Murder causes shock, sadness in Georgetown
As police arrested Albrecht Gero Muth, 47, on murder charges following the death of his 91-year-old wife Viola Drath in their home, neighbors reacted with horror and regret, but not complete surprise. "It is sad. It's strange," said one West Village woman. "Imagine living with the (alleged) abuse for that long, and at that age." There was a history of domestic abuse in the house dating back to the 1980s, neighbors said. One described a "cycle" of violence followed by charming acts by Muth, leading to more violence.
Georgetown author Carol Joynt writes in New York Social Diary of her own strange and ominous encounters with the couple. Indeed, court documents back up neighbors' perceptions of a fraught relationship that included domestic incidents leading to police interventions and protective orders. According to Britain's Daily Mail, Drath obtained a string of restraining orders against Muth after he once allegedly attacked her with a chair and held her captive in her own house.
Muth, 44 years younger than Drath, was also said to have sat on her during an incident in which he "pounded her head into the floor" several times.
Tuesday, police tracked Muth down as he walked on a nearby Georgetown street. At one point, there was a brief chase, as captured by WJLA. Muth also identified himself as Sheikh Ali Al-Muthaba and wrote a blog that included rambling entries about Afghanistan, Iraq, the Taliban and the War on Terror. In one post, Muth's blog stated: "There will be no scaling back the Afghan war effort. NOT a term/ concept, which could not be sold to the Congressionals/ American public. Nonetheless, and I affirm my earlier message in this regard, the thrust/ primary objectives of the war SHALL change. QUIETLY. And where I speak of WH public affairs squaring circles, I reference that they will do what VEEP is advocating, while couching it in language more readily agreeable. (EDITORIAL COMMENT: Cross-reference to NYT article of 26 January 2010, citing VEEP as in support of direct approach to Taliban leadership.)" At one time, journalist Drath was known for elegant dinner parties and chic friends typical of Georgetown's rarified image. But even as her death rattled residents around the Village, neighbors said the homicide was not causing fear in similar circles like some other recent crimes. "Unlike the murder [of Briton Alan Senitt, 27] in the summer of 2006, this was not a random act of violence," said one East Villager. "It is tragic, but not scary for residents."