Man convicted of kidnapping Denise Huskins faces court-ordered restitution

Matthew Muller, serving a 40-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted in 2015 for the kidnapping and rape of Denise Huskins, is being asked to provide $5,386 of court-ordered restitution.

Matthew Daniel Muller, 43 

Muller was represented by his lawyer Thomas Barrett — an alternate public defender — at the Solano County Justice Building in Vallejo Friday morning, who said he had contacted the defendant by letter to indicate he has a right to contest the restitution.

Shelly Moore of the District Attorney’s office represented the people at the hearing.

Muller accrued five felony convictions, including two counts of rape, one count of robbery, one count of burglary and one count of false imprisonment. A kidnapping for ransom charge was dismissed on March 18, 2022.

The next hearing will be held Friday, April 19 at 8:30 a.m, where Muller has been authorized to appear by Zoom rather than in person.

The hearing comes on the heels of Netflix’s release of its new documentary “American Nightmare” about the case. Muller — a former Marine, Gulf War veteran and Harvard-trained lawyer — restrained Huskins and her now husband Aaron Quinn with zip ties, blindfolds and headphones before drugging Quinn and taking Huskins to South Lake Tahoe in the trunk of his vehicle.

During this time, Quinn was apprehended by the Vallejo Police Department and allegedly treated as the chief suspect in his girlfriend’s disappearance. While being questioned by police, Quinn accused the department of treating him as if he had already murdered Huskins, according to civil filings.

The documents say Quinn was separated from his relatives and forced to wear prison attire during an 18-hour “aggressive interrogation” held in a small room that was locked from the outside by Vallejo officers.

Meanwhile, Muller held Huskins for two days before he released her near her family’s Huntington Beach home.

Soon after, Vallejo police referred to the incident as a pure fabrication, and said the couple should apologize.

Huskins and Quinn subsequently filed a defamation of character lawsuit against the police department. Police later apologized to the couple who, in 2018, reached a $2.5 million settlement with the City of Vallejo and its police department.

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn during a 2015 press conference held to discuss unfair accusations following Huskins’ kidnapping. – Times-Herald file photo 

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Muller pleaded not guilty to the charges and was confined for months in Solano County Jail in Fairfield, with bail set at $2.25 million. In 2019 he filed a 35-page speedy trial request citing, among other things, his health condition and saying he suffered assault while in custody.

The Netflix documentary comes about three years after the release of the book, “Victim F” — the pseudonym given to Huskins in paperwork surrounding the case.

In the book, Vallejo Detective Sgt. Mat Mustard is quoted as allegedly disparaging victims of rape. Perhaps the most disturbing allegation against Mustard in the book is something Huskins’ mother says the detective said to her while they were frantically searching for their daughter, whom she said had been molested as a child.

“I just want you to know that in our experience, women who have been sexually assaulted before often pretend that it is happening again to get attention and relive the excitement and thrill of that experience,” Mustard is accused of saying.

Times-Herald reporter Thomas Gase contributed to this article.

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