Judge: Muth cannot defend self in Drath murder trial

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A Washington man accused of fatally beating his 91-year-old socialite wife will not be allowed to represent himself in court proceedings, at least until his physical and mental condition improves, a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Albrecht Muth, who had been on a hunger strike during the last several months of his incarceration at the D.C. Jail, was rushed back to a hospital Wednesday and was not in court Thursday for proceedings.

“He was brought back to the jail yesterday and last night was sent back to United Medical Center,” Judge Russell F. Canan said Thursday after receiving an update on Mr. Muth’s condition. “If the situation doesn’t change he will be in a grave situation, if he is not already.”

Mr. Muth, 47, was charged with second-degree murder in the August 2011 death of his wife, Viola Drath. She was found beaten and strangled to death in the Georgetown home the couple shared.

Thursday’s hearing was scheduled after Mr. Muth was hospitalized and unable to attend a previous status hearing Feb. 3.

Mr. Muth is at this time mentally and physically incapable of representing himself,” Judge Canan said.

Two attorneys who have been acting as Mr. Muth’s attorney advisers were appointed to represent him in the case. They declined to comment after the hearing.

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