Blood Sport

Durham’s statement sheds new light on blood found in Robert’s duodenum

Diane Durham’s statement that the defendants found Robert on the first floor, and Gary Reals’ reporting that the body may have been moved twice, together make a compelling reason to re-examine the evidence and conclusions reached by the medical examiner.  Both Durham’s and Reals’ statements contradict what the defendants said later that evening at the Violent Crimes Branch in Anacostia.

Duodenum

Duodenum

The new information leads us to reconsider the medical examiner’s report about the condition of the body, particularly the amount of the blood found in Robert’s duodenum.

The affidavit reads:

“Notably, blood had filled Mr. Wone’s intestine a distance of two feet down from duodenum (where the stomach attaches to the intestine.)  This finding indicates that Mr. Wone was alive for a considerable period of time after he was stabbed, as his digestive system continued to operate, forcing blood into his intestine (in other words, he was digesting his own blood.”

A physician who comments regularly on WMRW.com, WH, wrote the following before the Durham statement had surfaced (emphasis added):

“I am a physician, but not in any of the specialties related to these questions. However, I can comment on a couple things. The movement of blood from the stomach through the duodenum for two feet would not necessarily require him to live for a “long time” after being stabbed – particularly if some drugs he was given may have relaxed his pyloric sphincter and allowed blood to flow into his duodenum.

Then it would take only gravity, and Robert was likely moved around enough after his death (to the shower, or outdoors, or wherever one imagines) that his torso would have been held in a vertical position which would promote flow of blood into the duodenum. Blood mixed with stomach acid/bile would not clot as quickly, promoting this movement further. So I would not necessarily conclude that poor Robert lived for a very long time after he was stabbed.”

Diane Durham’s statement reads:

Underwear guy said the victim was at the patio door bleeding, they opened the door, took him upstairs and laid him on the bed.

There is agreement, then, between WH’s comment and Officer Durham’s statement:  it may not have been that Robert was alive for so long after being stabbed, but rather that his body was vertical for a portion of that time, which would have increased the blood flow in the duodenum.

The defendants’ testimony stated that Robert was found horizontal on the fold-out bed in the second floor guest room.  Joe Price and Victor Zaborsky claimed they heard “low grunts” from downstairs and immediately responded. Their testimony gave no indication that Robert had become vertical after being stabbed, because he was found in the bed. This testimony could have led the medical examiner to conclude that Robert must have lived for a significant period of time after being stabbed, based on the amount of blood found in the duodenum.

However, if Robert had indeed been vertical when stabbed, or his body moved in a vertical position, then the time line would be shortened; blood would flow more quickly into the duodenum, in contrast to the amount of time it would take for blood to reach the duodenum if Robert were horizontal in the bed throughout entire time after being stabbed.

One might conclude that evidence regarding the amount of blood found in Robert’s duodenum is a better fit with Durham’s statement than it is with the defendants’ second statement.

If that is the case, then suddenly the current time line of events, for once, seems to fit the evidence.

– posted by David and Michael

33 comments for “Blood Sport

  1. Nelly
    10/09/2009 at 10:34 AM

    Then what of the early EMT reports in the media that said RW’s wounds appeared to be about an hour-old by the time they got there?

    • David
      10/09/2009 at 11:15 AM

      Nelly,

      Good point. The blood in duodenum doesn’t solve that part of the puzzle. I am wondering if the body was cleaned and that made the wounds look older than if they were freshly bleeding.

      Medical eagles, any help here?

      David, co-ed.

    • John Grisham
      10/11/2009 at 11:26 PM

      Forests, nil,

      Trees, one.

      • Nelly
        10/12/2009 at 11:17 PM

        The EMTs, having seen lots of victims in various bloody states, should be able to rely on their experience and training in guessing the age of wounds. Even as laypeople, we can see that a bright red bloody stain is ‘fresher’ than a congealed, drying, brownish blood stain.

        Also, let’s remember that there were signs that Robert Wone had been suffocated (petechiae in his eyes). This would not mesh with Joe’s story that he had been attacked outside the back door and the defendants brought him in and upstairs. The shape and direction of the wounds also would not be consistent with the victim being stabbed while upright.

        • CDinDC
          10/13/2009 at 2:12 PM

          Nelly says: “The shape and direction of the wounds also would not be consistent with the victim being stabbed while upright.”

          I think the wounds are consistent with being stabbed behind (or over the shoulder) in some fashion. Seated?

          The wounds were “upside down,” so to speak. If the wounds were applied from the front while facing Robert, the assailant would have had to have been holding the knfe upside down in his hand. The sharp edge up. Completely unnatural to handle the knife like that.

          • Perplexed
            10/24/2009 at 6:25 PM

            I think it is actually consistent. If the wounds were upside down (sharp side up) and he was considered to be vertical when stabbed for blood to reside in the duodenum, there’s another plausible reason. He could have been seated outside on the patio when he was stabbed. If they were outside when this transpired or was brought outside so they could wash him down quickly when needed, it would make sense to seat him and stab from behind and wash the blood right away. It might explain why he was not cleaned b/t his thighs, etc….

