Open Mic Night…

Where The Sleuths Come Out And Shine

We’ve been meaning to tackle this post for some time, both as a direction we want to take but also in response to a number of reader requests:  An open thread to discuss the many theories offered either here or elsewhere during the past two and a half years.  We’ll aggregate these as part of a stand-alone  page later on.

Post away and share your best ideas as to what precisely may have happened that night.  And while we don’t want to inhibit any contributions, we’d love to see as much shape and depth as possible; timelines, motives, etc. 

Use the known public record and extrapolate with the unknowns.  Examine competing theories and put them under stress-tests.  One reader suggested, “If you could ask the police to look into anything further or closer, what would it be?”

Give it your best shot all you Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews. 

  -posted by Craig

83 comments for “Open Mic Night…

  1. Nelly
    03/01/2009 at 9:21 PM

    Ok, I’ll bite. My theory, which I have stated on Datalounge, is that at least one of the guys drugged up Wone to take advantage of him. This is just one hypothetical shot in the dark based on what has been made public:

    During the day on 8/2/06, Ward is reading the New Yorker magazine about dying and fixates on the picture of Shakespeare’s death position. He’s been also popping his drugs and is fixated on Wone, who is kind and nice to him as he is nice to everyone. Ward misinterprets Wone’s friendly demeanor and gets all excited since Price has told him that Wone is coming over to spend the night. Ward has a thing for Asian men, heightened after spending six weeks in Thailand to “study massage.” Meanwhile, Price is itching to find a third S&M partner.

    Wone might have taken a cab to the home since it would have only been a 2 minute car ride. He gets to Swann St. before 10:30pm. Ward (with or without the knowledge of Price and Zaborsky) gives Wone a drink laced with a date rape-type drug. Wone, being of slight build, quickly becomes drowsy and goes up to shower and get ready for bed. It’s been a long day of work for him. He has been awake since 6am or so.

    Wone quickly hits the sheets on the guestbed due to the drugs in his drink. Ward sneaks in and injects Wone with a paralytic and assaults him. Unfortunately, Wone unexpectedly regains consciousness. In a panic, Ward (with or without the help of the other 2) tries to smother him with a pillow and then injects him all over with ketamine. Ward fetches his knife from his room and stabs Wone.

    IF Price and Zaborsky weren’t involved up until then: Hearing the commotion, they (or maybe just Victor) run downstairs to the guestroom where Robert Wone has already been stabbed. Zaborsky lets out a scream. Price rushes to action, sopping up the blood and calling his brother Mike to get over there quick. They help Ward drag Wone to the bathroom to wash him off. Since Price is the attorney, he tries to take control and figure out how to best muddle up any investigation. They continue cleaning up all the blood and Mike drives off with the murder weapon and bloody towels. When they know for sure Wone is dead and have gotten rid of weapon, Zaborsky finally calls 911 while Ward and Price finish washing themselves off.

    Others have suggested a possible drug overdose, or that Robert was there for a “party” and they stabbed him thinking he was already dead from an overdose. Keep in mind that Robert Wone was still alive for some time after being stabbed. RE: the theory that the 3 suspects might’ve mistakenly thought Wone was dead from a drug overdose and then decided to cover it up by stabbing him- that sounds ridiculous. If they were going to do that, then why not stab him in the bathtub to keep their guestroom pristine? Lord knows how concerned they were about their precious walls and floors having blood on them. Also, if there was an overdose, why not call 911 immediately to save a friend? Or, why not leave the body there, wait til the morning, and claim he died of unknown causes? If they really had been having consensual sex with him, putting back on his shirt, putting in his mouthguard, getting a knife to stab him, and then seemingly not giving a hoot when the EMT arrive does not make sense.

    That’s all from me. Just a guess.

    • David
      03/02/2009 at 8:55 AM


      Good work here, just one clarification — you note that Ward had already been to Tailand to study massage, which heightened his interest in Asian men, yet in the Motion for Pre Trial Release, the defense notes that Ward went to Tailand to study massage in the summer of 2007, one year after the murder of Robert Wone.


      • Nelly
        03/02/2009 at 12:16 PM

        My bad. Sorry about that error.

    • I know who did it
      03/02/2009 at 4:42 PM


      I REALLY like your theory — it helps explain how everything could have happened in the short timeframe. My biggest doubt with respect to your theory is why wouldn’t Joe or victor just call the police or 911… why make themselves part of the crime?? Joe is not stupid (nor Victor) and I would think self-preservation would “kick in” and they’d turn on Ward.

      Questions for the police/others here based on Nelly’s theory:

      1. Do we know who met Wone at the door?
      2. Do we know if Wone had a drink when he got to the house?
      3. Is there any evidence that the dishes were washed (such as a clean dishwasher, etc.)?
      4. Does Michael Price have an alibi at 11:00 to 11:45?
      5. were any date rape drugs found in the house or does anyone have any knowledge that Price and Ward liked to play with them as part of their BDSM?
      6. Where did Price and Ward get their drugs/from whom? Has the police tracked this person down and interviewed them?

      • Nelly
        03/02/2009 at 6:33 PM

        I dunno about Victor’s motives and role, but Price was intimately involved with Ward and Ward had dirt on him that could humiliate him and get him arrested. Price wanted to protect his boytoy pet, Ward, and probably blamed it all on the drugs. Poor Dylan, all drug-addled, depressed, couldn’t live up to Daddy’s expectations, and pitiful. Plus, if Price & Z. didn’t actually see Dylan stab Robert, in their frantic, warped states of mind, they didn’t want to think that Dylan could have murdered Robert. People can convince themselves and be totally blind to reality, like some parents who absolutely refuse to believe that their beloved child could have killed someone. Answering your questions,

        1. I don’t know. 2. the residents told police that after he arrived, Robert Wone was in the kitchen drinking something and talking with Ward and Price 3. & 4. don’t know. 5. their profile mentioned that they were into sensory deprivation, electro-torture, and a bunch of other stuff. Don’t know about date-rape drugs, but ketamine can also result in short term memory loss. 6. maybe through Joe’s brother or whoever lived at the house in the hood that was searched?

