RELATED: Suspect pleads guilty in Vallejo kidnapping case
It's a case that had all the trappings of a Hollywood thriller. A young woman, Denise Huskins, was taken by force from her home on Mare Island. In the meantime her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, was drugged and left behind.
While the two were initially considered co-conspirators in an elaborate plan, that wasn't the case.
In exchange for Muller's guilty plea the government says it will no longer ask for a life sentence, instead recommending 40 years. The judge will make that sentencing decision in January.
On Thursday there was some vindication for the couple that Vallejo police said made the whole thing up.
Lots of conflict of interest allegations by victim's attorney in kidnapping case. FBI and Vallejo PD tell @abc7newsbayarea "no comment."— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) September 29, 2016
Kidnapping and sexual assault victim Denise Huskins held her boyfriend's hand tightly hours after learning Muller pleaded guilty to her kidnapping.
"The FBI case agent David Sesma took me aside and said, 'I bet 99 percent sure she's lying and I intend to prosecute her,'" said the couple's attorney Doug Rappaport.
He doesn't believe the FBI case agent disclosed he had a personal relationship with Aaron's ex-fiance, who was the intended kidnapping victim.
Attorney says Steve Ruiz, former law enforcement officer also had relationship with intended victim, civil lawsuit seeks discovery on him— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) September 29, 2016
"Right from the beginning, law enforcement screwed up this investigation," said Rappaport.
Vallejo police investigators first interrogated Quinn, believing he murdered Huskins. Then when she turned up, they called the kidnapping a hoax.
Only after Muller left his cellphone behind in a Dublin home invasion did law enforcement agents link him to the Vallejo kidnapping.
In a statement Thursday the U.S. Attorney's Office praised law enforcement, including Vallejo police, for its "high quality of work."
RELATED: Why police called Vallejo kidnapping a hoax
The couple's attorney wants the Solano County DA's office to charge Muller with other crimes including drugging the couple and sexually assaulting Denise.
As part of the federal plea deal, the government is no longer seeking a life sentence for Muller. Instead, 40 years.
"Mr. Muller wanted to resolve the case," said his attorney Thomas Johnson. "He did not want to have a trial where Ms. Huskins would testify."
The judge will make the sentencing decision in January.
RELATED: Attorney says Vallejo kidnapping victim's family outraged over cop's award
"If there ever was a man who deserved to be behind bars, it's Matthew Muller," said Rappaport.
In the meantime, family friend Steve Reed defended Muller, "I've known Matt since he was born, and this is totally out of his character."
While Quinn's mother Marianne added, "This is more justice than we've ever gotten, but there won't be real justice until the people who botched up this investigation are held accountable."
Huskins and Quinn will deliver impact victim statements in January at Muller's sentencing.
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