Wone: 101

03/20/2009
By Doug

Better Late Than Later

We’ve noticed the chatter on process lately in the comment sections. One task we’d been meaning to tackle was an FAQ and a one-pager on this effort that will help new visitors better understand the crime, players, cases and our involvement.  Hopefully this will also help to clarify any questions about our approach. This will become a dedicated page and will be updated often. Moving forward we hope to take action on a number of good suggestions made to improve the offerings. Discussion boards? We’re on it.

1: Who are you guys, and why are you doing this?

For nearly two decades the four of us have been friends, partners and exes; together we are each other’s family of choice. Over an early December dinner we learned that we shared a serious interest in this case and strong desire to see the truth emerge about the murder of an incredible young man. We also shared the frustration that his murder has languished for years with a glacially slow legal process and little substantive investigative media coverage.

As four guys who make their livings in and around the media we also were drawn to this case by its ingredients typical of a full blown Washington scandal; power, sex, alleged drug use,and mystery. So why no real buzz out there?  There seemed to be a tremendous void.  We launched whomurderedrobertwone.com to re-energize the conversation, spark more debate, provide a clearinghouse for what’s known about this case, and to grow the number of people who can lend smart analysis and want to see justice done.

We aggregate the media coverage as well as offer original commentary, research and analysis of the case. We operate under an editorial framework that demands a 360 look at all aspects and principals involved.  We ask for guest commentary and encourage  a free flowing conversation and the sharing of responsible ideas and opinions.  Many of the topics are of an adult and graphic nature. These issues cannot be discussed solely in a clinical manner and often the language needed to address the aspects of this case and crime requires us to give wide berth to accommodate the views from different and diverse audiences.

2: Why no aliases?

Because we want to operate as transparently as possible we freely use our names: Craig Brownstein, David Greer, Michael Kremin and Doug Johnson. We each bring different perspectives and experience to this effort, and we try to lay those out as clearly as we can. We are not pro-prosecution or pro-defense. We want to hold every bit of evidence under the light, stress test every reasonable theory and learn the fullest picture possible of Mr. Wone’s murder.

3: Did you know Robert? Do you know the defendants?

No, and no. We have no direct connection to the Wone family or any of the three defendants – Joe Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward – although we are learning that each of us are one or two degrees away from the principals. Because we did not enter with any preconceptions about any of them, we hope we can bring as objective observation and comment as is possible.

3: How was Robert murdered? When? Where?

Robert Wone was found at 1509 Swann Street NW without any signs of life by EMTs at 11:54pm, August 2nd, 2006. He was pronounced dead shortly after, at 12:24 am the morning of August 3rd, at George Washington University Hospital. The death was ruled a homicide by medical examiner Lois Goslinoski, who lists the cause of death as three stab wounds in Mr. Wone’s chest and torso. Crucially, those simple statements are perhaps the only thing that is clear about this murder.

A good starting point is the Affidavit in Support of an Arrest Warrant for Dylan Ward. This document includes what the EMTs and police found on the evening of the murder, what was heard from the interrogation of the three roommates and Mr. Wone’s autopsy results.

4: So? What’s the big mystery?

Nearly everything. The knife found on the scene does not match the wounds, but a missing knife from housemate Dylan Ward’s cutlery set could prove a match. As much as 49 minutes may have passed from the time a neighbor heard Victor Zaborsky’s scream at finding the body to the time 911 was called. Mr. Wone’s body showed no signs of restraint or defense wounds (extremely unlikely for three stabbings), signs of sexual assault (but no foreign DNA), and a number of unexplained puncture wounds on his neck, foot, hand and chest (but no signs of the standard slate of “date rape” drugs.) Mr. Wone’s deathbed and room showed very little signs of any blood – on the sheets, mattress, his clothes, his body, the walls or flooring, anywhere. There was also no sign of blood on the t-shirt Mr. Wone was wearing, and although the slits matched the location of the wounds, no fibers from the t-shirt were found in the wounds.

And we’re just starting. The deeper we and others dig into this case, the more of a puzzle it becomes.

5: Who’s been charged, who’s been convicted, and who’s gone to prison?

