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Georgetown Woman's Death Not Natural, Forensic Witness Says

Here's the latest testimony and a roundup of last week's events in Albrecht Muth's trial on charges he murdered his wife, Viola Drath.

The murder trial of former Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth continues. (Patch file photo)
The murder trial of former Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth continues. (Patch file photo)
Jurors reviewed crime scene photos during a Monday trial session for former Georgetown-resident Albrecht Muth, charged with the murder of his wife Viola Drath in their Q Street home, an Associated Press article in the Washington Post said. 

Drath, 91, was found dead in her bathroom after Muth called the police in August 2011. An autopsy suggested Drath had been beaten and strangled. 

On Monday, forensic investigator Latoya Jamison told jurors that there was a bloody gash on Drath's neck, her fingernail had been ripped off and that the position they found Drath in after her death was not consistent with that of someone who would have died of natural causes, the article said. 

One of Drath's daughters also testified on Monday. Read the full article from the Washington Post here

The trial opened about a week ago on Jan. 6, more than two years after Muth's arrest.  

Find out what took so long 

The Jan. 6 session consisted mostly of jury selection, but also included possible witnesses and an announcement from Judge Russell Canan that Muth would not be attending the trial in person because of his continued hospitalization after years of fasting.

“Mr. Muth’s absence here is of his own making,” Canan said.

Tuesday's session picked up with opening statements from both prosecuting and defense attorney's and a testimony from Viola Drath's daughter. 

The statements consisted of government prosecutor Glenn Kirschner accusing Muth of strangling his 91-year-old wife Viola Drath and searching for ways to flee the country. Public defender Craig Hickein said that Muth did not commit the crime and that the case against him was just a "theory."

Francesca Drath, Viola's daughter, testified, saying Muth was unpleasant to be around and that during the last few years of her mother's life, family gatherings took place outside of the home without Muth. 

Muth also sent Francesca a "prolific" number of emails, often listing an inventory of items he said would remain his after Drath's death, Francesca said. 

William Boltz, the author of a prenuptial agreement between Drath and Muth, also testified on Tuesday.

According to Homicide Watch D.C., Boltz said that Muth did not have any right to Drath's belongings, and the last time he heard from Drath in 2008, he was helping her get a separation from Muth.  

Read all of Homicide Watch D.C.'s coverage here

On Wednesday, the man Muth was with the night before Drath's death and a common acquaintance testified about their email exchanges with Muth, Homicide Watch D.C. said. 

The author of Drath's will also testified saying Drath was "very aware" in her old age and that she had specifically disinherited Muth in her will, Homicide Watch D.C.'s Wednesday coverage said. 

On Thursday, two witnesses testified they had seen Muth abuse his wife, Homicide Watch said. 

Christopher Barnett, a Georgetown resident who fixed computers as a side job, was at the Q Street house working for Muth when he saw Muth push Drath backward, he said.

Ethan Drath, Viola's grandson, said he had received a frantic phone call from Drath after she had a fight with Muth and he dumped a bowl of soup on her head. 

Go here for past coverage and updates on the trial. 

Muth’s trial on first-degree murder charges is expected to continue for another week or two. If convicted, Muth faces life in prison.





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