The suspect at the center of a kidnap case out of Vallejo, Calif. entered a no contest plea on Friday in a separate matter stemming from a Dublin home invasion.
The Alameda County Superior Court hearing in Hayward was delayed for a short while as Matthew Muller felt woozy, started sweating profusely and sat down.
But his attorney Tom Johnson said he ended up pleading no contest, essentially a guilty plea, to four counts of battery, robbery and assault. Johsnson said that Muller suffers from mental illness. He could face a maximum of 11 years in prison for a June break-in at a home on Terracina Avenue when police say he tried to tie up a homeowner and his wife with zip ties.
"He became faint and sat down," Johnson told reporters and photographers outside in the hallway as cameras were not allowed in the courtroom of Judge Joseph Hurley. "It's unfortunate that he became faint. Court is stressful. But he recovered quickly."
Johnson added that Muller is "pleased it's over," and while he wouldn't explain why he plead no contest, he told reporters that everything his client is doing is with an "eye on federal court," a reference to pending charges in a wild Vallejo kidnapping story.
After dropping his cell phone in the Dublin home invasion, detectives tracked Muller down and linked him to the March kidnap of Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn in Vallejo. Police say the two crimes have several similarities. And the FBI arrested Muller in July. Muller has not been formally charged in the case.
Meanwhile, Huskins and Quinn filed a claim against the city and police department of Vallejo, alleging they were defamed when police didn't believe they were abducted and ridiculed them in public when Muller was the real kidnapper.
Muller is expected to appear in federal court in Sacramento as early as Monday in that case. Johnson said he his client will plead not guilty.