  2. CDinDC
    10/09/2009 at 11:54 AM

    Great post, David and Michael.

    Another aspect of Robert not living long after being stabbed, is that blood lose is directly affected by a beating heart. If the heart stops beating, the blood will stop pumping (i.e., blood will stop flowing from the wounds.)

    So, any blood that may have come out of the wounds and have been dispersed around the house would have resulted in his body being manipulated and moved around.

    So the lack of blood in the guestroom would indicate that Robert was brought into the guestroom AFTER he died. There was no heart beat to push blood out of the wounds. And the mild compression Joe was performing on Robert’s body wasn’t enough to cause large amounts of blood to come out.

  3. AnnaZed
    10/09/2009 at 2:00 PM

    I thought we established that Joe wasn’t even applying mild compression to Robert’s wounds (contrary to what Victor was telling the EMS dispatcher). I thought it was pretty much established that underwear guy wasn’t attending his mortally wounded friend in any way unless you call fabricating evidence and theatrically staging his body attending him. I thought that the scant blood on the towel pretty much ruled out any actual efforts to stanch Robert’s bleeding by Joe or anyone. So, that would go further to support the contention that Robert was stabbed elsewhere, tidied somehow (washed) then moved as you say being vertical for sometime then lastly horizontal. Damning if provable, but I would imagine hard to prove.

  4. galoon
    10/09/2009 at 2:38 PM

    One of the emergency responders noted that one of the stab wounds appeared to be a gaping hole. I think the medical examiner noted this as well. I’ve wondered if that was the first stab wound and if that depression in the wound was from applied pressure. Wonder too where that towel(s) is now.

    • CDinDC
      10/09/2009 at 3:11 PM

      If Robert wasn’t actively bleeding there would not have been a lot of blood to stanch in the guestroom. He was probably dead when placed in the room.

      And as AnnaZed reminded me, it didn’t appear that compression was applied by Joe.

      There WAS a trickle of blood that dropped to the bed, but that could have occured when placing Robert on the bed. And that trickle probably would have been disturbed if compression had occurred.

  5. Bea
    10/09/2009 at 2:45 PM

    Okay, showing ignorance, but how much blood would he have lost? And how much does a duodenum hold? I am prepared to look at that volume with water in my kitchen. I need the visual.

    • CDinDC
      10/09/2009 at 3:21 PM

      Wow. That would probably be hard to quantify, Bea. Seems like you’d need to know how much blood was left in Robert’s body, and how much blood he lost while alive and/or how much he lost while being moved around multiple times.

      • Bea
        10/09/2009 at 4:13 PM

        But there has to be an “average” amount of blood that a 5’6, 140 lb. man would “lose” when stabbed to death. If the average adult man has 10 pints of blood, how much would ordinarily leave his body in a stabbing death? Just to hazard a guess of 3 pints (and that may be way too much or too little), that’s still a considerable amount to be “missing”.

        • Craig
          10/09/2009 at 4:26 PM

          I wonder if that’s in the M.E.’s records – assuming her notes were that thorough – of how much blood was left in poor Robert when she saw him.

          Simple math I guess: Does the amount Goslinoski measured + amount recovered from the scene (bed, towels, etc.) = 10 pints?

        • CDinDC
          10/09/2009 at 5:04 PM

          Bea, I just checked the handy dandy Grey’s Anatomy online.

          This may help in “volumizing” the contents of Robert’s duodenum.

          The first section of the duodenum is about 12 inches long and about 2 or so inches in diameter. The second section is much longer, but we’re only interested in another 12 inches of the small intestine track…..that section is a bit thinner (1.5 inches or so).

          So, the unscientific approach…..those dimensions are more or less the width of a garden hose (a little wider). If you cut to twelve inch sections of garden hose and dump the contents into a glass, you’re not gonna get much. Sooooo, total guestimation…..less than 8 oz or so of blood in the duodenum?

          • Bea
            10/09/2009 at 7:10 PM

            Craig and CD – it does seem like something the prosecution would present. Very easy for the jury: the M.E. testifies that blood volume remaining in Mr. Wone’s body was X pints (including the 8 oz. in his duodenum), so X pints should have been found on the scene. Officer Smart testifies that the amount of blood found (on the sheets) would have been X ounces. Where are the remaining pints? I know it’s very rudimentary and very elementary, but juries “get” this stuff in very visceral ways. “Intruders” don’t take the blood with them.

            • AnnaZed
              10/09/2009 at 7:35 PM

              Why do I have the terrible creeping suspicion that the ME did no such test and didn’t record any such information making your elegant and demonstrative evidence by way of lack of evidence (the tell-tale missing pints of blood) unlikely to be presented that way, alas.

              Maybe I am just being cynical. I hope so.

              • Clio
                10/09/2009 at 7:45 PM

                I hope so, too. Even this historian understood the above simple math that does NOT add up for the defense. Dr. G., don’t blow this one!

                • Bea
                  10/09/2009 at 8:12 PM

                  Crossing fingers.

                  It has such great visual impact on a jury. And kind of hard to rebut.

