Sentencing scheduled for Albrecht Muth in 2011 slaying of Georgetown wife Viola Drath

Albrecht Gero Muth, the 49-year-old German man convicted of the 2011 fatal beating and strangulation of his 91-year-old wife in her Georgetown home, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.

Prosecutors are requesting Muth be sentenced to life in prison. He was convicted in January of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, socialite and former journalist Viola Drath.

It is unclear whether Muth will be present for the sentencing before Judge Russell F. Canan. His health, because of a long-term fast, has declined greatly, hospital officials have said. As a result, Muth had been confined to a hospital bed while in custody of D.C. jail officials.

Muth was not present during his January trial. Instead, he watched via video-conference.

During the trial, Muth’s attorneys argued there was no proof that Muth killed his wife of 20 years. Authorities had no DNA evidence and no eyewitnesses.

Prosecutors argued that Drath’s death was the culmination of years of domestic abuse. She had several fractured ribs, bruises to her spine and scratches around her neck, prosecutors said. The scratches, they said, occurred when Drath tried to fight off Muth as he strangled her. She fought so hard, they said, that one of her thumbnails broke off.

When Muth and Drath began dating shortly before their 1990 nuptials, Drath’s relatives and friends were wary of her much younger suitor. Muth often wore an eye patch, and said he had lost the eye while fighting as a mercenary in South America, but he later stopped wearing the patch. He had a military uniform — which prosecutors say he ordered online — and wore it on the streets of Georgetown, telling neighbors he was an Iraqi general.

But Drath — a former fashion and political writer and a playwright — initially found Muth fascinating and attentive, her relatives said.

At the time of his arrest, Muth told police that his wife died in a fall. Then he told authorities that his wife died as a result of a failed Iranian assassination that was meant for him.

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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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