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Man is tried from hospital bed, convicted of murdering his 91-year-old wife

Posted Jan 16, 2014 5:49 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 49-year-old man whose weight has dwindled to 92 pounds due to periodic fasting over the past year was tried on his hospital bed and convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the death in 2011 of his 91-year-old wife.

It was the first case ever tried in D.C. Superior Court without the defendant present in the courtroom, the Washington Post reports.

Defendant Albrecht Gero Muth was able to participate in the trial by video conference, with the help of court employees stationed at his beside, as an earlier Washington Post article details.

Married for over 20 years, Muth and his wife, socialite and journalist Viola Drath, were an unconventional couple. Prosecutor Laura Bach said that Muth—who wore a military uniform he had ordered online and pretended to be an Iraqi general—beat and strangled her to death in a drunken rage at the couple's Georgetown home. The defense pointed to a lack of physical evidence implicating Muth and noted that he gained nothing from her death under her will. Meanwhile, while she lived, he received a $2,000-a-month allowance and was allowed to date others.

“Mr. Muth doesn’t benefit from Ms. Drath’s death. He could live the life he wanted. Why kill her?" public defender Dana Page said.

The jury deliberated about three hours over the course of two days before reaching its verdict.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Due to hunger strike, suspect is found unable to stand trial in murder of his wife"

WJLA: "Albrecht Muth trial in the jurors' hands"

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