Update: Albrecht Muth Held Without Bail Until Preliminary Hearing, Sept. 2
Albrecht Muth, 47, charged in the death of his wife, 91-year-old Viola Drath.
Updated 5:29 p.m.
Albrecht Muth was arraigned in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday and will be held without bond until his preliminary hearing date, Sept. 2.
Muth appeared disoriented while he awaited arraignment, swaying back and forth from the balls of his feet to his heels. When he was called, he asked to have the full five-page affidavit used in his arrest read aloud. The full charging document can be found here.
During the reading, Muth consulted with his attorney, Dana Page, nodding his head at times and muttering at one point when the affidavit stated he did not have a job and depended on his deceased wife for money.
Muth spoke directly to Magistrate Judge Karen Howze, saying "I have the right to respond to the affidavit. ... I understand it is my right in your legal system."
The judge stopped him, saying "I am not going to allow you to jeopardize your rights by responding."
Muth insisted on objecting to the affidavit's assertion of his financial dependence on the decedent.
Page asked the judge not to find probable cause because the case is based largely on circumstantial evidence. She also asked that he not be held, "there is no information that he is a flight risk...no reason to believe he is dangerous."
The prosecutor in the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner. About probable cause, he said, "it is a circumstantial evidence case, but it is a pretty substantial circumstantial evidence case."
Kirschner said that Muth's history of domestic abuse, beyond the allegations in the current case, demonstrate that he is a danger to the community. Additionally, he said the defendant's own assertions of being highly connected in important circles and in Iraq indicate he could be a flight risk.
The judge sided with Kirschner in both instances, finding probable cause and determining that Muth should be held without bail.
Muth will have his next day in court Sept. 2 in Room 301 with Judge Fisher.
Updated 2:57 p.m.
Albrecht Muth, 47, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Viola Drath, 91. He is pending arraignment in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.
Charging documents reveal that the Deputy Medical Examiner determined that Drath's death was a homicide, caused by strangulation and blunt force injuries.
An autopsy report performed on the victim revealed several injuries to her body, including:
- bruising and abrasions of the neck,
- bruising to the scalp,
- fractured anterior neck cartilage,
- petichial hemmorhages to both eyes,
- fractured ribs,
- and a torn right thumb nail
An email from the husband charged in the death of 91-year-old Viola Drath says she died the night before he found her body.
"I am sad to advise that my dear wife of nearly 25 years passed last night. Funeral arrangements are pending," wrote Albrecht Muth to about 40 friends Friday afternoon.
The medical examiner did not complete the autopsy, setting the time of death as Thursday, until Saturday. The full report has yet to be released, but the medical examiner has ruled Drath's death to be a homicide.
We have requested a comment from MPD on the timeline. We are waiting for them to get back to us.
Muth, 47, was charged with second-degree murder on Tuesday. MPD did not have any information on his attorney and D.C. Superior Court records are not yet available online.
Muth said he found Drath's body at 8 a.m. Friday. Police were called to their home on the 3200 block of Q Street Friday and indicated that Drath had died of natural causes.
On Friday, just after 2 p.m., Muth sent the email to about 40 friends and neighbors informing them of his wife's death.
ANC2E Safety Chair, Ed Solomon, was among those to receive the email Friday, having attended a Ramadan a party with 20 to 25 other Georgetowners hosted by Druth at her home the previous weekend.
Saturday just after 4 p.m., Muth sent an obituary to The Washington Post, listing his wife's date of death as Thursday, Aug. 11, a day before he reported having found her body.
The Washington Post questioned him about the discrepancy in the date of death, but he attributed the information to other family members: "Muth said that another member of Drath’s family had included those facts, based on what the medical examiner had told them."
On Sunday, police searched his home, removed various bags of evidence and began interviewing family members.
On Tuesday, just before 8 p.m., Muth was arrested and charged with his wife's murder.
Drath's family released a statement late Tuesday evening:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our mother and grandmother, Viola Drath. Her intelligence, independence and grace remained intact to the end. Our family is incredibly appreciative of the excellent work of the Metropolitan Police Department, in particular Detectives Gus Giannakoulis and James Wilson."- The Drath Family