      • I know who did it
        03/02/2009 at 6:35 PM

        Nelly, thanks for answering my questions. You seem to be incredibly knowledgeable about the case and the facts. If you had to come up with a second theory as to how it happened, what would it be?

      • Nelly
        03/03/2009 at 9:22 PM

        Second guess:
        Dylan Ward grows increasingly jealous of Robert Wone because he is successful, well-liked, and good friends with Joe. Dylan, mentally ill and under the influence of drugs, concocts the scheme to drug, sexually assault, and murder Robert. Same chain of events as hypothesized above.

        Third guess:
        Ward and Price are frustrated that no one’s responding to their profile seeking a third partner. They think it would be fun to get straight-as-an-arrow Wone drugged up and assault him, assuming he won’t be able to remember what they do to him. Same other chain of events as in guess #1.

        • David
          03/03/2009 at 9:40 PM


          I think there could be something to your second theory. Remember Dylan lost his position at Virginia Equality in May 2006 (don’t know why he lost the job, if he chose to leave or otherwise) at the same time Joe Price was making partner at a prestigous Washington DC law firm. One was going up in their career, one seemed to be going down, which always makes for a combustible sitiuation inside a relationship. And add in the fact that this was a polyamourous relationship and the situation is even more ripe for a disturbance.

          David (editor here at

          • L.
            03/03/2009 at 10:48 PM

            Just for the record – Arent Fox is not that prestigious – 2nd tier at best

            • Jon
              03/04/2009 at 12:59 PM

              Arent Fox is prestigious locally, but it is Not an international firm. It has 3 offices – here,NY & LA.

        • Anon.
          03/09/2009 at 1:27 PM

          To dovetail into theory #2: That Robert Wone was telling, or about to tell, Joe Price that Dylan Ward was no-good for Joe or Victor or a stable household. Robert may have seen the parasitic type of relationship Dylan was adding to an already confusing relationship structure. Dylan was afraid of losing his bread and butter daddy, so he intervened when the opportunity arose.

    • ANo
      03/12/2009 at 11:28 PM

      I was friends with Joe Price a decade ago, when he was in law school. We haven’t stayed in touch, and I just learned about this horrible case today, but I have to say that I’m absolutely shocked by this, and that the only thing that’s more difficult to imagine, knowing Joe, than that he’d participate in rape is that he’d participate in a murder, and more unthinkable than that is that he’d participate in a sloppy murder (Joe is a smart, sharp guy and the most fastidious man I’ve ever met – I can see how some people here could doubt the story about Joe going outside to remove a spider he spotted on a light, but knowing Joe, it sounds plausible to me. It’s the sort of thing we used to rib him about.) More preposterous than that is that he’d do anything harmful to a friend – the people who collected around Joe were always bright, generous people – I never met Mr. Wone, but the praise that people have for him could apply to any of the people I met through Joe, and they collected around Joe for a reason, because he’s one of them.

      But even if I could believe all of those things about him, I would never, ever, ever in a million years believe that he would call his brother and ask for help.

  2. Nick
    03/02/2009 at 10:14 AM

    When I think of this case, I get hung up on the timeline. The hour between Wone’s arrival and that of the emergency folks feels like the length of time it would take to kill someone and clean the crime scene. To me a conversation with the residents wouldn’t give a hypothetical intruder enough time to do those things. On the other hand, I can’t imagine why a friend would jump a guest shortly after his arrival. Maybe there’s a motive we don’t know about, or maybe drug use means we don’t need to look for a rational explanation.

  3. David
    03/02/2009 at 10:38 AM

    My short list of theories is this:
    (1) Overdose Followed by Cover-Up. A curious Wone got into drugs in the house (perhaps GHB in the fridge?), as he might have known just enough about them from prior socializing to get himself into trouble and yet didn’t want to admit to experimenting. Plus, it was mid-week. He was playing by himself in the guest bedroom, high, OD’d, and was discovered. Thinking he was dead, and horrified about it but fearful of scandal, the invader theory was hatched and perhaps each stabbed him, as another blogger suggested, to insure ‘buy-in.’ Turns out he wasn’t dead yet, they killed him, and at that point they became stuck with their absurd theory because it’s no longer an OD in a respectable gay house of drug users. It’s murder by some freaky three-way harem in a seven-way family with two mommies, two daddies, kids, and a live-in boy-toy. (Where is Fred Phelps when you need him?) The only thing sustaining them is a sense that there is nothing to gain by changing course at this point, and the plan to avoid an OD scandal might save them from a murder scandal, too.

    (2) Assassination. Somebody wanted to really f*** up someone in that house. Wone was deliberately killed in the Swann St. house in a situation designed to implicate and/or send a message to one or more of the residents. Motive unclear, but the execution was done thoughtfully. Wone connection to Radio Free Asia; someone connected to Joe Price, or Dylan Ward with his “state department” interest. Who knows. Wone may have been a target, or he may have been nothing but a means to an end. The appearance of sex play might be pure coincidence if he happened to have been playing with himself earlier. The basic point is that, by this theory, Wone was killed by drugs and/or stabbings that implicated the housemates because of other circumstances (drugs in house, nothing stolen, missing knife, etc.) This theory might explain the vacant shock of the housemates to a world turned upside down, each wondering what ghost of tricks past had come home to roost. It could be confused with the cool reaction of a mastermind.

    (3) Honor Killing. Wone was either having an affair or perceived as such (and a homosexual one at that). A family member or connected associate killed Wone, and did it in the gay house just to make a point. I mention theory in part because it seems to be one of the most overlooked motives in the case, and the source of many a murder.

    (4) Price’s brother has been mentioned fairly rarely in the news coverage, but he allegedly was also involved in drug use/dealing, lacks the social standing of his brother, and there was the issue of the burglary and computer theft. He might be worth at least another look.

    I don’t know enough about forensics to try to fit the disclosed evidence to these theories in detail. For instance, I don’t how long the appearance of needle punctures last, I don’t what drugs are and aren’t traceable and for how long, I don’t know if ‘signs of asphyxiation’ means other possible causes are foreclosed, etc.

    • L.
      03/02/2009 at 3:42 PM

      Overdose and then cover-up does make sense to me. If Wone overdosed on drugs he found in the house which he took voluntarily – it makes no sense that the 3 would murder him to cover that up.

