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Court Reschedules Georgetown Murder Trial, Reviews Evidence

District of Columbia Court moved German expatriate Albrect Muth's trial in the death of his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, to a later date so that the court can determine if Muth's alleged past crimes should be addressed.

Albrecht Muth's trial begins Jan. 6, 2014. (Photo by Michelle Peirano.)
Albrecht Muth's trial begins Jan. 6, 2014. (Photo by Michelle Peirano.)

Former Georgetown resident Albrech Muth’s trial did not start on Monday as originally scheduled. It is now planned to begin on Jan. 6, 2014, making time for the court to decide if evidence of his past crimes will be included in the trial.  

The German expatriate was charged with beating and strangling his 91-year-old, journalist wife Viola Drath in August 2011. He was also charged with assaulting Drath in 2008, but the case was dismissed.

The latest postponement in the case is one of many during the last two years, totaling nine cancelled court dates.

Since the trial process began, Muth has been hospitalized for mental evaluation and diagnosed with “narcissistic personality disorder,” but ultimately deemed fit for trial in August 2012.

He was again hospitalized in February 2012 in critical condition after starving himself for months.  According to his doctor, he continues to fast on and off and remains in a “weakened physical state.” As of Dec. 2, he was still hospitalized and unable to attend his hearings.

Muth is probably best known around town for his uniform, imitating Iraqi military, he wore all the time while strolling down the street or sitting in a park. But his actions surrounding the trial have garnered national attention, as well as his arrest and life with Drath—a marriage he called one of “convenience.”

On August 12, 2011, Metropolitan Police found Drath dead on her bathroom floor, an autopsy the next day suggested Drath had been beaten and strangled and Muth was charged with murder a few days later.

A judge found probable cause for Muth’s detainment after charging documents noted Muth was alone with Drath the night of her death and a witness claimed to have a confession, according to a previous Patch article. Muth posed a danger to the community and was a flight risk, the article said.

The judge's decision also pointed to a contentious history between Muth and Drath and a possibility that Muth could gain financially from Drath’s death, the article said.

According to an eight-page New York Times article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown,” Muth had a reputation for drinking too much, arguing with his wife and spinning tales about his life. 

The article painted a picture of Muth using Drath for money and political power while alienating her from those she was close with.

“During her years with Muth, Drath’s social world slowly contracted. Guests flooded her home in response to Muth’s invitations, but she lost touch with old friends,” wrote Franklin Foer in the article.

Despite Muth's continued hospitalization, both the prosecutor and Muth's lawyer agreed that they were ready for trial in November. And although he is unable to travel between the hospital and the courtroom, he waived his right to be present, allowing the trial to go on without him, court records said. 

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