The Post Post

Just a Few Short Blocks Away Down 15th Street… (Updated Again)

WashPost

Paul Duggan (and Meg Smith) unload a solid piece of work here.   Part 2  here.    

The transcript of Mr. Duggan’s online chat is here.   Topics covered:  Sarah MorganMichael  PricePhelps Collins, the BlackBerryKetamineCuluketAlt.com,   the  intruder  theoryBlackwater and the civil  suit.

There is a lot to go through here and plenty of time to do it;  49 weeks until the trial.  Later this week, Robert’s life in the words of his family and friends from the heartbreaking yet incredibly inspiring memorial service held for him.

326 comments for “The Post Post

  1. Anonymous
    05/31/2009 at 11:08 PM

    I thought that the paramedics had described the men as cool and calm when they arrived but on the tape Zaborsky sounds hysterical, especially at the end when the EMS workers get to the house.

    Listening to him, I’m guessing that it was him who screamed, not Sarah.

    I was surprised that they had not registered as domestic partners until that spring.

    • CDinDC
      06/07/2009 at 5:33 PM

      It’s strikes me odd that Victor’s “hysteria” escalated when the EMT’s arrived. during the phone conversation with the 911 operator, he vascilated between whimpering to calm to weepy, and one one point, nearly whispering.

      Anyone with half an ounce of acting ability can cry on cue.

      • Paulette
        06/08/2009 at 1:40 AM

        Not all gay men are good actors.

  2. Nelly
    05/31/2009 at 11:36 PM

    But that doesn’t make sense. Victor Zaborsky says in the 911 call that he heard their friend scream, but the victim was supposedly paralyzed at the time of the stabbing to the point where there were no defensive marks. It’s also weird how he doesn’t directly respond to the 911 operator sometimes and blurts out asking what time it is. He definitely sounds riled up and hysterical though. I wonder how Victor explains the absence of blood-soaked towels when Joe was supposedly applying towels to Robert’s wounds.

    • CDinDC
      06/01/2009 at 8:15 AM

      I don’t think he sounds “hysterical” during the call. Upset, yes. But not hysterical. He only seems to really “break down” when the emergency help arrives.

      • Anon. in Arlington
        06/01/2009 at 1:20 PM

        I found it interesting that Robert’s name was not mentioned. There seems to be a disconnect between Victor and Robert – even if speaking to a complete stranger whom you are asking for help. I would expecting to hear, “Our friend Robert has been..” Or even as a side conversation between Victor and Joe.

        And why call from the master bedroom? Is there not a phone in Dylan’s room or the 2nd floor den? Victor also says he heard the door after he heard the scream.

        Also, unless someone went down to the kitchen to count the knives in the knife block, then how would they know that the particular knife in Robert’s chest came from their collection and not one that matched their brand? Victor stated he was afraid to go down to the first floor, so who would have gone down to see if it was from their home?

        I think the affidavit indicates that the police found Victor calm, not the paramedics.

        It was painful to listen to the call, and I admit that I felt for Victor as my gut tells me his emotions were true.

  3. 06/01/2009 at 1:21 AM

    Its good to see real investigative reporters finally getting on this case.

    • Anon. in Arlington
      06/01/2009 at 1:24 PM

      Grisham – I apologize if I misinterpret your meaning, but our editors do what they can with the time and resources available to them. The Washington Post paid Duggan for the article to be written, and had additional support teams to create the timeline audio visual.

      That said, it is about time the Post wrote about it! Now…to get it into the print version!

      • 06/02/2009 at 12:35 AM

        I do commend the editors of this site for “doing what they’re doing.” Keep it up!! But some journalists are paid to do even better. Kudos to Paul!

  4. TK
    06/01/2009 at 8:02 AM

    Quite a bit of new information here. I am curious why this is only in the online edition of the Post, with those teasers in the print edition. Did they think it was too risqué a story for someone to stumble on accidentally?

  5. CDinDC
    06/01/2009 at 8:12 AM

    The 911 call should be enhanced to see what is being said behind Zaborsky.

  6. Bea
    06/01/2009 at 1:47 PM

    CD, I agree – there is a lot of background conversation, much of it likely coming from the dispatch but certainly at least once Victor is heard getting info from within Swann.

    I agree that Victor’s yells to the paramedics as they arrive cannot be characterized as “calm”.

    I’ve listened to it twice and vacillate between thinking that Victor is saying only what he’s been told (and that his asking for the time is because he’s just basically awoken and saw/was told of Robert’s murder) AND thinking that his level of upset is related to a combination of worry for Robert and worry for the trio (or whomever he thinks is guilty). While he sounds genuine in saying he’s afraid to go down to the first floor, that he’s been told an intruder may still be there, I think he doubts it.

    In all, my sense is that Victor was “in the dark” about what actually happened except as the messenger for what Joe told him (and that he had his suspicions). It’s possible that he’d just awakened to this, but that doesn’t jibe with the change-in-plans and the timeline of Joe/Dylan commencing the clean-up.

    Is it POSSIBLE that Victor alone decided that enough was enough and called the police and “wrecked” the plan without the others’ agreement?

    • Anon. in Arlington
      06/01/2009 at 2:51 PM

      As you know with this case Bea, just about everything is “possible.” There were postings to this site a few months ago that suggested the the scream the next door neighbor heard must have been Victor, and from this point on, the “plan was wrecked.” Its all plausable.

    • CDinDC
      06/01/2009 at 3:58 PM

      something I find VERY interesting in the 911 call is this:

      At 4:10 on the tape, Victor mentions that someone had one their knifes from the kitchen [paraphrased]

      At 4:14, the 911 operator asks if the person “ran out the door with the knife”

      At 4:16, Victor says “I think so.”

      How can that be if Joe supposedly removed the knife from Robert’s chest (and/or found the knife on Robert’s chest) and laid it on the night stand. They would KNOW the knife was still in the house.

      Victor and Joe supposedly came down to Robert’s room together….Victor probably would have seen the knife if the knife were there. Especially, if it were sticking out of Robert’s chest.

  7. Bea
    06/01/2009 at 4:18 PM

    This was one of the reasons that led me to believe that Victor was not fully ‘in the know’ – or hadn’t yet gotten his story straight, one or the other. My guess is that he was told a “full story” of BS and he got mixed up when asked if the ‘intruder’ ran out of the house with the knife.

    Maybe he’s a good actor who flubbed his line, but after listening I’m more convinced than ever that he was ‘less involved’ and, more importantly, that he didn’t know a whole heck of a lot.

    • CDinDC
      06/01/2009 at 4:42 PM

      agree 100%

  8. Themis
    06/01/2009 at 4:23 PM

    Wasn’t Robert’s cell phone right next to the sofabed? Why not call from that phone? That would be my first instinct. Obviously time would be of the essence.

    • CDinDC
      06/01/2009 at 4:43 PM

      I have to agree with this 100% as well. I don’t think someone in desperation would think “oh, don’t touch his phone…could hold evidence.”

  9. CDinDC
    06/01/2009 at 4:48 PM

    One thing that sort of annoys me about that 911 call is that it took the dispatcher a minute and a half to dispatch an emergency vehicle. Victor’s first words were that someone had been stabbed.

    Seems like the first thing she should have done was ask for the address and send EMTs, and begin giving life saving information. She didn’t do that for 2 minutes into the conversation.

    2 minutes in a situation like that CAN be life or death.

    • CFPS
      06/03/2009 at 1:22 PM

      CDinDC,

      Thanks for giving me the shorter screen name idea! It beats “CameFromPostStory,” for sure! My guess is that the dispatcher already had the address based on the number Victor was calling from, and by that point was just asking him questions like the address, etc to try to calm him down.
      Of course, I don’t know how these things work, so I could be wrong.

  10. Bea
    06/01/2009 at 4:49 PM

    Someone reported that there was a land line on the second floor, possibly in the guest room where Robert was, which also leads me to think that Joe/Dylan wanted Victor to know as little as possible. I recall reading (possibly the affidavit?) that Joe TOLD Victor to “go upstairs” to call 911. Or maybe Victor just did so without getting instruction. Maybe he genuinely believed the “intruder” thing when he was awakened and did it on his own – thus screwing up the plan.

  11. Spike
    06/01/2009 at 4:59 PM

    But if you touch a phone that has unsent emails waiting on it, you never know how bad you might screw things up.

  12. alithere
    06/01/2009 at 8:56 PM

    Victor sounds a bit as he were performing, or over-performing, for the dispatcher–like an actor with a mediocre script who thinks he or she can rise above the lines through sheer manic will-power. It reminds me of a 1940s performance by Joan Crawford. Audrey Hepburn would have improved her part with an elegant, yet anguished, delivery. I am afraid Victor flubbed his close up.

    • Anonymous
      06/01/2009 at 10:40 PM

      I agree.

      • KM
        06/02/2009 at 3:02 PM

        2nd. At first, Victor sounded to me to be genuine; however, at least twice (don’t recall the exact times) his tone seemed to drop the “hysteria.”

        It seems odd to me that Victor never refers to Robert by name. Partly because I was attacked by an unknown man and, hysterical, told neighbors “a man, a man,” which was all I knew of him. Just pointing out that, in my experience, I would have said, “Robert, Robert” is bleeding. Yes, people react differently, but saying someone is bleeding fits with being given a script to keep things vague. For god’s sake, you invited “someone” to your home to celebrate his birthday.

        Did it sound like Victor had time to or actually walked downstairs after the operator told him to go downstairs and apply towels? I heard noise on the operator’s end, and would have expected to hear Joe and Dylan talking loudly on Victor’s end. “Stay with us, Robert, help is coming.” Anything.

        Contrary to the EMT reports, it did sound to me as if Victor spoke to them, hysterically, rather than remaining mute.

  13. 06/02/2009 at 12:20 AM

    Nice investation and reporting Paul.

    • Corgivet
      06/02/2009 at 9:14 PM

      I think the Scooby Gang has done an admirable job!!!

  14. Spike
    06/02/2009 at 12:50 AM

    I assiduously avoid TV news coverage that include “the chilling/frantic/frightening/take your pick calls to 911 over the killing/accident/kidnapping/take your pick tonight at 11,” because I can’t stand the notion of listening in on somebody else’s pain as if it were just the stuff of drama.

    But I listened to this call because I have been following the developments for so long. I know it’s nothing but my gut reaction (and certainly understand it’s nothing to convict anybody on), but I didn’t actually feel as if I were listening in on somebody else’s pain, only Robert’s by extension. I felt I was listening to somebody’s PERFORMANCE. And I found myself simply not buying it.

    The moment he said the thing about the missing knife I thought, “Really? REALLY? Amid all the chaos and terror of a murder by an intruder during which you are too frightened to go down the stairs, you, or one of your housemates TOOK THE TIME TO NOTICE A KNIFE WAS MISSING?”

    Please. Please.

    My hat’s off to the dispatcher, for doing her best to help out and be reassuring. Very often I assume these calls are played to demonstrate how the 911 system frequently fails victims, but she was remarkably steady in trying to get assistance to the site while offering whatever help she could.

    Just a rhetorical question: do people in real life crises actually use words like “intruder” instead of screaming “somebody stabbed our friend????”

    I dunno, everything about this screamed phony to me.

    • Boo Augustus
      06/02/2009 at 11:54 AM

      I don’t know, you’d be surprised what you tell the 911 operator in the heat of the moment. Woke up one Sunday morning not to long ago to someone trying to break into the house through the back garden. Distinctly remember saying “home invasion” rather than break-in. Might have even said “intruder.”

