Without a Net

“What’s the Story with Dylan?”

We’ve seen the evolution of the Swann Street defendants’ legal representation; Price and Zaborsky first reaching out to friend Kathleen Voelker, and Ward’s immediate retaining of David Schertler.  MetroWeekly‘s Bob Roehr saw the looming challenges:

Parson acknowledges that with lawyers for the residents having become involved so quickly and the lack of cooperation from Price, Zaborsky and Ward, the department is particularly sensitive to the need to do everything by the book so that the case is not thrown out on a minor technicality.

Good cop, Bad cop

Good cop, Bad cop

But for all the quick legal action, it seems something was overlooked by Price: hours upon hours of police interrogation on the night of the murder with no counsel present.

What gives?

Why did Price, an experienced attorney, waive his and his co-witnesses’ Miranda rights and allow themselves to be submitted to a marathon interrogation, only to later fall behind a legal wall of silence?

And then these curious remarks Price made to the detectives at the end of his interrogation (page 10 of the Ward affidavit); his interest was not with his domestic partner’s well-being, but only in Ward’s:

“I need to go.  I would like to see Dylan….  His (Ward’s) attorney is trying to reach him….  What’s the story with Dylan?   …I mean – – I’m going to get his attorney to come down here.”

Who was the attorney Price had in mind?  How did he know that attorney was trying to reach Ward?

Had Schertler already been lined up?  If so, then by whom?  That evening, Price was overheard by detectives talking to his brother Michael.

Was Michael Price that wired to be able to get a guy like David Schertler on the phone in the middle of the night?

-posted by Craig

70 comments for “Without a Net

  1. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 12:52 PM

    Very well said. I think Joe’s total focus on Dylan that night – not Joe – likely speaks volumes of HIS knowledge/suspicions that Dylan was very likely involved in Robert’s death (and that Victor was not). Some may think it’s only that he “was in love with” Dylan and “only loved” Victor, but I think Joe is too linear for that.

    Great question about WHY Joe didn’t get them all lawyered up before the questioning. My sense is that Super-Joe realized that if they didn’t answer questions that night that ALL suspicion would be on the trio and that he was/is such a narcissist that he believed he could sway them to think them innocent. When that didn’t happen, he sobered up and realized that they needed hired guns pronto – yet made sure Dylan got the best one, and he and Victor had the same push-over one.

    As for the claim in the middle of the night that Joe could get Dylan’s lawyer down there, from my personal experience it’s the inner-lawyer that can blow smoke if necessary, but if pushed, could also get someone to show up. Lawyers know lots of other lawyers and have their cell numbers. He may not have meant Schertler, but if necessary, he was ready to get Kathleen or someone else to show up, hand over her business card, and stop ALL questioning.

    My two cents.

  2. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 12:52 PM

    Very well said. I think Joe’s total focus on Dylan that night – not Joe – likely speaks volumes of HIS knowledge/suspicions that Dylan was very likely involved in Robert’s death (and that Victor was not). Some may think it’s only that he “was in love with” Dylan and “only loved” Victor, but I think Joe is too linear for that.

    Great question about WHY Joe didn’t get them all lawyered up before the questioning. My sense is that Super-Joe realized that if they didn’t answer questions that night that ALL suspicion would be on the trio and that he was/is such a narcissist that he believed he could sway them to think them innocent. When that didn’t happen, he sobered up and realized that they needed hired guns pronto – yet made sure Dylan got the best one, and he and Victor had the same push-over one.

    As for the claim in the middle of the night that Joe could get Dylan’s lawyer down there, from my personal experience it’s the inner-lawyer that can blow smoke if necessary, but if pushed, could also get someone to show up. Lawyers know lots of other lawyers and have their cell numbers. He may not have meant Schertler, but if necessary, he was ready to get Kathleen or someone else to show up, hand over her business card, and stop ALL questioning.

    My two cents.

  3. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 12:53 PM

    Oops – first sentence should have read “not Victor”.

    • CDinDC
      08/24/2009 at 1:53 PM

      Wonder if Price knew Schertler prior to the murder. They both graduated from UVA Law. Schertler graduated several years before Price, but perhaps some alumuni work/gatherings. Just a thought.

