Doctor: 'There's Something Wrong with [Muth's] Brain'
Defense witness Dr. David Schretlen testified Tuesday accused Georgetown murderer Albrecht Muth suffers from cognitive impairments.
Dr. David Schretlen said in a testimony Tuesday that accused Georgetown murderer Albrecht Muth has "serious impairment" in his cognitive functions -- but stopped short of elaborating on whether he thought Muth could stand trial.
Schretlen, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Johns Hopkins Medical School, did not offer an opinion on Muth's competence to stand trial despite acting as a witness for the defense during the competency hearing.
Muth is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Viola Drath, who was found dead in her Q Street NW home in August of 2011.
"I think there's something wrong with this man's brain," Schretlen said at one point during his Tuesday testimony.
When he was asked if he had an opinion on Muth's ability to stand trial, Schretlen said he didn't do a full review of Muth as he would in a complete competency evaluation.
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During a four-hour session this summer, Schretlen said he administered a battery of tests, the results of which he said demonstrated Muth has deficits in both his memory and executive function.
Muth also has "trouble weighing plausibility" of his beliefs or expectations.
Additionally, Muth exhibited issues with perseveration whereby it was "difficult to get him to abandon something that is not working."
It's an argument that supports the defense team's assertion Muth is delusional and unwavering in his chosen, unusual, defense that his wife's death was an Iranian hit gone wrong.
But the prosecution questioned the results of Schretlen's testing because Muth has spent the previous night in the hospital for extremely low blood sugar and reportedly only had three hours of sleep before meeting with the doctor.
Schretlen said Muth appeared "alert" during their interaction.
“If I had thought he was delerious … I would not have continued," he added.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Lyons questioned whether sleep deprivation could have been the cause for some of the deficiencies in Muth's test results.
The doctor said it would only have "minimal effects" on the outcome.
Schretlen performed an IQ test on Muth and a test measuring his "pre-morbid" IQ, or what his IQ might have been prior to some brain injury or mental condition.
His tests reflected a "significant" decrease in IQ from around 115 to his current IQ of 94, as measured this summer.
On these and other tests, "Mr. Muth's performance was anything but normal," Schretlen said
DC Superior Court Judge Russel F. Canan will continue to hear testimony in the competency case Wednesday and Thursday.