D.C. jury convicts husband, 49, in death of socialite wife, 91

Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A 49-year-old man faces life in prison after a Washington jury found him guilty of killing his 91-year-old wife, who he claimed was killed by an Iraqi assassin.

The jury that convicted Albrecht Gero Muth of first-degree murder Thursday in the death of Washington socialite Viola Herms Drath found the crime to be "heinous and atrocious," because of Drath's age, the Washington Post reported. Muth could receive life in prison without parole when he is sentenced March 19.

Muth was not in court when the verdict was announced. Periods of fasting had left him too weak to attend and he watched by video from a hospital bed. Once 200 pounds, he now weighs about 92 pounds.

Muth and Drath had been married 20 years. She was a playwright and former fashion and political writer. He is a German national who sometimes dressed in a military uniform and claimed to be an Iraqi general.

They slept in the same bedroom but did not share the same bed. Muth had called the marriage one of "convenience."

Prosecutors said Drath had endured years of domestic abuse, and had several fractured ribs and bruises to her spine, head, throat, chest and arms when she was found dead at her home in August 2011. Prosecutors said she sustained the injuries fighting off her husband.

Initially, Muth said his wife had died in a fall. Later, he claimed she was the victim of an Iraqi assassin.

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