WASHINGTON (AP) — A German man who pretended to be a well-connected Iraqi army general has been convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of his 91-year-old socialite wife.

The jury deliberated for about half a day before reaching a verdict Thursday in the case against 49-year-old Albrecht Muth.

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Authorities charged Muth in the August 2011 beating and strangulation death of Viola Drath, a German journalist and socialite.

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Muth’s lawyers argued there was no evidence connecting him to the killing and they said prosecutors’ case was circumstantial. Prosecutors said Muth was violent, abusive and motivated by money.

Muth had been starving himself on and off for what he called religious reasons and doctors said he was too weak to appear in court. He took part in the trial by videoconference, but didn’t testify.

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