    • Bea
      06/02/2009 at 12:45 PM

      I listened again – I think Victor knew very little first-hand but was TOLD a story and was TOLD that Joe and Dylan were in some serious trouble and that he needed to help. Of course, I understand that others interpret it differently and I may be completely wrong. Some things, though –
      (1) that he thought the person left with the kitchen knife,

      (2) that he “thought” Robert had been stabbed in the stomach then later, once downstairs, sees for the first time it’s in his chest/heart and is told he’s “not breathing” – there is a tonal change that seems genuine that this part is “news”. Today’s story tells us he’s on a cell phone, which is why the affidavit says he was outside “talking on a cell phone” (to the dispatcher!) and it’s hard to accept the version that Victor was calm and gave no direction. Seems to be contradicted by the 911 call tape.

      (3) he knew he was being taped (who doesn’t?) and yet he said “don’t touch that!” – I think he’s at least holding out hope that it really WAS an intruder.

      Other random thoughts. On the tape, Victor says that they heard screams and THEN the door chime, which is inconsistent with the affidavit statements. Since Robert couldn’t have screamed, maybe Victor wasn’t the one who screamed – possibly Joe or Dylan?

      It seems odd that the “flavor” of the affidavit is to save Dylan – Joe and Victor both say he’s the “sweetest” ever and couldn’t spank a child (the irony here, well . . .). People do tend to overcompensate, like Joe volunteering that the “intruder” might have worn gloves. It’s all “too much information”. I agree that Victor’s “we’s” and “intruder’s” language is odd but my guess is that he’s been pushed out of the scene and is only relaying the words that have been told to him – he doesn’t even know where Robert was stabbed or if he’s breathing. (That part rang true for me).

      • Michael
        06/02/2009 at 1:28 PM

        I agree with you, Bea.

        It sounds like Victor was panicked and Joe was ordering him around, and he was trying to weave in what Joe was coaching him to say while on the phone to the dispatcher. There is a lot of background conversation going on while Victor is talking to the 911 operator. It is difficult to carry on 2 conversations at once, let alone while someone has been stabbed/killed in your home, and you are being told what to tell the operator.

        To me, he is clearly hysterical, but I think he was being led down the path by the others.

        – Michael, co-editor

        • Themis
          06/02/2009 at 1:41 PM

          Potentially, the 911 call could be cleaned up so that the background conversation comes into sharper focus. It costs about $800 and is done by a fabulous firm of ex-FBI guys. Sometimes the original is too degraded to enhance, but I always had the 911 call tapes and critical recorded statements made to police when I was doing capital defense. After I got a cleaned up audio, I would then have a certified court reporter prepare a transcript. 911 calls are public docs so if someone wants to shell out $800 or contribute to a pool, I can tell you who should do it.

          • Themis
            06/02/2009 at 1:43 PM

            By the way, Michael, I love the cat. I’m involved in cat rescue and have three of my own, all born in the wild.

            • Michael
              06/02/2009 at 2:00 PM

              Thank you. I have 3 and they all came from animal shelters…2 in the DC metro area, and one from LA. The LA cat is my demon cat with lots of attitude and vanity.

              • Corgivet
                06/02/2009 at 9:17 PM

                Can you guys take one more really cute kitten with one eye!????
                PLEASE!!!!

          • KM
            06/02/2009 at 3:10 PM

            I’m in, Themis, on a modest budget. Great idea.

          • TK
            06/02/2009 at 3:17 PM

            Boy, that could be incredibly revealing. If it were anyone but the keystone cops involved, I’d have assumed they would have already done that.

      • Craig
        06/02/2009 at 1:44 PM

        I didn’t want to listen to that tape at all but ended up playing last night. I suppose I’ll give it a few more listens by the time this is all said and done, but at first blush I have some reservations about it.

        The hysteria and crying may have been sounded genuine, but little else seemed to be.

        • TK
          06/02/2009 at 1:51 PM

          I haven’t listened yet, but guess I will have to. I’m wondering why they made Victor even make the call, since it sounds like he had to be fed information. Why not controlling Joe?

          Regarding the rather explicit (it’s still a little unnerving even to imagine that scene) sequence of events in the Post today, I’m thinking it took two people to ‘restrain’ and ‘incapacitate’ Robert.

  15. Nick
    06/02/2009 at 8:57 AM

    I hadn’t heard about the Ashley’s Reagent snafu. That would seem to scupper a conviction on evidence tampering, which otherwise rests entirely on the surprisingly small amounts of blood and the knife substitution.

  16. Justice for R. Wone
    06/02/2009 at 10:32 AM

    Part II of the article, published today (06/02/09) states Price resigned from Arent Fox. I thought he had been dismissed.

  17. Bea
    06/02/2009 at 12:31 PM

    “Resigned” is a face-saving thing which Arent likely offered him to go away quietly, and he likely signed an agreement waiving any right to claim ‘wrongful termination’. In actuality, there was likely a financial element as well – could have given him a ‘return of capital’ that he invested in the firm upon entering the partnership as well as a ‘severance’.

  18. TK
    06/02/2009 at 3:19 PM

    Also news was that that there was nothing of particular interest in the emails between Robert and Joe leading up to Robert’s visit. This is newly public information, isn’t it?

    • CDinDC
      06/02/2009 at 8:09 PM

      I think that lends to the thought that Robert’s intentions in staying that night were purely innocent. Some people intimate that Robert may have been curious about the lifestyle and may have wanted to experiment sexually.

      Just normal emails.

      • CDinDC
        06/02/2009 at 8:10 PM

        LOL Craig said that very thing in the entry below. At least we’re on the same page!

  19. Craig
    06/02/2009 at 3:36 PM

    TK – That fact may lay to rest the far fetched notion that Robert was a willing participant. No mention of Joe – Dylan emails however…

    • Phil
      06/02/2009 at 5:11 PM

      While I recognize that there are absolutely no facts to indicate that Robert was a willing participant, it isn’t that far fetched a notion.

      In fact, his death through accidental, consensual, sexual activities, would explain almost everything about this case: namely, it would explain the coverup by his friends (1–this would protect them from manslaughter or negligent homicide charges and 2–would protect Robert (in death) from the social opprobium of his activities.)

      Really, I keep coming back to why the coverup (assuming it is a coverup). These three guys seem to be more or less average people — they certainly don’t seem to be social deviants/psychopaths who would drug/rape a friend/acquitance (and there seems to be no evidence for this–the s/m stuff notwithstanding–at least no past history of anti-social behavior) so protecting Robert seems like a very logical explanation for their actions. (Indeed, it is hard to imagine that Mr. Price, who had been a friend of Robert’s for what 15-16 years!! would either 1) do this or 2) cover up for someone else doing it, unless it was consensual, and unless it was seen as helping Robert.)

      Again, I realize there is absolutely zero evidence for this. (And the police looked into whether Robert had a secret life, and apparently came up empty). But then again, there aren’t a lot of great alternative theories.

      • Friend of Rob
        06/02/2009 at 5:18 PM

        Nothing about the arrangement on Swann Street suggests any of these folks were average people.

        • Phil
          06/02/2009 at 6:57 PM

          While they did have an unconventional living arrangement, that hardly means they were “beyond the norm” in terms of other aspects of life (e.g. compassion for others).

          (And I don’t know any of the individual involved.)

          • 06/02/2009 at 7:30 PM

            phil

            if price is to be believed, his dom dylan was battling mental health/sanity issues for sometime — it could explain her lack of job history and the absence of apologists (unlike price/victor) who say “what a great guy”. anyhoo, price blabbed about dylan’s emotional struggles to the police, right after he asked whether dylan was being arrested. it is hard to review the life of dylan ward and say he was not beyond the norm and/or average!

          • rk
            06/02/2009 at 8:21 PM

            Phil –

            Sorry to be so judgemental to the far reaches of the S&M community, but anyone who enjoys torturing others is not merely a party to an unconventional living arrangement. One might also safely assume that someone who voluntarily tortrures another for sexual pleasure might have a hidden uncompassionate side of their personality, even if that side of their personality is under control in most situations.

            What’s more far fetched?
            (A) Robert was secretly gay and had a two or three way sexual relationship with Joe, Dylan and/or Victor though he hadn’t spent any nights away from his wife after they were married; Robert was a willing participant in hypodermic drug use despite having no history of drug experimentation; Robert being a willing participant in group sex, asphyxiation and the use of electro-ejaculating machines (certainly not the stuff of part-time amatuers); ALL THREE of the three defendants risking their careers, finances and significant time behind bars just to save their dead friend from “social opprobrium”; and ALL THREE of the defendants putting Robert’s family through hell because they’ve decided that the Wone family would rather go through this trial than know that Robert was secretly gay.

            (B) one or two of the defendants, possibly high on drugs and horny as hell, decide to incapacitate Robert using a hypodermic needle and sexually assault him; the attacker(s) think they have killed Robert via the drugs; the attacker(s) then get the idea to blame his death on an intruder, stab Robert deliberately with a knife that just happens to be in the bedroom; the three defendants, all in a close relationship with each other, decide they can “deny deny deny” their way out of it because there are no witnesses; and the defendants lawyer up and don’t cooperate with the police.

            Phil, which scenario is more far fetched, (A) or (B)? You can also come up with a scenario (C) in which Robert is incapacitated, then becomes conscious during a sexual assault, and the attacker(s) decide they would rather kill Robert than face the sexual assault accusations. Scenario (A) still makes no sense even if you take a leap of faith – if they cared so much about his social reputation, wouldn’t they care enough about him, to, um, not stick a knife in his heart?

            • Phil
              06/03/2009 at 1:31 AM

              First, on the facts we know, something like scenario B is much, much more likely than scenario A. But that is solely because we believe (and all the evidence supports) that Robert was not a willing participant. If that fact were ever to change, I believe scenario A then becomes much, much more likely.

              Here are my problems with scenario B (which don’t exist in scenario A):

              1) How do you incapacitate someone? If Ward did it by himself, how? (Wait until Robert fell asleep, sneak in, and stick him with a needle such that he is instantly rendered immobile? Surely there’d be a struggle of some kind? or other people in the house would hear?) If more than one person helped, would that be Victor or Price? Would they really do that to a friend? Seems almost inconceivable to me.)

              2) The coverup. If something like B happened (and assuming all 3 people weren’t in on it from the beginning), why would all 3 people “deny, deny, deny?” Really, if you were one of the 3, and you knew that either one or two of the others had a) drugged someone and b) raped them and c) stabbed them with a knife because they believed Robert was already dead from the drugs, why on earth would you cover for them? Why would you want to continue to be in a relationship with this person? It makes no sense. You would have everything to lose in the coverup, and everything to gain by explaining exactly what happened (especially if you did nothing wrong!).

              Here’s another problem I have with the drugged up then cover up scenario: if one or more of them were on drugs such that they were doing crazy things, they then called 911 relatively soon after all of this happened. I’d think that calling an ambulance (and having the police come for an intruder) would be the last thing you’d want to do, if you weren’t in your right mind. Surely better to wait until the morning??

              Again, though, scenario B does seem the most likely (however improbable).

              (Oh, here’s a problem with scenario A. I was assuming that the stabbing was to cover up some other, accidental, death during consensual sex. But the autopsy didn’t show any other possible cause of death (in fact, it said the cause of death was the stabbing.) If he accidentally died during consensual sex, surely the autopsy would have caught it?)

              • Bea
                06/03/2009 at 3:00 AM

                Hi Phil,

                I agree all this is speculation, including my response, but to answer your questions, my guesses would be:

                1. The puncture wounds were in a number of “odd” places. It’s possible that Dylan could have offered a massage and stuck him with a paralytic drug during it (or he or Joe simply stuck him without the massage and kept doing so it until it “worked”).

