Things That Just Don’t Add Up.
From the start the three Swann Street defendants – Dylan Ward, Victor Zaborsky and Joe Price – have “…categorically and adamantly denied…any involvement with (Mr.) Wone’s death.” Rather they offer what’s come to be known as “the intruder theory.” In short: questioned by police the night of Mr. Wone’s murder, all three told some variant of the same story with these ingredients: having left Mr. Wone alone at the second floor guest room, hearing a door chime, having possibly left the back door open, hearing a series of muffled grunts from Mr. Wone’s room, and discovering Mr. Wone prone on his death bed (see original Ward indictment, “Legal Documents” tab.) No other signs of any disturbance were reported either in the house or at the back gate, nor were any sounds of someone running or fleeing the house. Certain of their innocence, all three have repeated that the only solution to the puzzle, as implausible as they admit, must be an unseen and unheard intruder who stabbed Robert Wone and fled.
Leaving aside claims of innocence, the “intruder theory” presents some challenging hurdles to credence. Tomorrow we will examine the scrubbed crime scene and the physical realities of 1509 that argue against this theory. Today, perhaps the most troublesome hurdle:
The time line. These are the time posts we know. One witness reports last seeing Mr. Wone “…around 9:15pm at the Farragut North Metro station.” Shortly after, around 9:30pm, Kathy Wone reports Robert phoned, apparently as he walked to his RFA office, to check in and confirm his plans for staying with his friend Joe Price that night, ending the call telling his wife “…I love you.” The Washington Post reports the next time post about 10:15pm, “…which was about when he left his Radio Free Asia office the night of the killing, according to a colleague.” The defendants all report Mr. Wone arriving around 10:30pm, with Price, Wone and Ward moving to the kitchen to talk. (Mr. Zaborsky’s statement suggests he was already sleeping in the third floor bedroom at this time.) The three made small talk, “…about his wife. We talked about our friend Lisa. We talked briefly about his job. Joe talked about the shower breaking…it was just chitchat,” Dylan told investigators. The next definitive time post is around 11pm or 11:30pm, when a neighbor reported hearing a scream come from 1509. At 11:49pm, Zaborsky phoned 911 from the third floor bedroom, saying “an intruder” had stabbed a guest in their house. Just over 5 minutes later, around 11:54pm, two emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene, finding no signs of life with Mr. Wone.
So what’s wrong? What’s right? Put aside the scrubbed condition of Mr. Wone and the room and the time it would take to remove the blood and other evidence. Put aside questions as to where Mr. Price found the knife (he has made conflicting statements, saying he found it at Mr. Wone’s side and in his chest.) Put aside the fact that the knife found (from the first floor butcher block) does not match the wounds, and that no fibers from Mr. Wone’s shirt were found in the wounds as would be expected. And put aside the mysterious nineteen minutes that pass between the latest report of the scream (around 11:30) and the 911 call (11:49.)
Even still, it strains credence to believe that – at most – within a 79 minute period all that had to have transpired could have. A guest – an old friend – is greeted at the door and enters (perhaps 2 minutes), moves to the kitchen for a glass of water and small talk about a variety of subjects including arrangements for the night (15 minutes, guessing), upstairs to show the guest his room, bathroom, and towels and say good-nights (3 minutes?), Ward and Price retire while Wone changes out of his work clothes, takes a shower, dries off, attends to prepping for sleep (putting his mouth guard in, etc.), changes into sleep-tee and takes to bed (I shower fast and I can’t get this done faster than 20 minutes if I try.) All this leaves a total of only about 20 minutes, tops, until the latest report of the scream and – we presume – the first discovery of Mr. Wone’s murder.
Twenty minutes: for an intruder to enter, go upstairs, both stab Mr. Wone as well as administer six small puncture wounds, somehow sexually stimulate Mr. Wone with the end result of the coroner finding the victim’s own semen in his rectum, allow enough time for the victim to continue living for a period after the stabbing (see coroner’s report) and for possible suffocation, flee the scene silently through the back door (this time not setting off the chime) while Price and Zaborsky upstairs hear muffled grunts and run downstairs – seeing or hearing no-one – to find Mr. Wone on his bed, ultimately leading Mr. Zaborsky to scream. Try as I might, I cannot see how this makes any sense, even presuming the absolute best of the defendants.
For the record, I would like to see the actual witness statements from 9:15pm and 10:15pm beyond just media reports. I would also like to know if RFA has a log of Mr. Wone’s last appearance there. Also, Mr. Wone was not driving his car that night; did he walk? Cab? Without knowing these things directly, I am left wondering if Mr. Wone didn’t phone his wife at 9:30 just before going directly to Joe Price’s house, expanding the amount of time significantly for events to transpire.
Posted by Doug