    • Perplexed
      08/24/2009 at 1:55 PM

      I agree with Bea with a couple of exceptions. I believe the only reason JP was inquiring into DW the way he was, was due to the fact that DW was determined by JP to be a possible loose link – he still wasn’t entirely sure how DW was going to “hold up” under the questioning. I do not believe he thought VZ was a possible loose link at the time – nor now, and maybe that’s also moreso b/c VZ was not “in” on the events. I also do not belive JP had anything whatsoever to do with the pick of DW’s atty. I would put money that this was solely coordinated through DW’s Dad – especially b/c of how the attys. were originally picked, i.e., how everyone was viewing the seriousness of the situation at that time.

  4. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 12:53 PM

    Oops – first sentence should have read “not Victor”.

    • CDinDC
      08/24/2009 at 1:53 PM

      Wonder if Price knew Schertler prior to the murder. They both graduated from UVA Law. Schertler graduated several years before Price, but perhaps some alumuni work/gatherings. Just a thought.

    • Perplexed
      08/24/2009 at 1:55 PM

      I agree with Bea with a couple of exceptions. I believe the only reason JP was inquiring into DW the way he was, was due to the fact that DW was determined by JP to be a possible loose link – he still wasn’t entirely sure how DW was going to “hold up” under the questioning. I do not believe he thought VZ was a possible loose link at the time – nor now, and maybe that’s also moreso b/c VZ was not “in” on the events. I also do not belive JP had anything whatsoever to do with the pick of DW’s atty. I would put money that this was solely coordinated through DW’s Dad – especially b/c of how the attys. were originally picked, i.e., how everyone was viewing the seriousness of the situation at that time.

  5. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 2:42 PM

    Perplexed, I don’t have any reason to think you’re incorrect that Needham picked Schertler, but I do think Joe’s grandstanding that night that “Dylan’s lawyer” could come to the station might have ended in one of Joe’s pals coming to play the role. It’s possible that Joe recommended Schertler and others to Needham – unless you’re correct that Needham smelled something rotten in Joe and decided to do his own research. That Dylan remained tight with the boys suggests that Needham doesn’t play too key a role in what his son does – Dylan well could have arranged to stay with the parents in Tacoma (given their ties to the community and upstanding cred) with a bit of effort but clearly preferred to stay with/near/with Joe & Co.

    True that Joe may have perceived Dylan as the weak link that night, but with the additional hours of questioning for Dylan, I am guessing that he also thought the MPD was considering charging him that night – even asked if that was so – and yet he wasn’t “worried” about Victor’s well-being in the same way. Could be interpreted a number of ways.

  6. Bea
    08/24/2009 at 2:42 PM

    Perplexed, I don’t have any reason to think you’re incorrect that Needham picked Schertler, but I do think Joe’s grandstanding that night that “Dylan’s lawyer” could come to the station might have ended in one of Joe’s pals coming to play the role. It’s possible that Joe recommended Schertler and others to Needham – unless you’re correct that Needham smelled something rotten in Joe and decided to do his own research. That Dylan remained tight with the boys suggests that Needham doesn’t play too key a role in what his son does – Dylan well could have arranged to stay with the parents in Tacoma (given their ties to the community and upstanding cred) with a bit of effort but clearly preferred to stay with/near/with Joe & Co.

    True that Joe may have perceived Dylan as the weak link that night, but with the additional hours of questioning for Dylan, I am guessing that he also thought the MPD was considering charging him that night – even asked if that was so – and yet he wasn’t “worried” about Victor’s well-being in the same way. Could be interpreted a number of ways.

  7. Perplexed
    08/24/2009 at 4:31 PM

    Bea, I agree. Just giving my take based on how everyone went about selecting their attys. (just doesn’t make sense that JP would not select a similarly very qualified atty. for himself if he was in on DW’s pick). Also have seen these same types of situations unfold personally. Don’t think DW’s Dad being involved would have pressured DW to move to Washington. DW has always been able to do what he wants to do – no different now – and prob with Dad’s help – again no different now.

    I agree JP’s questioning and “why” could be interpreted a number of ways and am not settled on any particular theory. I’m just having difficulty on the point of thinking DW is solely or moreso responsible – although it’s possible JP would interpret it that way if DW was the one who did the stabbing, which is my suspicion b/c of the similarity in wounds and his culinary expertise.

    • CDinDC
      08/24/2009 at 5:27 PM

      Perplexed says: “and his culinary expertise”

      ::cringing::

      Oh nooooooooooo. Culinary expertise would not make anyone more skilled at stabbing someone to death. My goodness. They don’t teach stabbing in culinary school. Other than using an ice pick, learning to filet would not make someone more skilled at murder.

      ::burying my face in my arms on my desk…shaking my head back and forth:::

      • des
        08/24/2009 at 10:32 PM

        thank you cdindc. i have the same reaction every time i read that phrase….

