The doctors evaluating Georgetown socialite Albrecht Muth told a D.C. Superior Court judge that they need more time and more information about the self-proclaimed “Count Albi” before they can determine whether he is competent to stand trial on charges of murdering his wife.
In a letter from St. Elizabeths Hospital CEO Patrick Canavan, the doctors examining Mr. Muth requested a continuance of the case to allow time for “collateral interviews with family members, a review of records including Mr. Muth’s employment history, journal entries and copies of reports generated by other experts involved in Mr. Muth’s case.”
Mr. Muth is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a mental observation hearing and felony arraignment.
Mr. Muth, 48, faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his wife, 91-year-old Viola Drath. The letter to the D.C. court is the fourth of its kind written by Mr. Canavan in the five months that Mr. Muth has been hospitalized. He was admitted to St. Elizabeths in February after he attempted to starve himself and claimed he was talking to angels.
Unlike the prior three letters, which provided lengthy observations about Mr. Muth’s behavior and diagnoses, the letter filed late Tuesday was shorter than two pages and summarized only his most recent six weeks of treatment and doctors’ observations.
Mr. Canavan wrote that Mr. Muth continues to show “a general understanding of the court process,” however, he has expressed “being at an impasse with his attorneys and has continued to demonstrate an inflexibility about developing alternative defense strategies with his attorneys.”
According to previous letters, Mr. Muth has a good understanding of court proceedings, but when asked about his defense strategy, he consistently has referred to his wife’s death as an unintentional consequence of a “hit to be taken out toward him” by the Iranian government.
Drath was found unresponsive nearly one year ago in a bathroom of the Georgetown rowhouse the two shared. An autopsy indicated her injuries were consistent with strangulation.
Police initially treated the case as a robbery gone wrong but later traced evidence back to Mr. Muth. Only hours after Drath’s death, Mr. Muth presented her family with a statement signed in April 2011 indicating he would receive $150,000 when she died.
According to court documents, in the past months Mr. Muth has told doctors that he requires help from government officials in Iraq, his “Iranian brothers,” and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and now director of the CIA.
Doctors diagnosed Mr. Muth with a delusional disorder and schizotypal personality disorder, which can cause a person to feel targeted and display odd behavior while struggling to accept reality.
Neighbors and friends recall seeing Mr. Muth before Drath’s death walking around the Georgetown area wearing a camel-colored, tailor-made military costume. He has referred to himself as a count and an Iraqi general.
Tuesday’s letter is the fourth request for the court to provide more time to examine Mr. Muth. He appeared in court last month and prosecutors offered to provide Mr. Muth’s attorneys’ with some of their evidence so they could get a head start on trial preparation should the case move forward. Mr. Muth’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 9.
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Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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