Previously convicted in federal court, Matthew Daniel Muller, 44, charged later in Solano County Superior Court for a 2015 Vallejo kidnapping and rape case that made national headlines, has been admitted to Napa State Hospital and been compelled to take antipsychotic medication.
Admitted to the Napa hospital in June and forced to take the medications, legal proceedings against him have been suspended until he is restored to mental competency.
Under state law, a defendant who is considered unable to help in his or her defense or understand court proceedings cannot be tried. However, once they are deemed competent, criminal charges can be reinstated and the defendant can be scheduled to face more court proceedings, including a jury trial.
On Aug. 25, Judge Daniel Healy ordered Muller, a Harvard-trained lawyer and Gulf War veteran, ordered the defendant to take the medications. On Sept. 7, Healy heard a periodic progress report from the Department of State Hospitals, and, two days later, issued an order to compel involuntary treatment with the medication.
Online court records there are no pending court appearances for Muller, so, for the time being, he will not face a jury trial in Healy’s courtroom, Department 2, in the Justice Building in Vallejo.
The state case against Muller — who was convicted and sentenced in 2017 in a Sacramento federal courtroom to 40 years in prison for kidnapping a couple and raping the female victim before releasing her near her family’s Southern California home — was filed on Jan. 26, 2018.
On Sept. 25, 2020, Healy suspended criminal proceedings and, on Sept. 28, ordered a so-called “1368 doctor’s report” to determine if Muller was able to aid in his own defense.
At one point in the case, the court received a notice that Muller had been admitted to a jail-based competency program, a specialized program for defendants who have been deemed incompetent to stand trial by the courts.
On Nov. 2 last year, Healy received a doctor’s report and later ordered Muller placed in the care of MHM Services, a nationwide firm which contracts with governmental agencies for inmate care and has offices in Vallejo, a secured facility.
Court records did not indicate the doctor’s determination but, typically, if a defendant is transferred from custody to a mental health services agency, they are likely deemed incompetent.
Later, on Dec. 4, after a placement evaluation from MHM, Healy ordered Muller committed to one of five California state hospitals for a maximum term of two years. On Dec. 21, the judge received an update regarding placement alternatives and care from MHM Services and the defendant had been placed in the treatment program.
Muller’s last court appearance nearly two months ago came after a lengthy series of defendant motions, going back to October 2018. A jury trial had long been set for fall 2020, but it is unclear when that will occur. Although he once served as his own lawyer, Muller is now represented by the Solano County Alternate Public Defender.
A state preliminary hearing for Muller, formerly of Orangevale, was held more 2 1/2 years ago. He is charged with what can only be described as a crime so incredible that Vallejo police at first considered it an elaborate hoax.
During the preliminary hearing, Muller — a former Marine — listened to the female victim in the case, Denise Huskins. She recounted some of the events that began on March 23, 2015, when the defendant entered the Mare Island home belonging to Huskins and Aaron Quinn, who are in their 30s.
Federal court records indicate that Muller restrained them with zip ties, blindfolds and headphones, then drugged them both. Muller left Quinn behind in the home with a warning that he was being watched on camera and told him not to call the police.
Muller placed Huskins into the trunk of Quinn’s car, then drove off and switched vehicles, with Huskins still blindfolded, driving her to a South Lake Tahoe family home, where he raped her twice. Muller held her for two days before driving her to Southern California, then released her near her family’s Huntington Beach home.
Vallejo police called the reported abduction a complete fabrication for which the couple should apologize. Huskins and Quinn subsequently filed a defamation of character lawsuit against the police department. Police later apologized to the couple who, in 2018, reached a $2.5 million settlement with the city of Vallejo and its police department.
Muller was arrested in South Lake Tahoe on June 8, 2015, after evidence, including a video of Muller and Huskins, was found at his mother’s home.
In the state case, filed by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office on Jan. 26, 2018, Muller faces six felony charges. They include kidnapping, two counts of forcible rape by force, robbery, burglary and false imprisonment.
Muller has pleaded not guilty to the charges and was confined for months in Solano County Jail in Fairfield, with bail set at $2.25 million.
He filed a 35-page speedy trial request on Feb. 13, 2019, citing, among other things, his health condition and saying he suffered assault while in custody.
Quinn and Huskins decided to pursue the state case so he could be held accountable for his crimes in addition to the federal conviction, Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams told The Reporter in 2019.
Go to Source
Author: Richard Bammer