Quoting the October 27th indictment, three of the four Swann Street housemates – Joe, Victor and Dylan – have been charged with 17 counts to “…unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate, and agree to obstruct justice in connection with the homicide of Robert Wone by altering and orchestrating the crime scene, disposing of, altering, and planting evidence, and lying to law enforcement authorities and others about the true circumstances surrounding the homicide…” The indictment also charged the three with obstructing justice in the investigation. The criminal trial date could be set as early as April 24th. If convicted the sentences may range up to thirty-eight years.

There is also a $20 million wrongful death civil case brought against the housemates by Katherine Wone, Robert’s widow.  The judge has stayed that case until after the criminal case.

6: What do the defendants say?

All three have been clear from the very beginning: they had absolutely no involvement in any way whatsoever with Mr. Wone’s murder or its aftermath. They say they have no idea who did it, claiming an intruder. We take them at their word.

7: What’s the nature of the defendants’ relationships and what is the role of BDSM and drugs?

Four people lived under one roof at 1509 Swann. Joe and Victor are committed domestic partners of long standing. Joe and Dylan shared an intimate, private relationship that included bondage and S&M sex play. So in the truest sense this was not a three-way; it was two two-ways. According to court documents a collection of sex devices was found in the house, and investigators discovered a large collection of intimate photographs of Joe and Dylan on Joe’s computer. We do not judge in any way their private living arrangements.

There’s been some amount of speculation about drug use by one or more of the three. We are clear that this is speculation only, and there has been no hard evidence produced of any drug use. Dylan Ward did admit in voluntarily that streets drugs would be found at the house.

To the best of our knowledge Joe and Victor continue to live together at a new address while Dylan lives elsewhere now.  A fourth housemate, friend Sarah Morgan, lived in the basement in-law suite and was away the night of the murder. She has not been charged.

8: Why do you call it murder? Why not “Who Killed Robert Wone”?

Because whatever else may have happened to him that night, at least one person took a knife and thrust it three times into Mr. Wone’s body. There is nothing accidental about that act, and the person or persons who did it can only have done so with the intent to commit murder. Besides, the case is officially categorized as a homicide by the Metropolitan Police Department. That’s good enough for us.

9: OK, so who do you think committed the murder?

We have no idea. More accurately, we have constantly shifting ideas and we remain hesitant to share any concrete opinions on guilt or innocence here. That’s not our purpose on this site. We can neither do the work that’s ahead for the criminal justice system or the media.  What we are interested in are theories as to what may have happened, who may be behind it, and any and all relevant information about the players and the events of that night. We feel that many people in this town may have a small piece of this puzzle; together we hope to solve it.

11: What can I do?

Talk with your friends, colleagues, partners. Put your best thinking into solving this brutal crime. Read the documents, offer an idea for a post,  share a comment on one or offer a way to improve the site.  Move the link around, get the word out.  Do your homework. Write us.

12: What are the posting and privacy policies here?

We honor confidentiality with those we speak with online and off.  As administrators of this site, like anyone who operates on WordPress, we are privy to information hidden from other users including email addresses given and IP addresses.  We value reader contributions and will jealously guard and protect any information on here.  We retain the right to reach out to readers via posts, comments and on occasion unilaterally using email addresses given if they are indeed real.  We ask commenters who wish to remain anonymous to adopt aliases so we and others can better follow the discussion, but we ask for real email addresses so we can further explore issues at a more personal level. The decision on that rests with the readers.

We ask to that readers use the contact email here to discuss tips, leads or anything else of significance in a more private setting.  Through that inbox we have received heartfelt testimonials on Robert’s work and life, information from those close to the principals and some very smart ideas and direction.  We hold those communications in the strictest of confidence.

We also encourage readers to operate above board if they so desire.  We use our real names and ask others to consider that as well.  We recognize the value that anonymity gives to online communication but also see the considerable merit in full disclosure.  The nature of this crime, its victim and needs of his family demand thoughtful, non-inflammatory and relevant posts – from us and from you.  Blatant flaming, off-topic rants and personal attacks are neither welcome or helpful. We reserve the right to edit, redact or take down any comment. We want the discussion to be free flowing and will always err on the side of inclusion. We know that readers here hail from vastly different backgrounds and that they often use vernacular exclusive to their particular community that others may find offensive or objectionable.  We hope the comment sections are self-policing and have chosen not to heavily moderate them, rather we allow for their immediate posting.