                2. I don’t know how anyone could live with themselves in allowing a murderer to “walk”. But love is a strange thing, and possibly any of the three who was not directly involved in the murder has aided so much that they fear being imprisoned for being an accessory. If, for example, Victor thinks that Joe only “helped” Dylan, that it was all a terrible event which went awry, possibly he’s covering mostly for Joe. . . who knows? But my guess is that they’ve rationalized it somehow (as in ‘sending Joe or Dylan to prison won’t bring Robert back’).

                3. My guess is that they didn’t expect to call the cops THAT night, that they cleaned up because they were planning on moving Robert’s body – or SOME other story – but that there was an intervening event, such as a scream (by Victor, if the statements can be believed) that they knew the neighbors would have heard. If Robert then “goes missing” eventually they’d be under suspicion and the scream would be investigated and if they’ve said “he left in the morning” but there are blood traces in the house, they’re cooked. It’s been stated and restated on this site, but I tend to agree that the “plan” was aborted and they felt they had no choice but to go with “intruder” and “deny, deny, deny”. I’d like to think that ONE of them has some moral center and will eventually tell the truth. I’m not convinced that Victor was in on it at all until Robert was dead – and I’d like to think that when he learned of Robert’s condition that he demanded to call an ambulance, and thus the “story” changed. But he may be as guilty as the rest.

                I agree that the cause of death is indisputable – maybe the trio (or one or two of them) mistakenly THOUGHT that Robert was dying from the drugs, but my personal gut sense is that whomever stabbed him did so to avoid prosecution for rape/kidnapping (in the sense of incapacitating or drugging someone against their will – not in a common parlance sense of “taking him hostage”).

                A number of people here think the attack on Robert was prearranged before the night began, but I think it would have been far better orchestrated if it had. I suspect that drugs and/or egotism led one/two of them to try to seduce Robert, and when that failed, shot him up with some paralytic, maybe even considered (because of drugs or delusions or egotism) that he’d then be glad to participate. Maybe the murderer got “scared” when Robert failed to respond, or maybe the delusion/high wore off, but regardless the reason, one or more of them decided to kill him rather than face the consequences. I can’t shake that part – to think of murder as a solution. Like you, I don’t know how anyone could live with that, murderer or accomplice or witness.

                Which leads me to a new thought: how could the one(s) who killed Robert let the other(s) face many years in prison? What a “family” that is.

              • Doug
                06/03/2009 at 7:45 AM

                Good questions, Phil. Thanks for the contributions.
                On the assumption that you, and many other readers, were following Paul Duggan’s coverage in the Post and may be new to this project, you may want to search through our archives – as many of the questions you and others have raised here have been explored earlier.
                I know it’s hard to keep track of what’s in 130+ posts; we’ll try and tag and file things as helpfully as possible.
                Doug, co-editor

                • Phil
                  06/03/2009 at 8:33 AM

                  Doug, thanks. Tagging and filing would be hugely helpful.

                  Bea, thanks for the thoughts.

                  (I’m still stuck on why call an ambulance, though? If it is clear that he’s dead–knife through the heart would seem pretty clear–, and you want to cover it up–surely the best thing would be to get rid of the body in the night? No body, no problem. You could say he left in the morning, and you could say you never heard a scream (even if it was really, really loud.) You’d never even be investigated for murder. This would just become a missing person …hmmm, maybe this idea has been explored elsewhere, too?)

                  • Bea
                    06/03/2009 at 9:54 AM

                    I agree that it seemed like a bad idea to “change” plans – if an ambulance was to be called due to the “intruder” then the clean-up makes absolutely no sense. I don’t know the reason why they changed their minds (again, likely the scream), but there is some merit in concern that the police would investigate the “last known place” with scrutiny – and it would be even more incriminating (if possible!) to say “he left here just fine” but have blood traces all over the house – which is hard to clean up and I suspect police could get a warrant to conduct. Especially with the scream.

                    • Phil
                      06/03/2009 at 10:08 AM

                      As a point of clarification, do we know that there were blood traces all over the house? I thought blood splattered (on the walls?) was now inconclusive because of the botched tests, (could be other bodily fluids???), and the other places never seemed particularly solid to me. (The dog smelled something at the dryer lint trap, if I remember correctly..But there were never any samples or anything substantive, right?)

      • CDinDC
        06/02/2009 at 8:18 PM

        “These three guys seem to be more or less average people”

        And does this actually exclude anyone from the “crime pool?”

        Ummm, “normal” people kill, too. You don’t have to live alone in a cabin deep in the woods and not have shaved for 3 years to be a killer.

        It’s the “normal” ones that you have to watch out for. Ted Bundy. BTK. Yikes.

        • 06/02/2009 at 8:19 PM

          point well stated, CD. i just don’t believe the people in this marriage were normal(at least 2 of them).

          run for the exit, victor. hopefully your aunt is busy, victor, typing up 2 eviction notices!!!

      • Sawardja
        06/05/2009 at 9:52 AM

        I think the fact that he put in his night guard (to stop teeth grinding) means he meant to go directly to sleep, rather than engage in sex. Having had a boyfriend who regularly wore one, you would *never* put it in before you planned to do anything other than sleep, and definitely not before sex. Also, a willing participant wouldn’t need to be murdered after the fact. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Robert was not a willing participant in this. (Plus I know many people who knew him very well, some of them gay, who were fairly certain Robert was nothing but heterosexual; of course, I realize no one else can no for sure, but none of my friends thought this was the case.)

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 1:51 AM

      Phil,

      “Average” people do not work for Arent Fox.

      • Phil
        06/10/2009 at 9:26 AM

        I don’ t know what that means.

        • CDinDC
          06/10/2009 at 12:30 PM

          Phil, I have a feeling Paulette means that Arent Fox only hires employees with superior credentials and know-how.

          Please correct me if I’m wrong Paulette.

  20. Justice for R. Wone
    06/02/2009 at 5:15 PM

    Everyone I’ve spoken to about the case in Dupont / Logan seems it was a 3-way gone wrong. They have no sympathy for Wone or his widow. Par for the course in these Circles.

    • CDinDC
      06/02/2009 at 8:19 PM

      2 words. Rape. Murder.

    • Craig
      06/05/2009 at 10:46 AM

      JFRW – We trawl the same streets and you and hear far different opinions. Hit our email and let’s compare notes offline.

      And for those with no sympathy, no souls.

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 1:56 AM

      If this was a white gay man murdered by a straight person(s) (especially Chinese) it would be a completely different story and one that the larger media would feed upon incessstantly. The DC – PC world is a bitch.

  21. Bea
    06/02/2009 at 6:32 PM

    Hey, a lot of us have done things we realize after the fact could have “gone wrong” (or DID, to some extent), but that doesn’t include three stab wounds to the chest. Some person or persons murdered him no matter how it “began”.

    • TK
      06/02/2009 at 6:49 PM

      Exactly, Bea. There is a universe of difference between Robert possibly being convinced to try something a little wild and unconventional, and the horrible things that were done to him; he is certainly the blameless victim in any case. My personal theory shifts back and forth. I think Price must have been involved from the beginning, but if he and Robert really were friends how could he concoct a scheme to cold-bloodedly restrain/drug/torture and ultimately murder his long-time friend? It still sounds like a scenario gone wrong; maybe they thought they’d restrain Robert and get him to go along (Price and Ward being so used to their kinky ways that they thought they could bring him in) and they misjudged him, he screamed for help and one of them freaked out, grabbed the knife and… Ugh. Still horrible to imagine.

    • KM
      06/02/2009 at 7:53 PM

      When I waver on my theory that this was a calculated murder/rape, I remember the mouthguard found in Robert’s mouth, and can’t accept that this was an encounter gone wrong. (Bolstered by other factors already discussed, including never having spent the night in the house before; engaging in a threesome late at night after working all day; etc.)

      Yes, it’s possible that the crafty defendants inserted the mouthguard and drafted unsent emails, etc. I just don’t believe it.

  22. LCLogan
    06/02/2009 at 8:04 PM

    This is a really interesting point I learned from the Post article:

    “In his mouth was the night guard he routinely wore to prevent his teeth from grinding in his sleep.”

    This really struck me because I myself wear one of these night guards. Wearing one requires a certain amount of planning and intent — you have to run the guard under warm-to-hot water for 30 seconds or so to make the plastic malleable enough to fit over your teeth and in your mouth. It’s not something I wear when, say, entertaining someone for the evening, if you get my drift.

    It seems HIGHLY unlikely that if this was a consensual sexual act gone awry, and the killer(s) then cleaned up and rearranged Robert’s body to look as though he was preparing to go to sleep normally, that they’d (a) think to put the guard in, or (b) be able to just shove it into his mouth.

    Also, does anyone know the nature of the sleeping pill that Dylan Ward claimed to take? There have been instances where people taking Ambien have experienced sleep walking to such an extent that they cook full meals and drive cars. It’s unlikely given the time frame but perhaps not implausible?

    • Themis
      06/02/2009 at 8:55 PM

      Sleeping aids generally fall into three categories: hypnotics (ambien, lunesta); benzos (klonopin, restoril, ativan); and off-label antidepressants or antipsychotics (trazodone, remeron, serouel).

      The side effects vary by drug class, and each person has his/her own side effect profile. Some are better suited to delayed onset insomnia (can’t fall asleep) and others to sleep interuption insomnia (can’t stay asleep).

      As someone who has struggled for years with both types of insomnia, I am personally familiar with most of them. In addition, you can’t be a competent capital litigator without a basic understanding of pharmacology and mental disorders. Just not possible.

      From what I can remember off the top of my head, Ward was taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro or Zoloft. All three interfere can interfere with sleep.

      However, if a certain sleeping pill works for you, it would be unusual for you to wake up and not be a little drowsy and disoriented even during a fracas.

      And, while ambienesia does exist, it just keeps people from remember tasks that they would ordinarily perform. To the best of my knowledge, it does not cause behavior that is outside the range of normal behavior for the person taking it. Then again, I am not a doc.

      • 06/02/2009 at 9:10 PM

        not sure what the drugs that ward was on, Themis, but thanks for a wonderful post. i do know that price not only voluntered ward’s compromised emotional condition but he also listed ward’s medications to the police — i wonder how ward (dylan or needham) feels about that — sad i would guess.

      • Bea
        06/03/2009 at 1:11 AM

        I just read an article in Rolling Stone about the new “kicks” relating to Ambien, specifically that if one manages to stay awake after the first 15 minutes when sleep “happens” then it’s a very strange “high”. I’ll need to go read it again carefully, to see if there are hallucinogenic aspects, but it made me wonder if informing the police of having taken “my sleeping pill” wasn’t only to strongly imply he was sleeping soundly (and there’s that regardless). In other words, if he had taken it but stayed awake, did this add to his sense of intrigue with Robert in the shower a few feet away. Since Themis so nicely discussed the types of sleeping pills, I am mostly wondering aloud if Themis knows of this new “fun” drug experience (figuring Dylan may have been on the cutting edge of such discoveries – if it’s in Rolling Stone, it’s been happening a long while).