    • Bea
      08/24/2009 at 5:30 PM

      Well said. I think Joe thinks the best lawyer in the world is Joe. He only needed Kathleen to show up to say she represented Joe and VICTOR. He needed to keep Victor insulated (and singin’ the same tune) so what better way than to really represent the both of them (topping from the bottom, again) than to do it himself through a puppet. Only after things got more formal did he realize it was in his interest to get a fancier mouthpiece, one who would scare the DA a bit.

      Joe’s comments that intimated that Dylan had a lawyer that first night was likely puffery. When the sun came out and Dylan had to call his Daddy, my guess is that the boys all played dumb and that Daddy listened to Joe’s suggestion. At that point he likely believed them all. Regardless, with his independent review, he green-lighted Schertler.

      Joe knew that he was not “registered domestic partners” with Dylan and that Dylan “needed” counsel. Also, he might have needed to placate Victor by the public move of keeping the two of them separate. ANY lawyer was going to explain to Dylan that he needed separate counsel. If memory serves, though, the ONLY attorney of the trio who seems to show some separation from Joe/Bernie is indeed Victor’s counsel (hired after the first round). He MUST be telling Victor that it’s time to distance himself legally from Joe and Dylan (insert prayers).

  8. Perplexed
    08/24/2009 at 4:31 PM

    Bea, I agree. Just giving my take based on how everyone went about selecting their attys. (just doesn’t make sense that JP would not select a similarly very qualified atty. for himself if he was in on DW’s pick). Also have seen these same types of situations unfold personally. Don’t think DW’s Dad being involved would have pressured DW to move to Washington. DW has always been able to do what he wants to do – no different now – and prob with Dad’s help – again no different now.

    I agree JP’s questioning and “why” could be interpreted a number of ways and am not settled on any particular theory. I’m just having difficulty on the point of thinking DW is solely or moreso responsible – although it’s possible JP would interpret it that way if DW was the one who did the stabbing, which is my suspicion b/c of the similarity in wounds and his culinary expertise.

    • CDinDC
      08/24/2009 at 5:27 PM

      Perplexed says: “and his culinary expertise”

      ::cringing::

      Oh nooooooooooo. Culinary expertise would not make anyone more skilled at stabbing someone to death. My goodness. They don’t teach stabbing in culinary school. Other than using an ice pick, learning to filet would not make someone more skilled at murder.

      ::burying my face in my arms on my desk…shaking my head back and forth:::

      • des
        08/24/2009 at 10:32 PM

        thank you cdindc. i have the same reaction every time i read that phrase….

    • Bea
      08/24/2009 at 5:30 PM

      Well said. I think Joe thinks the best lawyer in the world is Joe. He only needed Kathleen to show up to say she represented Joe and VICTOR. He needed to keep Victor insulated (and singin’ the same tune) so what better way than to really represent the both of them (topping from the bottom, again) than to do it himself through a puppet. Only after things got more formal did he realize it was in his interest to get a fancier mouthpiece, one who would scare the DA a bit.

      Joe’s comments that intimated that Dylan had a lawyer that first night was likely puffery. When the sun came out and Dylan had to call his Daddy, my guess is that the boys all played dumb and that Daddy listened to Joe’s suggestion. At that point he likely believed them all. Regardless, with his independent review, he green-lighted Schertler.

      Joe knew that he was not “registered domestic partners” with Dylan and that Dylan “needed” counsel. Also, he might have needed to placate Victor by the public move of keeping the two of them separate. ANY lawyer was going to explain to Dylan that he needed separate counsel. If memory serves, though, the ONLY attorney of the trio who seems to show some separation from Joe/Bernie is indeed Victor’s counsel (hired after the first round). He MUST be telling Victor that it’s time to distance himself legally from Joe and Dylan (insert prayers).

  9. Clio
    08/24/2009 at 6:12 PM

    What could have Joe been talking about with his younger brother Michael that night? Choice of attorneys, heartfelt condolences or, somewhat more likely, covert confirmation of the cover-up’s “success?”

    I very much doubt that plebeian Michael knew Schertler or any other members of Schertler’s “boutique.” Go Mama Go, indeed!

    • Bea
      08/24/2009 at 8:05 PM

      My guess is that he had Michael scouring around to see if Dylan was dismissed. I just don’t think he’d have given the ne’er-do-well any serious tasks like evidence disposal – it was confirmed when Michael botched the robbery that was committed with a key and the security code! I, too, doubt he told Michael to call Schertler.