So rather than belabor this anymore with process, let’s get to work and go find the bad guy(s).


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19 Responses to “ Wone: 101 ”

  1. SwannStObserver on 03/20/2009 at 12:32 PM

    “ingredients typical of a full blown Washington scandal; power, sex, alleged drug use,and mystery. So why no real buzz out there?”

    Power? The three indicted residents were: a failed non-profit staffer-turned-massage therapist, a marketing guy for a dairy trade association, and a largely-trademark lawyer recently made partner.

    What “power” specifically do you see in this “typical” and “full blown Washington scandal”? Was someone in the administration, or ever in any administration, here or in a state or even a populous county gov’t somewhere? Was any of the residents a top fundraiser for heavyweight pols (the previous owner of the house was seriously connected, by contrast)? Any of these guys an influential Hill veteran or lobbyist? What “power” did two very typical young DC professionals and their massage therapist BDSM accessory boy have?

    The victim was obviously very dedicated to public service, forsaking a lucrative legal career for work in community non profits. It’s him and his widow and family who are foremost in my mind.

    “Buzz?” I know what “buzz” is in the world of advertising, marketing, PR and so forth, but I’d like to know what “buzz” you boys feel would help solve a tragic murder. I realize that buzz is titillating, even profitable, for people who “work in and around media” (i.e. hacks and flaks), but its value here is unclear.

    This appears to be just another couple ounces of tongue-wagging froth in defense of an unfortunate tabloid blog about a real and vicious tragedy.

    • jackson on 03/20/2009 at 2:54 PM

      more noise from the swann street bloviator. You forgot to use your patented queer eye – CSI comparison again. For the 10ht time. You talk a lot but you’re not saying anything. was the puncuation not to your liking either? These fonts suck too huh? Who’s side are you really on?

      • SwannStObserver on 03/20/2009 at 3:00 PM

        Kathy Wone’s side

        • jackson on 03/20/2009 at 3:43 PM

          only a dispicable coward would hide behind a widow. We’re all on her side but choose to leave her out of this.kathy wone can speak for herself and has chosen not to. You don’t speak for her and you have no shame.you’re disgusting to even mention her name in a lame attempt to prove your moral superiority fantasy. You now own the most vulgar comment I’ve seen on this blog and you did it with just two words.

          These guys should ban your sorry and pitiful ass.

          • SwannStObserver on 03/20/2009 at 3:52 PM

            I am quite clear, and I’ll say it again for you, without apology: if I envision the widow reading this blog, my stomach turns.

            Your reaction to empathy is what’s disturbing; you sound more volatile than Dylan Ward.

            • jackson on 03/20/2009 at 5:27 PM

              And what else do you envision in your fantasy world? It unfortunately plays out here daily for the rest of us to suffer through.

              You’ve proved yourself to be a simple vulgarian by hiding behind kathy wone. You wrap yourself in a twisted sense of self importance and imagined moral authority. Please keep your pathetic muttering and howling to yourself and leave her out of this. or just leave.
              If you’re such a moral arbiter then show some balls and lose your alias. As if.

        • Corcoran Cutlet on 03/20/2009 at 3:46 PM

          I went back and looked at a couple of your other comments and can’t say I agree with much you have said. But I sort of agree with your statement about “power”. I walk my dog down Swann all the time and I remember seeing these guys. Nothing about them gave off a powerful air at all. That may be part of the story. The third one, Ward, especially looked wimpy and ashen. The editors may be referring to being well-known in the gay community. But I must agree with your assessment that such really doesn’t add up to a hill of beans in terms of power.

          • CDinDC on 03/23/2009 at 8:58 AM

            I agree with the “power” comments. These 3 blokes are a dime a dozen. A non-prof. employee, an attorney and a….whatever he does. Like I said…a dime a dozen. DC is FILLED with ‘em. In the words of Glenda, the good witch, “you have no power here.”

  2. L. on 03/20/2009 at 1:16 PM

    “The deeper we and others dig into this case, the more of a puzzle it becomes.”