        • Bea
          06/03/2009 at 1:42 AM

          Okay, I’m replying to myself. In “Urban Dictionary” (which may include some ‘urban myths’) as far back in 2005 (pre-murder) the entries about Ambien were fairly disturbing (NOTE: these are quotes, not me talking, and I’ve edited purely for cursing and outlandish offensiveness and not grammar or spelling – obviously). Source urbandictionary.com:
          _______

          2. Ambien
          A prescribed medication for people with sleeping disorders.

          If one is used, it may give you only a slight dilluted feeling. However, the more you use, the more dememnted you feel. It doesn’t make you feel high, but it makes you feel sedated like it should. It also kills off your concience and whatever is fun has no consequence; IE throwing fircrackers at people, setting things in your own room on fire, tackling hard furniture, putting shit over your head and charging around your house, etc. Afterwards it is rather hard to remember what you had done. In fact you may have to just see the damage you did to even vaguely remember anything.

          If more than 4 are taken, it virtually erases your memory of what you had done the day/night before. Even seeing what you had done wouldn’t bring up the inexisting memories.

          There are no real signs of a person being on Ambien, except that the person looks kind of sleepy. Which you will be, slightly.
          I want to go see what I can f**k up now; where be the Ambien, brotha?
          by Serial Killer Oct 19, 2004

          3. Ambien
          Ambien is supposedly a sedative/hypnotic medication supposed to be used and useful for sleeping longer, more soundly, more easily, etc. However, most adolescents, college-age students and the like, can fight the sedation quite easily, and the high is awesome. Some deal with slightly dramatized hallucinations. Everyone on their daytime ambien binge can angree that they’re chilled out and horny as shit.
          F**K YEAH, I just popped three ambien and I’m all high. This is the best! I’m zoning out, all chill; where is that chick…maybe she wants some? Word…
          lunesta sonata stoned horny relaxed
          by Arieh May 31, 2007

          4. Ambien

          A prescription medication writers take so they’ll have something to write about in the morning.
          “Like all great writers with insomnia, I took my Ambien last night with a slug of booze, ’cause I’m a writer, and drinking is required for writers, and suddenly my mind was tripping out and you won’t believe the wild tale that unfolded…”
          ambien insomnia hallucination writing writers dreams alcohol fiction non-fiction ambian
          by waterbucks Aug 13, 2008

          6. Ambien
          A hypnotic drug used in treatment for short-term insomnia, also known as Zolpidem. It is not addictive, but if taken for a long time can lead to dependence. beyond 10 milligrams (one pill), ambien gains hallucinogenic properties, the trip usually lasts 3-5 hours depending on how much has been taken. During the trip, one should expect to experience at least some of the following effects:

          Fairly powerful euphoria.
          Hallucinations.
          Out-of-body experiences.
          Difficulty with recognizing people.
          Seeing illusions such as someone being beside you thats really not.
          Intensified senses such as hearing.
          Everything around the user begins to warp and distort.
          Ambien is easy to obtain from a doctor for sleeping problems. The effects from ambien usually begin to take effect 10-15 minutes after ingestion. Beware that while ambien can provide a good trip, taking too much (beyond 400 mg) can kill you.
          ambien sleeping pill drug hallucinogen
          by reddevilspal Nov 8, 2008

          7. ambien

          sleeping pill. if too many are taken you hallucinate and see things such as ‘little concrete men’ and the room moves in weird dirrections’. you may also not be able to walk without falling and looking funny and you may slur your words. its hard to remember anything..usually only a couple of small unimportant memories can be remembered.
          ‘hey man…lets be **** and go get trashed on some f**king AMBIEN! WHOOO’
          by brittany Mar 29, 2005

        • Themis
          06/03/2009 at 10:51 AM

          Non-benzo hypnotics like Ambien (zolpidem) are supposed to take right before one wants to go to sleep, preferably while in bed and, in any event, no more than 10 minutes out. Ambien can cause hallucinations, as well as amnesia, if the taker stays up after that. The first time I took Ambien, I wanted to give it time to kick in so I stayed up chatting with my sister. I started typing gibberish, the characters starting changing shape, and things started moving. When I told my doc, that’s when he told me about the 10 minute rule. Would have been nice if he had told me that to begin with. Anyway, I did not find it to be a particularly pleasant experience, but I’ve never done hallucinogens or had the desire to. I’m certain I would not like taking special K. But different waters float different boats.

          • DCLC
            06/04/2009 at 12:44 PM

            Was Ward on Ambien, and could he have taken it that night and then tried to read for 5 – 10 mins (as opposed to taking it after his reading)? I recently had a situation where an acquaintance was to be released from jail for a misdemeanor and he wanted to drop by my house to regroup before he went on home out of state. I told him it wasn’t a good idea but he still came anyway (he says he didn’t remember my conversation with him where I told him not to come to my house). He was acting very strangely when he arrived and went on for about 10 minutes about certain events that never happened. I told him the events never occured because he had been in jail for the past couple of weeks, and he did not remember it at all (that he was in jail) — he said the doctor in jail gave him ambien. This frightened me and I had to get him out of the house immediatley because he had a strange gazed look in his eyes. I have been following this site for some time now. Could it be that Ward, Price and Wone decided to have a party in the shower (so not to mess up the linen or sheets) and the party got out of hand, and in the process they broke the shower? Also, this is a far fetch, but could there be some connection with the Wyatt Wood drug arrest here? Wood was arrested in a drug sting back in 2003 (?) and according to the DOJ press release dozens of customers had ratted him out. Could Price,Ward and Zaborsky have been customers/resellers?

            • Paulette
              06/08/2009 at 2:03 AM

              Yeah right. Oh please tell me another story. Sorry I’m not buying your hypothesis.

      • AnnaZed
        08/29/2009 at 2:08 AM

        So, it is known (is this right ~ please advise) that Dylan Ward was taking Welbutrin and Lexapro or Zoloft (why “or,” how do we “know” this?) and that he also was a ketamine abuser and possibly an abuser of alcohol. Joe most certainly was an alcohol abuser, is this true of Dylan as well? Add some sort of sleeping pill (maybe a hypnotic) to that mix, and you have some powerful and unhealthy psychotropic dosing going on there.

        I wish that we had a doctor on the site (no Robert, not you ~ a real doctor) to comment on what this combination of drugs might cause in an already unstable person.

        I put all of those substances in one post because it seems to me a miracle that he wasn’t obviously psychotic to casual observers with that substance abuse menu. One wonders about these doctors really. How can they not tell when they are dealing with drug abusing patients and just give them other potent drugs that can interact in bizarre ways.

        It just has me thinking. I know that anyone can take a bad photo, but Dylan ward looks pretty unhinged in the photo attached to the story. Is that a mug-shot? If so, why don’t we have the mug shots of the other two?

        • WH
          08/29/2009 at 1:06 PM

          AnnaZed: This is way out of my specialty, but I am a doctor so I’ll try and answer your questions. My answers come from the point of view of a specialist in internal medicine (primary care for adults) and infectious disease (including HIV care). I work in a closed, government socialized health care system, which functions very well and is a model I’d like to see the nation move towards. (I don’t want to spawn a health care debate on this forum, but nevertheless I’m telling y’all where I’m coming from).

          First, regarding your question about how doctors continue to prescribe psychotropic drugs to addicts: there are multiple issues at work here, and the reasons why may be too many to list altogether. The reasons include:
          1. Many addicts and drug users have other types of mental illness, and these illnesses require treatment. We do not deny patients these treatments simply because they are users/addicts; rather they need to be treated if they are ever to overcome addiction.
          2. Many drug users lie to and attempt to manipulate their physicians to get what they want or need, including “doctor shopping” and using different pharmacies to get multiple prescriptions. This is one area where a national unified health system (or at least a national pharmacy database) would be helpful.
          3. Physicians who provide primary care and treat mental illness are overworked and often underpaid, and the pressures of making a living, paying off school loans, and paying malpractice insurance, plus providing for their families demand a high patient load. Reimbursements by insurance companies for non-procedural visits like these (as opposed to procedures like surgeries and colonoscopies) are low and dropping by the year, meaning doctors have to see more and more patients to maintain the same income. This cuts into time spent with each individual patient and creates pressure to “treat and street.” To solve these problems, we need health financing reform; a new reimbursement model that compensates physicians fairly for time spent talking to their patients, rather than just probing and cutting them; tort reform or other changes in malpractice law; and strong incentives for medical students to go into primary care and mental health fields, rather than high-paying “lifestyle” specialties like dermatology and ophthalmology.

          Regarding the particular mix of drugs that Dylan may or may not have used: Use of Welbutrin and an SSRI (such as Zoloft or Lexapro) is not uncommon, and adding a sedative-hypnotic to this combination would also not be very unusual. Experienced mental health providers use these drugs in combinations frequently in their efforts to provide the best treatment and minimize or treat side effects. That is not to say that a combination which treats one patient effectively could not induce mania or cause other problems in another. Throwing in recreational drugs like alcohol and ketamine into the mix would definitely increase the chances of an adverse effect.

          The only one of these drugs, to my knowledge, that might be likely to induce a true psychosis would be the ketamine. The others may result in mood changes like mania, or even various activities done in a trance-like state (Ambien). I do not know of any evidence that any of the defendants have a known psychotic disorder, though. If you feel that psychosis was involved in this crime, then ketamine is the most likely substance. That said, non-psychotic people do really really awful things all the time. All that is needed is an underlying personality disorder, and I’m guessing that at least two of the three defendants had one. These disorders respond very poorly to medical therapy if at all.

          To pre-empt those on this site who do not like it when others discuss the mental health of the defendants: I know this is a sensitive subject, and I do not mean to demean or belittle mental health patients in any wa. I am likewise not suggesting a definite diagnosis for any one of the defendants, I am merely putting out my educated guesses. I apologize in advance if anyone is offended and I do not mean any such offense.

          In the end, Dylan is responsible for his actions, drugs or no drugs, personality disorder or not, and if he tries to bring in an expert witness to blame his prescribed medications for his actions the prosecution will most likely bring up evidence of his use of other substances. Most juries would look at this defense very skeptically, in my opinion.

          • Craig
            08/29/2009 at 1:29 PM

            Very thorough. Thanks for checking in Doc.

            Besides Joe volunteering Dylan’s use of anti-depressants, I believe Ecstacy was also recovered from 1509 in a subsequent search FWIW.

            • Bea
              08/29/2009 at 2:38 PM

              They were definitely pharmers.

              • Bea
                08/29/2009 at 2:39 PM

                Rather, I should say, Dylan and Joe were. We haven’t heard anything about Victor on this issue. Anyone?

            • CDinDC
              08/29/2009 at 3:16 PM

              Craig, am I off base, but wasn’t cocaine residue found, as well? (without scanning the affidavits, etc….. maybe you recall.)

              • David
                08/30/2009 at 10:53 AM

                CD,

                According to affidavit for Dylan’s arrest, Sarah Morgan (w-4) asked why police where still at the house after the murder, Dylan replied that drugs were found at the house. Ecxtasy pills were found at the house, and dogs smelled the presense or prior presence of either marijiuani, cocaine and/or opiates in cabinent in Dylan’s room, and a dresser in Joe and Victor’s room.

                David, co-ed

                • CDinDC
                  08/30/2009 at 1:07 PM

                  ahh…thanks David. I thought I remember cocaine being mentioned, but wasn’t sure where.

          • Themis
            08/29/2009 at 9:51 PM

            WH,

            I am one of those who has no warm, fuzzy feelings toward pop psychologists/iatrists who have no training.

            I greatly appreciate your post, however. It is very thoughtful and touches on some very real problems with mental health treatment in the US.

            I would just like to add that, if money is not an obstacle, it is better for people to see a psychiatrist for the medical/ pharmacological treatment of mental health issues/diseases than a GP…for many of the reasons you mentioned.

            As you noted, many people are “dual diagnosis” in that they are addicted to/depend upon/abuse certain drugs and suffer from comorbid psychological/psychiatric disorders that the “drug of choice” doesn’t treat. Self-medication is the pop culture term.

