Fear and Loathing on Swann Street

A Savage Journey Into The Heart Of Dylan Ward’s Bedtime ReadingFamous Last Words, William Shakespeare by Ralph Steadman, 2006 

Famous Last Words, William Shakespeare by Ralph Steadman, 2006

One of the more sensational pieces of evidence cited by the MPD in the affidavit of arrest for Dylan Ward is a “full-page drawing of William Shakespeare lying dead in bed: his body shown positioned similar to the way Mr. Wone’s body was positioned when it was found.”  It accompanied an article by the late John Updike in the August 7, 2006 edition of New Yorker magazine entitled, “Late Works, Artists and Writers confronting the end.”  The drawing was found in the bedroom of Dylan Ward, which was just down the hall from the guest bedroom where Robert Wone was found murdered.

The drawing above is by Ralph Steadman , well known for illustrating the works of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, including his most acclaimed work, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

In this seminal work, Thompson pierced the heart of the American Dream by way of the bad craziness of a drug fueled night. Steadman’s illustrations brought the manic and disturbing energy of Thompson’s words vividly to life as only Steadman’s on-target and off-kilter sensibility could. Their electric and dizzying combination dazzled a dazed and confused generation and in the process left an indelible mark on the American pop consciousness.

It is no surprise, then, that the New Yorker would chose Steadman to illustrate Updike’s probing essay about how dying at home for the artist has fallen out of fashion.  Moreover, it wouldn’t be a leap to speculate about why Dylan Ward would be interested in reading such an article.  If the article’s content didn’t grab Ward, then it could have been Steadman’s ink-stained lines, which now grace the books of children.  Three years before the murder Ward recieved a M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College.

Whether or not this article had anything to do with Robert Wone’s murder is up for debate.  If the magazine had been found closed in a stack of magazines in Dylan Ward’s room, it would be a stretch to assign weight to this idea.  But, since this magazine was found open to this drawing in a bed room on the same floor, literally feet away, from a man who was just violently murdered does give one pause, even if only that.

Later we will discuss the article in more depth, but for now, take a look and see if there is anything to this piece evidence cited by MPD, and decide whether it should have any weight when determining who murdered Robert Wone? — Posted by David

19 comments for “Fear and Loathing on Swann Street

  1. Ridicuolous
    03/04/2009 at 9:45 AM

    Are you serious?????? This was an article in the New Yorker. Let’s take a poll and see how many people that read your blog read the New Yorker. In fact, I bet all of you do. How in the world can you think that this is a relevant piece of evidence? It is sensational and that is it.

    If you guys are truly going to be the sleuthing investigative reporters and not assign guilt (as you say you have not, but almost every posting appears to have done) then maybe you should start doing some investigations into the drug dealers and other crimes that occurred that night in a couple block radius rather than assign guilt based on reading the New Yorker.

    • ladydetective
      03/04/2009 at 9:59 AM


      These guys are posting evidence that is cited by the Metropolitan Police Department. How is that some how assigning quilt? They are looking through the public record and putting it on display for the viewing public to determine just as they said in their post.

      Thanks guys!! Keep up the good work!

  2. Jackson
    03/04/2009 at 10:46 AM

    cool post. probably meaningless in the long run, but another weird element of the crime. no surprise dylan was well read but what a freaky article to have open at the murder scene.

    maybe the new yorker is appropriate in an odd way. it is home to charles addams ghoulish cartoons after all. gahan wilson too.

  3. Anonymous
    03/04/2009 at 2:31 PM


    when you cite this kind of stuff, do you really think back to the situation where this stuff found first mention? More than two years after Wone was senselessly murdered, the police had found nothing, and the man representing the victim’s widow was on his way to becoming attorney general of our great nation (not meant ironically – the fact that these guys are still alive and some people can express doubts in discusions about what seems like a slam-dunk case is part of that genuine greatness). Imagine all sorts of pressure. First, there is the pressure that lawyers, D.A.s and the like feel about getting on Holder’s coattails and impressing whoever is above them on the career food chain. Then, there is the pressure to solve the case. One way to do this might be to smoke out the suspects. Give ’em a little prisoner’s dilemma action and see if your bluff works. Well, to sell the start of this, i.e., really putting the screws to Ward, the 5.0. has to sell it to a judge. To make sure this happens, especially when direct evidence is hard to get hold of, you have to cobble together all the salacious, dirty, suspicious stuff you can. You have to put in everything about sex, odd and disturbing coincidences like this New Yorker thing, drugs, whips, chains, mouthguards, etc. to make sure that it tsunamis both the judge and the public (which might finally think you have done something about the murder). You have to say in your intro that Wone was sexually assaulted and then not back it up in your discussion of the evidence. The police wanted the judge and the public to bite at cheap bait like this. Many have, including most of the press. Are you not sophisticated enough to see through the smoke and mirrors?