    The deeper you dig the more clear it becomes that Ward drugged, sexually assaulted, and killed Wone and that the others helped cover it up to protect Price’s career.

  3. N.M. on 03/20/2009 at 2:48 PM

    This case has not attracted more attention for one very simple reason: straight men do not like to talk about the fact that men can be, and are, the victims of rape.

    If the victim in this case had been a young woman, we would never hear the end of it. That’s because we (speaking very broadly) like talking about women who are raped, abducted, tortured, etc. It gets big ratings; it sells movie tickets. People regard that sort of thing as “salacious.” Its “entertaining,” even part of the “natural” order of gender relations. (There’s a whole cadre of pseudo-scientists out there who regularly get attention for theorizing that the rape of women is an evolutionary biological imperative.)

    The rape and murder of a man, however, is not seen as salacious or entertaining – it’s just plain scary. Men don’t like to think of themselves as possible victims of sexual assault. That’s why, if its mentioned at all, male rape is treated as a “joke” one makes about the prison population. Rape is something that happens to those “other” men, who “deserve” it because they broke the law.

    Don’t expect anyone in our media culture to blaze a path by reporting on a story that proves that men can be forcibly penetrated, for no reason whatsoever, and the perpetrator(s) can walk free. That’s something that only happens to women. And lord knows, the last thing a red-blooded straight American male wants to be is anything like a woman (a “pussy”).

    Maybe when the case is solved, if it is ever solved, there will be some mainstream publicity. Until then – don’t hold your breath. No mainstream media guy wants to be the bearer of this bad news.

    • Nick on 03/20/2009 at 4:15 PM

      While I’ve never been one to criticize the media on this case (I would hate to see it exploited a la Chandra Levy) you have a good point. Rape is the simplest explanation for what happened.

    • J on 06/02/2009 at 1:48 PM

      I have arrived here after seeing the Post article of 6-1-09. Your opinion is unfortunately true. The behaviour described in this case is not just relegated to gay life but is present in the straight world as well.Seemingly “nice” successful heterosexual people using drugs and destroying lives of the unsuspecting for thrills and the rush of sexual conquest.Pretty shallow and nauseating stuff.

  4. Corcoran Cutlet on 03/20/2009 at 3:34 PM

    By the way since you dealing with fundamentals, I am curious if the following question has been dealt with. Could it be happening that one or more of the three are participating in these discussions? I know part of the criminal personality is love of any kind of attention or publicity. These guys may be so whacked out and detached from reality that they could get online assume a name and start trying to defend themselves. If so, I think it shows they haven’t got a chance in court. For if Lance or Ricuolous and any of the others are representative, it is weak and simply a denial attempt. There actually is a lot of evidence in this case which must be dealt with. You know some of them must be desperate when they start comparing this case to Jon Benet Ramsey. I am sure one or all of the three feels slighted in life because they never got to wear that tiara.!

    • TK on 03/20/2009 at 3:59 PM

      I’ve also wondered if any of them was at least reading this. It doesn’t seem like they have much else to do these days.

      • CreepWatch on 03/20/2009 at 5:35 PM

        Are you kidding I’m sure they’re quite busy going over to the Leather Rack and renting SpankMaster IV or other classics.

  5. Unintended Result? on 03/20/2009 at 4:48 PM

    I am sure that their attorneys are reading this and that this is helping them prepare their case. It makes such obvious sense! Unintended result?

  6. Legal Beagle on 03/20/2009 at 5:30 PM

    I doubt that since whatever good tidbits there are here are in a very rambling brew. Court is different.
    If anything this blog might help them get the trial moved to someplace else. Miami Shores, San Francisco, Norfolk, Manassas, you name it.

  7. She did it on 03/20/2009 at 6:40 PM

    editors,

    i previously forwarded a fabulous lead — have you followed up? i have not yet gotten the name but the description i provided should get you started.

    by the way, all, “L.” has already solved the case. when will zaborsky succumb to pressure, guilt?

    • David on 03/20/2009 at 6:46 PM

      SDI,

      Thanks for the tip. We got it and are looking into it. BTW, keep up the good work. Your comments are valuable.

      Thanks.

      David, editor

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Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

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