Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

E=mc2 & Time Dilation

A major point of debate for both the Defense and the Prosecution is the time line of events leading up to and through the murder of Robert Wone and the subsequent 9-1-1 call from 1509 Swann Street.  The details available are those mainly described in the Affidavit in Support of the Arrest of Dylan Ward.

Much speculation has been centered around the actual time of Robert’s arrival to 1509 Swann, the time stamps of the draft emails on Robert’s BlackBerry as reported by MPD Detective Waid, when a scream was heard by a Swann Street neighbor, and a postulated delay in calling 9-1-1.

Using Dylan’s arrest affidavit and other court documents, the following graphical time line was developed to capture that night at the Price-Zaborsky-Ward residence on August 2, 2006.  To display the time line in a full screen, click on the image below, and click on the image displayed in the link page,or click here or here to download a PDF version.

Night of Robert Wone's Murder

Night of Robert Wone's Murder

Assuming Robert arrived at 10:30PM at 1509 Swann, it becomes nearly incomprehensible for all of the events to have occurred in effectively 1 hour and 19 minutes, when 9-1-1 was called.  Is this Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Time Dilation at work?  Was the space-time continuum in 1509 Swann so warped that time was slower inside than in the surrounding world allowing for superhuman efficiency?

Defense Attorney for Joe Price, Bernie Grimm, when interviewed by television reporters following the April 24th procedural hearing, emphasized the importance of the time stamps on the draft emails on Robert’s BlackBerry.  If Robert actually drafted those emails, the time for Robert to have been drugged, assaulted, murdered and cleaned up would be at least 35 minutes shorter than presumed by the Prosecution’s proposed time line.

Does the prosecution possess additional evidence that clarifies the time line?  For example, at what time did Robert arrive and depart from the offices at Radio Free Asia?  Either a sign-in sheet at the guard desk or electronic security badge activity would certainly provide more detail to this picture.  Have the taxi cab dispatch records for registered cab companies been examined for a downtown pick-up with a drop-off at 1509 Swann Street?

Perhaps only an observer from light years away really knows.

– posted by Michael

56 comments for “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

  1. CDinDC
    05/07/2009 at 10:28 AM

    According to defendant statements, they retired to bed at 11pm. Considering Robert’s email/text message said he had already showered and was going to bed, that would have given him 5 minutes to type the email and shower.

    Alternatively, Robert DID actually type the email/text messages at 11:05 and 11:08 and he was murdered before he could ever send them.

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 12:00 PM

      I’m definitely believe that things insued earlier than 11pm. But in case things didn’t ensure earlier, working with the known timing (11:08 and 11:49), the murder could still have taken place.

  2. Nelly
    05/07/2009 at 11:35 AM

    I can’t get the timeline image to enlarge. Anyway, I doubt that those mesgs were really written by Robert Wone. It it unbelievable that he would write a mesg telling his wife that he had just showered and was going to bed AND not send it immediately. Moreover, it is entirely possible that he got there before 10:30pm.

    • Nelly
      05/07/2009 at 11:36 AM

      Plus the paramedics were quoted in a news article saying that the wounds looked to be about an hour old by the time they got there.

      • CDinDC
        05/07/2009 at 11:58 AM

        The EMTs also said one of the wounds was “large”….big enough to “put your fingers in.” Can’t tell me that didn’t bleed.

    • Michael
      05/07/2009 at 12:56 PM

      WordPress is most compatible with Firefox, and sometimes has problems with certain features in Internet Explorer. Links to a PDF version on and one on WordPress have been added. In testing on both a Windows XP and a Vista system and Firefox and IE, the links and displays now seem to work. If you get an error, try reloading the page. Hopefully you will be able to display a larger image.

      – Michael, editor

      • Lance
        05/07/2009 at 3:45 PM

        Actually, I’m using Firefox, and I can’t get a larger image; tells me “sorry, no attachments match your criteria”.

        • Michael
          05/07/2009 at 4:12 PM

          Apologies for the incompatibilities between browsers. Tests on Firefox 3.0.8 (Mozilla 5.0) and IE 8 on both Vista and XP seem to work fine. So much for standards in the Web 2.0 world. Hopefully you can access the PDF link to view a larger image.

          – Michael, editor

          • Lance
            05/08/2009 at 1:45 AM

            The PDF, fortunately, works fine. (It’s not something to do with you being logged in with editorial privileges, is it?)

            • Michael
              05/08/2009 at 3:29 AM

              No, it was tested without being logged into WordPress. Glad the PDF will display for you.