  10. Clio
    08/24/2009 at 6:12 PM

    What could have Joe been talking about with his younger brother Michael that night? Choice of attorneys, heartfelt condolences or, somewhat more likely, covert confirmation of the cover-up’s “success?”

    I very much doubt that plebeian Michael knew Schertler or any other members of Schertler’s “boutique.” Go Mama Go, indeed!

    • Bea
      08/24/2009 at 8:05 PM

      My guess is that he had Michael scouring around to see if Dylan was dismissed. I just don’t think he’d have given the ne’er-do-well any serious tasks like evidence disposal – it was confirmed when Michael botched the robbery that was committed with a key and the security code! I, too, doubt he told Michael to call Schertler.

  11. Craig
    08/25/2009 at 2:38 PM

    Bea – I agree but also come back to what one of the XFoxers shared about Michael – He was a frequent visitor of Joe’s at the Arent offices.

    Of course that doesn’t mean Michael had guys like David Schertler or Tom Connolly on his speed-dial….

    • Bea
      08/25/2009 at 6:06 PM

      Yeah, but I think that was for errand-boy stuff (bringing the drugs) the same as the fateful night – agree he didn’t have big-dog-lawyers on speed dial, and PERHAPS Joe was willing to entrust him to make calls for him. But my guess is still having him run/call back and forth to check on Dylan’s status. . .

      • Clio
        08/25/2009 at 10:33 PM

        While/if Michael was only serving as Joe’s messenger that night, I wonder when (or if) he finally realized what had actually transpired? On that score, did he figure it out before the ostensibly better-educated Victor and/or Sarah? Of course, Michael would/could never betray his fellow gay brother/meal ticket, but even he has a brain.

        Did Michael end up with Sarah, Joe, and the rest of the available “gang” members at Cosi’s that following morning? If so, the conversation there must have been engaging for the younger (and lesser) Price.

        • Bea
          08/25/2009 at 11:48 PM

          Someone who posts here knew WHO was at Cosi – can’t remember which poster.

  12. Craig
    08/25/2009 at 2:38 PM

    Bea – I agree but also come back to what one of the XFoxers shared about Michael – He was a frequent visitor of Joe’s at the Arent offices.

    Of course that doesn’t mean Michael had guys like David Schertler or Tom Connolly on his speed-dial….

    • Bea
      08/25/2009 at 6:06 PM

      Yeah, but I think that was for errand-boy stuff (bringing the drugs) the same as the fateful night – agree he didn’t have big-dog-lawyers on speed dial, and PERHAPS Joe was willing to entrust him to make calls for him. But my guess is still having him run/call back and forth to check on Dylan’s status. . .

      • Clio
        08/25/2009 at 10:33 PM

        While/if Michael was only serving as Joe’s messenger that night, I wonder when (or if) he finally realized what had actually transpired? On that score, did he figure it out before the ostensibly better-educated Victor and/or Sarah? Of course, Michael would/could never betray his fellow gay brother/meal ticket, but even he has a brain.

        Did Michael end up with Sarah, Joe, and the rest of the available “gang” members at Cosi’s that following morning? If so, the conversation there must have been engaging for the younger (and lesser) Price.

        • Bea
          08/25/2009 at 11:48 PM

          Someone who posts here knew WHO was at Cosi – can’t remember which poster.

  13. Craig
    08/26/2009 at 10:44 AM

    Bea – I’ll try and track down that comment.

    I recall that months ago someone said a mysterious florist who also lived on Swann overheard some of the conversation at Cosi that morning.

  14. Craig
    08/26/2009 at 10:44 AM

    Bea – I’ll try and track down that comment.

    I recall that months ago someone said a mysterious florist who also lived on Swann overheard some of the conversation at Cosi that morning.

  15. Themis
    08/26/2009 at 12:17 PM

    Based upon my experience in the hinterlands (the world beyond D.C.), even the best lawyers can be contacted in the middle of the night. If not directly, then through others. A few years ago, my mentor, who sadly has passed away, received a 3AM call to work on a case that was in the national media for months. Really good attorneys make themselves available for “the case” regardless of the media market in which they practice. Caller ID can work wonders.

    A lot of attorneys and intelligent laymen alike, and I’m talking genuinely genius laymen, speak to the cops without a lawyer because they think that they are way smarter than the cops. It is usually, though not always, their downfall.

    But to play devil’s advocate, if the three had lawyered up immediately, how many here would be saying that is a sure sign that they are guilty?