            Wellbutrin/Lexapro/Sleeping agent combinations are very typical. Lexaparo treats the depression; Wellbutrin mitigates or (hopefully) eliminates the sexual side effects common to most SSRI’s; and the sleeping agent counteracts the activated/wired feeling that Lexaparo and Wellbutrin can produce in some patients.

            It’s worth remembering that SSRI’s have a high incidence of causing people to have difficulty with arousal or ejaculation. Wellbutrin offsets that in some, worsens it in others.

            Imagine what it must be like to know that you formerly loved sex and indulged yourself to the fullest. Then you are on medication that dulls the appetite that you know you have and no matter how hard you try, it takes a miracle to orgasm. What do you do? Yohimbe? The magic wand? Coke (not the soda)? GHB? The list goes on, and varies by gender in some ways. I am not saying that is what happened here or that it justifies anything whatsoever, but it is a revealing thought exercise. I can only imagine what Kubrick would make of it.

          • WH
            09/02/2009 at 12:39 PM

            OK, apologies because I’m going WAY off topic here (but with 326 comments on this post so far, one more can’t hurt). For those readers interested in the topic of healthcare and reimbursements, and who want to know why we are a nation with way too many dermatologists and not enough family physicians, this article is interesting:
            http://www.slate.com/id/2227082/

        • Craig
          08/29/2009 at 1:24 PM

          AZ – Yeah, that’s Dylan’s mushot from when he was processed last October, maybe while he was still in Florida.

          Mugshots of his two pals have not surfaced. Somewhere is a court artist picture of Joe at his arraignment I think. Maybe in an orange jumpsuit. I’ll look.

  23. CDinDC
    06/02/2009 at 8:22 PM

    And if he had his mouthguard in, how could he “scream?”

  24. CDinDC
    06/02/2009 at 8:26 PM

    And don’t you think he would have spit the thing out upon being stabbed??

    • Apollonia
      06/02/2009 at 8:41 PM

      CDinDC, if the type of mouth guard that Robert used is similar to mine, it’s like what you would wear in sports, only with a much better fit. Screaming would not be difficult, and the fit is fairly snug. I have to pull it out with my fingers and cannot just spit it out when I want to remove it.

  25. LCLogan
    06/02/2009 at 8:41 PM

    You can talk and certainly can scream with one in. Mine fits over my top teeth sort of like those Invisalign braces. My point was that it’s not easily put in, and once removed, requires a little work to put back in.

    • CDinDC
      06/02/2009 at 8:44 PM

      Ahhh…okay…thanks LCLogan and Apollonia.

    • Bea
      06/03/2009 at 1:13 AM

      I used to wear one and often found it on my pillow the next day – I suppose it depends on the type. Maybe I pulled it out with my hand and just don’t remember it.

  26. CameFromthePostStory
    06/02/2009 at 9:22 PM

    Hi,
    I’ve read a *lot* of the comments here, but not all of them, so I apologize if this has already been brought up. This is certainly a sad, confusing story. I was wondering about any of your thoughts as to why, if the Swann St roommates did this, they only gave themselves 79 minutes or less to do it and clean everything up? If they were going with the intruder story, they could have given themselves a lot more time than that, couldn’t they have? Why not claim the intruder broke in at 2 or 3 in the morning? That would have given them plenty of time to thoroughly clean the place and go over anything they might have missed.
    Also, why was the mouthguard in Mr. Wone’s mouth? If they were doing some sexual stuff, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and for someone to think of that after the murder seems like it would take a lot of careful planning – careful planning that was missed in regards to things like the knife.
    I’m not at all saying they didn’t do it, based on the Post story, it looks like they are certainly guilty, at a minimum, of covering it up, but these little things are just clawing at me. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read the story this morning. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • CDinDC
      06/02/2009 at 9:39 PM

      CFPS, I’ve asked myself that same question, but when it comes down to basics, Robert Wone was murdered and the house was cleaned in 79 minutes.

      Whether they gave themselves 5 hours to clean and did a fantastic job, or gave themselves 79 minutes to clean and did a crappy job, doesn’t take away the fact that the crime scene……was cleaned. More or less time does not alter that fact. An “intruder” would not have cleaned after themselves. So, in my opinion, the amount of time is totally moot.

      My only theory regarding that question is that they HAD to call. And that lends itself to the possibility that Victor discovered what was happening. Or maybe they thought attempting “life-saving” manuevers on a dead man was more credible than stumbling upon an hours old crime scene. Joe, the hero…..he tried so hard to save his dear friend.

      • CDinDC
        06/02/2009 at 9:42 PM

        By the way, CFPS, it’s nice to have some fresh eyes on the site. Welcome. I hope to hear more of your thoughts.

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 2:05 AM

      Gay men clean faster & better than straight people.

  27. JD
    06/02/2009 at 11:35 PM

    If there was no sexual contact between (or among) Robert and one or more of the housemates, then how did Robert’s own semen wind up in his rectum? And does that fact alone not expose as a lie the tale told by the poly-amorous trio?

    • Phil
      06/03/2009 at 1:36 AM

      Agreed. There is simply no other explanation for this fact, other than that bad things happened in that house, and the three of them are covering it up.

    • AlsoFromPostStory
      06/06/2009 at 10:42 PM

      Could easily have been done by his own hands, self-applied alone, before falling asleep. This is rather common.

      Of course that leaves all the other mysteries still up in the air.

      • CDinDC
        06/06/2009 at 10:59 PM

        perhaps knowing the specifics of the autopsy report would solve this speculation (i.e., was the semen in a place that could not be reached on his own.)

      • Phil
        06/10/2009 at 9:38 AM

        “Could easily have been done by his own hands, self-applied alone, before falling asleep. This is rather common.”

        These seem to me to be utterly ridiculous statements.

        • lost
          06/10/2009 at 10:11 AM

          It doesn’t make sense indeed that the semen would end up in the rectum. But it’s not clear from the affidavit, how far into the rectum the anorectal swabs were. Maybe someone who’s familiar with “standard sex-kit protocol” can shed some lights. The affidavit only stated, “the interior of the rectum/anal canal.” The details of swabs are mentioned in the defendants’ motion to be one those things that they haven’t been able to get from the government.

          Yet, I’m not sure how I would sell-apply my semen in my anal canal. Unless it somehow gets there when Wone was showered, which brings up another puzzle, if he was showered, why wasn’t his groin area cleaned up? (the perpetrators would’ve have known about the semen, yet all the swabs, including the ones from Wone’s thighs, found semen).

          • CDinDC
            06/10/2009 at 12:50 PM

            Biology class:

            The anal canal is 2.5 – 4 centimeters long (length varies). (I read that average length is 3 cm.) The rectum is 8 inches long (length varies).

            The anal canal is situated “south” of the rectum.

            2.5 – 4 centerimeters = 1 – 1.6 inches.

            this means that if semen was found in Robert’s rectum, it would have been found at a MINIMUM of 1 inch beyond the anal opening to a maximum of 9.6 inches beyond the anal opening..

            So for those people that think Robert may have digitally stimulated his own anal cavity, he would have had to have penetrated himself a minimum of one inch or more.

            Pardon me for being graphic.

            • 06/10/2009 at 10:19 PM

              Thanks CD. You’ve highlighted a significant classification.

              While there might be one-in-a-million people who (for example) enjoy inserting their semen one inch up their nostrals, anus or ear lobes following their climax . . .

              If this comes up in trial, such a post-climatic insertion would just as likely be explained away as the result of an alien space probe.

              • CDinDC
                06/10/2009 at 10:23 PM

                an alien space probe….that’s a new theory, JG! We should discuss. LOL Maybe crop circles are involved.

                • Bea
                  06/10/2009 at 10:25 PM

                  The truth is out there . . .

                  • CDinDC
                    06/10/2009 at 10:29 PM

                    Maybe we should get Scully and Mulder in on this.

                    • 06/10/2009 at 10:44 PM

                      One could more convincingly argue an “alien probe” theory over a “cleanly intruder” theory, don’t you think?

  28. pondside
    06/02/2009 at 11:38 PM

    One possibility I haven’t seen discussed, is that it’s possible that the stabbing was done in the shower. This would explain the lack of blood on the sheets, etc. Another possibility is that the stabbing is done with a hose over the drain outside.

    • CDinDC
      06/03/2009 at 7:09 AM

      Hi Pondside….I’ve wholehearted believed that from the very beginning……there are a few of us in that camp…..there are some rousing discussions on that in some of the previous postings.

      Editors, it would be so nice if people could search the comments.

      • Themis
        06/03/2009 at 10:54 AM

        That raises the question of whether Robert’s hair would have been damp and whether water would have been found in some of his wounds, diluting the coagulating blood.

  29. 06/03/2009 at 2:29 AM

    Indeed, a few more little pricks seem to be involved.

  30. J Curtis
    06/03/2009 at 4:20 AM

    The Washington Post story notes the the police describe the men’s stories as being consistent with each other. That may be so as far as their police statements go but isn’t there a glaring inconsistency between Zaborsky’s initial description of their discovery of the crime scene as told to the emergency dispatcher and the later version of the same event he and Price gave under interrogation?

    In the 911 call Zaborsky states emphatically that the scream (supposedly from Wone) came first and was followed by the sound of the chime. Even though the emergency dispatcher isn’t pressing him for such details he seems determined to make her know that this is the precise order of events. It’s as if he wants to impart the idea that an intruder fled after Wone’s scream alerted the household.

    Later, Price says that he and Zaborsky were roused by the sound of the chime first and only afterward by the sound of Wone screaming. The “screaming,” by the way, has now been altered to a sort of “low, grunty noise.” Curious that anyone hearing low grunts would describe them as a scream. This new order of events allows for an intruder who has departed of his own volition, leaving behind a well-ordered crime scene.

    Are there any references to this discrepancy found in any previous articles on the subject? I get the feeling that the only scream anyone really heard that night was the one Zaborsky admitted to making when he came upon the victim. The portion of his conversation with the 911 operator attributing a scream to Wone seems to have been an attempt to cover up his own spontaneous cry which alerted the neighbor that something in the household was amiss.

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 2:09 AM

      This is the very same police department who questioned Chandra Levy’s murderer and let him go free. DC police have an extremely high rate of unsolved murders compared to other US cities.

  31. alithere
    06/03/2009 at 8:27 AM

    There is enough mystery here that, unless the prosecutors are holding more incriminating information than we know, a hung jury (what a terrible unintended pun!) is likely. It seems that the crime scene was well enough cleaned up to have denied the police clear-cut evidence. And, the defendants impressively have maintained the same story from the first hour. That would be a major feat if there were only two involved. Morever, the time line is so narrow that it adds implausibility to the notion that the crime centered around a “sex scene” gone wrong. There was hardly time for killing, cleaning and calling’ let alone kinky foreplay and “sex”. In any event it all recalls the Elton John lyrics about “three lives ruined, one life spent”.

  32. Neighborhood
    06/03/2009 at 10:01 AM

    I live just around the corner from 1509 and decided to take a walk last night around the 11pm time to get a sense what, on a warm summer night, the surrounding areas would be like and whether intruders could be easily spotted. My reactions were mixed. First, the house is truly situated on a less traveled street, as opposed to the immediate neighbors T Street and 15th Street. Moreover, there are two access points to the property (assuming you are attempting to reach the courtyard entrance), either through the side street running from Swann Street or the parking/garbage pickup route through the back. Both give immediate, quick access to the house (as opposed to some of the other row houses which would require a longer sprint to return to a main street). My point being, assuming the intruder theory is possible (and this is a big leap already for me) it could be possible that someone could easily slip behind the house while appearing innocuous only moments earlier. Again, the location lends a bit of uniqueness to other homes in the area because it is so close, yet so far away from busier sections. Someone could enter the home, attack, exit and become a normal pedestrian dropping a bag of items (knife, syringes) at the 15th and U Sunoco and never draw attention.

