Monday, November 17, 2014

Valparaiso Law School Grad Wearing Only Diaper When Arrested for Stabbing; Did They Snap Because They Faced a Personal Financial Crisis?

The blog Above the Law follows up on the story of Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl, the husband and wife Virginia attorneys, and 2009 Valparaiso law school graduates, who are accused of stabbing and torturing the partner of Alecia's law firm, as well as the partner's wife, following her firing from the firm:
Last week, the legal world was rocked by allegations that Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl, married lawyers, went on a rampage following Alecia’s firing from Bean Kinney & Korman, a well-known Northern Virginia law firm. The Schmuhls were accused of forcing their way into the home of the firm’s managing partner, Leo Fisher, and viciously stabbing both Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan. Both Fisher and Duncan remain hospitalized with serious injuries.
Since we last reported on the Schmuhls, additional details have come out about what happened during the alleged home invasion and what will happen to them as they’re prosecuted for this ruthless attack, but many questions still remain.   
For example, why on earth was Andrew Schmuhl wearing only a diaper at the time of his arrest? 
So what’s with the diaper? When he was arrested, Andrew Schmuhl was naked, covered in blood, and wearing only a bloody diaper, according to a report from WUSA9. Some sources believe that Andrew was so intent upon causing Fisher pain that he wore a diaper so he wouldn’t have to take a break at any time during the attack and risk Fisher’s escape. Other sources say that Andrew may have thought he and his wife would be involved in a long police chase after the attack, and wore the diaper as a precautionary measure. Either way, a lawyer wearing a diaper makes this case even more sensational than it already is.
Raymond F. Morrogh, the Fairfax County prosecutor on the case, described the night’s events as a “torture session.” According to Morrogh, Fisher was Tased repeatedly and then “brutally stabbed” in the face, head, and upper torso; Duncan was also Tased and stabbed repeatedly; and Andrew Schmuhl fired one bullet at Duncan, but missed. According to a note written by Fisher while at the hospital — which is now his only mode of communication thanks to the extent of his injuries — before leaving the scene of the crime, Andrew allegedly made this ominous promise: “I’m going to come back and finish this job.” 
Alecia Schmuhl, who claims she was scared of her husband, says that she was in the car throughout the duration of the attack (about three hours), and that she had no idea what her husband planned to do.... 
The blog also notes the incredibly changed appearance of the couple and suggest "depression" was to blame at least for Alecia's declining appearance.  But there may well be a reason for her depression and for the stabbings.  Valparaiso University Law School lists the total cost of tuition and expenses of
Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl in happier times
attending at $53,862.  As graduates of Valparaiso, a private law school, the young couple could easily have a combined  $250,000 in law school student loan debt, not even to mention what they carried over from four years of college.  While corporate lawyers are still generally paid well, it would take a heck of a salary to pay a $250,000 loan not to mention the other financial responsibilities of the young couple.

Mug shots of Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl
As far as Andrew Schmuhl, apparently he was unemployed.  He still has a LinkedIn page in which he says he is "Seeking employment opportunities in the Northern Virginia, District of Columbia, or Maryland area."  According to that page, Schmuhl last attorney job was working with the United States Army, but that ended in September of 2012.  Assuming he didn't have other positions since then, he would have been unemployed over two years.  With the couple deeply in debt, debt that's almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, one could see why Andrew might have been extremely angry at the law firm's partner for firing his wife.

1 comment:

Gary R. Welsh said...

As I understand it, Andrew also had clearance as a military intelligence officer when he worked as a JAG officer in the Army.