Forget it Joe, it’s Chinatown
The following guest post comes from Arthur, a reader of ours from the Asian American community. Arthur posted this back in the comments a week or so ago and we thought it deserved some bigger play. Fore warned: he is passionate, articulate and pulls no punches here. Arthur’s been following the case long before we showed up, back when the online discussion seemed to be limited to sporadic and often incendiary volleys launched back and forth on Datalounge and some other boards. While we don’t necessarily associate ourselves with each of Arthur’s views, we’re happy to share this with those who may have missed it.
Reaching out to other members of the Asian American community remains important and hopefully this will be the first of more guest posts to come. While we can’t speak for Asian Americans, two of the editors have their own personal ties to the community. Years ago one of us began courses in Mandarin while another’s ancestry is half Chinese. He grew up in a family where Chinese was spoken at one end of the dinner table and Spanish at the other. If you count our Jewish editor’s heritage, Chinese cuisine obviously figured prominently in his upbringing too. And as the story goes, the idea behind this site was hatched over steaming bowls of pho at one of Arlington’s finest Vietnamese restaurants, Nam Viet.
The Robert Wone Case and the Real Cowards
It’s ironic that Attorney General Eric Holder called Americans cowards for being reluctant to talk about race. Holder was the attorney for the widow of the late Robert Wone, yet even he declined to name any possible suspects in the murderer case. In contrast to the high profile reaction to the murder of Vincent Chin which was fairly well known even outside of the Asian American community, most Asians are unfamiliar with the case of the attorney for Radio Free Asia who was brutally stabbed one evening in 2006 while sleeping over with some old friends in DC.
It’s been called one of the most mysterious cases in DC since no one was charged with anything for over 2 years. Yet even after the three men who lived at the house of the murder scene were finally charged at the end of 2008 with obstruction of justice, no one but anonymous blog commenters are willing to even speculate on the possible suspects. The only thing mysterious is how such a slam dunk case could remain in such obscurity.
The residents of 1509 Swann Street seemed like nice enough neighbors. Joe Price was a former attorney at the civil rights group Equality Virginia who knew Wone from their days at the College of William and Mary. His partner Victor Zaborsky was one of the key players behind the “Got Milk” ads. Dylan Ward was a trained massage therapist, a former spokesman at Equality Virginia, and published children’s books in Taiwan for “The House of the Tiger Aunt.”
Back in August of 2006, the police interrogated the three as primary suspects. The people from the ambulance thought Wone looked like he had been dead for some time, not killed minutes before the phone call. They were creeped out by the behavior and appearance of men in bathrobes just out of the shower carefully explaining how an intruder they claimed they did not see had accomplished the deed. There were no signs of forced entry, nothing stolen, and it was odd the alleged murder knife was from their own kitchen. It was obvious to detectives that the crime scene was tampered with and cleaned of blood. Though lawyers for the three said their clients cooperated fully, the commander of the police homicide squad said they didn’t get believable answers as their story did not add up: “Some of the information we were told, I just don’t believe.” The FBI was called in to assist with gathering evidence as many parts of the house were removed, but for two years there was no news and no charges.
By late 2008 an affidavit showed the authorities had enough additional evidence to charge Price, Zaborsky and Ward with obstruction of justice. It turns out the knife that actually would explain the wounds matched a knife that was missing from the knife set Ward kept in his bedroom. Bedroom?? A cadaver dog finding blood in a drain in back patio and in the clothes dryer, which indicated the intruder, or somebody else, used their uncoiled garden hose, and the dryer.
Authorities soon dismissed the intruder theory. The lack of sign of struggle showed Wone was likely incapacitated with an injection, sexually assaulted with his own semen found in his anal cavity, and then fatally stabbed. Only the three men could have obstructed the investigation by cleaning the mess, lying about the time of death, moving the body, and planting blood stains and a knife.
And now, like the late Paul Harvey liked to say, for the Rest Of The Story. The cops put their Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit on the case. Equality Virgina was a prominent gay rights organization. Price and Zaborsky were registered domestic partners who lived in a “gayborhood” and were written up in USA Today when they generously helped a lesbian couple to conceive. That probably explains why the only national coverage besides Asian outlets has been the gay press. On the “Datalounge” discussion boards, they’ve basically convicted their favorite suspects as “even Trig Palin could solve this case”.
It was uncovered that Ward also had an “intimate “dominant-submissive sexual relationship with Price. Some stories called Ward a “boy toy”. In China his role might be like a concubine, but at least it’s not polygamy. Price explained that Ward was treated as “part of the family”. Many “intimate” photos with Ward were recovered from Price’s computer. Ward’s favorite hobby seemed to be his extensive collection cataloged by the affidavit of “racks, shackles, metal and leather collars, wrist/ankle restraints, mouth gags, spandex hoods, clamps and clips, enema kit,.. p-rings, metal chains with locks, … nipple suction devices”.. well you get the idea.. There was even an electric shock device similar to those used for semen collection from animals which investigators wondered might account for the semen they found.
The author of the children’s book series also had a library of dutifully highlighted references on inflicting pain and enslavement for sexual for gratification. A New Yorker magazine was opened to a picture of Shakespeare’s deathbed in a position eerily similar to Wone’s body. Internet boards carried speculation that the Taiwan-savvy Ward was a “rice queen” with a fetish for Asians. They were not your average neighbors. The October 27, 2008 affidavit against Dylan Ward concludes: “all three obstructed justice by altering and orchestrating the crime scene, planting evidence, delaying the report … and [lying about the true circumstances] when interviewed.”
Discussion boards speculated that “Little Red Riding Hood” on Wikipedia might have been Dylan Ward himself. He declared war on the “Murder of Robert Eric Wone” because “he wasn’t notable before he died, he still isn’t notable. His death is not notable, either” (Vincent Chin has also weathered similar non-notable challenges). He even initiated a process which within one day, vigilant LGBT advocates banned a hapless user entirely from any article concerning gay issues after he called out that Wone was a victim of a hate crime after a history of challenging gay issues.
Is the Asian American movement’s ceaseless dedication to gay rights getting in the way of turning this case into the next Vincent Chin? In the case of the young Jesse Dirkhising, his molesting, torture and murder in 1999 led conservatives at the Media Research Center to observe “Had he been openly gay and his attackers heterosexual, the crime would have led all the networks. But no liberal media outlet has as its villains two gay men.” Indeed, no conservative, not even our own fearless Michelle Malkin has touched the case with a ten foot pole.
This should not turn into yet another reason to hate or hurt upstanding members of the LGBTQ community. It disheartened me back in college when walking by the weekly vandalizing of the gay bulletin board. LGBT rank with Asians as the Americans with the highest education and achievement, while suffering from more indignities. However, political correctness cannot be allowed to trump justice. Horrible crimes are committed by Americans of every race, creed, gender and subculture. I have absolutely no idea who killed Robert Eric Wone, but I’m sure somebody out there is brave and clever enough to figure it out.
-posted by the editors