    On the other hand, one could view the location as completely impenetrable by an intruder. The garbage pickup entrance is wider than most in the area allowing someone from T Street to see (if you catch it at the right angle) someone scaling the back fence. I am an average height (6 feet) and when I walked by the fence I got the sense that there was no way I could scale it without making an extreme amount of noise. The chime and muffled grunts would not be the loudest noise they would’ve heard, especially considering Dylan Ward’s room sat overlooking the courtyard and he, at least according to the avidavit, would have been one of the last to fall asleep (he read for 5-10 minutes).

    For anyone interested in seeing whether the intruder theory holds water, I encourage you to visit the location and look at how it could have plausibly played out. Just last night I crossed 5-10 people within viewing distance of me walking the area (couple taking out the trash in the back alley, man talking on a cell phone just in front of the house). I’m sorry, I don’t buy their story.

    • Craig
      06/03/2009 at 10:22 AM

      Neighborhood – Thanks for the dispatch. We’re going to get some pics of the alley to help out-of-towners better get a feel for the dimensions and layout. Not only was there the 7 foot high wooden fence but we’ve been told that 10 foot high roll-up security gate was also there in 2006. Thanks for reminding us.
      -Craig

      • Themis
        06/03/2009 at 11:00 AM

        Is there dirt around the fence or in the patio area? Did the police look for shoe prints or dirt/debris on the fence or in the kitchen? Did they dust the door handle and knife block for fingerprints? Are there any motion sensor lights that might alert someone to movement outside? Did they take audio recordings or decibel readings from different locations to determine how noisy the wooden stairs would be? Did they take decibel readings of the chimes to determine how loud they would be in different parts of the house?

        Questions, questions.

        • Neighborhood
          06/03/2009 at 11:53 AM

          I couldn’t tell from my vantage point (without actually scaling the fence and becoming an intruder myself! :)) but the alley way is completely paved. Of course, three years hence it could have changed a great deal. Again, I was struck by how wide the rear opening to the alley is (enough for a garbage truck by my estimation) and how open the alley itself is. I used to live on the P Street row house area and the back alley was far narrower, dirty and confined. Much easier for someone to climb a fence there than behind the Swann street residence.

        • Craig
          06/03/2009 at 2:14 PM

          Themis – Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been sitting on a little item regarding the perimeter gates at 1509. I will try and get it up next week.

          We have a few more birthday tribute posts going up this week and those take priority.

        • Paulette
          06/08/2009 at 2:12 AM

          Of course not. This was only a Chinese-American who was murdered by white gay males.

  33. Vanessa
    06/03/2009 at 3:39 PM

    Having read the Washington Post story and quite a few posts here, I have a few questions about the situation and I can’t find answers. I am a midwestern lesbian attorney and so I think I tend to be really skeptical about elaborate conspiracy theories about crimes and especially skeptical about cop’s theories about any crimes that have to do with the GLBT community.
    So I have questions…

    1 – I realize that they found Robert’s own semen on him, but have the police or anyone else indicated that he was assaulted? Do you all think it is possible that some sort of sexual activity could have occurred that was nonconsenual, left no marks except his own semen and could lead to his death? I just can’t make sense of that.

    2- There has been a lot of chatter about the S&M nature of some of some of the sexual activity that was going on in the house. As someone pointed out, that can be super bloody. I know the police did what they could to ruin any blood evidence, but my question is, if people in the house were regularly engaging in bloody activities, wouldn’t that whole house have been covered in blood? (Obviously I mean that it would react to the chemical, not literally still bloody). Wouldn’t it be pretty easy to argue that they are three guys involved in a sexual relationship and there are fluids all over the place anyway? I guess the presence of fluids wouldn’t persuade me of anything forensically.

    3. The cop’s statements that they were immediately suspicious that there was some sort of sexual assault right away smacks of homophobia to me. I would never think the most logical conclusion of the straight friend staying over would be the threesome wanting to “initiate” him, leading to his death. Besides the semen found on Robert, is there any other evidence that something sexual had to have been going on?

    4. I realize that the coroner doesn’t think Robert died of asphyxiation, but to the mouth guard wearers out there, is it possible Robert was ready for bed, had his mouthguard in, and something happened that caused him to choke on it? It would have to be something sort of violent, but the coroner could be wrong, with so much other evidence being messed up and feeding the speculation of what happened.

    Thanks for any answers.

    The intruder story seems completely ludicrous. But the other theories seem completely ridiculous as well.

    • Phil
      06/03/2009 at 5:09 PM

      I’ll take a stab at some of the answers (although I’m sure there are others who know the issues better than I):

      1) Yes, I don’t believe there are any reports of bruising or other bodily injury to Robert indicating a sexual assualt (at least none that I know of). However, the autopsy found Robert’s semen not only on him, but in his anus. There seems to be no explanation for that (other than a sexual assualt).

      2) The presence of blood in the townhouse is, I believe, a big unknown. First, if there was blood, I’m not sure anyone knows whose blood it was. Second, it appears that the police screwed up the search for blood, and used the chemical to detect for blood improperly. I don’t know if all evidence in this regard has been corrupted, or what.

      3) I think people find Robert’s own semen on him and in him as conclusive evidence in this regard. I don’t know of anything else.

      4) I have no idea about the mouthguard. I think, though, at the end of the day, whether he choked/drug overdose/etc. the key factor is that somebody (or bodies) put a knife into him 3 times. (That is, I’m not sure what the point of your speculation about the choking is. Why does it matter?)

      That’s all I know (and I hope none of it is wrong!)

      • AlsoFromPostStory
        06/06/2009 at 10:55 PM

        > However, the autopsy found Robert’s
        > semen not only on him, but in his
        > anus. There seems to be no explanation
        > for that (other than a sexual assualt).

        Not uncommon to be self-applied while masturbating.

        • 06/06/2009 at 11:19 PM

          Is that so common? Would you care to explain?

        • 06/07/2009 at 7:24 AM

          are you serious?

        • AnnaZed
          08/29/2009 at 2:45 AM

          It is curious to me that this poster posts this twice on this thread, but when faced with a chorus of “not so” and “explain that” disappears. I am not a man, but I have a decent understanding of anatomy, sexual mechanics and additionally I am not prudish, and I find the conjecture that such a transfer of fluids is “common” to be ridiculous.

          I think someone was sending up a little trial balloon on a certain theory right here in our midst.

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 2:18 AM

      Dear Vanessa,

      Robert Wone was stabbed multiple times. Not only that but needle markes (unexplained according to DC cops/forensics) were found on his chest area (I believe).

      DC cops are not “homophobic” they are simply “bad” regardless of your race or sexual identity.

      • CDinDC
        06/08/2009 at 1:49 PM

        The injection marks were found on his neck and foot, as well.

  34. Holybull
    06/03/2009 at 3:53 PM

    Maybe Robert’s water was spiked upon arriving at 1509 Swann.

    • Phil
      06/03/2009 at 4:30 PM

      I agree. All of the speculation over how the timeline makes no sense could be solved (I believe) if we assume Robert was drugged as soon as he arrived. Assuming that’s the case (and if you don’t spike his drink when he gets there, how else are you going to drug him without a fight?), that then gives a solid 20 minutes for him to be knocked out (even if it only took a fraction of that time), 30 minutes for the sex stuff, and 30 (ok, technically 29) minutes to scrub the crime scene before calling 911. Seems like plenty of time to me.

  35. Holybull
    06/03/2009 at 4:37 PM

    Good ol’ Joe wanted Robert for a loooong time – this was his chance and he was not going to let anything get in his way this time.

    • CDinDC
      06/03/2009 at 7:56 PM

      holybull, do you know Joe Price?

      • Holybull
        06/04/2009 at 11:45 AM

        To CDinDC: I don’t know Joe Price or anyone else involved in this despicable crime. I’ve seen both his and Robert’s photos. I’ve read what you’ve read about all this. I’ve had lustful cravings of close straight friends before. I am painting a picture in my mind of what happened.

        • CDinDC
          06/04/2009 at 1:29 PM

          Gotcha.

  36. Spike
    06/03/2009 at 5:37 PM

    I dunno. I realize we all have a tendency to slip into hard bitten detective narrator mode now and again on this site, but to respond to Holybull and even a bit to the detective who just couldn’t wrap his brain around a straight guy staying in a house with three gay guys and not ending up raped, I’m a gay guy with some straight male friends of long standing.

    If they were to stay over at my place, they would be among the last men on the planet I would have any desire to make a move on.

    So, yeah, holybull, you sound like you’re channelling Raymond Chandler there, but it could be the furthest thing from the truth.

    • Apollonia
      06/03/2009 at 8:24 PM

      You wouldn’t make a move on your straight friend, because you’re a normal, decent person. The fact is that someone in that house the night Robert was murdered is not. I hear what you’re saying about homophobia clouding the issue and getting people carried away. However, Holybull’s theory is plausible, not because Price is gay, but because (according to the theory) he is a sex addict and a sociopath. There are plenty of straight ones out there, too, who target and victimize people.

      • Spike
        06/04/2009 at 12:47 AM

        No Apollonia, I wouldn’t make a move on my straight friends of long standing BECAUSE I AM NOT IN THE LEAST BIT ATTRACTED TO THEM, in the way that tends to happen among all sorts of people who have known each other for a long time (like long term couples, for example, of any persuasion).

        It also doesn’t make me any less normal or more indecent that I have also had plenty of sex with men who consider themselves straight in the rest of their lives.

        My point is, none of it’s cut and dry. And the fact is, if I were going to go all private eye narrator with these folks “Good ol’ Joe wanted Robert for a lonnnnnnnnnng time” would NOT be my assumption.

    • Paulette
      06/08/2009 at 2:21 AM

      Rayomnd Chandler never murdered anyone to write an excellent novel, or to even have an interesting life. What’s the Swann Street’s gang excuse?

  37. Tedwin
    06/03/2009 at 8:06 PM

    Does anyone know if there was a log for the house security system that confirms the door alarm the residents reported?

    • 06/03/2009 at 8:15 PM

      the door “chime” that victor cries about in her frantic “i am afraid to go downstairs” 911 call? good question, tedwin. i hope the police served that subpoena.

      • CDinDC
        06/03/2009 at 8:42 PM

        At a few points in the 911 call it seems like Victor is almost whispering…..lowering his voice. I wonder if he was trying to prevent Joe from hearing what he was saying.

        • SheKnowsSomething
          06/03/2009 at 10:02 PM

          You guys are getting a little carried away. A few days break from this site and these discussions would probably do a lot of us some good.

          Like Bea, after listening to that 911 call (over and over and over) I believe Victor was really scared and completely out of the loop as to what really may have been going on in the home when he woke up. He wasn’t whispering because he was trying to keep Joe from hearing. He was whispering because he didn’t know if the supposed intruder was still in the house and armed with a knife.

          • Nelly
            06/03/2009 at 10:46 PM

            Even I must admit that I felt a little sorry for Victor after listening to the 911 call. Especially toward the end where he sounds like he’s losing it. But could his hysteria be from realizing how his/Joe’s/Dylan’s lives are ruined now? Like the other poster, I also think it’s weird how Victor never refers to Robert as “Robert” or “our friend.” Instead, it’s just “someone” who is bleeding in the home.

