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Psychiatrist: Muth 'mastered the art of lying'

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

Albrecht Muth, the Georgetown man accused of killing his much older socialite wife, admitted to fabricating different personas -- including being an Iraqi general and Count Albi -- but suggested that it was part of his work in the "intelligence" world, a psychiatrist testified Monday.

The testimony came during a hearing to determine whether Muth, 48, is mentally competent to stand trial for killing his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, in August 2011. The hearing is expected to last several days.

Muth has claimed to be an Iraqi general and says Iranian assassins killed his journalist wife. He appears to be recovering from his months-long hunger strike, which he said was ordered by the archangel Gabriel.

Psychiatrist Robert Phillips, the first witness to take the stand for the government, described Muth as formal, rigid and arrogant. He said Muth was fit for trial.

"Mr. Muth has mastered the art of lying," Phillips said. "He pretty much lied about everything."

During the period in which Muth said he was fighting in the Iraq War, he actually worked as a hotel clerk in Miami Beach, Phillips said. And Muth was on the run from a warrant on a domestic violence charge, Phillips said. He was arrested when police found him trying to steal traffic cones, Phillips said.

Muth told Phillips that his flight to Florida was to create his next persona, which he claims to be part of his work in intelligence, the psychiatrist testified.

Muth said he was given the name Count Albi by a man who fell off an elephant and deemed him Count Albi in his dying breath. Muth legally changed his name to Count Albi to gain access to important people, Phillips said.

His efforts were successful, Phillips said. Muth used his fake persona to form what he called the Eminent Persons Group, which published "some significant work" and advised United Nations members against small arms proliferation, Phillips said.

In a report filed in D.C. Superior Court last month, doctors at St. Elizabeths Hospital said Muth suffered from "narcissistic, antisocial and schizotypal personality traits," but was mentally competent for trial.

Judge Russell F. Canan will have to make that determination.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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