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Muth sent to mental hospital for further evaluation
Question of the Day
A D.C. Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered an additional six weeks of mental health evaluations for a Georgetown socialite to determine whether he is competent to stand trial in the murder of his wife.
Albrecht Muth, 48, returned to St. Elizabeths Hospital to continue his treatment and await the evaluation of two medical experts for the prosecution. He faces first-degree murder charges in the death of 91-year-old Viola Drath.
Mr. Muth's attorneys said they had no problem with their client remaining in the hospital — he's been there since mid-February — but defense attorney Dana Page told Judge Russell Canan that she was concerned that scheduling the next hearing in 45 days would give them less time to prepare for the October trial date if her team decides to argue the opinion of the prosecution's medical experts.
"It doesn't leave us time to be ready," Ms. Page said, adding that Mr. Muth has yet to be arraigned and she had only received some pre-indictment evidence from the prosecution.
Ms. Page also told Judge Canan that "there will be litigation" if the prosecution's doctors determine Mr. Muth is competent to stand trial.
Judge Canan reminded both legal teams that he would "hate for us to be in the position" of having to to push back proceedings and that a good deal of preparation could be done by the attorneys between now and the next hearing, on July 26.
In response to Judge Canan's comment that he was "hoping we'd be a little further down the road," Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner said he could provide the defense with evidence as early as Friday, and his medical experts are scheduled to meet with Mr. Muth sometime next week.
Dressed in a light khaki button-down shirt and matching pants, Mr. Muth stood quietly next to his attorneys, only greeting the judge upon his introduction and nodding his head in understanding.
A man and woman from the Drath family were present for the court appearance but declined to answer reporters' questions.
This was the third mental-observation hearing for Mr. Muth since his hospitalization in February. It proceeded in a similar way to Mr. Muth's two prior court appearances, with Judge Canan summarizing the latest mental health evaluation and ordering further treatment to see whether Mr. Muth can attain competency for trial.
In the health reports, doctors state that Mr. Muth exhibits a rational understanding of how court works as well as a trial and the people involved in its proceedings. Doctors note, however, that Mr. Muth does not budge on his opinion of what his defense strategy should be, including his request to represent himself.
He's diagnosed with disorders that cause him to be paranoid and out of touch with reality
Mr. Muth was arrested in late August, days after police were called to the couple's Georgetown row house by Mr. Muth, who said he had found his wife unconscious in a bathroom.
He has maintained that he is an Iraqi general and Drath's death was the result of a hit acted out by Iranian agents.
Mr. Muth was admitted to St. Elizabeths after starving himself and telling officials he was communicating with angels.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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