Burn After Reading

Fahrenheit 1509

At midnight on the steamy evening of August 2, 2006, DC Police arrived at 1509 Swann Street to begin a murder investigation.   An investigation that supposedly continues to this day.

Famous Last Words, William Shakespeare by Ralph Steadman, 2006

Famous Last Words, William Shakespeare by Ralph Steadman, 2006

On the floor of Dylan Ward’s bedroom they found an issue of the New Yorker opened to an article penned by the late John Updike entitled, “Late Works: Writers Confronting the End.”

The accompanying artwork by Ralph Steadman of William Shakespeare on his deathbed seemed particularly eerie to the police.

They just came from the guestroom, mere feet from Ward’s, where the lifeless body of Robert Wone lay in a similar position.

Used for an earlier post, this issue was the only tangible piece of evidence we could collect from the night of the murder.

As longtime subscribers, we’re used to having piles of New Yorker back issues around the house.  But this one was different; it always felt dirty.  It had to go.


-the Editors

29 comments for “Burn After Reading

  1. Danny
    08/01/2009 at 5:06 PM


  2. Danny
    08/01/2009 at 5:06 PM


  3. CDinDC
    08/01/2009 at 5:15 PM

    you have to wonder where and why it was on the floor. Was it right by the bedside? Dropped on the floor after reading a few paragaphs before bed? Was it on the floor across the room? Kicked aside after dragging an unconscience body into the room? Was it at the end of the bed? Slapped aside to place a body on the bed?

    come on Dylan….where was the magazine? Where did Joe put it when he dragged Robert into your room?

  4. Clio
    08/01/2009 at 7:31 PM

    Yes, I’ve wondered whether the picture was used either as a macabre, handy instruction manual on how to lay out a dead body, or the open magazine on his floor was the elusive conscience of the shy, passive man-boy talking in opaque, ironic symbolism.

    Or, for the author Dylan, the article may have set the mood (in some bizarre, irrational way) for his own fantasies of assault and murder.

    Mr. Ward has been portrayed as a clean freak, so why else would there be an open magazine on his floor?

  5. 08/01/2009 at 8:05 PM

    thank you editors for turning the focus of this horrible crime to dylan ward. many dear friends in my head highlight joe’s narcissism, ego, power, control etc. . . as the drving factor behind this crime and cover up. as i was not there, all i can say is perhaps.

    but i wonder what role mental illness and psych meds played in this act — psych meds mixed with tina, g, or the crew club du jour. i have always believed this is where the crime story begins. and joe was so quick to volunteer dylan’s use of meds, and ask if he was arrested — why? was he trying to steer p0lice in this direction or did he just know that this is where police need to end up. i would love to hear from marcia, diane, mac and/or needham about dylan’s mental state and drug use – then and now.

    • AnnaZed
      08/10/2009 at 1:04 AM

      SheDidIt ~ I know what you mean, but I just don’t think Victor would have stayed unshakably loyal to Dylan alone over all this time, or even Joe for that matter. I think that Dylan and Joe, who were known to be drug abusers (I am not convinced that Victor was a drug abuser) became caught up in a toxic folie à deux and sexually assaulted Robert.

      • CDinDC
        08/10/2009 at 9:09 AM

        I’ve said this before, but I think it’s possible that Victor may have been a bit of a “battered wife”…..it’s been disclosed by a “friend” of the trio that Joe, apparently, was volitile. I wish I could find the exact post to quote him, but I can’t find it. In any event, perhaps Victor, after living with this behavior for so long, acquiesed to Joe in order to save himself from grief. Sort of a “fine, Joe….I’m going to bed.”

        His “I can’t believe this is happening” comment on the front porch may be his only words of truth during the 911 call. Alone and away from Joe, he spoke from his heart.

        • AnnaZed
          08/10/2009 at 11:40 AM

          CDinDC, you make an excellent point. I too have considered it likely that Victor was abused by Joe over a long period of time. Frankly, I can’t conceive of any other scenario under which the introduction of Dylan into Victor’s home could take place.

          I know of very, very few examples of successful ménage à trois. So few in fact that statistically they could hardly be said to exist. None of them contain alcoholics or drug addicts. The profound dysfunction that adding those elements (drugs and excessive alcohol) creates in any relationship is huge. Physical battering of Victor in addition to verbal abuse seems not unlikely to me at all.

          That said, I don’t think that Victor acquiesced to anything before the fact. First off, I think that he wasn’t even supposed to be there. He “came home early,” they say.