    • I know who did it
      03/04/2009 at 3:41 PM


      1. Defendants were involved in sexually deviant practices.

      2. Defendants used and/or dealt illegal drugs.

      3. Defendants liked reading the New Yorker.

      1 + 2 + 3 = literate men with a propensity for BDSM, a focus on self fratification, and a willingness to break the law. Doesn’t establish they are murders.


      A. Robert wone’s murdered body is found in the house.

      B. There is no evidence to date of any intruder.

      C. Evidence establishes that the crime scene was meticulously cleaned.

      D. EMT’s statements to the police that night was that the defendants appeared to be freshly showered and seemed unconcerned when the EMTs arrived… were talking on the phone.

      A + B + C + D = (at least in my mind), a strong presumption of guilt.

      • N.M.
        03/05/2009 at 2:45 PM

        “a focus on self fratification” – if that’s a typo, its still perfect. Among other things, it describes Jud Apatow’s entire body of work. I’ll be using this term liberally from now on – thank you.

    • Jackson
      03/04/2009 at 5:59 PM

      anon – i think i’m missing your point. drugs, whips, even the mouthguards were found at the scene and can speak to the behavior and the events that may have occured in the house. why aren’t they admissable as either evidence in court?

      signs of sexual assault and bdsm goodies were all over the place. check. a mouthguard in the victims mouth and he showed signs of suffocation. check. sure the new yorker thing is a weird tangent, but its another piece of the physical evidence gathered. isn’t it all fair game?

  4. Nelly
    03/04/2009 at 8:28 PM

    The mouthguard was something Wone typically wore every night while sleeping.

    “Ridicuolous” sure is sounding “ludicuorous” to me! You really don’t think there’s anything suspicious about a murder victim’s body being found in a position similar to that depicted in a cartoon, in a magazine found open in one of the resident’s rooms? There’s a lot more than A, B, C, & D, such as the murder weapon being disposed of and another knife planted to throw off investigators, but I suspect certain people don’t want to connect the dots no matter what. Webmasters, maybe we should have another entry where people come up with outlandish defense theories. As one comic on Datalounge posted, maybe Wone offended a CVS clerk and the clerk followed him into the bedroom and stabbed him, then cleaned everything up because the three stooges were too paralyzed by ketamine upstairs to notice. The CVS clerk was also very independently wealthy, so he left through the back door not needing to take Wone’s Movado watch, wallet, or Blackberry. He also only used Macs and disdained TV, so he walked right by the residents’ laptops and electronics and out the door.
    (I am being sarcastic.)

    • Craig
      03/04/2009 at 10:46 PM

      Dear Sarcastic,

      the three stooges had help. the mpd was played by the keystone cops.

  5. Anonymous
    03/04/2009 at 8:38 PM

    Let’s just say that Ward was involved in the murder in some drug and obsession fueled state. And let’s say that the body was arranged on the bed just like the illustration for the New Yorker story. I seem to remember something in the media about the covers being folded neatly and the head being at a slight angle which would seem to match the picture. If all that is true, what is up with the body being posed like that? Anyone have any ideas? It seems like just one more bizzare detail, but people generally do things for a reason.

  6. Lance
    03/05/2009 at 4:04 AM

    Interesting–I’d actually just been trying to find the image, without any luck. I’m glad y’all posted it.

    My feeling about it:

    Moreover, it wouldn’t be a leap to speculate about why Dylan Ward would be interested in reading such an article. […]
    Whether or not this article had anything to do with Robert Wone’s murder is up for debate. […]
    take a look and see if there is anything to this piece evidence cited by MPD.

    I think that “why Dylan Ward would be interested” is simple enough to explain: he’s the sort of intellectual who reads the New Yorker, so he’s likely to want to read the articles in it in general and a John Updike article in particular.

    It seems like it’d be nothing more than a coincidence, unless there’s specific reason to think it’s not. According to the MPD, the reason it’s relevant is that the body in the illustration is “positioned similar to the way Mr. Wone’s body was positioned when it was found”. Now that I know that the drawing’s by Ralph Steadman, I’m not sure how you’d get anybody into that pose without breaking half their bones…. But in truth, if the key fact here is that the pose in the illustration and the pose Wone was found in are similar, the illustration on its own isn’t helpful in judging the situation. Is there a real similarity, or was the MPD reading too much into it?