    • Anonymous
      03/02/2009 at 10:02 PM

      David, surely you jest by suggesting #3. That is totally ridiculous and totally WRONG. Were you ‘Suzie’ on Datalounge? Geez, there’s a reason why Joe, Dylan, and Victor have been arrested and charged with crimes as opposed to anyone else, much less anyone related or connected to Robert Wone’s grieving wife and family!

      It was reported in the media that good ol’ Joe called Robert’s wife and told her that her husband had been stabbed and she should get on over to GWU hospital. Yeah, some friend all right. Joe knew that Robert was already long gone by then but he kept right on lying to poor Mrs. Wone, even showing up later to ‘comfort’ her and being a pallbearer. What cruelty and evil lurks in mankind….

      Stop making up crap just for the hell of it to titillate people who may not know the facts and come here to be misinformed.

  4. Ridicuolous
    03/02/2009 at 10:47 AM

    If I hadn’t been convinced that these guys hadn’t done it before, I would be now after reading all of these completely absurd theories.

    • L.
      03/02/2009 at 3:42 PM

      Nelly’s theory makes sense.

  5. I know who did it
    03/02/2009 at 11:24 AM

    How about the possibility that Ward and Price were already high and partying at the time that Wone showed up?

    Wone was greeted by Victor only as Dylan and Price “played” upstairs. Victor says a nice “hello”; then, given the late hour he and Robert both head to their respective rooms to go to bed.

    The drugged up BDSM duo of Ward and Price then attack Wone and do all sorts of crazy s**t, while Victor sleeps upstairs.

    Victor is later awoken by Price, fter Price and Ward incorrectly think they killed him by O’d. Victor screams upon seeing the body. They then each stab him once, to seal each others fate (Victor being coerced into this by his loving partner)…

    • I know who did it
      03/02/2009 at 11:31 AM

      It certainly would be interesting to see the email correspondence between Price and Wone leading up to the night of the murder. We all seem to take for granted that Wone did not have either homosexual tendencies or deviant sexual tendencies… maybe he was a willing participant in the play, at least up to some point… it all just went bad…

  6. Nelly
    03/02/2009 at 12:11 PM

    Why do I feel like a broken record? If you read the arrest warrant-affidavit for Dylan Ward, you’ll see that the police had already seized the computers and concluded that, based on their investigation, Wone was heterosexual, happily married, and had not had sexual relationships with any of the 3 men. So you can assume that there were no lovey-dovey, ‘let’s plan a sex party’-type emails between Price and Wone before that fateful night.

    • I know who did it
      03/02/2009 at 12:51 PM


      Sorry… didn’t mean to make people rehash the facts as known… just that the most logical theories would seem to be based on some sort of consensual sex between Wone and one of the housemates… otherwise, the theories seem so difficult to comprehend, especially given the tight time frame… thus my suggestion that Price and Ward were already upstairs under the influence of various narcotics, etc.

      • L.
        03/02/2009 at 3:51 PM

        Why would they get high knowing they had a guest that night? Also – wasn’t Price a partner at a firm – would he get high during the week?

    • Jackson
      03/02/2009 at 4:07 PM

      Would those guys also have gotten SO ripshit high on what was a ‘school night’? August 2, 2006 was a wednesday night.

      Who eats a crapload of club drugs at 1030pm or later knowing they are to be at work the next morning? This is DC afterall, not NYC.

      Maybe the housemates, I don’t know. But from what we know about Robert, would he have knowingly taken so much? Was he even the type to be a recreational user? Not from what I’ve read, especially the testimonials. Only more confusion for me.

      • Nelly
        03/02/2009 at 6:22 PM

        Well, looks like all three of them were involved in drugs. Price’s ad on said “Prefer not to answer” when asked about drug use. Drugs were found in Ward’s room, and the police dog also sensed the presence of drugs in Price & Zaborsky’s dresser. Meth and other drugs can make the user feel more energetic and awake, so the druggie can stay up all night and day. We do not know if Ward really had a full-time job, so he could have been home all day plotting his fantasy. Either way, he didn’t have a time-intensive job. Price seemed to be very invested in protecting Ward when the police questioned them– “Dylan wouldn’t even hurt a fly… everyone I know is taking anti-depressants.” Ward had too much dirt on him (drug-use, S&M, etc.), so even IF Price had not been involved in the assault/murder, he still didn’t want his veneer of success to vanish. I am not sure what Z’s role was in all of this.

      • I know who did it
        03/02/2009 at 6:33 PM

        I don’t know if I buy it that Ward was the initial wrongdoer and Price and Ward helped with the cover up. I think Price had to be involved earlier in the night’s events.
        My understanding is that some have said joe was pretty ruthless and self-focused. I would think such a person would have thrown Ward to the wolves if no prior involvement in the night’s activities, even if Ward had dirt on Joe. A tarnished veneer is better than a murder conspiracy wrap. Or is that Joe felt so invincible he thought he could outfox the police?

  7. Jackson
    03/02/2009 at 2:59 PM

    Nelly – Good point if that’s the case. If I understand correclt, that means the police and prosecutors had electronic communications for grand jury use and writing the indictments?

    As for Robert’s “tendencies,’ those seems based on his history and perhaps interviews with those who knew him closely?

  8. L.
    03/02/2009 at 3:53 PM

    I agree with the basic facts of Nelly’s theory at the top.

  9. chutzpah
    03/02/2009 at 5:28 PM

    “Lance,” you’ve been quick to defend J,D&V, and, I believe, one of the people calling for other theories. What plausible theory do you beleive connects the known facts?

    • Lance
      03/02/2009 at 7:33 PM

      I believe in not speculating based on the known facts. I acknowledge that the facts of the matter are currently extremely muddy–there’s a lot I don’t understand about the roommates’ behavior as reported by the police, but I haven’t actually heard their account of what happened, and there’s also a lot I don’t understand about the police report. (Why, for instance, didn’t they perform a more thorough tox screen on Wone after discovering the puncture wounds? Why did they have dogs sniff out blood and then not take samples for DNA testing, leaving us only with the knowledge that someone at some point washed clothes that had blood on them, which let’s be honest happens all the time at my house, the way I chop onions?)