          Then I think that Joe may have characterized Robert as somehow willing and interested in his and Dylan’s sexual game. Victor may have thought or even expressed to Joe and Dylan that they should leave Robert alone, but the pin point pupils and the onset of complete irrationality would be familiar to Victor and; as you say, Victor (easily defeated from any attempts at logic due to the suggested long term abuse) just said “I’m going to bed” to escape or ignore whatever might happen next.

          As you say Victor’s words on the phone “I can’t believe this is happening” (more to himself than to the dispatcher per se wouldn’t you say?) may have been the only true words that he spoke during that call.

          SheDidIt style I send yet another shout-out to Victor: It’s not too late to start telling the truth, Victor.

          • CDinDC
            08/10/2009 at 11:53 AM

            Agree 100%, AnnaZed. 100%

      • Robert
        08/10/2009 at 11:00 AM

        Notwithstanding your personal attacks on me and my writing, I tend to agree with your analysis as stated above.

        • CDinDC
          08/10/2009 at 11:08 AM

          Excuse me? I believe you should direct your remark to AnnaZed, not me, Robert. I said NOTHING to you.

          • CDinDC
            08/10/2009 at 11:09 AM

            Not to mention, there is nothing in the thread above your comment that is about YOU. Back off, Robert.

          • Robert
            08/10/2009 at 12:54 PM

            Sorry, if it appeared that I was directing my comment at you. It was meant to be in response to something AnnaZed said.

          • Robert
            08/10/2009 at 12:56 PM

            Forgive me, I have no desire to prolong any misunderstanding with you. AnnaZed something about my presuming to be a doctor.

  6. Spike
    08/02/2009 at 12:39 AM

    Oh for god’s sake. Let’s murder somebody and use the New Yorker for art direction tips for the scene of the crime. And then kick it aside as we drag an “unconscience body” across the room.

    Come on, people, we’ve GOT to do better than this.

    • SheKnowsSomething
      08/02/2009 at 5:41 AM

      Amen, Spike. Delirium seems to have set-in on this site, what with the lack of news flowing from the courthouse since May.

      • 08/02/2009 at 9:08 AM

        Spike and SheKnowsSomething’s recent posts = epic fail.

        • Perplexed
          08/18/2009 at 8:17 PM

          I fail to see the usefulness of people on this site turning on each other – whether they agree with each other and more importantly if the don’t. Granted I’m a day late and a pound shy and just catching back up – but I still find it counter-productive. Why push people away when they may have something to offer – if not now, then at some point in the future.

  7. Clio
    08/02/2009 at 11:02 AM

    Spike and SKS, why then would that open magazine be on (compulsively neat) Dylan’s floor? Its positioning was merely a coincidence with “words and pictures ricocheting to ironic effect,” as in Mr. Ward’s Simmons College catalogue rave?

    The Editors’ promised upcoming pieces on Sarah’s background and Joe’s temperament ought to relieve Spike’s boredom and SKS’s delirium … and, we are all still waiting for Victor to come clean, either in person or by wire. Finally, Dylan’s doping and tricking, as SDI has noted, still has not been fully fleshed out. So, as you already have, Spike and SKS, stay tuned.

  8. Robert
    08/03/2009 at 4:30 AM

    I am intimately familiar with bipolarity and psych
    meds, but not with combo with street meds —
    except to say that such would probably not be
    recommended by treating psysch professional. If I
    can help elucidate in any way, please let me know.

    There is combination of mental illnesses termed
    “dual diagnosis.” Can be any combo such as
    “schizo affective,” but one of most common is
    bipolarity combined with alcoholism or drug
    abuse which is regarded as “self medication.”

    Ward’s prescription medication suggests at the
    very least that he was being treated for bipolarity.
    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may also be a
    clincial diagnosis treated with same or different
    medications as bipolarity depending on the case.

    There is also substantial evidence that he engaged
    in drug abuse with illegal street preparations. One
    wonders if OCD played a role in clean up of guest
    room by Ward — regardless of site of murder.

    What think may require more fleshing out (sorry):
    is whether Price had any “clinical” dual diagnosis
    combined with his alcoholism or drug abuse.

    True narcissism, psychopathology, socio-affective
    disorder, paranoia and so forth may each be or not
    be diagnoses made or not made by professional.

    NIMH and private clinics are in clinical trials for
    ketamine as treatment for depression & bipolarity!
    Thus, we do not know whether Ward was using
    special K for depression or getting high or both?

    • CDinDC
      08/03/2009 at 10:13 AM

      Robert says: “NIMH and private clinics are in clinical trials for ketamine as treatment for depression & bipolarity!”

