For Tonight’s Forecast We Go To Dylan Ward On The Weather Desk
There’s no end to the minutia that one can trawl through in the original affidavit for Dylan Ward’s arrest. Until the discovery phase and the ruling on the Bill of Particulars, we have little to lean on except for the sometimes curious statements and quotes attributed to the Defendants in it. A seemingly minor and overlooked remark made by Dylan to the police that night stands out.
Asked by police what he, Joe and Robert talked about over a glass of water in the kitchen before retiring that evening, Dylan said, “We talked about his wife. We talked about our friend Lisa. We talked briefly about his job. Joe talked about the shower breaking. We talked about it being so hot in his room.” That seems like an especially good recall of topics for seemingly idle, late-night chit chat.
But the remark about the hot guest room stood out after being mentioned tangentially in the comments section a few weeks ago. It’s raises a couple questions as to what exactly were the HVAC issues at 1509 and why they would allow their guest and longtime friend to have an uncomfortable night of sleep in their “hot” guest room.
Was Dylan, whose bedroom shared the same floor as the guest room just making small talk about the weather? Or could a skeptic imagine him trying to explain ahead of time why Wone’s body would’ve been found by EMTs and police on top of the bed covers, not under them?
Almost any DC resident can speak to the difficulties of keeping homes cool during our long hot summers, but exactly what sort of million dollar plus, recently renovated townhouses have such localized climate control problems?
August 2006 was indeed a hot summer and weather records for August 2 showed that DC was very warm that day reaching a high of 99 degrees but had cooled to the mid 80’s by the time of Robert’s arrival at 10:30pm.
But Dylan’s casual mention raises questions. Why would the guest room of a $1.25 million home be “hot?” I suppose we can root around again on Swann and in the alley to see what the HVAC systems looked like for 1509 (exterior or rooftop compressor units), but I would imagine any tony 4 level townhouse in that price range would have at least two zone heating & A/C. You better have that kind of capacity for DC summers to cool over 2,000 square feet of space.
Also, the south facing guest room of 1509 would get most of the warming daytime sun, but for anyone who’s even been on that street at the height of summer, the block-long canopy of mature and towering ginkgos that line the block would seem to offer plenty of shade for the home’s south elevation.
If the guest room was indeed so hot, not warm, why wouldn’t the housemates have offered Robert a spot in the middle room of the second floor which could be cooler? Why not offer him the chilled basement for a comfortable night’s sleep since Sarah Morgan had made plans to be away that evening at her friend’s house?
Judging from our south facing home a couple blocks away without nearly the tree cover of Swann, when we crank our twin Weathermaster 9200’s on a hot day we can chill every room of the house to the point of uncomfortable, including our second floor rooms. The “hot” guest room doesn’t add up unless we can pinpoint mechanical issues, and those would probably affect the entire house, not just the guest room.
The topic of air conditioning came up later that evening in Joe Price’s statement to police. Trying to explain why an “intruder” would not have woken Dylan either during his entry, commission of the crime or exit, Joe said Ward’s, “room is directly under the air conditioning system for the house….(it) hums… very loud.” It should be noted also on page 10 of the affidavit that detectives noted the noise emanating from that unit while operating was, “almost imperceptible.”
It’s hot and getting hotter. And the longrange forecast for the April 24 status conference: More fog and haze.