VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- A convicted kidnapper was sentenced to 40 years for a crime that Vallejo police initially and wrongly called a hoax.
A federal judge sentenced 39-year-old Matthew Muller to 40 years in prison Thursday. Muller had previously pleaded guilty to kidnapping Denise Huskins.
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Vallejo Police called the 2015 kidnapping a hoax. Muller was eventually arrested and linked to the crime after leaving his cell phone behind during a thwarted Dublin home invasion three months later.
Through tears at times stopping to catch her breath Huskins bravely described being kidnapped and raped twice by Muller. Huskins said the only way she got through it was to picture that it was Aaron she was with.
"She was very, very brave. She's a beautiful human being," said her mother Jane Remmele.
"It was emotionally exhausting and I had no idea how bad it was for Denise," said Aaron Quinn's mother Marianne Quinn.
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Quinn told Muller, "You strategically destroyed our lives."
Quinn's attorney Dan Russo said, "It was an FBI led investigation and Vallejo is now the fall guy but an FBI agent led this investigation, isolated Aaron, they should have figured twenty minutes into this that these people were victims."
Matthew Muller spoke briefly saying he was "sick with shame." He also said I hope my imprisonment can bring some measure of comfort and closure. He told the judge he would accept his sentence.
The judge sentenced Muller to 40 years. That was the sentence the government agreed to ask for as part of Muller's guilty plea deal. Muller's attorney had argued for 30 years saying he was mentally ill.
"The family hopes there's some degree towards closure by the sentencing that occurred today," said family friend Steve Reed.
Huskins and Quinn said they wanted Muller to get life.
Huskins told the judge "as long as he walks free, there will be more victims."
The judge cautioned the couple they might never have closure. "The one thing you have is each other. You have love. A path towards healing," said Judge Nunley.
He added, "I could sentence him to life in prison and that still won't bring you justice."
Denise and Aaron's victim impact statements can be read in full here.
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