McLean couple testifies in court about brutal home invasion attack

Associated Press

But Leo Fisher and his wife, who also was stabbed and shot, survived. On Tuesday they testified about their ordeal.

Police have charged a married couple, lawyers Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl of Springfield, with the November attack on Fisher and his wife. They say the Schmuhls were seeking retribution against Fisher because Alecia Schmuhl had recently been fired from Fisher's law firm, Bean, Kinney and Korman.

At Tuesday's preliminary hearing in Fairfax County General District Court, Fisher testified that he hired Alecia Schmuhl in 2013 and initially considered her a promising employee. But her performance dropped off and the firm fired her in October 2014.

Then, on Nov. 9, Fisher answered the doorbell at his home. He said that his assailant barreled in and immediately shot him with a Taser. He bound Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan, both 61 at the time of the attack, by their hands and feet.

The man wore a hat with a large brim to partially conceal his identity and claimed he was an officer with the Virginia SEC, but Fisher recognized him as Schmuhl's husband. But Fisher said he kept that to himself.

"I didn't know what to do. I thought I would play along as best as I could," Fisher said.

Fisher said his assailant asked numerous questions about the law firm, including whether someone had recently been fired.

After a few hours, Fisher said, Andrew Schmuhl sent the wife into another room and began asking about money. After a few minutes, Fisher said Andrew Schmuhl jumped on him, put a pillow over his head and slit his throat.

Worried that she couldn't hear her husband talking, Susan Duncan came into the room and saw her husband being attacked. Fisher testified that he then watched Schmuhl shoot his wife in the head while blood was pouring out of his throat.

"Her hair just went like this," he said on the stand, demonstrating how it flew wildly from the impact.

As it turned out, the bullet did not penetrate her skull. Duncan, who also took the stand, testified that after being shot she tried to make her way to a phone but Andrew Schmuhl kept stabbing her.

"It finally occurred to me that I needed to play dead," she said.

Her ruse worked, and she said she played dead long enough that she had time to activate an alarm on the bedroom wall. That prompted Andrew Schmuhl to flee.

Authorities have previously said that they arrested the Schmuhls shortly after the attack. They said Alecia Schmuhl was driving a getaway car and that they found Andrew Schmuhl wearing only an adult diaper.

Duncan testified that she was sure her husband had died.

"I went to get the phone on his desk, and Leo came out," she said, weeping. "He was alive. He was just ... alive."

In cross examination, Alecia Schmuhl's lawyer, Mark Petrovich, questioned whether Alecia was involved in the attack. Leo Fisher said he never saw her, but Duncan said she saw Andrew Schmuhl communicating with a woman outside the home.

The Schmuhls are each charged with malicious wounding and abduction. They are being held at the county jail pending trial.

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