Hail To The Victor

Is One of the Three Swann Housemates Getting a Free Ride?

There’s a saying in Washington: “The conventional wisdom is always wrong.”

OK, fine for politics.  But does it have a broader relevance?  We wonder.

A conventional wisdom has developed, with some merit, that two of the three Swann Street housemates – Joe Price and Dylan Ward – are somehow more responsible for what happened August 2nd, 2006 than the third.

Hail Roma Victor

Victor Zaborsky

It goes something like this: Joe and Dylan were last with Robert in the kitchen while Victor was “asleep” upstairs.  Joe, Dylan and Robert head up to their beds; a short time later Robert is discovered murdered yet the two last seen with him are incredulous, freshly scrubbed, and unsettlingly unaware of what has happened.   According to several statements, Victor is the first one to break the silence, literally.  His scream shatters the house and the night.

In time a story develops: an intruder committed the crime.  But questions linger.  Perhaps one of the two last seen with Robert – Joe or Dylan – is somehow involved.  Maybe a mistake occurred, or maybe someone as-yet unknown played a role.  Maybe it was premeditated…maybe someone  wanted Robert dead.  Maybe is was Joe.  Or maybe Dylan.

Or maybe, wonders “AnnaZed”…

“Maybe Victor, the seeming “normal” one, is the dark horse roiling with unexpressed rage and resentment and jealousy. One school of thought on sexual role-playing is that it provides healthy release for conflicted sexual urges leaving the practitioner more relaxed, happier for having “played out” the fantasy of domination and infliction of pain. A case could be made that it is Victor as the non-participant in the alt.com games who is the unhealthy one, the one most likely to act out in real-world violence.  Just a thought.”

That’s a thought, alright.

Of all the theories put forward, few if any posit Victor as a prime actor.   He was asleep upstairs, home early from a trip, and didn’t even meet Robert when he arrived that night.  We hear what sounds like genuine anguish in his 9-1-1 call.  Several responding officers note Zaborsky’s emotional state when they arrive, while Joe does the talking and Dylan, apparently, does nothing.

Victor was the charming one, the social one – Joe’s better half.  Victor as indulgent partner, Victor as emotionally abused spouse, Victor as unwitting dupe.  But almost never: Victor as partner in crime.

Why?  Why has Victor become the sympathetic one?  How have none of the theories put Victor in the center role?  Is it possible that he may have been more involved in the events of that night than either Dylan or Joe?  And if not, why not?

If a puzzle doesn’t fit together, one reason might be an overlooked piece.

posted by Doug

109 comments for “Hail To The Victor

  1. Clio
    10/14/2009 at 11:36 AM

    That haunting picture of Victor above comes from either the spring or summer of 2004, and was first printed in the Virginian Pilot, Hampton Roads’ main newspaper, I believe.

    In the picture, Victor is looking, a la Nancy Reagan or Pat Nixon, at Joe giving a political speech in Virginia Beach. A certain Moran was on the dais with Culuket as well, if I recall.

    Thanks to the events of 8/2/06, however, Victor will never get to be the “First Lady” of even the District. So, is putting up with Joe, not to mention Dylan, still worth it?

    • CDinDC
      10/14/2009 at 11:39 AM

      I wonder if the inmates will think Victor is handsome.

      • Clio
        10/14/2009 at 1:20 PM

        Well, if they are enchanted with his relative beauty, then all he has to do may be what another Queen Victoria allegedly said: “lie back and think of England (or, in his case, Tulsa).”

        At any rate, Victor apparently likes bad boys: there are plenty of them in the pokey, of course.

        • Perplexed
          10/24/2009 at 7:29 PM

          I guess I’ve never seen a good pic of Victor. But not to judge a pic, but that doesn’t look like a beaten, subdued or unwitting dupe. If I could see him in motion, it would be easier to cue his non-verbals…..

          • Clio
            10/24/2009 at 7:41 PM

            Plex, on a side note, Victor’s goatee, already graying and out-of-style (at least for urban gay men) in 2004, is now gone.

            There is a far-away shot of him in motion greeting supporters at Moultrie: he seemed to be the belle of that sidewalk ball. Although, it was Dyl who got the bear hug from behind from a rather attractive (from the relatively far-away vantage point) man.

          • Craig
            10/24/2009 at 9:57 PM

            Victor video from September.

