A 47-year-old man accused of threatening to kill his boyfriend of five years in 2004 was charged last week with second-degree murder in the death of his 91-year-old wife, whose marriage he described as a relationship of “convenience.”
D.C. police on Aug. 16 arrested Albrecht Gero Muth for the death of his wife of 21 years, retired journalist and Georgetown socialite Viola Drath.
Police said Drath was found dead on Aug. 12 in the bathroom of her house at 3216 Q St., N.W. in Georgetown. The D.C. Medical Examiner’s office said it determined through an autopsy that the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force injuries.
The Washington Post reported last week that Muth was well known to many in Washington’s political establishment, including journalists and federal government officials, as a colorful figure who claimed to be a brigadier general in the Iraqi army.
Officials with the Iraqi embassy in Washington said Muth had no association whatsoever with the Iraqi army or with the government of Iraq, saying they were dismayed that Muth – who often appeared in public wearing an Iraqi military uniform – was falsely making such claims.
The Post also reported that Muth told the Post that he was romantically involved with D.C. area resident Donald Davis beginning around 2002, when he became estranged from his wife and sought to move in with Davis.
Davis told the Post his relationship with Muth became strained around 2004 and he asked Muth to move out of his apartment. Muth responded by threatening to “have me killed and I should be careful when I get into my car,” the Post quoted Davis as saying.
Court records show that Davis obtained a protective stay away order against Muth that year in response to Muth’s alleged threats against him.
According to a four-page police affidavit in support of Muth’s arrest for his wife’s murder, there were no signs of a forced entry into Drath’s upscale Georgetown house. The affidavit says detectives working on the case discovered from court records that Drath had filed domestic violence charges against her husband on several occasions since 1992.
“On Jan. 12, 2008, the defendant was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon arising out of an incident in which it was alleged that he had assaulted the decedent with a wooden chair,” the affidavit says. “However, the case was dismissed when the victim declined to go forward with the case.”
The Post reported that Muth confirmed he had a five-year romantic relationship with Davis and moved into Davis’s D.C. apartment in 2002 after becoming estranged from Drath.
The affidavit says Muth denies he killed his wife and insists an intruder committed the murder, even though he acknowledges he was home around the time police believe Drath died and did not hear signs of a struggle or break-in.
He told police he slept in the basement of the house during the night his wife was killed, while she slept in an upstairs bedroom, because she didn’t like air conditioning, the affidavit says. It says Muth told police he chose to sleep in the basement, where it was cooler.
Muth told the Post that the protective orders obtained by his wife and by Davis alleging domestic violence or threats were unjustified. He said his wife obtained at least one of her protective orders against him because she was upset that he moved in with Davis, the Post reported. He said Davis filed his protective order against him out of anger that Muth moved out of Davis’s apartment and returned to his wife’s house, according to the Post.
The police affidavit says detectives interviewing Muth shortly before his arrest noticed he had scratches on his forehead that appeared to have been inflicted by someone else in a struggle. It says police obtained a search warrant to take DNA samples from Muth, with the intent of comparing them with traces of someone else’s DNA found on his wife’s body.
The affidavit also says a witness who knew Muth and Drath told police that Muth presented Drath’s family members with a letter immediately after Drath’s death that Muth claimed his wife wrote and signed. The witness told police the letter called on the family members to pay Muth $150,000 from Drath’s estate “if something were to happen” to Drath.
The letter called on the family to provide Muth with an additional $50,000 if her liquid assets exceeded $600,000.
“Your affiant asked Witness 1 if the signature on the letter appeared to be genuine,” the affidavit says. “W-1, who is well acquainted with the decedent’s signature, indicated that it was not the decedent’s signature,” the affidavit says.
Muth told homicide detectives working on the case that he had no formal job during most of the years he and Drath were married and that Drath had been giving him a monthly “allowance” of $2,000 until she reduced it recently to $1,800.
“Detectives asked the defendant about the significant age difference (some forty-four years) between him and the 91-year-old decedent,” says the affidavit. “He said that the marriage was a ‘marriage of convenience,’” the affidavit says.