              – Michael, editor

  3. SheKnowsSomething
    05/07/2009 at 11:45 AM

    Have any of you regular WMRW sleuths uncovered a marriage license for Joe and Victor in any of the states that allow same-sex marriage? Since the Council of the District of Columbia just having passed a law that recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states, I would think Joe and Victor could cut their legal bills in half by running off and getting married and jettisoning one of the attorneys. And there is also that spousal exemption clause … a good way for Joe to keep Victor shut-up. To you lawyer-types here: Does spousal exemption apply to statements made to police before a marriage? If Joe and Victor got married now (or were married somewhere else previously, but the marriage is only now recognized as legal) would/could defense counsel argue that the use of any and all of their statements up until now is prohibited because of the spousal exemption?

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 11:54 AM

      I’ve don’t genealogy research, and usually marriage licenses, although public record, are not available on line. You usually have to order them via email or go to the court where they are recorded to get a copy (and they usually charge a small fee).

      • Anon. in Arlington
        05/07/2009 at 6:22 PM

        I heart genealogy too CD!

    • Craig
      05/07/2009 at 12:00 PM

      Good point. Maybe their DC domestic partnership records are available, but I’m not sure about other states.

      And with the DC Council vote, does the Hill’s 30 day review mean that marriages won’t be recognized until Congress weighs in?

      As to cutting the legal fees in half, if I were them I’d have a hard time choosing between Grimm and Connolly. Both those guys are top drawer.

      • CDinDC
        05/07/2009 at 12:38 PM

        Just looked it up….they are “open to inspection.” But not available on line.

    • Bea
      05/07/2009 at 8:47 PM

      They don’t need to get married to have the marital privilege – as of April 2006, DC amended its laws to extend this privilege to registered Domestic Partners (and Joe and Victor are registered, is my understanding). BUT the privilege doesn’t help that much. It prevents the government from being able to call one to testify against the other (but not against Dylan – and he’s not stupid enough to be left holding the bag alone should that occur).

      The basics: If one party (let’s call him Victor) WANTS to testify against his partner (let’s call him Joe), then Joe can’t stop him provided it’s about things he saw/heard/washed. Victor would NOT be able (against Joe’s wishes) to testify to something Joe TOLD him in confidence. But there are exceptions even to that. For example, if a third party overheard the statements, the privilege wouldn’t apply.

      So say this Joe guy says to his partner Victor “I really had no choice – he was going to die anyway – so what good would it do to have me go to prison? I had to end it for him, for all of us.”

      This statement would be ‘protected’ unless it was overheard by someone, let’s call him Dylan. The “marital privilege” is then broken.

      No way would one lawyer be able to represent both Joe and Victor – there is an inherent conflict of interest there. Victor’s lawyer has to protect HIS client, is likely counseling him (vehemently we hope) to NOT take the rap for Joe, maybe cut a deal. Their interests are not aligned. Remember that even the Menendez Brothers who together shot their parents each had their own lawyer despite the fact that one never “turned” on the other. It’s why, too, Victor has to be hoping upon hope that they’re not tried together because he’ll be cast in the same lot with the other two in more concrete ways than if he had a separate trial.

      Sorry for being a blowhard.

      • CDinDC
        05/07/2009 at 9:01 PM

        Blowhard? Noo. Great information.

        I’m glad you brought up the Menendez Brothers.

        I’ve always thought the reason they haven’t pressed homicide charges, if because they can’t say WHO exactly did the deed. So, why can’t they try them a la Menendez Bros.

        No one could tell exactly WHO shot mom and who shot dad, so they tried them together because there were equally culpable for the entire crime.

        What say you?

        • Bea
          05/07/2009 at 9:09 PM

          Actually, the Brothers Menendez admitted to the shootings but said it was because they thought they were going to be killed. Had the psychiatrist not blown the cover (THAT privilege was broken when Lyle threatened to harm the good doctor) I suspect we’d have a similar thing. But honestly MOST cases are based primarily on circumstantial evidence. I think its WAY more than what they had on Scott Peterson. Poor Mr. Wone didn’t have to wash up on the shores – he was showered and put to bed. The intruder theory is so preposterous that that is it’s only possibility of working: they couldn’t be THAT crazy or stupid, could they?

        • SheKnowsSomething
          05/07/2009 at 9:13 PM

          Didn’t the Menendez brothers argue self-defense? I always thought they were convicted because they did admit to pulling the triggers, even if the prosecution was not able to say who shot who (or is it whom?) Our yahoos have all said they were not involved in the murder, so the extra step for the prosecution is convincing a judge or jury that the three were indeed involved in the murder. Bea?