            • Paulette
              06/08/2009 at 2:25 AM

              If you DE-personalize…….well then even Freud makes sense.

        • Paulette
          06/08/2009 at 2:23 AM

          Maybe Victor’s just a bad actor? Brando could get away with mumbling but not too many others.

    • JusticeForRobert
      06/03/2009 at 9:20 PM

      I have often wondered the same. I do know that some security companies keep a log of every “chime” even if the alarm is not set. So there could have been a record of how many times any doors were opened and the location of those doors, if the investigators sought it out.

  38. Laura
    06/03/2009 at 9:01 PM

    I found this site after reading the Post articles — although this case puzzled me since I first heard about it in 2006. It is impressive that almost all the posts here are thoughtful, analytical and clearly in pursuit of the “truth” — to the extent that it will ever be known. It’s also interesting that unless someone self identifies, posters’ sexual identities are usually indeterminable — which to me is good, given the sexually charged nature of the crime.

    After trying to catch up and read at least the last two months or so of postings here, one angle stands out as perhaps not fully considered. I think the emotional angle of these four men’s relationship to each other is probably more telling than their sexual (or non-sexual) relationships. While this aspect of course becomes entirely speculative, I still think the psychology of this crime scene will probably reveal more truth than the forensics.

    The first part of the Post article had some interesting undercurrents. A focus on Joe and Robert’s early life together — meeting on a college tour, being paired as mentor/”mentee” on the Monroe scholarship weekend at William & Mary — and their subsequent interaction in student government and social causes — suggest to me a friendship formed early and perhaps deeply. Much later, we are told that the now polyamorous Joe/Victor/Dylan host a 30th birthday party for Robert. This in no way suggests that Robert and Joe had some hidden sexual relationship.

    I think emotions can range from the utterly platonic affection for a friend of either sex, to extreme sexual infatuation for same. It seems that Joe had a long time affectionate friendship with Robert — attended his wedding, stayed in touch, served as his pall-bearer. Maybe there was a time or two when in some sub-conscious way they related very deeply, even sexually — maybe even after marriage — hinted, joked, but never went there. Who knows — who cares.

    It is hard to fathom though that a long-time friend could participate in an aggressive sexual surprise attack to half smother Robert with a pillow, inject him multiple times with ketamine, stimulate electrically to the point of ejaculation, and then stab the falsely assumed dead body. From an emotional point of view, it just doesn’t make sense.

    (And the intruder idea, from any point of view, is just preposterous.)

    These three guys were (are?) deeply emotionally tied — fathering children, including Uncle Dylan in the mix — why did Robert Wone’s planned sleep-over make everything go crazy?

    Two thoughts: drugs, drugs, and more drugs. Or, Dylan was already second fiddle to Victor and he just couldn’t stand Joe’s long time affection for Robert. So he thought he would rig up his ultimate dom show of humiliating/terrifying Joe’s friend — creating the threesome that Joe had advertised for — and since he himself was way too drugged up, he badly miscalculated and subsequently panicked.

    Jealousy of course being the hardest emotion of all.

    I think from there it was just one cocaine/meth induced speed cleaning scene. With the partner at Arent Fox unable to think as clearly as he should have…..

    • Themis
      06/03/2009 at 9:14 PM

      If someone is willing to gather known (verifiable) background material, I know some forensic psychiatrists and psychologists who might be willing to offer some anonymous commentary for free. One in particular is an expert in drugs and addiction and has an interest in unusual cases.

      Which brings me to the following: It would be helpful to have a thread in which people would volunteer to simply gather information, offer expertise, donate small sums for investigative purposes (which could go to the editors), offer their own expertise or that of those they know.

      As a defense attorney, I have a rule against taking a position on guilt/innocence pre and post-verdict. But I have always believed that seeking out the truth was the best thing that I could do for a client. Knowing the truth prepares me to meet the prosecution and to properly counsel my client as to whether to accept a plea. Being defense counsel does not mean being immune to tragedy.

      I am willing to review any scientific reports, ask my forensic friends if they’ll offer opinions, assist in the preparation of FOIA reuests, etc. The one thing I cannot do is act in a legal capacity since I work for a public defense organization.

      • Craig
        06/03/2009 at 10:31 PM

        Brilliant. We can move on this. Thanks Themis.

        • Themis
          06/03/2009 at 10:43 PM

          What I would suggest is that anyone who contributes to the “investigation/knowledge” thread is that they disclose if they have a fixed opinion on guilt or innocence. When sifting through information, it is crucial to know if someone has an avowed bias. We are all biased to a degree, but the issue is whether someone can’t put his/her bias aside to provide (relatively) objective information. Jurors are very attuned to the motives and biases of witnesses. Anyone searching for truthful information should also take into consideration the same information.

    • Spike
      06/04/2009 at 12:51 AM

      I really appreciated that post, Laura.

  39. Laura
    06/03/2009 at 10:21 PM

    A 1960’s joke:

    What does the masochist say to the sadist?
    “Beat me! Beat me!”

    What does the sadist say to the masochist?
    “No.”

    I think Dylan was tired of trying to amuse Joe sexually — must be hard to keep that going when the recipient of all your hard work is in the master bedroom with someone else. Surely a relief not to be the renter in the basement, but he must have known why he was promoted…

    And when super nice, squeaky clean, super successful Robert appeared for an overnight — the dear beloved friend from college, who is respected and liked, and from whom nothing is required — tick, tick, tick. Plus Dylan had two weeks to worry about it.

    I loved the line from the police report: Joe says re: Dylan “he wouldn’t even spank a child!” (or words to that effect). It’s so odd to read them describing Dylan as just the gentlest, sweetest guy ever. He electrocutes people for fun for Gods sake. No problem if that’s your thing, but I don’t think it was Robert’s.

    Did they not think the house/computers would be searched and all the S/M stuff instantly discovered? Their emphasis on Dylan’s sweetness is just bizarre.

    It seems such a blatant ploy to direct attention away from the obvious. Again, I can only assume that Robert Wone’s planned arrival for a sleep-over threw some simmering emotional/sexual tension out of whack….. And the drug use and panic just finished it off.

    Sad.

  40. CFPS
    06/03/2009 at 10:37 PM

    So here, after two days of reading and thinking about this pretty much non-stop, is the best theory I have come up with. It is obviously pure guesswork. I believe that it is fairly well in line with the affidavit for the arrest of Dylan Ward. I come from a viewpoint that is just about totally ignorant of the lifestyle these three were living, and I am by no means a subject-matter expert on sex, drugs, crime, law, or really anything else. So take it with a grain of salt, and please let me know what you guys think:

    Robert comes over to the house, chats with Joe and Dylan Ward for a few minutes, and then everyone gets ready for bed. Victor goes to bed, Robert takes a shower, meanwhile Dylan and Joe are together, getting ready to engage in sex play and doing some drugs in Dylan’s room. Meanwhile, Robert gets out of the shower, gets ready for bed, puts in his mouthguard, and goes to sleep. At some point during the evening, either Dylan or Joe has decided it would be fun to sexually assault Robert, and gets the other to go along with it.
    Victor is asleep. Joe and Dylan go into Robert’s room, where Robert is also asleep. One of them holds a pillow over Robert’s face to prevent him from screaming while the other injects him with some kind of drug. During this time, in my theory, Robert wakes up and emits the “low, breathy grunts” Victor would later describe – Robert is trying to scream, but his noises are muffled by the pillow. This, and not a scream, is what actually wakes Victor up in the first place, but Victor, perhaps assuming that the noises are just Dylan and Joe having sex, does not get out of bed and tries to go back to sleep. The noises stop, perhaps because the drug has taken effect or perhaps because Robert has passed out from lack of air. Now, the drug injected into Robert, the men use the electro-ejaculator machine on Robert, perhaps engaging in some sexual activity with each other as they bring him to climax (as with this whole thing, this part is pure conjecture). In the heat of their sexual passion, they don’t think anything is wrong with Robert. Perhaps after one or both of them have climaxed themselves (and in a clearer state of mind that often comes after climax, when one is no longer focused exclusively on sex), one or both of them realizes that Robert is not just paralyzed/incapacitated, but appears to have died, or stopped breathing, or anyway something just isn’t right – or they just realize the whole thing was a terrible idea. In any case, at this point, either because they believe he is already dead and need to fake some kind of story, or because their post-climax clearheadedness is allowing them to fully see what a terrible plan this was, they decide the only option is to stab his already “dead” body/kill him with a knife. Dylan runs to his room and grabs the knife from his cutlery set, returning to the guest room, where one or both of them stabs Robert.
    Joe and Dylan then go about cleaning the mess, with Victor still in bed and asleep. At some point, once everything is mostly cleaned up, Joe realizes that he will not be able to keep Victor totally out of the loop on this. He goes upstairs, explains to him that something has happened, and together they go back downstairs to the guest room and the newly cleaned crime scene. This is when Victor emits the scream that the neighbor hears.
    In the roughly twenty minutes between then and the time 911 was called, Joe explains to Victor that he doesn’t know what happened; an intruder must have killed Robert, but that because he (Joe) and Dylan are both on drugs, the police will never believe that they didn’t do it. Therefore, he tells Victor, Victor needs to say that Joe was in bed with Victor all along, and that they both only came downstairs upon hearing suspicious noises from the guest room. He also spends some time going over with Victor what he will need to say to the 911 operator.
    The story that Joe feeds Victor is that an intruder killed Robert, but to protect Joe and Dylan from false murder charges, Victor will need to lie for them. This explains Joe’s believable hysteria on the 911 call (he really believes an intruder may still be in the house), as well as his weird compulsion to interject or emphasize certain facts on the call.

    So this is my best theory as of right now. I am a long way from being Sherlock Holmes, so perhaps this thing is full of holes that I don’t see. For example, I don’t know where the laundry room is in relation to Victor’s room, but if he heard the laundry going (the killers presumably washed sheets or something, as the cadaver dog identified something in the lint trap), it seems likely he would have come down to see why someone was doing laundry so late at night. But maybe he didn’t hear it. Or maybe he just assumed that Joe had forgotten to run it earlier in the day. I don’t know. Anyway, anyone’s thoughts?

    • Craig
      06/03/2009 at 10:47 PM

      CFPS – Pretty much non-stop… yeah, trying to unravel this mess can be consuming at times. Welcome to you and Laura.

      Nelly – We’re going to rig a dedicated page to theories alone. We’ve collected a bunch and just need to format them.

    • LCLogan
      06/04/2009 at 9:18 AM

      OK, here are my questions about this scenario. Far be it for me to understand the sexual behaviors of anyone who isn’t me and my own partner, but two points: 1) it’s a Sunday night before what is presumably a long workweek for a law firm partner, and 2) there’s a houseguest staying over.

      Is Sunday after 10 pm — when you have a friend staying over in the bedroom down the hall — really everyone’s favorite time to say, hey, let’s do a bunch of coke/meth/special K and have sex? I’d buy it for a Friday or Saturday night but less so on a Sunday. But again, that’s just me.

      • Doug
        06/04/2009 at 11:06 AM

        Just a quick note: August 2nd, 2006 was a Wednesday night, not a Sunday night.
        Doug, co-editor

      • SheKnowsSomething
        06/04/2009 at 11:33 AM

        Huh?

      • CDinDC
        06/04/2009 at 1:17 PM

        Sunday OR Wednesday, LC…..it happened. Robert Wone had evidence of “mutiple” injection marks on his body AND evidence of sexual activity (semen in his rectum). AND he was murdered. Obviously, some people in this world don’t believe in the “school night” rule.

