Pink Paper Ponders Paralytics
The piece by longtime Blade scribe Lou Chibbaro was filed on September 25, but didn’t hit the print edition until this week, the paper’s Local Briefs section of the October 2 issue.
The page 6 story had this headline:
Flap over Paralytic Drug Surfaces in Wone Case.
Chibbaro’s lede cuts to the chase: Judge Frederick Weisberg’s reluctance to allow the prosecution to introduce their theory that Robert was drugged by injection before he was stabbed to death. The US Attorney’s office has long held this idea to be a key piece of their strategy in prosecuting the case: drugging and a sexual assault preceded the murder.
How this theory may impact the trial on conspiracy, obstruction and tampering charges against Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky has long been a topic of discussion on these pages.
Whether it even survives by the time Judge Weisberg gavels the May 2010 trial into session remains up in the air. We may have a better indication by the next status hearing on November 6th, not the 13th as indicated in the article.
The full piece after the jump.
Flap over Paralytic Drug Surfaces in Wone Case
Judge likely to require more evidence in murder theory
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. Sep. 25, 2009
A judge told prosecutors in the Robert Wone murder case that he’s “reluctant” to allow the government to introduce at trial its theory that someone injected Wone with a paralytic drug before stabbing him to death inside three gay men’s home in August 2006.
During a Sept. 11 status hearing, D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg said he would likely require the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, to come up with more evidence to support its paralytic drug theory before he would allow it to be raised at trial.
The trial, set for May, will determine the guilt or innocence of Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward, who are charged with obstruction of justice, evidence tampering and conspiracy in connection with Wone’s death. Police said they found Wone stabbed to death in a second floor bedroom of the Swann Street, N.W., townhouse where the three gay men lived at the time of the murder. No one has been charged with murder.
The men have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have said an intruder killed Wone as he spent the night at their home after working late at his downtown office. Wone, who was married and identified as straight, was a longtime friend of Price.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Martin, one of the prosecutors in the case, told Weisberg the government has presented sufficient evidence from an autopsy report that precise knife wounds on Wone’s chest could not have been made without Wone having been immobilized by a drug.
But attorneys representing the three gay defendants said the government is not providing the defense with the evidence needed to mount an adequate defense and called on the judge to order the government to turn over its evidence.
Weisberg scheduled a follow-up hearing for Nov. 13.
Our thanks to Lou and the Blade staff for continuing to follow the case.