      • SheKnowsSomething
        05/07/2009 at 9:02 PM


        I always enjoy reading your posts. They are so instructive and informative. Thanks for providing clarification that we non-lawyers can understand.

  4. CDinDC
    05/07/2009 at 1:18 PM

    the one thing that jump sout at me about the timeline, is that Robert called his wife at 9:30 to “say goodnight”. Why email at 11:05 to say it again?

    Have any work colleagues given a more precise time as to they saw him when he returned to the office? I wonder if he used his work computer or made any phone calls at work during that time?

    I can look on my document handler, phone log, email and pretty much, precisely determine when I ended work for the day on any given day.

  5. N.M.
    05/07/2009 at 3:39 PM

    How much do you want to bet that:

    (a) records that might show arrival and departure times at the building that houses radio free asia were neither sought out or subpoenaed;

    (b) taxicab records were neither sought out or subpoenaed.

    I just feel like if those things had been done, we’d know about it.

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 4:29 PM

      Many DC buildings have Kastle key systems that require you to swipe your card/fob to exit the building.

      • Friend of Rob
        05/07/2009 at 4:44 PM

        I don’t know of any castle key systems that actually make you use your card/fob to leave. Usually you’re able to access the elevators for the 1st floor without a key and to leave the building without a key. Likewise, people who work in a building don’t have to sign out with the guard — can you imagine the long line waiting to go home from work if that were the case?

        Also, it was my understanding that Rob took the Metro. If true, and he had a SmartCard, it would log the time he got on and off the metro.

        • CDinDC
          05/07/2009 at 5:00 PM

          Perhaps not to EXIT the building, but certainly a log may contain information about his movement within the building prior to leaving.

          My building is as tight as a drum. You must swipe your fob to enter any floor. To use the elevators after 6pm, you must swipe your fob on the pad in the elevator and then select your floor.

          If Robert’s building was set up similar to mine, he would have had to swipe his fob to select the lobby level button in the elevator on his way out.

          Re the metro, he took the metro earlier in the evening with a colleague…they said their goodbyes and then he returned to the RFA building to greet new employees……..RFA is closer to Dupont Circle metro than Foggy Bottom. It probably wouldn’t have been very time efficient to walk to Foggy Bottom, wait for the metro (which only comes once ever 10 minutes or so in the late evening), take the metro to Dupont Circle, and then walk to Swann Street. Probably more efficient to walk to Swann (15-20 minutes) or cab it (5 minutes). I vote cab.

          • Craig
            05/07/2009 at 5:18 PM

            If RFA is quasi-Federal government agency and anything like the VoA building, then you’d have to show ID at the security checkpoint then go thru the mags to gain access.

            There would’be been records and maybe security camera footage too I’m guessing.

            • CDinDC
              05/07/2009 at 5:23 PM

              Maybe if it’s not raining tomorrow, I’ll walk over and peep it out.

  6. KM
    05/07/2009 at 5:07 PM

    I am surprised if the defendants’ attorneys think the time stamps of the unsent emails helps their clients.

    I think it makes the case even tighter that the defendants premeditated this murder.

  7. 05/07/2009 at 5:43 PM

    So, if the evidence at hand is taken at face value, between 10:45 and no later than 11:05, Robert must have:
    • Showered
    • Masturbated to climax
    • Composed an email to his wife

    Robert’s last email was composed at 11:07 and a neighbor heard a scream no later than 11:35. At maximum, the “intruder” had no more than 28 minutes to accomplish the following (very, very quietly as Dylan next door had just gone to sleep, as had Joe):

    • Incapacitate Robert, likely with multiple injections (there were no signs of struggle and all knife wounds were clean).
    • Place him in a location where blood could be disposed of (in a shower or on a tarp) as insufficient blood loss was found on the bed.
    • Stab Robert three times.
    • Unpack cleaning supplies and towels and clean the blood from Robert’s body; or else take Robert into the shower to wash him off).
    • Return Robert to his bed, taking care to position him nicely.
    • Gather together cleaning supplies, towels and/or tarps covered with blood.
    • And flee the house.

    While not ever pausing to steal anything.

    And this does not even address the mismatching knives; the “magic” bloodless shirt thru which Robert was stabbed; blood in the dryer and drain, etc.

    • Dupont Dweller
      05/07/2009 at 5:59 PM

      It’s hard to believe that a jury would hear that and not convict.

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 6:44 PM

      Grisham says: “While not ever pausing to steal anything.”

      Well, of course they didn’t steal anything…they didn’t have time! That’s one polite intruder/murderer. Break in without damaging anything and then kill some and clean up after themselves.