            • Bea
              10/24/2009 at 10:46 PM

              Bad goatee or not, he is handsome in the 2004 photo (at least to this dyke) but not so in the recent footage outside the courtroom. Granted, he hasn’t ballooned like Joe, nor become smaller than life like Dylan (or was he always smaller than life), but he looked worn out.

              • CDinDC
                10/24/2009 at 10:54 PM

                I think he was rather dashing looking in his 2004 pic. Very handsome.

                • Clio
                  10/24/2009 at 11:40 PM

                  Yes, his looks have changed, but, from that video, Victor did seem strangely upbeat outside Moultrie that day. Older? Yes. He now looks his age. Tired? Surprisingly, no. Whistling past the graveyards of his career and reputation? Probably.

            • Perplexed
              10/25/2009 at 12:57 PM

              The video’s a little bouncy, but one thing is apparent. VZ is no shrinking lilly, does not interact in a submissive manner. Having personally known and professionally worked with abused spouses/significant others while they are still in the abusive situation, their demeanor is usually very consistently submissive. To explain, you usually see them in backgrounds and not so overtly outgoing – especially when their significant other is nearby. My impression of VZ has changed, and I’m not so willing to accept that he is an unwitting dupe. His body language does not speak to this that I can see thus far – in fact it speaks to a significant measure of confidence. Do I remember correctly that VZ went to work the next day after the murder? Doesn’t really seem so fragile.

              • Craig
                10/25/2009 at 2:14 PM

                Plex – FWIW we hope to have fresh video soon, from the November 6 status hearing.

                • Clio
                  10/25/2009 at 8:30 PM

                  Thanks, Craig.

                  Those videos from September 11 are worth more than a thousand words!

                  I would love to see your men-on-the-street interview supporters of the trouple in attendance, since the Three Stooges themselves have been forbidden to talk to any reporters. Will anyone “come out” to support the intruder theory “on tape”, or will the “closeted” silences continue from Team Price?

          • CDinDC
            10/24/2009 at 10:58 PM

            A person doesn’t need to LOOK abused to be abused. Mental and emotional abuse has no outward signs. And physical abuse is easily covered by…clothing. (I’m not saying victor was physically abused.)

            And a person doesn’t have to be a “dupe” to be abused.

            • CDinDC
              10/24/2009 at 10:59 PM

              Let me try that again…

              Perplexed says: “I guess I’ve never seen a good pic of Victor. But not to judge a pic, but that doesn’t look like a beaten, subdued or unwitting dupe. If I could see him in motion, it would be easier to cue his non-verbals…..”
              A person doesn’t need to LOOK abused to be abused. Mental and emotional abuse has no outward signs. And physical abuse is easily covered by…clothing. (I’m not saying victor was physically abused.)

              And a person doesn’t have to be a “dupe” to be abused.

              • Perplexed
                10/25/2009 at 1:04 PM

                CD there is non verbal communication as well as verbal communication. When a person is abused, it is not completely covered up. A layman may not be able to see it, just as a layman may not be able to see the non verbal language when a person is feeling suicidal, but a trained professional can pick up the cues and incongruence b/t verbal and non verbal communication/body language.

                My initial assumption was based on what people were saying solely. After bringing in more factual evidence (watching VZ), initial assumption has changed. And this may change after being able to view additional video of him or watching him in person – but that’s my own current conclusion at this point.

                • CDinDC
                  10/25/2009 at 3:38 PM


                  I appreciate your comments, however, I am not a “layman” when it comes to spousal abuse. I’m very well aquainted with it on a personal level. Let’s just say I had “hands on” training.

                  I was neither a dupe nor a shrinking lily. Nor was I suicidal. (Not sure why suicidal came up in your previous post. ) My family of relatives, friends and co-workers were clueless to my troubles.

                  I lived in that abusive situation for several years until I was injured in an obvious way. Only then did questions arise.

                  Abuse of any kind is societies dirty little secret. It goes undetected everyday. So, just because Victor doesn’t APPEAR to be abused, and just because you don’t see any indicators in the minutes of video this website has to offer, it certainly doesn’t mean he isn’t.

                  I only wish that spotting abuse was as easy as viewing a video or watching someone walk down the street. But it’s not.

                  • Perplexed
                    10/25/2009 at 5:13 PM

                    I am speaking from professional experience. It is not easy to detect, but it is not invisible either. There are many subtleties that an abuser or an onlooker would not know were there or that they were conveying. Being in an abusive situation is an emotional toll on the abused. I am simply saying, his non verbal cues do not speak to my original perception of him at all. I am not sure we are correct in the original assumption of his role in the relationship. But I agree that it would be helpful to have a lot more footage of him to develop the perception. JP may have been dominant in the rel., but that is very different than VZ being an emotionally abused spouse.