      By the way, it’s “Lance”, not “‘Lance'”; I decided I was brave enough to use my actual name. (Apologies to Culuket-style conspiracy theorists who were trying to work out the sexual implications of the choice.)

      • I know who did it
        03/02/2009 at 8:05 PM

        So what is your theory based on your current understanding?

      • I know who did it
        03/02/2009 at 8:06 PM

        Why do you believe in not speculating?

      • chutzpah
        03/03/2009 at 8:27 AM

        Either you are speculating or you have inside information. How do you know whether or not the police kept samples for DNA testing? That has not been established as a fact.

        Do you chop onions on your patio beside a drain? It has been established as a fact that blood was discovered in the drain at the rear of the house.

        If you disavow speculation as a methodology to establish a theory of the crime, you cannot validly employ speculation as a methodology to propose implausible excuses for the presence of evidence.

  10. L.
    03/02/2009 at 6:44 PM

    “IF Price and Zaborsky weren’t involved up until then: Hearing the commotion, they (or maybe just Victor) run downstairs to the guestroom where Robert Wone has already been stabbed. Zaborsky lets out a scream. Price rushes to action, sopping up the blood and calling his brother Mike to get over there quick. They help Ward drag Wone to the bathroom to wash him off. Since Price is the attorney, he tries to take control and figure out how to best muddle up any investigation”

    Why would Price do that? Why wouldn’t he have called the police either from the house or left the house and called them? Why would you help a friend cover up a murder when you have so much to lose?

  11. L.
    03/02/2009 at 6:47 PM

    What did Price have planned at work the next day [Thursday, 8/3]. Did he plan to take the day off or did he have a very light day? Was he coasting after a stressful few weeks or months?

    • I know who did it
      03/02/2009 at 6:53 PM

      Great question L.

      And, yes, agree too with your other point. I don’t understand why Price would help cover up Ward’s murder unless he had been involved earlier on.

  12. L.
    03/02/2009 at 6:49 PM

    What plans did Wone have for the next day?

  13. David
    03/02/2009 at 7:20 PM

    The question of Joe Price’s involvement, when did it start that evening, and why would he risk so much if was not involved is an excellent one that we the editors have pondered endlessly here at For plausible answers, I think we need to look more closely at an angle not fully explored on this thread — the impact of BDSM pyschology on the three-way relationship between Ward, Price and Zaborsky, and how it impacted the events that evening.

    • L.
      03/02/2009 at 8:12 PM

      Interesting – but I tend to agree with a post on an earlier thread – that the sobering impact of what happened would have broken through any fantasy-BDSM psychology. Could Price really be that vulnerable?

  14. Lance
    03/02/2009 at 10:00 PM

    I don’t believe in speculating because we simply don’t have the data. I’m a scientist, and I admit that as such I hypothesize and occasionally speculate, but I do it when (a) I expect to find data that can confirm or deny my hypothesis, (b) I am hoping my readers will follow up on my speculations, and (c) nothing so important as people’s guilt or innocence hangs in the balance. In this case, (a) I think more information will come out, but only over time, (b) I don’t think readers here are in a position to follow up on my speculations, and (c) is, well, obvious.

    A friend of mine with whom I was discussing this alluded, correctly I think, to the Duke lacrosse team rape case. When the accusations were made in March 2006, it was entirely obvious that of course these people were guilty. By April 2007, all charges were dropped and it was entirely obvious that the previous year’s entirely obvious conclusion was entirely false. That’s why we have jury trials–so that all of the evidence can be presented and considered–and why, unless I’m on the jury, I don’t like to hypothesize.

    • I know who did it
      03/03/2009 at 9:27 AM


      I don’t mean to offend here, but your post seems like it proves too much. In the case of the Duke Lacrosse team, the players alleged to have been involved in incident were largely tried and convicted in the media in a matter of several days/weeks, before many of the facts had come to light.

      We are talking about a crime that happened what, aolmost 3 years ago?? And we have a host of important known facts from the various court filings.

      Based on the indictment, the three housemates are NOT the Duke Lacrosse Team. Whether the police have enough evidence to convict them in a court of law under a “reasonable doubt” standard, who knows?!?! We’ll just have to wait and see. But it seems outrageous based on the facts of that evening to suggest this Blog represents a rush to judgment.

      • Lance
        03/03/2009 at 3:16 PM


        The allusion to the lacrosse team was not to say “this is exactly the same situation”; it’s an extreme instance of the same basic phenomenon, i.e. trying to reach a conclusion without enough of the facts. Or perhaps to be more specific: what we have so far are affadavits from the prosecution, and very little evidence from the defense. (A few pretrial motions, most of which consist mostly of legal arguments concerning fifth amendment rights, as opposed to evidence.) Any hypotheses we draw now are going to be drawn based on that, a “host of important known facts” as presented by the prosecution.

    • Craig
      03/03/2009 at 5:30 PM

      Lance – I won’t press you on your reticence in posting a hypothesis, but as a scientist, isn’t developing one either part 2 or 3 of the scientific method?


  15. vincentchin
    03/02/2009 at 10:16 PM
    • Pitt
      03/03/2009 at 9:29 AM

      I guess it doesn’t matter, anyway.

      Who do you think you are? What do you mean, puttin’ us all down? Walking round in circles, with your nose to the ground. You think you’re saying something because you make a sound.

      You say you’ve seen it all, don’t care to see no more, but you don’t get up and go ’til they throw you out the door.

      It’s a long, long, long, long way to go home.
      Any which way you are tempted to roam,
      It’s a long, long, long, long, long, long way…
      way to go home.

      Who’s it you remind me of? What do you do when you do your own time? Did you run away from the scene of your crime? I feel as though I know you. Could you spare me a dime?

      It’s a lot less than prison, but it’s more than a jail. I’d tell you all about it, but that’s another tale.

      You say you’ve seen it all, don’t care to see no more of the hungry and the homeless, the sick and the poor. You say you’ve seen enough
      to last you all your days, but like the moon in high heaven, you’re just going through a phase.

      Who do you want to be? What do you need to set your body free? I don’t mean to pry, this ain’t no third degree, but looking at you baby, you remind myself of me.

      If there’s anyway to tell you, any way to persuade, I’d really love to spare you…
      the mistakes I’ve made.