    One of the best tidbits I ever learned as a public defender came from one of my investigators, a former probation officer. People generally have little problem remembering the truth if their memory is intact. Over time, it becomes much more difficult for a person to remember a lie. As often as not, they cannot remember the lie that was told.

    Just because you know the law doesn’t mean you know people–or yourself for that matter. And just as I know just enough civil law to get me into trouble, many civil practitioners know just enough about criminal law to do the same. There are some attorneys that know and do both, but that’s one of the things that makes them great.

    • CDinDC
      08/26/2009 at 12:56 PM

      Themis, here’s a scenario for you….tell me what you think.

      I suggested a week or so ago that possibly Sarah “lawyered up” not because she knew something about this crime, but perhaps PRIOR criminal activity.

      Maybe Sarah was aware of criminal activity either by direct knowledge (have witnessed something), or by being told (dinner conversation), or by overhearing something.

      For fear of repercussions…..maybe she provided drugs to the defendants…….she contacted counsel to help guide her to a proper resolution of her “involvement” in BOTH events. Maybe she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be criminally responsible for anything.

      What are your thoughts on such a scenario?

      • CDinDC
        08/26/2009 at 12:58 PM

        Also, re contacting Schertler, both Joe and Schertler are UVA alum. Maybe a mutual alum hooked them up.

      • Themis
        08/26/2009 at 1:19 PM

        Under federal law, Sarah might be guilty of misprision of a felony if she actively aided in the concealment of a felony drug offense. Don’t know if D.C. Code still recognizes misprision. Most jurisdictions don’t.

        If she provided drugs, she is guilty of distribution, the penalty of which depends upon the type and amount of the drug. If she did so, and knew or should have know that the drugs would be supplied to a person without her knowledge or consent, she would be guilty of conspiracy. What the object of the conspiracy would be in charging documents is not as clear. (I would love to be able to use my “q” if only my laptop allowed; so goes the priorities of a PD). So many facts are unknown to hazard a guess as to what her legal liability might be.

        If I were her attorney, and she knew anything, I wouldn’t try to walk her on the assumption the others would be acquitted, I’d be negotiating a deal with the DA and referring her to someone who could advise her about a publishing/appearance deal.

        That said, I do think “things” were deposited in her apartment, that her apartment was not immediately searched by cadaver dogs, and that “someone” removed those things from her apartment.

        I remarked earlier that I thought the knife looked like a Wusthof Grand Prix, and someone, I think you CD, said it was referred to as a tranchier in the affidavit. Unfortunately, in so many ways, tranchier generally refers to a “carving” knife. I know of no company that produces well-made knives under the name of tranchier. (Like so many attorneys, I am a wannabe chef).

        I don’t know who could or would have removed items from the basement apartment. I try to be as neutral as I can regarding guilt and involvement given the fact I have always represented indigent criminal defendants and know the impact that public comments can have.

        However, I believe that it happened and that the PD was clueless. As I mentioned earlier, the only search warrant to mention the basement apartment specifically issued a couple weeks after Robert was murdered. As a former assistant capital defender, I find that significant.

        • Craig
          08/26/2009 at 4:33 PM

          Themis – One of the search warrant docs for ‘sexually explicit items’ at 1509 (on page 10) mentioned “trace blood evidence… on the inside door going to the basement apartment from the kitchen area.”

          It was issued Aug. 7 and executed on the 10th. One would assume the police would’ve looked at the basement unit (Sarah’s) because of what they found on the door. Bad assumption maybe.

          The warrant also authorized looking for “…documents that reflect the relationship between all of the occupants of this house.”

          Wouldn’t “all” include Sarah?

          • CDinDC
            08/26/2009 at 4:56 PM

            If it was going into the basement apartment it was probably strawberry syrup.

        • AnnaZed
          08/26/2009 at 4:58 PM

          Are the pictures on the upper left and right of the site intended to be pictures of the knife that police believe was used in this crime? If so, that is a boning knife (not a tranchier, if it is used as a generic term).

          Solingen makes what they call a Zwilling Solingen – Tranchier-Set:

          http://www.knives-from-solingen.com/shop/artikel/a1832.htm

          If was wondering about this.

          but that knife looks different.

          • CDinDC
            08/26/2009 at 5:23 PM

            That was the planted knife. The “tranchier set” was removed from Dylan’s room.

