Matthew Muller was a Marine and Harvard-educated lawyer who was convicted in federal court for carrying out a kidnapping so bizarre Vallejo Police believed the victims were lying as part of an elaborate hoax. Today, Muller is in the custody of a California jail and in court-ordered mental health treatment, according to his jail records.
Muller was convicted in federal court in Sacramento in 2017 and sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to The Mercury News. He was also charged by the state of California, the article said, and although he faced a preliminary hearing in 2018, he has not yet faced a trial. He pleaded not guilty to his charges in Solano County, the article said. He is 44 today and his full name is Matthew Daniel Muller, his prison records show.
The victims in the so-called “Gone Girl” case, Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn, are now married with a daughter. They spoke to ABC 20/20 about their experiences, and say their trauma was inflicted both by Muller and the judicial system. The episode airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time June 4, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Muller Was Sent to a Jail-Based Competency Treatment Program in 2021 While Awaiting Trial in California
Muller was scheduled to appear in court on March 24, 2021, for a mental health placement review in Vallejo, The Mercury News reported. Instead of appearing in court, Superior Court Judge Daniel Healy received a notice that Muller had already been admitted into the program, the newspaper reported, citing court records. The program is designated for defendants who were deemed incompetent to stand trial, the article said.
“On Nov. 2, 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,” The Mercury News reported.
Muller is in the custody of the Solano County Stanton Correctional Facility, which has held him since September 15, 2018, his jail record shows, which was around the time of his federal conviction.
Here is his jail record in California:
California law dictates that a defendant who cannot understand his or her charges and who cannot assist in their own defense cannot stand trial, but once they are again deemed competent, charges can be reinstated, The Mercury News reported.
“On Dec. 4 last year, 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 earlier this month learned the defendant had been placed in the treatment program,” the article said.
Muller’s Military & Law Career Showed Promise Until His Attorney Said He Spiraled Mentally
Muller served as a U.S. Marine from 1995 to 1999 before returning home to California, according to the Associated Press. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, worked for a newspaper off base and played trumpet in the Marine Corps band, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Back in California, he attended college and graduated summa cum laude, then entered law school at Harvard, the AP reported. He graduated with his law degree and then began working at the prestigious law school, the article continued.
“But by his third year in law school his defense attorney says Muller was so paranoid that he thought he was being tracked by the government,” the Associated Press reported in 2017, following his federal kidnapping conviction.
Here is his federal prison record:
His attorney, Thomas Johnson, blamed mental illness in the attack on Huskins, the AP wrote.
“His adult life has been marked with mental health issues,” Johnson told the Sacramento Bee, saying his client suffered from bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Two years before Huskins’ kidnap, the AP reported Muller’s law license was suspended because he failed to pay his annual dues. Later, he was disbarred after he collected a $1,250 payment for a client but failed to file a green card application, according to the AP. He was working as an immigration lawyer for the firm of Kerosky Purves & Bogue at the time, the Sacramento Bee reported.