      (Hunter/Welnick/Bralove 1992)

      • Craig
        03/03/2009 at 11:05 AM

        Pitt – Thanks for the lyrical touch and a welcome tip of the rose to my fave Dead song, Morning Dew.


  16. George
    03/03/2009 at 2:17 PM

    Admittedly wandering off-topic but I would hate to miss another point. Is “way to go home” a tip of the rose to “morning dew”?

  17. Craig
    03/03/2009 at 3:29 PM

    George – You’re never off topic with the Grateful Dead… ‘Way to go (Home)’ was a staple of Dead shows from the early 90’s on.

    Pitt’s lead of “I guess it doesn’t matter, anyway,” is a line from ‘Morning Dew,’ a song found on Dead setlists dating back to some of their earliest shows at Winterland, the Fillmore and the Carousel Ballroom. Originally an ode to a post-apocalyptic nuclear holocaust, many artists covered it (even Devo), but the Dead’s 100 or so different takes on it are still remarkable.


  18. Fascinating
    03/03/2009 at 4:06 PM

    Interesting hypothesis and discussion.

    a few points from me…

    (1) Is Wone’s phone call to his wife from work 100% verified? Sorry, I haven’t reviewed the details for a couple of weeks … but Wone stopped by work, called his wife, then headed over to Swann Street, correct? Could he have called her from his cell and *not* been at work, which would alter the timeline and, perhaps, put him at Swann Street sooner?
    (2) The comments about it being a “school night” and drug use …. alleged Crystal Meth users and drug addicts do NOT think like that.
    (3) Again, it’s been a couple of weeks since I reviewed all the specifics, but did Wone know Ward before that fateful night? Had Wone been to the house before? I’m finding it hard to swallow an “in-the-moment” explanation and looking for a “pre-meditated” explanation.
    (4) One last comment about Ward. Although he is obviously the one with the pervy tastes, the collection of sexual paraphernalia, and the one with the sexy photos …. We shouldn’t be so quick to judge him as the main culprit simply because he had an obviously darker side than his roommates — who seemed to be upstanding citizens and kept up the front of “regular guys” with 9-5 jobs.

    I love this blog and am truly interested in the TRUTH behind this case. I am also amazed that so much was bungled by the police and that justice has, seemingly, been tampered with.

    • Nashville reader
      03/03/2009 at 8:11 PM

      “Fascinating,” you have a very good point about not focusing solely on the guy with pervy tastes. People who fantasize about offbeat stuff are not necessarily those who act on it. In fact, its just as likely to be the opposite. Ward may be at the heart of this, but either of the other “normal” guys could be too.

      A question: At the risk of seeming ignorant and raising sexually explicit questions…but think we need to think this through more carefully: How hard its it to get your own semen into your own anus? Is it something you can do alone? Something you’d need equipment to manage solo? Something that would be a lot easier with someone else to help?

      Finally thanks thanks thanks for this blog. Robert Wone seemed like an amazing guy. God bless him and may he rest in peace. But his death deserves full investigation.

    • L.
      03/03/2009 at 10:46 PM


      I disagree completely – there are many Crystal Meth user who only do it on weekends – especially functioning drug users – which Price clearly would have been – if in fact he used drugs.

  19. Lance
    03/03/2009 at 11:57 PM

    To answer Chutzpah’s questions above (how frustrating that “reply” only goes three levels deep!):

    Either you are speculating or you have inside information. How do you know whether or not the police kept samples for DNA testing? That has not been established as a fact.

    That’s perfectly fair. It does seem to me that, if they did, DNA testing those samples would have been a high priority, since it would be either fairly damning (if the blood in the machine and drain matched Wone’s) or relatively exculpatory (if it didn’t). Insofar as there aren’t any reports of those tests, I assume they haven’t been done, and if they haven’t been done, I assume that’s because there aren’t samples to test. But you’re right; that’s an assumption.

    Do you chop onions on your patio beside a drain? It has been established as a fact that blood was discovered in the drain at the rear of the house.

    This is disingenuous at best; I’m sure readers can come up with a hundred other reasons there might be blood in a drain.

    If you disavow speculation as a methodology to establish a theory of the crime, you cannot validly employ speculation as a methodology to propose implausible excuses for the presence of evidence.

    And this is just silly. The point of the “speculations” that I’ve offered variously (other meanings of “culuket”, other ways to get blood in a lint trap, etc.) is that, lacking further evidence, all of these speculations are equally plausible. That means, of course, that we need more evidence.

    And to stress the fact that I don’t think that speculation itself is inherently bad: if the police want to hypothesize that, say, the blood in the drain was Wone’s, that’s sensible. After all, they can test that hypothesis (by taking and testing samples, say). But any hypothesis we devise here is, for us, untestable, and that’s what I think is unproductive about speculation.

    • Nelly
      03/05/2009 at 11:46 PM

      Lance, either you haven’t been following all the details in the case, or you lack logical reasoning skills. The blood found in the dryer’s lint trap and the blood found in the drain out back turned out to be Robert Wone’s. Pray tell, how the murder victim’s blood could have wound up there? Was Robert chopping onions on top of their dryer and in their backyard that night?

      • Lance
        03/06/2009 at 11:30 AM


        The sarcasm isn’t necessary, nor is it helping maintain a civil level of discourse.

        I think it’s pretty clear from my post that it was my belief that the blood hadn’t been tested and thus wasn’t known to be Wone’s. Perhaps that means I haven’t been following all the details. On the other hand, I’m basing my belief on the following:

        “The first location was the lint trap of a dryer located just outside the bathroom by Ward’s bedroom on the second floor. The second location was a drain situated within the secured courtyard area in the back of the residence… These facts are consistent (though not exclusively so) with the following inferential circumstances….”

        That’s from the affidavit in support of arrest of Dylan Ward from the end of October ’08. If the blood was known to be Wone’s, that’s the sort of thing that I thought would be mentioned explicitly in the affidavit. Can you give me a source for the fact that the blood did in fact turn out to be Wone’s?

    • Michael
      03/06/2009 at 4:25 PM

      It would be unlikely that any blood residue from the lint trap or drain would provide reliable DNA identification. Heat, detergents, chlorine in the water, etc. all denature proteins and the chemical bonds found in DNA. The samples do not have to be perfect, but the environmental conditions and possibly the introduction of detergent would make testing from those sources very unreliable.

