Charging Documents Outline Husband's Preoccupation with Evidence in Viola Drath's Murder

It was a “marriage of convinience,” Albrecht Muth told homicide investigators the day after his wife, Viola Drath, was found dead. Unemployed, he had been married to Drath for more than twenty years, during which time she paid him an allowance. An allowance, that Muth told investigators, had recently been reduced.

Muth, 47, is expected to be formally presented with a charge of second-degree murder this afternoon in connection with Drath’s death. According to court records, he is also known as “Count Albi.”

Muth has denied killing his wife, according to charging documents in the case.

Those documents also say that Drath died of strangulation and blunt force injuries sustained sometime between 11:21 p.m. Thursday and approximately 8 am. Friday. An autopsy conducted Saturday found abrasions on her neck and scalp, fractured neck cartilage and bruising, and fractured ribs, among other injuries.

Her body was found on the bathroom floor of the Georgetown townhouse she and Muth shared.

Muth emailed an obituary for Drath to the Washington Post Friday, saying that she had died from head injuries sustained in a fall.

In charging documents, Muth appeared preoccupied with evidence detectives were collecting in the case, and grew alarmed when crime scene technicians, visiting him to collect DNA evidence, pointed out that Muth had scratches on his face. While detectives said the wounds were consistent with defensive wounds, Muth said he had walked into a door.

When asked if Drath could have had an accident which caused her death, Muth told authorities,”It wasn’t an accident.”

In an interview with detectives on Saturday, Muth outlined his activities of Thursday evening through Friday morning, saying he had not seen Drath nor had any contact with her. In charging documents detectives described the interview thus:

The defendant reported that he was with the decedent up until 4:00 on Thursday, August ll, 2011, when he left the residence to meet a friend. The defendant refused to provide the name of the friend with whom he claimed to meet. The defendant claimed that he returned home around 9:45 p.m. that night.

After returning home, the defendant said that he did not see the decedent, indicating that he entered through the basement door of the house, The defendant claimed that he then got something to drink and went to the second level of the house to his study. The defendant said that the second level of the house consists of two studies, two full bathrooms, and their bedroom. The defendant’s study overlooks the 3200 block of Street, NW.

The defendant said he entered his study and utilized his computer to check his emails. The study is located directly next to the bathroom where the decedent’s body was found. After checking his emails, the defendant claimed that he went back to the basement and went for his evening walk for approximately one hour.

Upon his return to the house, the defendant claimed that he remained in the basement where he eventually went to sleep. He said that he slept on a couch in the basement because it was too warm upstairs. According to the defendant, the decedent did not like the air conditioner on, so he resorted to sleeping in the basement.

The defendant reported that on Friday August 12, 201 1, he woke up around 4:00 am. and walked upstairs to his study to check his email. He claimed that at that time he still had no contact with the decedent. After checking his email, the defendant said he returned to the basement.

He then claimed that at approximately 7:00 he left the house and went for his morning walk, returning to the house at approximately 7:50 a.m.

According to the defendant, after not hearing or seeing the decedent during the morning, he went upstairs to check on her, found her unconscious on the bathroom floor, and called 911. The defendant said he did not touch the decedent upon finding her on the floor.

Your affiant asked the defendant if he performed CPR on the decedent, and the defendant said that there was no need for CPR.

The defendant said that the decedent did not have any enemies or problems with anyone, including himself. He reported that he and the decedent are the only ones with keys to the house. He reported that all doors to the house had locks, including the front door, He further reported that the front door’s deadbolt and security chain were both engaged.

The defendant confirmed that he did not observe any windows disturbed and that all window screens were in intact. He said that he and the decedent were the only individuals in the house between 4:00 p.m. on August ll and the time he called 911,and that during this entire time he never heard any noise, struggle, screams, or commotion.

A neighbor told police that they heard something early Friday morning. That person described being woken up by a “faint cry” and a “sinister laugh” sometime between 3:30 and 6:30 a.m.

Another witness showed police a letter allegedly from Drath, but that the witness believed to be forged. Dated April 11, it instructed the executors of Drath’s will to pay Muth $150,000 in anything were to happen to Drath. Alternatively, if the value of her estate exceed $600,000, then he was to be paid $200,000.

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