Muth ruled competent to stand trial for socialite wife's death

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Local,DC,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A judge ruled Thursday that a man accused of killing his much older socialite wife in their Georgetown home is competent to stand trial.

Albrecht Muth, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2011 strangulation and beating death of 91-year-old Viola Drath. His trial is scheduled to begin March 25.

In February, Muth was determined to be incompetent to stand trial and was taken to St. Elizabeths Hospital. Muth has claimed to be an Iraqi general and says Iranian assassins killed his journalist wife. He also has said he has taken directions from the Archangel Gabriel.

Doctors at St. Elizabeths filed reports during the next several months stating that Muth remained incompetent but could become competent with additional treatment. In September, they determined that Muth was competent.

During court proceedings earlier this month, Muth's lawyers argued that he was not competent, but a psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution said that Muth was a master liar.

After D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan found Muth competent, Muth pleaded not guilty and waived his right to be represented by counsel, according to court records. The lawyers who have been representing him will be Muth's advisers as he represents himself.

Because Muth was ruled competent, he will be transferred from St. Elizabeths to the D.C. jail.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner