An AU alumnus’ defense attorneys requested Oct. 9 that an independent expert examine their client in the hope that he can be deemed incompetent to stand trial for the alleged murder of his wife in August 2011.
The D.C. Superior Court ordered experts from the defense and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in D.C. operated by the National Institutes of Health, to submit official competency reports by Nov. 19 so a trial can begin Dec. 3.
Alumnus Albrecht Muth, 48, was arrested Aug. 17, 2011 and later charged with the murder of his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, a Georgetown socialite.
Muth received his bachelor’s degree from AU in 1991. Alumni Relations did not disclose any more information about Muth’s time at AU, citing privacy concerns.
Muth told the Metropolitan Police Department he found his wife unconscious on the bathroom floor of their house in Georgetown on Aug. 12, 2011, according to police reports.
Medical Legal Examiner Michelle Mack pronounced Drath dead the same day at noon. Her remains were then transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, according to police reports.
However, Deputy Medical Examiner Carolyn Revercomb said Drath’s body had signs of “strangulation and blunt force injuries” after performing an autopsy on Aug. 13, 2011. She reported Drath’s death as a homicide, according to charging documents.
Muth was charged with first-degree murder on March 6, according to charging documents.
He was hospitalized in February after going on a two-month hunger strike. Doctors ordered him to receive psychiatric care until they could determine if he was competent to stand trial, according to The Washington Post.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that in order to be deemed competent to stand trial, doctors would have to prove three factors at minimum:
• a defendant reasonably understands the charges against him,
• reasonably understands court procedures like pleading guilty and not guilty and
• is able to rationally work with his attorney.
Muth was diagnosed with and received medications for delusional disorder and other mental illnesses as of Feb. 15 in St. Elizabeth’s, according to a report filed by hospital CEO Patrick Caravan.
Delusional disorder is when an individual experiences everyday beliefs that have been proven false such as believing one has been deceived by a lover for at least one month, according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Doctors of St. Elizabeth’s had deemed Muth incompetent to stand trial for more than six months because he:
was unable to rationally consult with his attorney,
went on a second hunger strike on July 31
and attributed his hunger strikes to visits from the Archangel Gabriel and claimed that the Iranian government killed his wife (when it was proven he never had any contact with them).
However, St. Elizabeth’s officially deemed Muth as competent to stand trial on Sept. 4 after conducting a series of psychological tests and interviews with Drath’s family members. Her family said Muth had a history of developing identities to assist him in developing elite social relationships with key political people, according to a Caravan’s report.
Eagle Staff Writer Alex Greco contributed to this report.