Muth Admitted to ER, Attorneys Request Competency Challenge Hearing

Albrecht Muth, accused of murdering his wife Viola Drath in Georgetown, did not appear in court as planned Sept. 6.

Albrecht Muth's attorneys have requested a hearing to contest the recent competency finding issued by St. Elizabeths hospital.

Muth was scheduled to appear in court Thursday, where he may have been ruled competent based on the opinion of three experts submitted earlier this week, but was admitted to the emergency room Wednesday night after fainting and complaining of chest pains.

He has been fasting and has lost at least 25 pounds, according to a report from his doctors at St. Elizabeths.

Muth is with aggravating circumstances in the .

Doctors from St. Elizabeths issued a finding Tuesday in which they agree with two experts for the prosecution in the Viola Drath murder case: Albrecht Muth is competent to stand trial.

The court did not make an official ruling of competency Thursday.

"We challenge that opinion," said Dana Page, one of Muth's public defenders.

Muth's attorneys, Page and Craig Hickein, have their own experts evaluating Muth and requested additional time to complete those evaluations and then to proceed with hearing contesting St. Elizabeths findings.

In court Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glen Kirschner requested Muth no longer be treated at St. Elizabeths since the competency evaulation was completed. Kirschner said allowing Muth to remain at St. Elizabeths would give the appearance he was still under evaluation.

Judge Russel Canan determined that Muth should remain at St. Elizabeths in part because of his weakened phsyical state from the fast and because the court has not officially ruled him competent.

But Kirschner said Muth's fasting, which began after he learned that St. Elizabeths might find him competent, is just another example of his cunning behavior.

"It's a pattern that makes it more and more obvious that he is gaming the system," Kirschner said.

Kirschner said Muth should not be allowed to manipulate the proceedings and that they would need to see what can be done "about his attempts to control the proceedings by refusing to eat."

Though Canan had wanted to have the competency contest hearing in October, Page said her experts needed more time and would not be available until December. Canan raised concerns about further delaying the proceedings.

Page said she needed more time because the prosecution had not provided materials completely or in a timely manner, giving the defense just "bits and pieces" of information.

"It's too complicated ... to rush this," she said.

Kirschner issued a standing offer that Muth's attorneys could come to review any and all documents he has for the case.

By Oct. 2 the parties must provide the court with an update on discovery of documents and on Oct. 9, which was once slated as a trial date, the court will hold a mental observation hearing.


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