                    • CDinDC
                      10/25/2009 at 5:42 PM

                      I’m speaking from personal experience. It can go completely undetected. Even to a “professional.”

  2. CDinDC
    10/14/2009 at 11:38 AM

    “According to several statements, Victor is the first one to break the silence, literally. His scream shatters the house and the night.”

    Again, something else to be highly suspect. These statements were made by the defendants.

    Did Victor actually scream? I don’t think so. I think it was Robert that screamed out in terror shortly after 11pm when his life was about ready to end. And to the defendants’ horror, someone might have heard.

    “Let’s say Victor screamed,” said Joe.

    • Doug
      10/14/2009 at 8:13 PM

      Questions like this are very important. A scream was heard, but we can’t state with complete knowledge who screamed.
      Another area of question I have is what may seem the most “normal” part of the story: that Robert, Joe and Dylan talked and drank water in the kitchen on his arrival. It just doesn’t make sense…why would friends hang out in the tiny kitchen, standing or sitting uncomfortably when nothing was happening in there, rather than go sit on the couch, or out on the patio? A stay-over was planned in advance and all they do is small talk for a few minutes?
      And if they didn’t chitchat over water, what was happening?
      -Doug, co-editor

      • CDinDC
        10/14/2009 at 9:17 PM

        Re the scream…..DID the defendants say it was Victor that screamed? My mind is foggy on that point. If so, another inconsistency.
        All along they said they “heard a scream” so if they said it was Victor, that is inconsistent.

        Either way, I think it was Robert that screamed and they had to come up with something to work it into their story.

        • Nelly
          10/15/2009 at 7:00 AM

          CD, in general, I agree with your thoughts on what happened that night, but I don’t believe it was Robert who screamed. Remember there were no defensive wounds or signs that he was able to move when the stabbing occurred. So I assume he was already paralyzed by something and would not have been able to scream when stabbed. I think it was Victor who screamed upon seeing the crime scene. All just a guess, of course.

          • CDinDC
            10/15/2009 at 10:47 AM

            Good point, Nelly. Depending on the type of paralytic used, this could be the case.

            My thoughts on this are that paralytics “paralyze” to certain degrees. Ketamine, which I believe was the drug used, doesn’t paralyze in the traditional since (i.e., stiff and/or completely unable to move). Ketamine will render a body very difficult to move by one’s own locomotion. Albeit the person is virtually helpless and could be controlled with little to no effort by another person. Also, a person under the influence of ketamine IS vocal. A paralytic doesn’t necessarily paralyze every part of a human body. Vocal cords will still operate under the influence of ketamine. A person under the influence of ketamine could scream, but they couldn’t defend themselves.

            • des
              10/25/2009 at 2:25 PM

              ok. so my thought now is that if robert was able to scream, why just scream once? i would think he’d be screaming the whole time. “why are you doing this? no!” etc. etc.
              or could it have been from the pain of the stabbing that made him able to really scream?

              • CDinDC
                10/25/2009 at 3:40 PM

                Des says: “so my thought now is that if robert was able to scream, why just scream once?”

                Maybe he died after he screamed.

                • des
                  10/25/2009 at 5:34 PM

                  yes, i agree that could be one possibility.
                  but does the fact that he could scream at all necessarily mean that he could have been screaming/verbalizing the entire time (while being raped/tortured)?
                  or do we not know because we don’t know what he was injected with?
                  i know it’s minutae, but i’m starting to think that it wasn’t robert who screamed.
                  and btw, it is so awful to delve into all of the horrible things that robert went through….just awful what happened to him.

                  • Perplexed
                    10/25/2009 at 5:41 PM

                    I think a lot of us think it wasn’t RW who screamed – simply b/c of the paralytic and that when he was stabbed, he did not move based on the wounds. It has been surmised that it was VZ who screamed when he came downstairs (assuming he wasn’t a part of it) and saw the situation. It has also been posited that it was VZ’s scream that made them change their plan from dumping the body to saying there was an intruder.

                    • CDinDC
                      10/25/2009 at 6:11 PM

                      I posted this recently, so I’ll repost since it seems to be a topic again.

                      Individual paralytics react differently depending on the type of drug and it’s use.

