During Murder Trial, Muth’s Emails Detail Emotional State

Days after 91-year-old Viola Drath was found dead in her Georgetown home, her husband Albretch Muth wrote a series of emails to a man he’d just met through a personal ad.

Week was horrible. Start of week even worse,” said one. “Hope you’re well. Im [sic] not. Have you said your prayers?” said another.

Muth, 49, is charged with first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances for the August 2011 strangulation of Drath.

Auran Awan testified Wednesday that he met Muth through Craigslist in August 2011. Though their correspondence lasted eight days, defense attorneys say the two men exchanged hundreds of emails. Muth told Awan that he was “well-off” and that he would help Awan advance his career and find housing, Awan said. After Awan learned through the news of Drath’s death, the two men continued to email each other.

In his last email to Awan, Muth wrote, “I am assured of the almighty. I am assured of my men. […] Am I assured of you?”

I can and will no longer take it.”

Charles McGrath didn’t know Viola Drath until he was asked to introduce her at a 2005 awards ceremony in Lincoln, Neb. From there, he was brought into the world of luncheons and events planned by Drath and her husband Albrecht Muth.

Though McGrath mainly interacted with Drath, McGrath testified Wednesday that he had lunch with Muth during October 2010.

During their meal at The Guards, Muth told McGrath about his prenuptial agreement. Because the agreement was now 20 years old, Muth “thought it could be revised or dispensed with,” McGrath said. McGrath told jurors that he declined to discuss the matter with Muth.

In April 2011, Muth emailed McGrath after a luncheon where Muth was “disruptive” and “disrespectful” to Drath, McGrath testified. The email apparently contained a message that Drath sent to Muth, and that Muth had later annotated.

[I] think I have been good to you for the past 20 years,” Drath wrote. “I can and will no longer take it. I have been useful to you and you have enlivened my life to some degree.”

Muth’s asides were scattered through the email, contained in parenthesis, typed in all capital letters. “I HAVE CREATED THE POST JOURNALISM PERSONA OF THE HONORABLE VIOLA DRATH,” read one.

Other support arrangements” made for Muth’s benefit

Drath approached Army Captain Jordan Stapley in the fall of 2010 for help drafting a will.

Stapley, an Army legal assistance officer, told jurors that during appointments with older clients, he was trained to watch for signs of mental deterioration. But Drath was “very aware of what she was doing,” Stapley said.

During their first meeting, Drath brought several documents to Stapley, including a standard “will worksheet” and the prenuptial agreement, explained Stapley.

But Drath also brought another, more unusual document to the meeting: a typewritten paper that established a $150,000 bequest to Muth as a separate part of the will. And if the total value of the Drath estate exceeded $600,000, the document would give an additional $50,000 to Muth, said Stapley.

At the bottom of the document, two blank fields called for Drath’s signature and Muth’s signature. According to Stapley, signature fields are “typically not” included in such documents. After Stapley discussed the document with Drath, he said that Drath decided not to include the terms in her will.

Drath did want Muth mentioned in her will though, Stapley said. Specifically, Drath’s will disinherited Muth from the will because “other support arrangements had been made for his benefit,” according to a version of the will read Wednesday in court.

Drath’s will was executed on November 17, 2010, Shipley said. He advised Drath, like his other clients, to hide the will in a safe place.

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