      • Corcoran Cutlet
        05/07/2009 at 7:45 PM

        They didn’t steal anything because they only busted in to get trendy decorating ideas. But being offended by the the fabrics chosen for the sofa, they went into a murderous rage. Case solved. The decorator did it.

      • 05/07/2009 at 10:39 PM

        Or perhaps it will later be reveled that “they” stole some tripods, lighting equipment, and video and digital cameras.

        Leaving their humble household with only one disposable camera.

        To take pictures of Sarah.

    • Lance
      05/08/2009 at 1:51 AM

      Put like that, it doesn’t sound like the roommates had time to do it, either. I’m going back to the “alien invader” theory, though perhaps the CIA assassination theory could cover it, too.

      • CDinDC
        05/08/2009 at 7:13 AM

        Do you think a space ship could fit in their back patio?

      • 05/08/2009 at 7:23 AM

        Put like this, the household had at least twice as much time and many more people to accomplish this, without being required to work in silence.

        Lance, in your theory, how many aliens and CIA assassins were involved? What was their motive? Was the White House aware of their plans? Have you spoken to Larry King about your theories yet?

        • Lance
          05/08/2009 at 8:06 AM

          Hey, the CIA assassination theory isn’t my theory; don’t ask me. I haven’t been in touch with anyone about the alien theory, but I do occasionally explain it aloud while alone in my kitchen, so I’m expecting contact from an eavesdropping government agency any day now.

          • 05/08/2009 at 8:24 AM

            Okay, then this is very important Lance. Before the aliens and/or government agency arrives to contact you about your musings, PLEASE remove the knife set from that kitchen of yours.

          • David
            05/13/2009 at 9:54 PM

            Well, the changing story about secret service mirroring of the blackberry simply gives some sort of conspiracy more credence. Was Jack Abramoff a business associate? Vince Foster? Any adventures in Saipan? Did he like Kahuna Burgers? They found his wallet but from another blog someone said he was known to carry two. And to keep a baseball bat under the bed. If true, an interesting habit for a Washington attorney.

            People mostly murder for money, sex, power, insanity, and the good lord (above or below, take your pick). But multiple participants don’t defend an insane act, and they have difficulty holding it together just because sex leads to murder. That leaves money and power, presuming they aren’t people of devout faith. And it is already costing lots of money and hurt their public power. They’re hiding something. Something that scares them more than courts and jails, or something they expect to parlay into a bigger power play later.

            Did you know that if you wrap a cell phone in aluminum foil, it won’t get a signal or transmit its location? It also protects peripherals from drive-bys.

            • CDinDC
              05/13/2009 at 10:20 PM

              David says: “Did you know that if you wrap a cell phone in aluminum foil, it won’t get a signal or transmit its location?”

              Hey, that’s kinda like turning it off.

  8. TK
    05/07/2009 at 6:10 PM

    New twist on the Blackberry controversy, c/o Legal Times. The Secret Service claim they never got the Blackberry. FUBAR!

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 6:47 PM

      After she got the blackberry from the MPD, Kathy Wone said she returned the Blackberry to RFA. Does the Secret Service not read this blog? LOL

    • SheKnowsSomething
      05/07/2009 at 7:39 PM

      Just as CD and I have stated before, the defense team is already arguing the murder case.

      “The government’s theory is that the defendants’ motive for engineering the crime scene is that one, two or all of them were somehow responsible or involved in the death of Robert Wone, and delayed calling 911 … in order to extend the available time to clean up the crime scene,” the defense lawyers write.

      Geez, I hope the AUSA doesn’t screw this case up and these three get away with murder because of double jeopardy.

      • CDinDC
        05/07/2009 at 8:15 PM


      • Anon. in Arlington
        05/07/2009 at 8:20 PM

        It’s a difficult fine line isn’t it? How to hold a trial for obstruction and keep murder on the back burner until the rest of the evidence is processed and a case built? One problem is that the prosecution cannot drag its feet too long with the obstruction charges. Once the obstruction charges were filed, the defendants now the right to a speedy trial.

        Is there a statute of limitations on obstruction? Did prosecution have to move forward in October?

        Is it feasible to argue the obstruction while splitting murder charges? Just rhetorical ponderings that lead to frustration. Too bad it is a difficult year to get into law school. This case has enhanced my consideration.

    • bulldogbarney
      05/07/2009 at 10:51 PM

      Bye, Bye, Blackberry As An Issue

      This is Ciccina’s commentary on the Legal Times piece. It renders the defense strategy irrelevant


      You can set a Blackberry to whatever time you choose, then write an email – and the email will be time stamped with the time you choose (not the actual time).

