What George Weber’s Murder May Tell Us About the Wone Case
By now many readers have likely learned of another brutal murder just this week in Brooklyn. For those who haven’t, 47-year-old George Weber was found dead in his apartment Sunday, the victim of some 50 stab wounds, his ankles still bound together. On Tuesday, 16-year-old John Katehis was arrested and told police that he had linked up with Weber via a Craigslist ad for violent sex, when things got out of control. Katehis, who says he was high on cocaine and alcohol at the time, admits he visited Weber, says things got out of hand, he stabbed Weber twice and fled the scene.
The starting point here is the tragedy of Mr. Weber’s murder. It seems senseless, random, and threatening precisely because it is a crime of such menace and brutality. But so, too, was Robert Wone’s murder. And while much care is needed here, the exercise of comparing and contrasting these two murders may yield useful perspective.
First, there is the actual crime and scene. By Katehis own admission, he and Weber fought during what was to be a “violent sex” encounter last Friday. The teen was to choke and masturbate Weber for $60, (some news reports put the figure at $80) but says Katehis, things went wrong and Weber fought back, reaching for a knife. They struggled and Katehis says he stabbed Weber twice, although because he was buzzed at the time he also admits that he can’t recall details of what exactly happened.
The scene was one of bloody mayhem. Not only was the victim and the room splattered, so, too, was the assailant. Katehis admits to changing out of his clothes and putting on some of Weber’s, but his own bleeding wounds were spotted several hours later and he was questioned by police. Weber himself showed multiple defense wounds as well.
This scene is in marked contrast to how Mr. Wone was found. The absense of blood at 1509 – on the victim, the room, the possible exit routes of an intruder, the defendants and the knife – is beyond remarkable. The 50 stabbings of Mr. Weber no doubt speak to the violence of the encounter, while Mr. Wone’s three wounds were notable for their precision and cleanliness. In forensic terms, these two cases appear to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Second, there is confusion as to the actual murder weapon itself. It’s well documented now – by journalists and by Katehis multiple profiles posted on the web – the teen was a knife enthusiast. When he was arrested Tuesday night, he had a knife in his possession; however it was not the murder weapon. In fact as of this writing, police say that the murder weapon remains missing. It hardly needs to be re-stated that in the Wone murder, there is significant confusion about the murder weapon as well. The knife found on the scene was not deemed to match the wounds, but a knife missing from Dylan Ward’s cutlery collection could provide a match. That actual knife has never been found.
Third, there is the media. Mr. Weber’s murder is no more or less ugly and potentially salacious as Mr. Wone’s. Yet scanning today’s reporting – just search “Katehis” under any news search – yields a flood of reporting. New York, mainstream, national, international, gay and straight; Mr.Weber’s murder has even earned several links on the Drudge Report. The only avenue left is Nancy Grace, and not being a viewer, she may already be on it.
This stands in marked, and to some degree distressing, contrast to the Wone murder. Yes, it merited some coverage in local Washington media (mainstream and gay) but generated nowhere near the frenzy the Weber case has. More distressing, at least to this editor, was the relative silence Mr. Wone’s case found in gay press at the time compared to the claxons now being sounded in Mr. Weber’s murder on nearly every gay blog. Explaining this is for another post, at least.
In the end, we’re left with two terrible murders. There are some similarities and vast differences between the two. Exploring both doesn’t explain anything new about Mr. Wone’s murder, but at least for me, does add new and important context.
-posted by Doug