  7. N.M.
    03/05/2009 at 2:50 PM

    The critical question to me is “how similar.” I originally thought the New Yorker was simply on the floor and the picture in question was the front cover, with Shakespeare lying on his back. There’s nothing so unusual about that – its how people are laid in coffins in general, so I wouldn’t make much of the connection to the magazine.

    If, however, the body was laid out according to this drawing, with the left foot tucked behind the right ankle, and the index fingers on both hands outstretched / pointing – then yeah, that’s pretty damn significant.

  8. L.
    03/07/2009 at 3:48 PM

    All roads lead back to Dylan Ward.

  9. Robert A Spiegel, Esq.
    03/17/2009 at 1:09 AM

    Shakespeare: “He thinks to much, such men are dangerous.” Julius Caesar referring to Cassius.

    Given my background in academia, training as a lawyer and life of human rights activism, that is what people seem to have always said about me!

  10. connect the dots
    04/03/2009 at 11:01 PM

    I would like to fisrt express my disgust with the 4 men that have taken a horrific death of a wonderful human being that I had the chance to cross his path over the years that he was at W&M and then a few times after that. I only met his wife once but all was good. To treat this horrible moment in life as nothing more than a Clue Game where people are the “Players” or some warped AD&D game is repolsive, you should be ashamed and emmbarassed to show your attention seaking self serving faces any place in public or have the guts to look your selves in the mirrior in the morning. That bad taste is the puke you just through up in your mouths.

    • 04/04/2009 at 8:18 AM

      connect the dots,

      darling, your disgust is so misplaced.

      one would hope that you would be most disgusted at the person (s) responsible for this murder and/or its cover-up. this site seeks to shine a light on these persons; including but not limited to those who are currently charged with participating in a cover-up conspiracy. sweetheart, tell us of the disgust you have for ms. joe price, who has allegedly done very little to assist you and your friends in finding the real killer. are you more disgusted with price; or with those interested in solving the case. you gave us your opinion on the bloggers, now sit on the couch and tell us what you feel in your head and heart about the three men currently charged. the floor is your, connect the dots . . . was yours just a drive-by posting, or do you have an interest in answers?

      • CDinDC
        04/04/2009 at 8:50 PM

        Well said, SDI….well said.

  11. Robert A Spiegel, Esq.
    04/06/2009 at 2:27 AM

    Native New Yorker, I have had a subscription to
    “New Yorker” at various times in my life. Granted
    that pose in New Yorker cartoon is not evidence &
    does not prove guilt or innocence of Ward, Price or
    Zaborsky. But it is curious coincidence of interest.

    Two & half years after the killing of Robert Wone,
    authorities appear not to have enough evidence
    for the indictment of Ward, Price or Zaborsky.
    Though I have been both prosecutor & defense
    lawyer, I am not in any position to prove guilt or innocence. What I can say is highly unusual has
    been publication of affidavit itemizing evidence
    suggesting guilt of any crime by any person in any
    case. While it is true that affidavit does not prove
    guilt, I believe I believe publication of affidavit by
    law enforcement authorties a/w/a Kathy Wone’s
    institution of civil suit prior to the conclusion of
    the criminal case are gambits to persuade one or
    more of Swann Street residents to come forward
    with any evidence bearing on the case of which
    they may be aware. I don’t know what they know.

    Published affidavit does not tell us which — if any –
    – of those in question may be guilty of murder tho
    affidavit does suggest obstruction of justice as well
    as evidence tampering. Even those charges have
    yet to be proved though affidavit would probably
    not have been drafted — let alone published — if
    authorities did not believe it provided reasonable
    evidence of guilt. That does not prove charges.

    Though it is true that Wone wore mouth guard as matter of course, the introduction of item raises
    question as to whether Robert was anticipating
    sexual encounter. Many people — Straight as well
    as Gay — do not find mouth guards particularly
    appealing when it comes to engaging in oral sex.

    However, I could see that some S&Mers might be
    “turned on” by bite plate clenching sexual organ &
    thereby causing desirable degree of pain. My not
    being expert on the subject of S&M, I do not know
    the extent of this practice. Perhaps others could
    enlighten us about the popularity of technique.

    Admittedly, I share skepticism of many regarding
    the intruder theory. I have expounded on this
    subject elsewhere in another post. Most of my
    hypotheses about this case were expressed prior to
    release of evidence following murder & therefore
    were uninfluenced by same. That does not make
    me correct in this or any other of my theories.
    However, I do think it worth noting that at time
    Ward, Price and Zaborsky first advanced intruder
    theory — when police first arrived on the scene —
    even Ward, Price and Zaborsky stated that they
    regarded their own assertion that intruder was
    responsible as “implausible. Though I happen to
    agree with the three gentleman in this, please note
    that has consistently been “their” characterization!

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