                      Ketamine, which is a drug that may of us have considered to be the drug used that night, does NOT “paralyze” the vocal cords. Nor does it “paralyze” completely. A person using ketamine, depending on the dosage, CAN move. However, if the dosage is high enough they are completely helpless. They would not be able to fend off an attacker. they wouldn’t be able to walk or stand.

                      Ketamine is traditionally an animal “tranquilizer”. It has been known to be used on very large mammals (walruses in particular) to subdue them to perform various procedures such as drawing blood or tagging, etc. It will immobilize them without hampering the pulmonary system.

                      Drugs like this will react on certain body system, but not all. In this case, it acts on the muscular system, but not the vocal cords. Robert would have been able to vocalize. He wouldn’t have been able to converse (he would have been in a very drugged state), but he could vocalize, especially if the drug had started to wear off right before he was stabbed.

                    • Clio
                      10/25/2009 at 6:13 PM

                      John Grisham even posited that it was Miss Morgan who screamed.

                      I think it was Mr. Zaborsky, after he realized the plans for mischief went too far; thanks to the spiked water and injections, Robert never was given the opportunity or dignity to struggle or scream.

          • AnnaZed
            10/23/2009 at 12:39 AM

            Is there an exact time assigned to that scream, like from the neighbor and a television show or something?

            • Bea
              10/23/2009 at 12:50 AM

              During the 11:00 newscast – which I believe was from 11:05-11:35 instead of the typical 11:00-11:30.

              • AnnaZed
                10/23/2009 at 1:05 AM

                Ah, well then to my mind that makes it unlikely that it was Robert who cried out. I believe that Robert was dead or dying by then.

                So, I am back to thinking that it was the lady of the house (not Sarah) that just couldn’t contain herself. I still think though that John made an important conjecture in saying that Victor then reached for his pen.

                After all, as Nietzsche said, “no victor believes in chance.”

                • Clio
                  10/23/2009 at 8:33 AM

                  Thank you, AZ, for that well-chosen quote from another Victorian. LOL!

                • CDinDC
                  10/23/2009 at 11:10 AM

                  I think it could go either way. Personally, I think there IS the possibility that it was Robert that screamed.

                  There are myriad timelines for the acts perpetrated. They could have spent more time downstairs or not. They could have attacked Robert sooner or not. They could have stabbed Robert sooner or not. They could have cleaned up faster or not.

                  If they had begun their attack on Robert sooner than later (10:30-10:45), they would have taken a bit of time to assault him, THEN they would have stabbed him.

                  Don’t forget Robert was allegedly sexually assaulted. You have to figure that time in as well. And if Robert was truly electroejaculated, that doesn’t take that long. So, arrive at 10:30, take 40-45 minutes from onset of the attack to the actual stabbing, could land you squarely around 11:15. Say shortly after 11. Clean up until for 1/2 hour until 11:45. Call 911.

                  It’s all completely possible.

                  • CDinDC
                    10/23/2009 at 11:11 AM

                    Not to mention, Robert may have died instantly. He was stabbed in the heart.

                    • Perplexed
                      10/24/2009 at 7:31 PM

                      I don’t remember any of them saying Victor screamed. I think a lot of us surmised that was the scream the neighbor heard during the newscast…

      • Clio
        10/14/2009 at 9:25 PM

        Doug, I agree on the kitchen chat. The lack of hospitality shown was downright criminal, if nothing else! Robert was staying in town for a stand-up drink of DC tap water in a sardine can, only to be raped and murdered by midnight. These “A-listers” lived differently than you and me, I guess.

      • rumpelstiltskin
        10/14/2009 at 9:46 PM

        Perhaps this speculation is fair, but consider:

        Why would anyone hang-out outside during that hot, hot evening. The records show Aug 2 was a particularly hot and humid day DC, well into the 90s, better to stay inside in the comfort of a/c? See weather records here:

        Why sit in the living room when the kitchen at 1509 Swann St was designed as a sociable living area? (The living room was nice too.) See the tour prepared by Price/Zaborsky’s realtor when it was sold a few years ago:


        What really doesnt add up is spending 5 minutes with a friend who had arranged his affairs to spend a night away from his beloved wife only to see his college roomies for 5 minutes?? C’mon that part of the story is surrounded by a pretty bad smell.

        • CDinDC
          10/14/2009 at 10:15 PM

          What if Robert arrived and said he was really tired and that they could catch up in the morning? Then went upstairs to freshen up for bed and……well, we know the rest.

