Competency finding contested in socialite’s death

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense lawyers are challenging a finding that a German man is competent to stand trial in the killing of his much-older wife at their Washington home.

Doctors at St. Elizabeths Hospital reversed course in a report this week and found Albrecht Muth mentally fit for trial. He’s charged in the August 2011 death of Viola Drath, a 91-year-old German journalist and socialite who was strangled and beaten.

Muth has claimed to be a brigadier general in the Iraqi Army and to receive visits from the archangel Gabriel. But doctors who have interviewed Muth concluded that he’s feigning his delusions and attempting to manipulate the legal system. On Thursday, Muth’s public defender requested time to challenge that finding.

Muth, who is on a hunger strike, did not attend the hearing.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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