Jury Reaches Verdict In Georgetown Murder Trial

Albrecht Muth was charged with the first-degree murder of his wife Viola Drath. Find out how the jury ruled.

The jury deliberates the fate of former Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth, charged with the murder of his wife Viola Drath. (Photo by Michelle Peirano)
The jury deliberates the fate of former Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth, charged with the murder of his wife Viola Drath. (Photo by Michelle Peirano)

After only one day of deliberation, a jury found former-Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth guilty of murdering his wife Viola Drath in their Q Street home. 

Court records show the jury reached its decision to convict Muth of first-degree murder at about noon on Thursday. It took a total of three hours for a verdict to be reached. 

Muth's faces life in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for March 19.  

On Wednesday, The jury heard closing arguments where Muth's lawyers argued there was not enough evidence for the jury to find Muth guilty, a Washington Post article said. 

The prosecution's argument has taken up most of the week-long trial. Muth went home drunk, beat and strangled Drath, dragged her into the bathroom and searched for an escape before calling the police the next day, prosecuting lawyers argued. 

Muth is probably best known around town for the Iraqi military uniform he wore all the time. Drath for her work as a journalist and playwright.   

On August 12, 2011, Metropolitan Police found Drath, 91, dead on her bathroom floor after Muth called to report that she had died from a fall. An autopsy the next day suggested Drath had been beaten and strangled.

Muth, 49, was charged with her murder a few days later.

For more background and coverage of witness testimony go here. 

At the start of the trial on Jan. 7, prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said that Muth had a history of abusing Drath and pointed to several instances of domestic violence, including a 1992 court conviction that Muth had beaten Drath, blackening her eyes.

“This homicide… this murder was a long time coming,” Kirschner said.

Muth’s attorney Craig Hickein said that Kirschner’s claims were simply a “theory” and that his material was not evidence that Muth was involved with Drath’s death. Hickein pointed to a lack of DNA evidence and Muth’s cooperation with police.

“Albrecht Muth didn’t hide; he didn’t flee; he didn’t need to,” Hickein said.

The trial began on Jan.6 after more than two years of delays, which D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan said Muth deliberately caused to avoid trial. Muth has purposely fasted on and off, forcing his hospitalization. 

Find out what took so long 

“Mr. Muth’s absence here is of his own making,” Canan said during a Jan.7 trial session.

Muth watched and listened to the trial from his hospital bed using videoconferencing technology. 

Go here for past coverage of the trial. 

Rick Young January 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM


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