      Which brings up the question:

      If the drain was used to rinse towels or clothing, and the dryer used to dry them, how was this accomplished in the timeline set forth by the defendants and police? It takes several minutes to dry towels or clothes, and why bother, if they are going to be disposed of anyway? Since no evidence was discovered, the blood soaked materials were removed or taken away by someone before the EMTs/police arrived.

      – Michael

      • Lance
        03/06/2009 at 11:48 PM

        Wait, you’re saying that they can’t possibly have identified the blood as being Wone’s? So Nelly’s sarcasm above was in fact not only inappropriate, it was inaccurate? I appreciate the unmoderated nature of the discussion here, but I also fear that a search for the truth isn’t helped by people making wholly false assertions about the facts of the case.

        But thank you, Michael, for explaining why the police (apparently) didn’t perform DNA tests on the blood. In my mind, it does have the effect of making the fact that blood was found in those places extremely circumstantial, but it also makes the police seem somewhat less incompetent.

        • Michael
          03/07/2009 at 12:31 AM

          That is correct. No where in the affidavits does it state that blood was even recovered from the drains or lint traps. The drain and lint trap were identified as places with the potential for presence of blood by a trained dog. Apparently the drain and lint trap were removed for forensic testing, but in the public documents, no testing results have been released. Since the environmental conditions for preserving the integrity of the DNA were probably less than optimal, I assume inconclusive results were found. Of course this may be information the DA presented to the Grand Jury and has not been released. However, one would think that if there was conclusive DNA evidence of Wone’s blood present in the drain, lint trap, or dryer, a murder charge would be quite credible.

          One additional point: My understanding is that dogs are not reliable in identifying sources of blood and drugs, and therefore not considered credible enough to be used as evidence in criminal cases. This is in contrast to how the dogs are used at US Customs; the dogs identify the luggage and an inspector searches to find the actual evidence. This leads to a possession charge with concrete evidence associated with the owner of the luggage.
          – Michael

          • Nelly
            03/08/2009 at 10:49 PM

            Lance, I am sorry. I re-read page 11 of the affidavit in support of Ward’s arrest, and you’re right- it only says “human blood” (as opposed to Wone’s blood) was detected in the dryer’s lint trap and in the backyard drain. Still, given all the details, I think it is unlikely that an innocent homeowner would have blood evidence in his dryer’s lint trap and in a drain. Furthermore, the hose next to the drain appeared to have been recently used. It seems like each time someone raises a proposition that would tend to incriminate the 3 suspects, you find something to refute it or diminish it. Are you a criminal defense attorney or a friend of the suspects?

            You mentioned the Duke Lacrosse case, where the players were wrongly accused of raping a stripper. In that case, the forensic evidence exonerated them. The stripper had no DNA on her matching any of the players, and she had semen in her from various men, none of whom matched the players. Upon further investigation, her case fell apart. Her ‘co-stripper’ said she was totally making it up, & the accuser was mentally ill and a druggie prostitute. The Wone case is very different. For starters, Robert is dead and there’s a lot more than a he said-she said blanket accusation. Here, further investigation and forensic evidence have strengthened the case instead of weakening it. I know they are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, but there’s only so much stretching you can do with the paucity of explanations given by the defense so far.

            • Anon.
              03/09/2009 at 2:06 PM

              Ah – but lest we forget that Robert Wone’s T-shirt had knife slits in it (matching his wounds), but not a lot of blood. How could someone have been punctured that badly and blood not have poured onto his chest and on the bed sheets? It is obvious that at the very least, Robert’s sleepwear was washed and dried prior to dialing 911. Wish I had a washer and dryer that worked that fast.

              It would be interesting to eventually learn what happened to all the items used to scrub down the walls, floors, and staircase. Were they dropped in a dumpster a few blocks away? In this urban area, it is easy to dump items such as these in a relatively close distance (hence, they did not really need Joe’s brother to dispose of the items). Do cops search every dumpster in a 1 mile radius when this happens in DC? Just think of all the restaurant dumpsters on 17th Street and Conn. Ave.

            • Lance
              03/09/2009 at 4:10 PM

              Again, I do recognize the difference between the Duke case and this one. At the same time, there’s no amount of stretching that needs to be done for “innocent until proven guilty”; that’s a fundamental tenet of the legal system, and to that end, the defendants aren’t really required or expected to provide any further detailed explanation before the trial. Taking the lack of publicly-reported defense as evidence of guilt is just as wrong as taking publicly-reported accusations as evidence of guilt.

              (Also, for the record: I have no legal training–yet another reason I’m generally loathe to speculate on legal matters–and I have never met anyone involved in this case, be they defendant, attorney, Robert Wone, his widow, or anyone else.)

          • Nelly
            03/10/2009 at 10:20 AM

            I’m no criminal law expert, so anyone who is, feel free to jump in. However, in response to your last paragraph, I believe that information would be admissible at trial. The police officer(s) who took the trained canine around the house could testify about the canine’s reactions.

            • Michael
              03/10/2009 at 11:40 AM

              Nelly –

              I am certainly not a criminal law expert, although I have worked on several highly visible criminal cases as a technical consultant.

              The dog’s behavior could certainly be brought up in testimony, which is different than evidence. However, I would wager that the defense would be quick to counter argue the validity of the dog’s behavior and discount the testimony. This would introduce doubt, which the jury must consider in deliberations.

              It will be interesting to see how this matter is treated during the trial.

              – Michael

  20. J Edgar
    03/05/2009 at 8:56 AM

    I wonder what the liklihood is that Price will ever get the chance to work in the new Aren’t Fox shrine that’s going up at Conn Ave and K Street.

  21. Jon
    03/05/2009 at 11:26 PM

    Arent Fox annouced the layoffs of 12 associates & 15 members today. Several firms have been downsizing in this severe recession. I have never seen anything like this before.

    I wonder what kind of contract Price has with AF. He is officially on a leave of absence, & I wonder if he is receiving his full pay and benefits.

