Muth Attorneys Promise Litigation If He is Found Competent
Georgetown murder suspect Albrecht Muth is undergoing evaluation and treatment at St. Elizabeths mental hospital.
Defense attorney Dana Page promised D.C. Superior Court Judge Russel F. Canal that there would be litigation on behalf of her client, Albrecht Muth, if he is found competent by the next scheduled status conference in July. Muth appeared in court Thursday for a status conference on his competency to stand trial and represent himself, as he has requested.
In a letter Tuesday, doctors at St. Elizabeths reported that Albrecht Muth, the Georgetown murder suspect, remains incompetent for trial. Muth continues to claim that he is a general in the Iraqi Army and that his wife's death was a "hit" by Iranian agents, according to the June 19 letter.
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A grand jury indicted Muth on the charge of first-degree murder in the death of his wife Viola Drath; his trial is scheduled for October. Drath, 91, was found dead in her home in August 2011; a medical examiner determined the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force trauma.
On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glen Kirschner requested additional time for the government's own experts to evaluate Muth while he is at St. Elizabeths.
Page said she was fine with the additional time and evaluations, but said "there will be litigation" if Muth is found competent during the next month.
"You're telling me now that you will seek litigation if he comes back competent in July?" asked Canan. Page answered positively.
Canan said he did not want to get into a situation where the trial is pushed back even farther than the October date.
If there is going to be litigation, he said, it should happen "sooner than later," so the case can proceed in a timely manner.
"My goal is to still go to trial in October" said Canan.
To that point, Kirschner promised to provide full discovery to Muth's attorneys as soon as possible, "tomorrow" even, despite the lack of an arraignment.
But Page told the judge that even if full discovery was made the next day she could not guarantee that they could be ready to defend Muth by October, in part because he cannot assist them in his defense while he is still under competency evaluation.
Canan said he hoped the defense could be working on both the trial and competency evaluations "concurrently."
Canan set the next competency hearing for 10 a.m. July 26.