Albrecht Muth trial delayed due to failing health

The judge overseeing the trial of Albrecht Muth, the Georgetown man charged with fatally beating his elderly wife two years ago, ordered the trial to be delayed because of Muth’s failing health due to a three-month hunger strike.

The March 25 trial date has been in question since January when Muth was taken from D.C. jail to United Medical Center , a month after he resumed his fast.

Judge Russell F. Canan made the decision after both prosecutors and Muth’s attorneys requested the delay citing Muth’s continued health problems.

“We’re in a limbo status here as we have been through much of this litigation,” Canan said in court Tuesday. Muth is in a Washington hospital, his weight 104 pounds, down from 130 pounds in January, his doctor testified.

Muth, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2011 death of his wife of 22 years, Viola Herms Drath. Authorities said Muth beat and strangled his 91-year-old wife in their Georgetown home.

Muth, a German native who has maintained that he is an Iraqi general, has repeatedly told officials he did not kill his wife and that Drath’s death was the result of an Iranian hit that was intended for him. Muth is facing life in prison.

Canan did not reschedule the trial, but instead scheduled a status hearing for April.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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