  22. Craig
    03/06/2009 at 12:18 AM

    Doesn’t it make you wonder if AF has an HR policy that allows for partner porn on office computers. Isn’t that immediate grounds for dismissal just about anywhere?

  23. L.
    03/06/2009 at 10:38 AM

    Maybe Ward killed Wone intentionally b/c he wanted to get at Price for some reason.

    It seems like there is enough circumstancial evidence to indict for murder.

  24. L.
    03/06/2009 at 4:14 PM

    “In 2006, Ward graduated from the Potomac Institute for Massage Therapy and obtained his license to practice as a massage therapist in the District of Columbia”

    Maybe Ward offered Wone a massage that night.

  25. BJ
    03/06/2009 at 4:29 PM

    At one point in 2006, I had heard that part of the investigation delay was due to the police making mistakes at the crime scene. Specifically, there was discussion about the chemicals that are used for traces of blood, DNA, and I heard that they had applied the chemicals in the wrong order or something like that.

    This was believed to be the reason behind removing the floors and walls as the scene had to be relocated to the FBI lab for analysis whereas normally much of the analysis can be completed at the scene of the crime.

    I’ve read or heard nothing like that since the time right around the murder. Has anyone else heard this?

  26. Jim
    03/06/2009 at 9:10 PM

    Can someone answer a question for me? I can’t figure out how, if he had been given a drug that incapacitated him, Robert could have ejaculated. The court documents mention that his semen was found in many places. Can someone be made to ejaculate involuntarily? Would the drugs everyone is mentioning allow that to happen? Or, is it possible that he ejaculated voluntarily? This is one of the most troubling facts for me.

    • Michael
      03/07/2009 at 12:37 AM

      Your question is one we have all considered. A sexual physiologist would be able to comment on this, but would certainly need to know what drug(s) were administered. It is my understanding that electro-stimulation devices can induce ejaculation, but since certain drugs affect specific neurological responses, the jury (pun intended) is out on this point.

      • Piet
        03/09/2009 at 12:35 PM

        Cattle breeders user ejaculators all the time (see an example here: ). While there are also devices specifically made for humans, one of these devices would also work on a human and are easily obtainable online (unlike the human devices). A search of S/M forums will show you that people in the S/M community have and do use these on people (google Bailey Ejaculator, for example). Another possibility is the use of a 10s (tens) unit with an attachment for prostate stimulation, though this would take a lot of time and produce a much smaller amount of ejaculate.

        It seems most likely to me that Robert had no intention to participate in sexual acts, given that he put his night guard in, which is not something one would do, having experience with one myself, before sex, and I think it’s unlikely that the perps would have thought to put it in (or even knew he used one) to make it look like he did it. It does lead one to assume that he had planned to sleep over in advance though, unless he was known to carry it around with him all the time (which seems unlikely but also possible if he often did not sleep at home).

        My best guess for how the semen was found in his rectum…it’s fairly simple, a dildo/buttplug was lubricated with his semen once he was made to ejaculate and it was then inserted into his anus. No big mystery there. It would have been possible for him to do it himself, though not as easy. It also seems unlikely he would be lubricating something (dildo or finger) with his own semen to masturbate with if he had already ejaculated. This points to someone else’s involvement.

        As to why Price got involved, as a submissive to Ward, he was turned on by and used to being forced to do things by his apparent master. Ward would want to shield him at, apparently, all costs. Z., being the (faithful?) partner also agreed to the coverup (speculation only of course!) to shield his own partner.

        Honestly, I really fail to see how just the circumstantial evidence alone is not enough to indict for murder. If my partner had just murdered someone, I guarantee you I would turn him in a second. Murder is murder, and I want nothing to do with a murderer. I think most people would agree. So there is no accounting for the warped sense of loyalty these guys have.

        • Lance
          03/09/2009 at 4:22 PM


          The first half of your post is well-phrased–a model for other posts, I’d say. It reports actual facts (“A search of S/M forums will show you that people in the S/M community have and do use these on people”) as opposed to speculation (e.g. “Ward and Price probably owned one”–though now that I think of it, did the police find such a device?).

          The last two paragraphs, on the other hand, present hypothesis as fact, both about acts and about psychology, such as “Ward would want to shield him” and “the warped sense of loyalty these guys have.”

          In fact, given your statement that “if [one’s] partner had just murdered someone…[one] would turn him in a second”, that seems to be pretty strong psychological evidence that none of them was involved, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t any of them who were involved to any lesser degree rush to admit it, make a plea agreement in exchange for testimony, and leave this whole thing behind them? If anything, the fact that none of them have done so might just indicate that they’re telling the truth.

          (Or, of course, it might indicate that they have stronger bonds between them than we believe most people do. I have no idea which; that’s why I can’t begin to proclaim them innocent with the certainty some people here have in proclaiming them guilty.)

  27. Craig
    03/07/2009 at 3:23 PM

    One of the reporters I chatted mentioned that he looked into this. Functions of something called the autonomic nervous system can result in ejaculation while in an unconscious or incapactitated state. But this isn’t my strong suit at all.

  28. L.
    03/07/2009 at 3:46 PM

    So Dylan Ward’s father is a Dr. and Dylan was into drugs and S&M. Maybe he knew he could make Wone unconscious, do whatever he wanted to him and even make him ejaculate and then stick it in Wone’s anus. And then Wone woke up unexpectedly??
    This murder has Dylan Ward’s name written all over it.

    • Lance
      03/07/2009 at 9:12 PM

      So Dylan Ward’s father is a Dr….

      My father is an accountant, and I can’t balance my checkbook. Honestly, the leap from “here’s a fact” to “here’s a possibility” to “this murder has his name written all over it” would win Olympic medals in the long jump.

  29. Q.
    03/08/2009 at 6:52 AM

    Special thanks to Lance for trying to keep a little civility in the discussion. I wish the blog’s authors would step in a little bit more and moderate the content so as to keep it above the level of L.’s comment about Ward’s father. It’s getting to be a little too much like watching David Duke call the O.J. trial. Or, to use a sports analogy, it’s like watching a football game where the announcers only say things about one team. There’s lots of players in this event: the ADA, the medical examiner, the detectives. When the trial comes around, I bet you a shiny nickel that we’re going to hear more about them, and it would be nice to know a little about the “visiting team” before the action starts moving very fast. In a way, without more information about this whole situation, that would be much more useful than just bandying about a few more theories. So, moderators, since most of you have shown which team you’re pulling for, why don’t you give Lance (or others more interested in the big picture) the ability to post as a “hostile” guest commentator?