            • AnnaZed
              08/26/2009 at 5:41 PM

              Well then somebody’s *”culinary expertise” went straight out of the window when they substituted that knife. A boning knife (as you can see from the picture) has a distinctive curve to it. A tranchier knife is a carving knife like one might use on a turkey with a longer wider blade, and a tranchier set is a knife and a long pronged fork for holding meat in place while one carves.

              Even the most cursory watcher of TV crime shows would know that these knives wouldn’t make even similar types of wounds.

              As an aside, I do wonder why Dylan kept his knife set squirreled away in his room.

              *just a note for clarity ~ I in no way believe that extensive study of the culinary arts prepares one for special expertise in murder or predisposition to use knives in ways not intended by the manufacturer.

        • AnnaZed
          08/26/2009 at 5:09 PM

          Can it possibly be that the police did not search Sarah’s apartment?

          I am afraid that sounds like a real possibility. In which case taking the incriminating evidence and hiding it there to be removed later ~ which sounds like an absurd and plain stupid plan ~ just might have worked.

          Incredible.

  16. Themis
    08/26/2009 at 12:17 PM

    Based upon my experience in the hinterlands (the world beyond D.C.), even the best lawyers can be contacted in the middle of the night. If not directly, then through others. A few years ago, my mentor, who sadly has passed away, received a 3AM call to work on a case that was in the national media for months. Really good attorneys make themselves available for “the case” regardless of the media market in which they practice. Caller ID can work wonders.

    A lot of attorneys and intelligent laymen alike, and I’m talking genuinely genius laymen, speak to the cops without a lawyer because they think that they are way smarter than the cops. It is usually, though not always, their downfall.

    But to play devil’s advocate, if the three had lawyered up immediately, how many here would be saying that is a sure sign that they are guilty?

    One of the best tidbits I ever learned as a public defender came from one of my investigators, a former probation officer. People generally have little problem remembering the truth if their memory is intact. Over time, it becomes much more difficult for a person to remember a lie. As often as not, they cannot remember the lie that was told.

    Just because you know the law doesn’t mean you know people–or yourself for that matter. And just as I know just enough civil law to get me into trouble, many civil practitioners know just enough about criminal law to do the same. There are some attorneys that know and do both, but that’s one of the things that makes them great.

    • CDinDC
      08/26/2009 at 12:56 PM

      Themis, here’s a scenario for you….tell me what you think.

      I suggested a week or so ago that possibly Sarah “lawyered up” not because she knew something about this crime, but perhaps PRIOR criminal activity.

      Maybe Sarah was aware of criminal activity either by direct knowledge (have witnessed something), or by being told (dinner conversation), or by overhearing something.

      For fear of repercussions…..maybe she provided drugs to the defendants…….she contacted counsel to help guide her to a proper resolution of her “involvement” in BOTH events. Maybe she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be criminally responsible for anything.

      What are your thoughts on such a scenario?

      • CDinDC
        08/26/2009 at 12:58 PM

        Also, re contacting Schertler, both Joe and Schertler are UVA alum. Maybe a mutual alum hooked them up.

      • Themis
        08/26/2009 at 1:19 PM

        Under federal law, Sarah might be guilty of misprision of a felony if she actively aided in the concealment of a felony drug offense. Don’t know if D.C. Code still recognizes misprision. Most jurisdictions don’t.

        If she provided drugs, she is guilty of distribution, the penalty of which depends upon the type and amount of the drug. If she did so, and knew or should have know that the drugs would be supplied to a person without her knowledge or consent, she would be guilty of conspiracy. What the object of the conspiracy would be in charging documents is not as clear. (I would love to be able to use my “q” if only my laptop allowed; so goes the priorities of a PD). So many facts are unknown to hazard a guess as to what her legal liability might be.

        If I were her attorney, and she knew anything, I wouldn’t try to walk her on the assumption the others would be acquitted, I’d be negotiating a deal with the DA and referring her to someone who could advise her about a publishing/appearance deal.

        That said, I do think “things” were deposited in her apartment, that her apartment was not immediately searched by cadaver dogs, and that “someone” removed those things from her apartment.

        I remarked earlier that I thought the knife looked like a Wusthof Grand Prix, and someone, I think you CD, said it was referred to as a tranchier in the affidavit. Unfortunately, in so many ways, tranchier generally refers to a “carving” knife. I know of no company that produces well-made knives under the name of tranchier. (Like so many attorneys, I am a wannabe chef).

        I don’t know who could or would have removed items from the basement apartment. I try to be as neutral as I can regarding guilt and involvement given the fact I have always represented indigent criminal defendants and know the impact that public comments can have.