      In other words, at 10pm tonight, I can take my Blackberry, set the time to 11:04, write and save two emails, and the time stamps on both saved emails will read (for example) 11:05 and 11:07. I can then set my Blackberry back to the correct time – say, 10:05 – but those emails will still be time stamped 11:05 and 11:07.

      What you can’t change is the time stamp indicating when the emails are received. In Mrs. Wone’s inbox, a message would arrive that would indicate it was created at 11:05, but her computer would show it really arrived at 10:05.

      Which is, IMHO, why the emails were written, but never sent. The motive to write and not send such emails would be to establish that Wone was alive and not under duress (or dying) at 11:05 and 11:07. Its an easy little trick to play.

      Given that you can so easily change the time stamp on emails sent via Blackberry, I fail to understand why – even if the Blackberry were in hand – it would be considered reliable evidence. That the Blackberry is missing just makes it all the more irrelevant.

      If this is the best the defense has got, they are in deep trouble.

      Posted by: Ciccina | May 07, 2009 at 06:10 PM

      • CDinDC
        05/07/2009 at 11:07 PM

        One of our very own posters talked about that very thing quite a few days ago (when the unsent emails were publicly disclosed). In fact, I think s/he actually experimented with his/her own blackberry and came up with the exact same results.

        Who was that?

      • 05/07/2009 at 11:32 PM

        Thank you bulldogbarney.

  9. CDinDC
    05/07/2009 at 6:53 PM

    The eds say: “Assuming Robert arrived at 10:30PM at 1509 Swann, it becomes nearly incomprehensible for all of the events to have occurred in effectively 1 hour and 19 minutes.”

    I strongly disagree……If Robert was assaulted from nearly the moment he walked into that house, 1 hour and 19 minutes is a very long time.

    • CDinDC
      05/07/2009 at 6:55 PM

      And thing is……..they DID occur. Whether the 3 defendants did it or not……..the events DID occur.

  10. David
    05/08/2009 at 7:54 AM

    How could anybody got the time? Cue ball’s made of styrofoam. Much of the discussion herein seems to revolve around the logic in the precise words of the police affadavit that is itself merely a retelling of the telling of facts that may or may not be true.

    Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees! (paraphrasing Matthew 16:6) “…ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matthew 23:25)

    • george
      05/08/2009 at 12:50 PM

      I do love a good Mississippi Half Step.

  11. Fascinating
    05/08/2009 at 8:28 AM

    I’m just hoping that the government has some *other* evidence. Because the affidavit and the statements of the defendants is a bunch of bull. None of it makes sense. And I believe the 10:30 arrival time of Wone is simply not correct. It just can’t be. He must have been there earlier.

    And the evidence shows that the wounds, when discovered by the EMTs, were induced at least an hour before they came.

    I believe there was sexual assault *before* the wounds, too … and I don’t believe it was a measly 2-minutes worth of sodomy.

    In my mind — regardless of who said what — there was almost 1 hour of sexual assault (including drugging, and however long that took to take effect) + 30 minutes to 1 hour of clean up of the scene.

    Oy, I hope they have more concrete evidence of arrivals, departures, etc., etc.!

    • CDinDC
      05/08/2009 at 9:08 AM

      “statements of the defendants is a bunch of bull”……agreed. I take anything they say with a grain of salt.

      And I think Joe Price is cunning enough to create a diversion like unsent emails.

      I think he was also cunning enough to realize that if they waited until morning to call, it would broaden the time in which they could have done a multitude of dirty deeds. Narrow the time…..make it SEEM impossible (when it fact it WAS possible, because it happened.) Nothing they do can take away the fact that these events occurred. And nothing they do can take away the belief that an intruder would not have cleaned up after him/herself.

      Smoke and mirrors.

  12. Vandy
    03/26/2010 at 9:44 AM

    Just reading old stuff to get caught up and found this interesting timeline. Could RW have arrived earlier than 10:30 pm? Something doesn’t add up. It’s possible that RW was still alive at 11:05 especially if he drafted the e-mail to his wife. Unless, somebody had access to his Blackberry password. Most BB devices time out after a period of inactivity (the min being 1 min and the max 1 hour). And most BB users lock the device after using it (out of habit). So either RW drafted those e-mails at 11:05 and 11:07 or somebody had access to his password to unlock it from inactivity.

    • Michael
      03/26/2010 at 12:08 PM

      Vandy – some of us smartphone users are lax about using a password on the phone. If the MPD officer who noticed the unsent emails was able to access them on the BB, it would appear that no password had been applied.

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