      Interesting, Robert…..could you direct me to any studies or articles, etc about that. I’d be very interested to read up on that.

    • ced
      08/03/2009 at 11:35 AM

      As pointed out by another commenter, his medication regime does not especially point to bipolarity, with all due respect for your personal experience with meds. The drugs mentioned are very commonly used for good old unipolar depression as doctors are increasingly combining antidepressants to blunt side effects (lethargy, impaired libido) or to get a better response (hitting more neurotransmitters). As a person with a bipolar relative, I can say that she takes a handful of pills everyday including antidepressants and lithium. (The presence of a mood stabilizer in the mix would strongly point to bipolarity.) Another relative who suffers from depression but not bipolarity takes both Zoloft and Wellbutrin.

      I also don’t agree that one can infer that he is OCD from his medication regime. It’s possible but all I see in the meds he was taking was depression and anxiety/insomnia.

    • AnnaZed
      08/10/2009 at 1:08 AM

      Now you’re a doctor! Gee!

      • Robert
        08/10/2009 at 11:07 AM

        I am unsure as to whom you refer when stating: “Now, you’re a doctor”!

        Though I am a doctor, I am certainly not a medical doctor, nor have I ever claimed to be such. I was simply providing information requested elsewhere.

        Personally, I am interested in finding the killer of Robert Wone and I do not appreciate your personal attacks which I feel have no proper place in this forum.

        If all you can contribute to this site are personal attacks on me, may I suggest that you take your blogging elsewhere.

  9. Robert
    08/03/2009 at 1:21 PM

    I am not saying that he must have been suffering
    from bipolarity or OCD. As you observe correctly
    he may be suffering from unipolar depression.
    His OCD was supposedly reported aside from
    meds as is case with my unclinical level.

    In any case, ketamine has been tested for use with
    chronic depression as well as bipolar depression.
    Patients are given a single dose administered IV
    over 40 minutes. The study has been recruiting
    patients since 2004 and continues to do so.

    Patients injected with single dose of Ketamine
    experience relief in as little as 2 hours which
    might make it appealing to self-medicators.

    Ketamine has the potential for side effects such as
    hallucinations, euphoria, perceptual disturbances,
    impaired thinking, extreme fear, confusion, dream-
    like feelings which may last as long as 24 hours
    when administered by doctors. Who knows if
    such side effects may have been experienced by
    Ward or Price under such circumstances.

    Ketamine may have adverse reaction with
    alcoholism from which Price is said to have
    suffered as well as barbiturates and narcotics
    which may have been used by Ward and Price.

    Overdose is likely to occur if K not administered
    by doctor which may have been case with Wone.
    Perhaps Robert was not only paralyzed on purpose
    with Ketamine but killed by accident from drug.

    Ketamine may also result in increased libido in
    higher doses as that which may be taken by drug
    abusers. which may last as long as 24 hours.

    NIMH Clinical Trials Identifier NCT00088699
    Results published in August 2006 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

    I hate to telll you that there is more mental illness in my family than that recounted by you above. Moreover, all of my psychiatrists think that I should have become one. How about you?

    • CDinDC
      08/03/2009 at 4:26 PM

      Robert says: “Patients injected with single dose of Ketamine experience relief in as little as 2 hours which might make it appealing to self-medicators.”

      Ya think? LOL

  10. Robert
    08/03/2009 at 1:54 PM

    Postscript: If Wone was indeed killed accidentally by admin of ketamine for paralytic purposes, post mortem stabbing would have resulted in little loss of blood as suspected by doctor friend of mine.

    Thus, perpetrators would have had that much less blood to clean up within a very limited timeline.

    • Clio
      08/07/2009 at 4:50 PM

      Looking at this embedded Youtube montage — “Fahrenheit 1509” — for the second time was quite haunting. The music (and the placement of the mug shot of Dylan) were well-chosen, but I do not think that I’ll view it for a third time. It’s too disturbing, at least for me! Thanks anyway, Editors.

  11. susan
    08/01/2010 at 1:19 AM

    There are those who think the New Yorker article in Dylan Ward’s room is inconsequential but I think it is incredibly interesting. The deceased Shakespeare, oddly posed, and referring to The Tempest. Never read it. I should. Read the J. Updike article online, a Columbia U. analysis and even Sparknotes (admittedly). The story has “magic” Prospero and focuses on the dynamic between master and slaves. It even has a line from Antonio about stabbing a brother in his sleep. Really interesting.

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