        • Craig
          10/15/2009 at 12:20 AM

          Stilts – That’s an amazing slideshow. A tremendous find. I’m breathless.

          Please drop us a line by way of the contact email address up top. We need to talk. Seriously.

          PS – And imagine my surprise; Sarah sporting a pair of matching Eames LCWs in her unit. Natural finish too. I’m impressed.

          The recliner in the upstairs room, less so. Likewise the cowhide and the Aeron behind the desk. Too showy.

          • Bea
            10/15/2009 at 2:17 AM

            Was this after Joe/Victor did the renovation post-cops??? Guess they did some changing/staging. No more pull-out bed in the guest room/office.

          • AnnaZed
            10/15/2009 at 2:18 AM

            Now I am completely confused again (though thank you, thank you, thank you rumpelstiltskin ~ where have you been!). Wasn’t Robert killed in that Barcalounger office room? Bit of repurposing went on there I guess. I wonder too about the people who bought this gilded coffee tin.

            • Nelly
              10/15/2009 at 7:10 AM

              It looks more like room #3. Rumpelstiltskin, how did you find this? Thank you. It makes me wonder why the police didn’t arrest the 3 residents immediately given how small the place is & their claim that an intruder killed their dead friend upstairs with hardly any blood splattered. Was that not probable cause? Any criminal law specialists want to share thoughts?

              • CDinDC
                10/15/2009 at 10:17 AM

                Hell….I want to know who their contracter/painter was. Awesome job reconstructing the house after MPD demolition crews had their way with it. You’d never know someone was BRUTALLY murdered in that showroom.

                I imagine a bit of staging went on though. Looks much like any number of homes for sale that have online previews like that.

                • Clio
                  10/15/2009 at 10:57 AM

                  I must say that I adore the added sundeck and its views, and I loved that painting of what I took to be Maria Callas in the parlor. The Kohler fixtures in the master bath: out of this world! The trouple (finally!) did get a better decorator, or maybe Victor took over (again.)

                  Those black granite countertops for the micro-kitchen were/are just too McMansion Lite for me, though.

                  Trivia Questions: When was this townhouse built? Who were its first owners?

                  • Clio
                    10/17/2009 at 10:56 PM

                    From the Trulia real estate site on 1509 Swann:

                    “This is a Multi-Family Home located at 1509 Swann Street Nw, Washington DC. 1509 Swann St Nw has 4 beds, 3 ½ baths, and approximately 2,108 square feet. The property has a lot size of 1,394 square feet and was built in 1886. The average list price for similar homes for sale is $1,544,500 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $1,451,250. 1509 Swann St Nw is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC. The average list price for Dupont Circle is $766,398.”

                    So, if Dupont Circle was first developed in the 1870s and was named after Admiral Dupont in 1882, then 1509 Swann was built after the neighborhood’s first wave of development during our nation’s first Gilded Age. It was only during our second Gilded Age — when the building turned 120 years old — that it became the scene of murder most foul.

                    I guess that 2,100 square feet was considered “elite” in 1886, but, as a Virginian, I find that way too small. I would actually prefer Aunt Marcia’s 1968 ranch house in McLean (even if it may not have much more square feet than 1509 Swann), but that’s just me!

                    • rumpelstiltskin
                      10/18/2009 at 9:16 PM

                      The contractors who remodeled the house post August 2, 2006 were this crowd:
                      http://www.mcconkeykeane.com/profile.html They were around Swann Street for many, many months following repossession of the house from MPD.

                      1509 Swann was sold to Joe/Victor by TTR Sotheby’s (Michael Rankin). I went to an open house back then and can say the layout of the house from the homevisit pictures I posted the other day looks almost identical to when it was purchased back in 2005 (maybe the front room on the second floor was changed to be more like a study than a bedroom).

                    • Perplexed
                      10/24/2009 at 7:35 PM

                      Based on Stilts link, it was around 85 degrees at that time at night……

                    • Clio
                      10/24/2009 at 8:33 PM

                      So, if it was 85 degrees out in the shade, why would any host, even a bad one like Joe, lead his professionally-dressed friend back into that oppressive DC heat and humidity?

                      The patio may have been used, but, not while Mr. Wone was alive.

      • AnnaZed
        10/14/2009 at 10:53 PM

        A part of me has thought it likely that Robert arrived expecting friendly chit-chat only to find some if not all of the house-mates ripped to the gills on party drugs and that one or two of them tactlessly hit on him. A part of me suspects that he gently laughed at them and then beat a hasty retreat to his room enraging someone or someones in ways that he could not have imagined.

