Albrecht Muth guilty of killing 91-year-old D.C. socialite wife

A D.C. spent half a day deliberating before declaring Albrecht Muth of killing his much older 91-year-old wife.

A D.C. jury spent half a day deliberating Thursday before declaring Albrecht Muth, 49, of killing his 91-year-old wife.

A German man who claimed to be an Iraqi general was convicted Thursday of killing his much older 91-year-old D.C. socialite wife

A jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Albrecht Muth, 49, guilty of first-degree murder in the August 2011 beating and strangulation death of Viola Drath in their row home in Georgetown.

Muth, who also calls himself Count Albi, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in March.

“Albrecht Muth has pretended to be an Iraqi general, a Count, and an East German spy, but in truth he is a cold-blooded killer who strangled his elderly wife to death,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen.  “This jury saw right through Albrecht Muth’s elaborate web of lies and held him accountable for his brutality.”

Muth tried to delay the trial delayed the trial several times by not eating and becoming too weak to appear in court. A judge ruled that Muth was deliberately manipulating the justice system and proceeded with the trial anyway.

He did not attend the trial in D.C. Superior Court, and instead participated through a videoconference.

Muth had acknowledged that he and Drath had a marriage of convenience, but said he did not kill Drath, a German journalist. His lawyers have said he’s innocent and argued that there was no evidence connecting him to the crime.

Muth said he did not have a job and Drath provided him with a monthly allowance of $2,000, that had recently been reduced to $1,800.

Prosecutors said their had been a pattern of verbal and physical abuse toward his wife, including a conviction for assaulting her in 1992.

Drath was a playwright and columnist who wrote often on German affairs for publications including The Washington Times and a German newspaper.

On the morning of Aug. 12, 2011, Muth called police to report finding his wife dead inside a third-floor bathroom of their home on the 3200 block of Q Street NW.

He said she had fallen, and investigators initially treated the death as one of natural causes. But the medical examiner’s office concluded within days that it was a homicide.

After Drath’s body was taken from the home, he handed her relatives letters, supposedly signed by Drath, that said the family was to pay him $150,000 upon her death, plus $50,000 if the assets from her estate were greater than $600,000. The letter was dated Aug. 11 the day before she was found on the bathroom floor.

Police said a neighbor told them that on the night before Drath’s death was reported, the neighbor awoke about 3:30 a.m. and heard a faint cry followed by a sinister laugh.

A family member who was familiar with Drath’s handwriting told police the document appeared to have been forged.

According to the autopsy, Drath suffered several injuries to her body, fractured neck cartilage, bruising around the neck, fractured ribs and a torn right thumbnail.

The couple, who married when Muth was in his 20s and she in her 70s, had a long history of domestic violence. In 1992, Muth was convicted of assaulting Drath and sentenced to a year in jail.



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