Nine News Now, Nine News Then…
Last Thursday afternoon we got a call from Gary Nurenberg, ace reporter from DC’s CBS affiliate, WUSA-TV, channel 9. Gary was working on a piece about the Wone case and wanted to update his audience on recent developments as well as possible failures in the investigation.
Nurenberg had only a minute and half of available airtime and told us that his story would be very matter of fact, cut and dry, and unable to really plumb the depths of the case’s many anomalies and incongruities.
No matter; even 90 seconds is still prized on one of DC’s best 11pm newscasts.
As he and his cameraman were headed out, I asked him about a former colleague of theirs, Gary Reals. A casualty of the shifting economics of journalism, Reals took a buy-out last December, leaving the newsroom he’d been at since 1980.
In trawling through the media archives, we came across an item we hadn’t seen before, a story Reals did in August 2006, a couple weeks after Robert’s murder.
And this one set us back on our heels. MPD Officer Diane Durham’s statement indicates Robert’s body may have been moved that night. Reals’ story takes this concept one step further; Robert’s body may have been moved twice.
Reals’ retirement was WUSA’s loss, and ours too. His piece shows that he had good sources deep inside the MPD.
Few of these items ever worked their way into other press coverage of the crime. Pity; he was onto something, or several somethings. Get a load of these nuggets from his sources:
“… it’s becoming increasingly clear the murder of Robert Wone involves a criminal conspiracy… the attempted clean-up; if not the act of murder itself, involves more than one person.
Detectives estimate those wounds were at least an hour old…the body was moved and then moved again…it is very obvious anyone present inside that row-house would have been aware of the killing and subsequent activity inside such a small dwelling.
…there is no evidence of any other person inside the house that night. The back door was open, we’re told, but not forced open. Detectives suspect it was left open as part of the cover-up.”
Just weeks after the murder, Reals had his MPD sources spilling.
“The clock is the enemy,” Nurenberg told us, apologetic he wasn’t able to offer more time for the piece. And always looming is a breaking news story that could upend a newscast’s planned rundown before airtime. News of David Letterman’s dalliances broke that evening, and Nurenberg emailed to say his piece may have been truncated a bit, but he still would get it on the air.
Before the taping Nurenberg told us that he’d read the op-ed we dropped in the Washington Post to mark the third anniversary of the murder and to catalogue the cavalcade of errors and missteps in the investigation. He’d been carrying the Post piece around in his briefcase since July knowing at some point he’d tackle the Wone murder story.
We’re glad he held onto it. The daily paper: the original mobile news platform.
Reals’ piece aired before WUSA repurposed all their content for the website, but the full script is here:
Conspiracy In Swann Street Murder
Law enforcement sources tell 9NEWS NOW it’s becoming increasingly clear the murder of Robert Wone involves a criminal conspiracy. Multiple sources say, at the very least, the attempted clean-up; if not the act of murder itself, involves more than one person.
When police arrived at the Swann Street row house, Robert Wone’s body was found in a second floor bedroom with three stab wounds. Detectives estimate those wounds were at least an hour old.
In the preceding hour, 9NEWS NOW has learned the body was moved and then moved again. According to sources, the body of the attorney for Radio Free Asia had been moved out of the bedroom where the stabbing occurred. It was then returned to it after the scene had been cleaned.
As we reported Monday, detectives swore in an affidavit that the crime scene had been tampered with and the area where the victim’s body was located had been cleaned.
Three residents of the house were all home at the time of the slaying. Each gave detectives statements. At least one claimed Wone was killed by an intruder. However, police sources say there’s no evidence of a break-in and no evidence of any other person being inside the house that night.
Furthermore, we’re told it is very obvious anyone present inside that row-house would have been aware of the killing and subsequent activity inside such a small dwelling. One official told us “it’s like a sardine can inside.” The owner of the house, Joseph Price is general counsel for Equality Virginia, a gay lobbyist group and a member of the Arent Fox law firm where his office has been searched and his computer seized by homicide detectives.
Price and his two house-mates have retained prominent defense counsels. In a joint statement they tell 9NEWS NOW, “Our clients are devastated by the murder of their dear friend. They’ve cooperated by voluntarily giving extensive statements to the police, telling them unequivocally none of them were involved and are hopeful the authorities will quickly identify and apprehend the intruder responsible.”
Once again, police sources say there is no evidence of any other person inside the house that night. The back door was open, we’re told, but not forced open. Detectives suspect it was left open as part of the cover-up. Finally, we’re told this investigation is likely to take weeks, if not months to unfold before an arrest is made now that so many attorneys are involved.