        However, I believe that it happened and that the PD was clueless. As I mentioned earlier, the only search warrant to mention the basement apartment specifically issued a couple weeks after Robert was murdered. As a former assistant capital defender, I find that significant.

        • Craig
          08/26/2009 at 4:33 PM

          Themis – One of the search warrant docs for ‘sexually explicit items’ at 1509 (on page 10) mentioned “trace blood evidence… on the inside door going to the basement apartment from the kitchen area.”

          It was issued Aug. 7 and executed on the 10th. One would assume the police would’ve looked at the basement unit (Sarah’s) because of what they found on the door. Bad assumption maybe.

          The warrant also authorized looking for “…documents that reflect the relationship between all of the occupants of this house.”

          Wouldn’t “all” include Sarah?

          • CDinDC
            08/26/2009 at 4:56 PM

            If it was going into the basement apartment it was probably strawberry syrup.

            • Bea
              08/26/2009 at 9:07 PM

              I spit on my keyboard. I know it’s just plain awful (apologies all ’round) but it set me off after a strange day at work.

              • CDinDC
                08/26/2009 at 10:25 PM

                Set you off in a good or bad way, Bea? I hope I didn’t offend. I’m sorry if I did.

                • Bea
                  08/28/2009 at 10:48 PM

                  Hilarious! Tacky, but hilarious!

            • Mike
              08/27/2009 at 8:34 PM

              You’re great, CD! What this blog needs more of is humor.

        • AnnaZed
          08/26/2009 at 4:58 PM

          Are the pictures on the upper left and right of the site intended to be pictures of the knife that police believe was used in this crime? If so, that is a boning knife (not a tranchier, if it is used as a generic term).

          Solingen makes what they call a Zwilling Solingen – Tranchier-Set:

          http://www.knives-from-solingen.com/shop/artikel/a1832.htm

          If was wondering about this.

          but that knife looks different.

          • CDinDC
            08/26/2009 at 5:23 PM

            That was the planted knife. The “tranchier set” was removed from Dylan’s room.

            • AnnaZed
              08/26/2009 at 5:41 PM

              Well then somebody’s *”culinary expertise” went straight out of the window when they substituted that knife. A boning knife (as you can see from the picture) has a distinctive curve to it. A tranchier knife is a carving knife like one might use on a turkey with a longer wider blade, and a tranchier set is a knife and a long pronged fork for holding meat in place while one carves.

              Even the most cursory watcher of TV crime shows would know that these knives wouldn’t make even similar types of wounds.

              As an aside, I do wonder why Dylan kept his knife set squirreled away in his room.

              *just a note for clarity ~ I in no way believe that extensive study of the culinary arts prepares one for special expertise in murder or predisposition to use knives in ways not intended by the manufacturer.

        • AnnaZed
          08/26/2009 at 5:09 PM

          Can it possibly be that the police did not search Sarah’s apartment?

          I am afraid that sounds like a real possibility. In which case taking the incriminating evidence and hiding it there to be removed later ~ which sounds like an absurd and plain stupid plan ~ just might have worked.

          Incredible.

          • BenFranklin
            12/09/2009 at 6:36 PM

            AZ,

            OMG!!!

            Is this really possible? This is one of the details that puzzles me most–where’s the missing stuff?

            Incredible!

            (still reading….)
            Ben

            • CDinDC
              12/10/2009 at 9:56 AM

              Any missing “stuff” could easily have been deposited in a garbage can a block away. The police don’t do an automatic search of every trash can in the area when there has been a burglary/murder.

              Sarah’s apartment may have been covered in the search warrant for 1509 Swann Street. Wonder if they needed a separate warrant for Sarah’s apt since is part of 1509.

              • BenFranklin
                12/10/2009 at 12:10 PM

                CD,

                Are trash cans in that part of town always outside & accessible to the public or are cans only taken outside only on pick-up day(s)?

                Was Aug 3, 2006 a trash pick-up day?

                It’s before midnight in the middle of a city with traffic & security cams & neighbors still awake & about. Do you think they would take the chance of running to a trash can a block away?

                A separate search warrant for the basement unit would not be necessary since it is accessible from inside the main house.

                Ben

                • David
                  12/10/2009 at 12:46 PM

                  Ben and CD,

                  If you go to the “Legal Documents” tab, under the Search Warrant affidavits you will notice that a seperate search warrant was approved for the basement apartment on August 7, and executed on August 10.

