Judge Declares Albrecht Muth Competent to Stand Trial
The Georgetown murder suspect will represent himself before a jury at his March 25 trial.
Updated 1:30 p.m.
Albrecht Muth will face a jury in March now that DC Superior Court Judge Russel F. Canan has found him competent to stand trial. Muth will represent himself.
In announcing his finding, Canan said that Muth's actions within the justice system and during hospitalization at St. Elizabeths "speak louder than words" and are consistent with the history of manipulation presented by the prosecution during the past several days of the competency hearing.
His history, said Canan, "outweighs" any examinations or tests that might suggest Muth is impaired.
Muth, 48, was arraigned on the charge of first degree murder in the death of his wife Viola Drath, 91. Directly after being found competent, the court read Muth's arraignment, in which he was charged with aggravating circumstances because "the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel" and "the murder victim was especially vulnerable due to age."
Over the course of eight days of competency hearings, doctors and civilian witnesses offered evidence of Muth's ability or inability to stand trial.
Patch created a page specifically about the competency hearing here.
The prosecution argued that Muth's assertion that he is an Iraqi General was merely another of his many manipulations and "roles" he has played throughout the course of his life.
"There is no major mental illness here. There is no delusional disorder here," Assistant United States Attorney Glen Kirschner said in his closing argument in the competency hearing.
The Iraqi General persona is just "the latest con that Mr. Muth has undertaken," he said.
The defense, however, argued that Muth believes himself to be an Iraqi General because he suffers from a delusional disorder.
His "rigid" insistence that he is a general and that his wife's death was the result of an Iranian hit are not a "choice," according to public defender Dana Page.
They are "part of whatever it is that's going on in his brain," she said.
Ulitmately Canan gave more weight to the theory that Muth was running a "con" to avoid facing the prosecution for the charges against him.
Muth's behavior within the system, including his fasts and his continued assertions that he is an Iraqi general, were tools he used to call into question his competence. He did so while claiming he wanted to be found competent, said Canan. But he also took actions, like asking about getting social security and about processes to be civilly committed, that for Canan called into question Muth's true motives.
Additionally, Canan said the nearly five hours of interviews between Muth and Metropolitan Police Department detectives before and after his arrest were significant. In them Muth "thoroughly and intelligently" discussed issues around his wife's death. Perhaps most notably, Muth did not mention his Iranian hit theory during his interiews; that idea emerged later, said Canan.
Muth, as was expected, promptly "fired" his "incompetent" attorneys and claimed his right to self-representation. He plans to subpoena three key witnesses for his trial, including former General David Petraeus.
"I will only need General Petraeus in the chair," said Muth, who maintained that he would be questioning Petraeus as one general would speak to another.
There will be a status conference Feb. 21 at 9:30 a.m. Muth's trial is set for March 25.
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