D.C.

Albrecht Muth competent to stand trial, gov't psychiatrist says

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The murder trial for Albrecht Muth has been sidetracked for months by debate over his mental stability and ability to stand trial. The 48-year-old is accused of killing his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, in their Georgetown home more than a year ago.

During a mental competency hearing Monday, state psychiatrists testified about Muth and had some interesting things to say.

Muth is charged in the August 2011 beating and strangulation death of Drath, a German journalist and socialite, inside the Georgetown home.

In court Monday, Dr. Robert Phillips, the government's psychiatrist, said Muth is competent to stand trial, adding he's so manipulative he's done things he could not do.

Phillips brought up Muth's relationship with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. When Muth decided to convert to Catholicism, Scalia, a devout Catholic, helped him. He later distanced himself from Muth once he learned more about him, Phillips testified. 

Scalia had even visited the Georgetown home where Drath's possessions were sold last week. Online advertisements for the fine china, jewelry, artwork and sterling silver drew neighbors to the estate sale. Georgetown resident Judy Bunnell said she tried to attend the sale but couldn't

"I walked to the door, and I just decided it was too sad...I didn't want to look at Mrs Drath's things. It just seems too sad to do."

Drath's daughter and grandson were among those who attended Muth's mental competency hearing.

The psychiatrist explained Muth's claiming to be an Iraqi general among other odd behavior was not a mental illness but Muth's own vanity. Muth has mastered the art of lying, he said. He added Muth hopes Hollywood makes a movie about the case, casting Leonardo DiCaprio or Matt Damon to play him.

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