Albrecht Muth Convicted in Murder of D.C. Socialite

A D.C. jury convicted a German man in the murder of his 91-year-old socialite wife Thursday.

The jury told the judge the slaying was a heinous crime made worse because the victim was particularly vulnerable due to her age, News4's Mark Segraves reported.

"Part of the charge was to find if it was heinous, and we found it was and we found Ms. Drath was vulnerable because of her age so that contributed to it as well," jury foreman Joe Paul said.

Drath's daughters and grandchildren hugged jurors, prosecutors and homicide detectives following the verdict.

"The family is very please with today's verdict and we have a lot of people to thank," said Connie Drath-Dwyer, the victim's daughter.

The case, which captured wide attention in Washington, went to the jury Wednesday afternoon after hours of closing arguments from lawyers for both sides.

Albrecht Muth, 49, was charged in the 2011 beating and strangulation death of his German wife, journalist and socialite Viola Drath, who was found dead in the couple's Georgetown home on Q Street.

At the time, Muth, her second husband, said she fell and hit her head, listing her cause of her death as "head trauma from a fall" in an obituary submitted to the Washington Post.

Investigators said Drath's injuries were inconsistent with a fall, and prosecutors said Muth was motivated by money in killing his wife.

But Muth has denied guilt, blaming her death on an Iranian hit job. His lawyers said there was no evidence connecting him to her death.

While Drath was known as a fixture in the Georgetown social scene, Muth was known in the community for appearing in military garb, claiming to be a general in the Iraqi military.

Muth did not attend the trial in D.C. Superior Court. He participated instead via video conference after doctors said his self-imposed bouts of starvation made him too weak to appear.

A judge said the trial could proceed anyway. Jurors heard at trial from witnesses including Drath's daughters.

Muth could face up to life in prison. He will be sentenced March 19.

The jury deliberated for about half a day before reaching a verdict.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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