                  Ben, as to your comment that “It’s before midnight in the middle of a city with traffic & security cams & neighbors still awake & about,” the back of Swann Street house is a rather dark alley, especially by midnight. It is not well lit. It is not highly traveled. Swann Street itself is a rather quiet street. Things could easily have been disposed of at that time and that place without detection.

                  David, co-ed.

                  • BenFranklin
                    12/10/2009 at 2:35 PM

                    Thanks David,

                    Did the Swann Street residents have access to their house after the murder before the search warrants were executed on August 10?

                    Ben

                  • CDinDC
                    12/10/2009 at 6:36 PM

                    Exactly, David.

                    A block of row house in dupont circle (or any part of the city for that matter), usually has an alley that runs between the backs of the houses. Some people keep their cans out all the time.

                    The alley that runs behind where my partner lives has 2 dumpsters for condo buildings and many cans that are accessible to anyone walking by.

                    Ben, have you ever lived in a city environment (DC)? I’ve lived in and out of the city for years. Unless I am standing by a window I never see anyone. And contrary to popular belief, it’s can be quiet as a church and you don’t hear a thing. I don’t know how many times my suburban frieds would say “how can you stand it? It’s so busy and noisey.” It’s not Times Square.

                    • BenFranklin
                      12/10/2009 at 8:58 PM

                      CD,
                      I know the neighborhood well-I lived on Prospect in Gtown & on P Street, both without rear-alley off-street parking.

                      I live peacefully in the middle of a city now.

                      Do you know if the Swann Street residents had unescorted access to their house after the murder before the search warrants were executed on August 10 or 12?

                      Thanks,
                      Ben

  17. CDinDC
    08/26/2009 at 4:18 PM

    Themis: “I think you CD, said it was referred to as a tranchier in the affidavit.”

    Yes, Themis, that was me. It was referred to as a “tranchier set” in the search warrant documents.

    I’m a fan of Victorinox knives. You have to sharpen them a little more than I like, but they have really comfortable contoured handles which I love.

    • Themis
      08/26/2009 at 6:19 PM

      I think that the police had the authority to search the basement apartment, but I still have the gut feeling that they didn’t initially. The search warrant that was specifically for Sarah’s apartment was executed on the l2th if I remember correctly. (My one key doesn’t work either). Can’t remember when it was sworn out. When one/all of the trio files motions to suppress, this will be an issue. And, trust me, suppression motions will be filed for a host of reasons.

      On a personal note, I have applied for my first non-PD job with an organization that seeks to identify and exonerate the wrongfully convicted (and identify the true perpetrator in the process). I am a huge believer in positive energy, so please keep me in your thoughts. I think Robert would have been supportive.

      • CDinDC
        08/26/2009 at 8:12 PM

        That’s awesome, Themis. Good luck to you!

  18. CDinDC
    08/26/2009 at 4:18 PM

    Themis: “I think you CD, said it was referred to as a tranchier in the affidavit.”

    Yes, Themis, that was me. It was referred to as a “tranchier set” in the search warrant documents.

    I’m a fan of Victorinox knives. You have to sharpen them a little more than I like, but they have really comfortable contoured handles which I love.

    • Themis
      08/26/2009 at 6:19 PM

      I think that the police had the authority to search the basement apartment, but I still have the gut feeling that they didn’t initially. The search warrant that was specifically for Sarah’s apartment was executed on the l2th if I remember correctly. (My one key doesn’t work either). Can’t remember when it was sworn out. When one/all of the trio files motions to suppress, this will be an issue. And, trust me, suppression motions will be filed for a host of reasons.

      On a personal note, I have applied for my first non-PD job with an organization that seeks to identify and exonerate the wrongfully convicted (and identify the true perpetrator in the process). I am a huge believer in positive energy, so please keep me in your thoughts. I think Robert would have been supportive.

      • CDinDC
        08/26/2009 at 8:12 PM

        That’s awesome, Themis. Good luck to you!

        • Themis
          08/26/2009 at 9:55 PM

          Thanks, CD.

          I have nothing against those (including attorneys) who make lots of money. Their generosity funds a great deal of work, including work I have done in the past.

          But, as a personal matter, I have always thought the best that I could do is represent society’s castaways and attempt to keep the system honest. Doing exoneraton work would be dream come true.

          Then again, given my “southern white trash” upbringing (to include residence in many trailer parks with the occasional carney neighbors), I probably could not have made it in a white shoe firm regardless. Few partners could make greens with fatback or biscuits and gravy the way I can.

          Some create their destiny; others follow it. Which is to be most admired is a matter of time, circumstances, perspective and philosophy.

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