        • LCLogan
          06/04/2009 at 3:03 PM

          My apologies, I thought I had read that it was a Sunday evening.

          However, the essence of my point was in response to CFPS’s theory stated here:

          “Victor goes to bed, Robert takes a shower, meanwhile Dylan and Joe are together, getting ready to engage in sex play and doing some drugs in Dylan’s room. Meanwhile, Robert gets out of the shower, gets ready for bed, puts in his mouthguard, and goes to sleep. At some point during the evening, either Dylan or Joe has decided it would be fun to sexually assault Robert, and gets the other to go along with it.”

          I find it much more likely that this was, in fact, a premeditated act. It seems unlikely to me that with a houseguest over, “schoolnight” or not, doing a bunch of drugs and having sex down the hall from your guest isn’t spontaneous activity. Does that make more sense?

          Anyway, this is all speculation. Thanks to those who are working on hard facts.

          • Paulette
            06/08/2009 at 2:32 AM

            Dylan was a rice queen. Why would he have to wait for bedtime to assault?

  41. Nelly
    06/03/2009 at 10:42 PM

    That sounds plausible to me. There’s an old thread on this site where others already posited their ideas of what happened. If I recall correctly, the laundry machine was on the 2nd floor, same floor where the guestroom and Dylan Ward’s room were located.

  42. Sue
    06/04/2009 at 12:09 AM

    A few things in no particular order:

    1. People seem very concerned with how long it takes to have sex and then clean up. How long does it take YOU to have sex? 10 minutes? 5 minutes? Electroejaculation takes 3 minutes or less. Also, I have read studies that lesbians have the longest foreplay and gay men have the shortest foreplay, and heterosexual couples are in the middle.

    2. Has anyone considered that Robert just masturbated before going to bed? Or has there been conclusive proof that it was electroejaculation?

  43. Laura
    06/04/2009 at 12:21 AM

    I just think that everyone (well not everyone) but a fair amount of posters/sleuths want to see this murder as some proof of crazy sexual deviant forensics….

    I suspect that there is a larger emotional story behind these four men. Love, affection, admiration, infatuation, acceptance, jealousy, power, sex. The murder may be solved when everyone agrees as to the details of the killing, but there is probably a more interesting story behind it all.

    Although nothing could ever be more universally understood than Robert Wone’s horrifying death…. the only fact that ultimately matters.

    • alithere
      06/04/2009 at 8:16 AM

      CFPS and Laura, your posts are very insightful and compelling. If this was an “inside job”, the psychological dynamics of the three–not the mechanics of homicide and obstruction of justice–are what makes this case so darkly fascinating. Most people posting here, I assume, have a fairly libertarian approach to sexual/personal relationships–consensual sex should be outside the law’s reach at a minimum. But how much self-regulation in this domain should be expected of a reasonable person. People tend to become bored of what they too easily can have. I would surmise (very presumptuous of me to do so) that Joe and Victor had passion that waned into decorating and chic dinner parties. Dylan opened the door to a darker, far more exciting, at least for Joe, sexuality. Yet, frightingly, even that began to become stale. What next? How to recapture that old magic? Joe and Dylan may have seen the possibility of Robert’s visit as an opportunity to knock down the final barrier. Just this once, they could have it all. These are not monsters but, worse, people who lost all sense of limits. Perhaps the “teaching moment” is that one may have a right to all of one’s fantasies, but not to their being carried out. If one wrestles with monsters, one places oneself on their level.

      • CDinDC
        06/04/2009 at 1:28 PM

        alithere says: “Dylan opened the door to a darker, far more exciting, at least for Joe, sexuality.”

        i think it was Joe that opened that door for Dylan. Dylan was/is a very non-directed person. Kind of a wayward fellow. His educational history shows that. From int’l studies to culinary school to massage school. Dylan was ripe for trying something new.

        Joe on the other hand…..controlled and directed. Knows what he wants.

        I bet Joe brought Dylan into this new world of sexuality. Not vice-versa.

        And Victor? Well, I can’t see Dylan coming along and changing the family dynamics of Joe and Victor. I think the dynamics changed because Joe wanted them to. I believe Victor went along with that because of his love for Joe. I don’t thnk Dylan would have had the emotional power over Victor to make him allow that change in the family dynamic.

        Dylan was Joe’s tool. In so many ways.

  44. higgs
    06/04/2009 at 6:36 AM

    Hi, new to this fascinating case via the WP articles. Can anyone link to the Zaborsky 911 call? thanks

    • Michael
      06/04/2009 at 11:13 AM

      Higgs –

      Here is the link to the 911 call as published in the Washington Post:

      Robert Wone’s Death: 911 call

      – Michael, co-editor

      • MK-ULTA
        06/04/2009 at 5:26 PM

        Thanks for the link to the 911 audio. That is one of the strangest 911 calls I have ever heard. Nothing on that call makes sense, besides the caller’s state of panic and distress (at times), which is coupled with an oddly calm composure (for instance, when he asks the operator the time). Why would the time be at all relevant in a situation like that? It also seems as though the caller is relaying information to another party, obviously either Joe or Dylan, but the caller then indicates that he is afraid to go downstairs. Having read the articles, it does seem as though the entire call or at least some portion of it is staged.

      • 06/06/2009 at 12:05 AM

        Without a doubt, this call was pure drug-enhanced theater by “madame” Vicky.

        One can even imaging Joe pleading, “We’ve GOT BLOOD Vic, please come up with a pitch!”

  45. TT
    06/04/2009 at 11:21 AM

    Michael, I am also new and find this blog very interesting and disturbing at the same time. Can you locate the link to the legal documents autopsy, warrant for Dylan Ward. Thanks..

    • TK
      06/04/2009 at 11:36 AM

      TT, most of what you are looking for is linked at the top of the homepage of this blog.

    • Doug
      06/04/2009 at 12:05 PM

      TT, click on the top “Legal Documents” tab; the original affidavit in support of an arrest warrant for Dylan Ward is the first document. Dr. Goslinoski’s autopsy summary begins on page 4.
      – Doug, co-editor

  46. Tom
    06/04/2009 at 2:54 PM

    Found this site through the post article. I knew nothing about this case before reading it. What a sad waste of so many promising lives.

  47. Laura
    06/04/2009 at 6:06 PM

    I keep coming back to the 15 yr friendship between Joe and Robert — going all the way back to Robert’s freshman year. That’s a long time to stay in touch unless you are truly close in some way — interesting that they would remain tight despite their different sexual identities and proclivities. Not strange, just a little unusual.

    I don’t know of too many (none actually) straight men who would have their 30th birthday party hosted by three gay men whom they did not work with. Meaning that in my experience a lot of people become friends with people they might not otherwise cross paths with via professional contact. (And that includes friends of different races, family background, politics, etc. ) Joe and Robert, and subsequently Victor and Dylan, all seemed to have had a friendship that went deeper than the company picnic or obligatory office party.

    It’s also interesting to me that both Joe and Robert ended up practicing law in the area of personal identity — Joe for Equality Virginia and pursuing notable GLBT legal cases, and Robert quitting what must have been lucrative real estate work (in 2005!) at Covington & Burling to work for Radio Free Asia. I could be wrong but that had to be a step down money-wise — it seems he was again drawn to a cause.

    I have no clue — does anyone else? — are there issues re: homosexuality in the Asian world? Both men seemed to be very involved in their personal identity.

    • CDinDC
      06/04/2009 at 7:55 PM

      I have know my best friend for 30 years. We are different sexual persuasions. A gay man and a lesbian. We’re like brother and sister. My neighbors….2 gay men…all of their friends are straight. Straight men and women of different age brackets. I went to their Christmas party last year…..men, women and children. I was the only other gay person there.

      I don’t quite understand why some people think it’s unusual for people of different sexual persuasions to have long-standing friendships.

      This topic has come up several times on this board. it’s not like gay men are sexually ravenous and must have whatever is in their realm.

      I don’t know what Joe Price’s deep-seeded interests in Robert Wone was, but as far as generalities go, gay/straight/other persuasion friendships are not unusual in the slightest bit to me.

      • Apollonia
        06/04/2009 at 9:34 PM

        I agree. What I tried (and I think failed) to convey above is that predators come in all forms. Generalizations are useless, because for every example, someone can come up with a counterexample.

      • Laura
        06/04/2009 at 10:55 PM

        I did not mean to suggest in any way that people of different sexual identities cannot have dearly held close friendships. I am straight but my greatest insights to life, art, literature — have coincidentally or not come from gays. From a genius high school teacher, to a spooky but adored friend at college, to my best mentor at work — etc. I have never doubted that one can be a committed friend to someone who experiences life differently — on whatever level.

  48. Mandy
    06/04/2009 at 6:10 PM

    Hello, All. I have just found this case and have been studying it for several days now. I have a completely different theory (I think) but one that might possibly be as plausible as the intruder theory. Please tell me what you think or if I’m crazy.

    We have 3 highly intelligent men involved, at least in some way, in a murder. Would it be possible that 2 or all of them were sitting around one night arguing of a way to commit the “perfect” murder? This gets planned to a T, but all they need is a victim. Along comes Robert wanting to stay the night. And wants to stay when the tenent will not be home – how convenient. They plan everything well enough to cause plenty of doubt, but not so well that it will not be interesting and looked “planned”.

    I just think there’s too many things that are not there for someone in a panic’ed state to clean up as well as they did in less than an hour (and we know they or someone cleaned up). For instance: 1) What cleaner could have possibly been used to get the blood out of the room well enough that it couldn’t be seen with the naked eye? 2) And where did the cleaners go? They had to have been disposed of at some point. 3) There is no way my washer and dryer could have completed their cycles in less than 1 hour, yet theirs did. 4) Where could they have hidden the murder weapon well enough the police didn’t find it while in a panic’ed state? 5) Would anyone have remembered to wipe down any sex toys so that RW’s DNA weren’t on them? These are just some of the numerous questions I have while trying to place myself in that senerio. I understand that Price was fastidious, but it just looks like in the time window they had to work with, again, it an adjatated state, something with DNA would have been overlooked to lend us more clues.

  49. 06/04/2009 at 7:52 PM

    AS AN ASIDE, GIRLS: Love to all, especially the newcomers. Bien venue.

    This case has gotten a recent bump in coverage: from the WaPo, to Above the Law, Legal Times, WSJ Law Blog, and elsewhere. Hat tip to our editors who have contributed to getting this case the attention that it deserves. Every homicide deserves attention; nice to know that this one is getting some due.

    Must be terribly depressing for Ward, and the others to know that this case is getting attention – their choices are getting scrutiny, and that they are becoming infamous not only in the gay community, but elsewhere too. SHAME on whoever did this, or contributed to its cover-up; SHAME.

  50. 06/04/2009 at 8:54 PM

    another passing thought. during the police interrogation, it has been reported that price outed dylan ward as suffering from mental illness – depression/emotional issues from what i believe. price also reportedly blurted out the various medications ward needed to control his temperment. i often wondered if what price really wanted to do was through ward under the bus and protect him at the same time. “if you arrest ms. ward, know that she has mental health issues” — a nice defense for the ward attorneys (plural) to offer up. just a passing thought.

    • CDinDC
      06/04/2009 at 9:26 PM

      Not to mention Joe saying that Dylan couldn’t hurt a fly (or whatever he said).

      Seems like a preemptive strike to say things like that when Dylan hadn’t even been questioned at that point.

      AND the next day at the police station…..he said something to the effect of “if Dylan is being charged….call attorney….blah blah blah”.

      Gee, Joe, if you really believed there was intruder, why all the Dylan defense?

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