Georgetown Murder Case Goes To Deliberation, End In Sight

Lawyers rest their cases in the trial of Albrecht Muth on charges that he murdered his 91-year-old journalist wife, Viola Drath.

Arguments cease and jurors deliberate at Georgetown Murder Trial.
Arguments cease and jurors deliberate at Georgetown Murder Trial.
Jurors were expected to begin deliberations after six days of argumentation and testimony in the trial of former Georgetown resident Albrecht Muth, charged with the murder of his wife Viola Drath in their Q Street home, on Wednesday. 

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. 

“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. 

According to the Washington Post, Muth was asked if he wanted to testify via videoconference on Tuesday but refused. 

"Muth, looking thin and frail with his hands folded on his stomach and a sheet pulled up to his chest and handcuffs on the bed rail next to him, said he did not want to testify," the article said. 

Read full coverage by the Washington Post here.

The two final witnesses, including the only witness called by Muth's lawyers, testified on Tuesday before both the defending and prosecuting lawyers rested their cases, according a Homicide Watch D.C. article. Jurors saw 22 witnesses during the six trial sessions, the article said. 

Read full coverage by Homicide Watch D.C. here

According to the Washington Post article, the single witness called in defense of Muth was "a forensics specialist who testified that Muth’s DNA was not present at the murder scene or on Drath’s body." 

According to the Homicide Watch D.C. article, the prosecution's final witness was a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department detective who interviewed Muth after Drath's death. In a video of his interview "Muth showed little emotion," the article said. 

Read testimony from other witnesses in the trial of Albrecht Muth. 

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.

Kirschner also pointed to Muth’s drunken state the night of Drath’s murder, signs that Drath had been dragged to the bathroom where she was found dead, Google searches by Muth on the night of Drath’s death for “extradition to Mexico, flights to Iceland and crossing the Canadian border,” and an allegedly phony modification to Drath’s will.

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.

If convicted of Drath's first-degree murder, Muth faces life in prison.

Check back here for updates on the lawyers' closing statements and the jury decision. 

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