                  • CDinDC
                    10/09/2009 at 9:42 PM

                    🙁

                    I wasn’t able to find a procedures manual for the DC Medical Examiner’s Office, so I referred to the “Forensic Autopsy Performance Standards” which is a publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners and there is no mention of any kind of standard procedure for collecting and measuring blood volume. It’s standard procedure to remove and weigh specific organs such as the brain, heart, etc., but no blood volume standard.

                    • Clio
                      10/09/2009 at 10:28 PM

                      Sigh! And, Dr. G. does not strike me, from press reports, to be one to think outside the box.

                      Well, at least, we know she did not do the puncture wounds or the semen in the unusual places. The perps did that, Bernie!

                    • Craig
                      10/10/2009 at 12:36 PM

                      Maybe the Government doesn’t even need those exact amounts for a convincing arguement or perhaps a conviction on the tampering charges.

                      Wouldn’t the simple presentation of relatively blood-free bed sheets and towels be enough to plant the seed with the jury that the defendants’ explanations don’t add up?

          • corgivet
            10/11/2009 at 11:05 AM

            Technically and our MD advisor can correct me…the duodenum doesn’t “hold anything…the garden hose analogy is great…except the small intestine can stretch..peristalsis..which is wavelike movement of ingesta pushes food materials through…I just don;t see blood pooling in the duodenum..unless the body was so positioned for gravity to accomplish this…

            • David
              10/11/2009 at 8:03 PM

              So, Corgivet, positioning the body for gravity would be holding it in a vertical position for a period of time. Am I correct in saying that is what you are stating?

              David

            • CDinDC
              10/11/2009 at 11:12 PM

              Corgivet says: “the duodenum doesn’t hold anything”…..my comments about dumping the contents were simply to help Bea grasp an idea of the amount of blood. She wanted to visualize. I was trying to help her.

              Corgivet says: “peristalsis..which is wavelike movement of ingesta pushes food materials through”

              Peristalsis is a function performed only while the body is alive. Peristalis ceases at death. Anything left in the stomach/duodenum/intestines would stop moving forward (downward) upon death.

              • CDinDC
                10/11/2009 at 11:18 PM

                For anyone interested in refering to the July 29, 2009 posting, WH, a physican, and myself had a very lengthy conversation about this very matter. It’s EXTREMELY
                informative. Here’s a snippet:

                WH says: “Peristalsis (the muscle contractions of the intestines which move material through the GI tract) would stop at death or within a few minutes of it; but liquids could easily be moved two feet through the duodenum by a process of cleaning the body which may have involved turning him over once or twice. This likely happened fast, as the blood would have tended to clot in the GI tract (but again, the clotting may not occur as quickly if the blood was diluted by water or other liquids already in the intestines).

  6. CDinDC
    10/09/2009 at 3:02 PM

    Whether he did or didn’t apply pressure, the point of my post was that Robert wasn’t actively bleeding in the guestroom, and it could be deduced that he was never alive in the guestroom, hence he was placed in the guestroom AFTER death.

    • CDinDC
      10/09/2009 at 3:03 PM

      i.e., he was carried around forcing blood into his duodenum.

  7. John Grisham
    10/11/2009 at 11:27 PM

    Forests, nil
    Trees, um

    • Bea
      10/12/2009 at 1:09 AM

      John, you may think we’re wrong to analyze and reanalyze, but it’s the ‘seeds’ of understanding that I’m digging for. I appreciate that you disagree, and think this is pointless, but I find it helpful.

  8. Perplexed
    10/24/2009 at 6:30 PM

    I think also that the analysis keeps wanting to determine the murderer or proof of who murdered or how it was completed, but in reality, the charges that exist are only for conspiracy to conceal a crime (I know it’s not the exact wording, but you know what I mean). I’m finding it difficult also, b/c I don’t want to just analyze it simply through the conspiracy to conceal. Would like to prove how these guys did this, or identify missing facts that would prove it, etc.

  9. Perplexed
    11/22/2009 at 2:00 PM

    A thought just occurred to me. Doesn’t it seem strange that the housemates said they found RW at the patio door, bleeding yet two things don’t jive with this: RW had his mouth guard in and RW had apparently sent an email on his Blackberry to his wife saying he was going to bed…..yet he’s outside at the patio door bleeding…

    • AnnaZed
      11/22/2009 at 3:13 PM

      My own opinion is that the reason this version of events sounds completely implausible is because it is a bald faced lie. That is probably why Joe abandoned it early on for the more Shakespearean versions with himself pulling in bloody knife from Robert’s prone form and staunching his bleeding with a towel. An additional fiction that I am certain that he will come to profoundly regret.

      As to the blackberry messages (not sent); I read on another forum that it is a feature of the blackberry that one can change the time on a message on one’s own blackberry whilst drafting it, but that once sent to sender receives (as it were) in real time with time stamp. I believe that the elves created those misleading messages in full knowledge of this feature, hence they did not send them but in some drug addled logic created them. We will never know about this though (or the jury won’t) due to the incomprehensible Secret Service bungling.

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