  30. L.
    03/08/2009 at 2:43 PM

    I am only speculating that Ward may have been exposed to paralytic drugs or how they are used or administered because his father is a Dr.
    Maybe its too tenious or speculative to even mention.

    However, I don’t think raising that question lowers the level of discussion.

  31. L.
    03/08/2009 at 2:55 PM

    The blog is not a court of law – I don’t think people should be discouraged from expressing their thoughts unless they are unnecessarily sarcastic or abusive.

  32. Charles
    03/13/2009 at 9:00 AM

    I didnt read the whole thread, but just as an observation, if you slip some one a date rape type drug, why would you need to inject with “special K” they are already out from the date rape drugs arent they?? I also think its a very interesting theory. After reading about the “family” comment about the three, I would think that he was either the way your theory say about being drugged or he actually was trying to hit on one of the three in the family and the other two in the trio were angered over this. Someone may have already posted this as I didnt read all of the threads on this.

    • L.
      03/13/2009 at 3:32 PM

      Maybe the killer subsequently injected Wone to be sure he did not wake up during the assault.

      • Anonymous
        03/14/2009 at 12:24 PM

        Agreed. It is possible to wake up accidentally after being given anesthetics. I once woke up in the middle of surgery while lying on the operating table. I didn’t feel any pain but opened my eyes, was conscious of the surroundings, and heard voices of the medical team. I said, “I’m awake,” and they must’ve upped the medicine because I became unconscious again. Something like this may have happened to Wone during the assault, prompting someone to go crazy with injecting him with drugs, smother and stab him.

  33. Robert A Spiegel, Esq.
    03/16/2009 at 9:18 PM

    Okay, there is more than enough to deal with here.

    In criminal law there is something called “double jeopardy.” To keep it simple: once a defendant is acquitted of a crime, he cannot be tried again for same crime. Bringing such charges as “obstruction
    of justice” or “tampering with evidence” does not jeopardize a charge of murder or related ones.

    Had the prosecution thought it had enough evidence — circumstantial or otherwise — to convict, charges would have been brought along time ago. It is precisely on account of the lack of hard evidence — then as now — that the matter still languishes in limbo btw active and cold case.

    That is also the reason for the affidavit gambit on the part of law enforcement authorities as well as the introduction of civil suit by the Wone family.

    If I am not mistaken: at one time another each of the townhousemates — Ward, Price and Zaborsky — were employees of Virginia Equality. One more vote in support for Same Sex Marriage being the most important issue within the GLBT cmty.

    Those stab wounds were precise incisions, evenly spaced and surgical in nature. Unless Ward, Price and Zaborsky were a well trained surgical team — like let us say from ER — highly unlikely that the stabbings were executed by more than one.

    There is no debate about the fact that Ward had ownership of the New Yorker mag in question. Why Wone would have been reading about a subject so close to Ward’s heart (sorry) is a mystery to me and such highly unlikely.

    There is no evidence that Wone had anything more
    than a friendship relationship with Price or Robert had any prior relationship with any of the others.

    I really wish that strangers would stop alluding to Robert’s “homosexual tendencies” where there is no hard (forgive me) evidence to support such.

    So far as I know, there is no minimum time requirement within which a host may “jump” a guest — at least not in the Gay male community.

    Similarly, there are no pre-set “hard and fast” rules as to when a drug abuser might indulge. Thus, I do not think that druggies are overly concerned about school daze & work Knights.

    Though there may be general rules for the conduct of BDSM among those who abide by them, there is no requirement that those who engage in BDSM abide by any rules — let alone be sobered or not be sobered by their own conduct or that of others.

    Though I would not claim my using night guard or being into oral sex makes me any kind of expert, I have never heard of night guards being generally regarded as any kind of a sexual “turn on.”

    When all is said and done: coroner established a more than plausible chronology of drug injection, pillow asphyxiation and involuntary ejaculation
    which when combined with the physical restraint evidence at least strongly suggests if not clearly indicates that Robert Wone was something other than a willing participant in that night’s activities.

    Though Wone probably stayed late when working for his “Wall Street” law firm, unclear as to why he would have done so on his new job. In any case, he had plenty of time to return home but chose not to do so for reasons that remain unclear.

    Had Robert called from RFA HQ for the purpose of contacting his wife, Kathy, more than likely he would have employed the office telephone as opposed to engaging his own private cell.

    When sniffing dogs are employed, there may be an issue of “reasonable search and seizure.” It is for this reason that there may need be testimony about background, training, chronology.

    It would be inaccurate to say there is no material evidence in this case. For example, found was the towel used to wipe off Robert’s blood from the knife presented as the murder weapon.

    One of the major problems with the DC MPD is the absence of a forensics lab which leads to the reliance on FBI. Thus, unclear is the level of CSI training on the part of this very local police force.
    But it does appear that more than a few mistakes were made in connection with gathering evidence.

    DNA tests may have been done or not done. Tests have been done in a timely and accurate manner or have not been done so. Even had tests been timely and accurate they may have proved inconclusive or otherwise unhelpful.

    And yes, “when called for” police do normally check dumpsters for evidence within a given radius of the crime scene in question.

    When I was employed by the federal government, there were regular broadcast announcements
    asking that employees “please do not use your computers at work to view pornography.”

    Mistaken is the notion that hard core activities are automatic grounds for the termination of an employee — public or private.

    I am acquainted with a federal employee who kept his job even after it was learned he was employing his government computer for the very purpose of scheduling clients for the unlicensed massage business he was runnning out of his office!

    I was contacted by a reporter about the issue of ejacuation before, around and after the time of death. However, I do not know if I am the anonymous source referred to above.

    People cover up for one another all the time and for all kinds of bad reasons or for no good reason at all. They do so in all kinds of situations some of which may be wholly unimaginable 2 U or myself.

    Were there no such thing as “reasonable doubt” I am reasonably doubtful that blogs like this would continue to exist and that is no joke sorry to say.

Comments are closed.