Hanging by a Thread

The MPD Puts Some Points On The Board

Many aspects of the MPD’s investigative work on the Robert Wone case has been shoddy at best, and incompetent at worst.  This amateur police work may be one of several reasons why the case has dragged on for nearly three years. 


Knife Recovered from Guestroom

Knife Recovered from Guestroom

Despite all of this, the MPD’s work on the towel threads found on the bloody knife, as well as the lack of threads from Robert’s T-shirt, is one area where their work was first rate and very solid. 


  The Affidavit in Support of Dylan Ward’s arrest states, “A significant number (more than 10) of white cotton fibers, consistent with the white cotton towel recovered from the guestroom floor were found in the blood on the knife blade.

This suggests that the bloody towel came into contact with the knife blade.  In contrast, while the knife used to stab Robert appears to have passed through his T-shirt in three places, no fibers from/consistent with the T-shirt were found in the blood on the knife.

This type of detail is exactly what a police investigation should accomplish — obtaining evidence which can be entered into court as probative, and conclusive.  Unfortunately, though, the investigation is riddled with evidence that is inconclusive.

So if this evidence is probative, what does it establish?  For the prosecution, it supports their charge of obstruction of justice.   According to the sworn statement of Joe Price he found the knife laying on Robert’s stomach.  This statement places the knife on top of Robert’s shirt.  

Furthermore on page 9, Witness #5 (a friend of Price’s) stated that Joe Price offered conflicting information immediately after his police interview when he said that he actually pulled the knife out of Robert’s chest before placing it on the night stand.  Even though statements are different both place the knife on or in the T-shirt, yet not one single fiber/thread from Robert’s T-Shirt is found in the blood on the knife.  

Why are the white cotton fibers that were in the blood on knife so important? 

According to both Joe Price’s and Victor Zaborsky’s sworn statements when they discovered Robert’s body, no bloody towel is also mentioned as being discovered. The towel first makes an appearance when Victor mentions to 911 that his partner was applying pressure to the wound with a towel.  They do not mention that they used a towel to remove the knife.  In fact, Joe Price says they might find his finger prints on the knife, which indicates he did not use anything but his hands to remove the knife.  No where does the knife come into contact with the towel, according their statements.  How then does a “significant number of white cotton fibers consistent with the towel found in the guest room” get on the bloody knife?  This physical evidence clearly indicates that the bloody towel and knife came in contact.

What does this prove?  

The prosecution will argue that the white towel was not used primarly to stop the bleeding but rather to wipe the blood onto knife. What’s the big deal about that?  If this knife was not the murder weapon, there would be no blood on the knife.  The white cotton fibers found on the knife and the lack of fibers found from Robert’s T-shirt on the knife is hard physical evidence that the defendants wiped the knife with blood from the towel.

If this type of solid investigative work were consistent throughout the entire investigation it is highly unlikely that this case would remain unsolved nearly three years later.


7 comments for “Hanging by a Thread

  1. anonymous
    05/19/2009 at 2:11 PM

    I have a hard time thinking that any of us are really in a professional position to say what “first rate” and “very solid” investigative work is. We might know what sucks — like most of what we”ve seen so far — but it might be harder to see what’s good. The defense might shred this stuff to bits — not because they might be good at twisting stuff, but because the affidavit might have been wrong. Conclusion: too early to call what this does mean and will mean.

  2. CDinDC
    05/19/2009 at 4:17 PM

    We’ve not heard whether foreign fibers were found on Robert Wone’s body OR clothing. This would, again, speak to the possibility of Robert Wone being showered after being stabbed.

    From a Department of Justice “Forensic Science Communication”:

    “When two people come in contact or when contact occurs with an item from the crime scene, the possibility exists that a fiber transfer will take place. …………..If the victim is immobile, very little fiber loss will take place, whereas the suspect’s clothing will lose transferred fibers quickly.”

    If the assailant/s were clothed, it’s likely that fibers would have been shed and possibly remained on Robert Wone’s body. However, if Robert Wone were showered after being stabbed, fiber evidence, if any, would have washed away.

    David says: “This physical evidence clearly indicates that bloody towel and knife came in contact.”

    And as the rules of fiber transfer go, that knife was never near Robert Wone.

  3. CDinDC
    05/19/2009 at 4:38 PM

    Also from the same publication:

    “Nature of Contact

    The type of physical contact between a suspect and a victim can determine the number of fibers transferred and the value placed on their discovery. Violent physical contact of an extended duration will very often result in numerous fiber transfers.”

    If an unknown assailant had murdered Robert Wone, this assailant most certainly would have been clothed, and would most likely have shed fibers ONTO Robert Wone’s clothed body or the area around his body.

    None were found to our knowledge. I guess we’ll have to wait for full evidence disclosure to find out.

  4. CDinDC
    05/20/2009 at 11:08 AM

    ::tapping on microphone:: Is this thing working?

    • Craig
      05/20/2009 at 2:35 PM

      I was thinking everyone was gone for the holiday weekend. This also makes us wonder if the turnout at Friday’s hearing may be thinner than usual, at least for those with beach houses at Rehoboth.

      • 05/20/2009 at 8:52 PM

        i’ll be tuning in friday for updates. let’s hope for a trial date; and an evidentiary hearing on any outstanding discovery disputes. also, would love any photos, video, interviews of the happy family, putting on that united front. lunch at halo, girls?

  5. CDinDC
    05/20/2009 at 12:39 PM

    Regarding fibers….the defendants claimed they showed Robert the shower….he wanted to shower before bed……if Robert had taken a shower as intimated, he should have towel fibers on his body (that would match the towel he used to dry off with). I wonder if there any freshly used towels (sans blood) taken from the bathroom that would corroberate or contradict this.

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