Home invasion defendant linked to Vallejo kidnapping in court

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KTVU) – A man accused of a home invasion crime in Dublin and linked to a bizarre kidnapping case in Vallejo from March of this year appeared in an East Bay courtroom Thursday.

The attorney for a man accused of a home invasion in Dublin filed a motion to suppress key evidence in the case, which may link the suspect to other crimes in the Bay Area.

Matthew Muller appeared in court on Thursday in a preliminary hearing that was continued until Sept. 2nd regarding a home invasion that occurred in June 2015.

Dublin Police say Muller broke into a couple’s home in the middle of the night and attempted to tie them up, but the couple fought back. Investigators believe Muller left his cell phone behind.

According to court documents, an emergency “911” call was placed from the lock screen of the cell phone, which revealed the telephone number and ultimately led to Muller’s arrest at a home in South Lake Tahoe.

Thomas Johnson, Muller’s attorney, spoke to media outside the criminal courthouse in Pleasanton where he said he believes the cell phone was initially accessed without a warrant. He has filed a motion to suppress the cell phone as evidence.

“If the court were to find that the phone was seized and searched unlawfully, the phone is a window into the entire investigation, the remaining investigation,” he said.

Court documents show detectives obtained a search warrant for the cell phone after the emergency “911” call was placed. Prosecutors could argue there was an urgent need to initially search the phone at that time.

The documents also show investigators searched a stolen car and the house in South Lake Tahoe, which led to much bigger clues. Investigators believes items found there link Muller to the abduction of Denise Huskins from her boyfriend’s home in Vallejo in March 2015.

Huskins claimed she was tied up, drugged and held for ransom. She was later found unharmed at her parent’s house is Huntington Beach and Vallejo Police called the kidnapping a hoax.

If the judge finds the cell phone was searched unlawfully, it could be a big blow to prosecutors.

“If the search of the phone is suppressed, then I don’t know what evidence would remain,” Johnson added.

If the motion to suppress evidence holds up in court, it is unclear how that would affect the FBI’s case against Muller.

Authorities still have yet to charge Muller for the Vallejo kidnapping.

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