D.C.

Viola Drath murder: Albrecht Muth's right to defend himself suspended

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Albrecht Muth's right to defend himself in his murder trial was suspended Thursday because a judge does not believe he's mentally or physically able to do so.

A judge ruled that Muth is no longer capable of representing himself. (Photo: ABC7)

For the second time in a week, Muth, who is accused of murdering his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, did not appear at a scheduled court hearing. On Feb. 3, Muth remained hospitalized in the midst of a weeks-long hunger strike, which he began after a November court appearance.

MORE: See the series of emails Muth sent on the day he was arrested.

On Thursday morning, lawyers believed that Muth was inside D.C. Superior Court, but he was not. When Judge Russell F. Canon called officials from the Department of Corrections, however, they told him that Muth had been rushed back to United Medical Center after being returned to jail on Wednesday night.

Muth has repeatedly denied involvement in Drath's death. At various times, he has said that his wife, a German-born journalist and socialite, had fallen and hit her head. He has also claimed that the murder was a hit by Iranian agents.

At the November court appearance, Muth requested that he be represented by members of the United States and Iraqi armies. He has claimed to be a ranking member of the Iraqi Army. The judge ruled at that time that Muth could represent himself.

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