pain. The injuries will likely affect the attorneys’ ability to practice law. It will be difficult for Leo to properly represent his clients with his speech impediment, and Sue’s intermittent pain is enough to cause physical limitation.
Apparently, prior to the assault, Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl had lived relatively normal, civil lives. They had met in an Indiana law school, married and moved to Washington, D.C., where Andrew spent time in the Army JAG Corps. The couple held down positions as attorneys at several smaller law firms, including Leo’s until he made the fateful decision to let Alecia go.
Sources believe Alecia’s termination was the catalyst for the crime, and the intensity could have had something to do with Andrew’s state of mind at the time. He was on a cocktail of prescription medications, including Fentanyl, a painkiller that can cause disorientation. It is unclear whether Andrew was coherent on the night of the attacks. The couple first contemplated filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, but ultimately decided on the more sinister method of revenge. They went as far as preparing a a kit which included gloves and a rope, along with the knife, and purchased disposable cell phones which would be difficult to trace. They also paid cash for Taser. These purchases proved they had been long plotting to carry out their deeds, and the two admitted guilt for their crimes.