  3. CuriousInVa
    10/14/2009 at 12:19 PM

    It is really interesting that we all seem to assume Victor wasn’t involved. I don’t even know why we’ve reached that conclusion so this post gives much to think about.

  4. AnnaZed
    10/14/2009 at 2:10 PM

    Wasn’t Victor freshly scrubbed as well when the police and EMS crews arrived? Wasn’t he described along with the others as being showered and berobed (omitting underwear man)? If you had been woken from a guileless sleep by a suspicious sound in your house and found your friend mortally wounded would you then grab a quick shower?

    I don’t think so.

    Truth is that I haven’t formed a plausible scenario with Victor as the prime mover in this crime but that does not mean that there isn’t one. I was just tossing the notion out there and hoping that better minds might cogitate on it.

    I do think that Victor has been getting a pass on this blog for far too long and I want to thank the person (still can’t remember who, still sorry!) that insisted the he was the most likely script writer of the elves passion play. That caused my mind to review what we know (or at least what I remember) about Victor and ask all assembled here to refocus on him.

    I would call it obvious that at the very, very least he is a criminal in his connivance with the other two to alter the crime scene itself and to misrepresent to course of events leading up to Robert’s death. How else to explain the lies that he told the dispatcher except as central themes of an ongoing conspiracy? Yet what is it about his public persona (none of us actually know him, right?) that invites this characterization of him as innocent, baffled and manipulated by the others? I know that I have participated in this, yet upon review I can’t identify one scintilla of actual evidence (not statements made by the defendants) that places him somehow outside of legitimate scrutiny in this hideous and as yet unsolved crime.

    From his body language he certainly was doing a very convincing Lady-Bracknell-after-the-appearance-of-the-handbag imitation at the recent hearing (a pause to thank our intrepid hosts for that riveting video). He seemed so carefree, so … well … gay(!) Maybe he is far better actor than our friend who posted about his youthful thespian strivings has lead us to suppose though I think it more likely that he has the support of some member of the diazepam family.

    I believe that someone or someones who were known to be present in that house that night murdered Robert. I do not believe that any elves, even Joe’s brother or Ms. Morgan, acted in even a supporting role. We know that some very aggressive tidying took place and we now strongly suspect that poor Robert was manhandled as he was expiring in ways that caused the blood in his chest cavity to migrate suspiciously. These callous, abhorrent and criminal acts remain foremost in my consideration of these events, and for my own part I revoke Victor’s heretofore too easily won pass as to culpability.

    To the Victor go the spoils?

    We’ll see about that.

    • CDinDC
      10/14/2009 at 2:32 PM

      As always, great post AnnaZed.

    • Bea
      10/14/2009 at 2:35 PM

      Beautifully done, AZ. LOVE ‘to the Victor go the spoils’ in particular.

      I’ve always been a rabid supporter of Victor, and I have indeed been ‘cogitating’ on why since last night. I come back to the change in his voice during the 911 call when he says ‘he was stabbed . . . in the chest’. His voice at that moment seems at its most genuine – completely agree that he knew something was rotten in Denmark when he made the call – but that thunk of OMG in his voice still tells me he wasn’t the killer. I know John thinks him the scriptwriter and PR cover-up guy, and that’s certainly possible, though I don’t think he knew the whole story as he was treading lightly with the dispatcher. More vague talk than anything, with some key exculpating words thrown in (which sound more like lawyer Joe, to me, no matter how great a PR guy Victor was/is).

      He’s in deep, that I agree. And I don’t think he’s man enough to disassociate himself from the murderer(s) and, alas, for that he must pay.

      • Clio
        10/14/2009 at 4:33 PM

        Huzzah, AZ! Your reference to Lady Bracknell was particularly well-chosen: using the Victorians to expose Victor — brilliant!

        Victor, though, still strikes me as what the Victorians called “the angel of the house,” the surrogate parent/mother to two bad boys. Joe probably viewed Victor as much more Madonna (in terms of being mother/wife and not the popular singer) than whore/servant (Dylan); the Price bio mom’s name was Vicki, as a little bird has told me. Having said all of that, Victor is “in deep,” as Bea so concisely puts it. Adults in this drama have enabled bad behavior over and over again, and Victor is the real enabler-in-chief, not his Aunt Marcia. Accordingly, Victor as cover-up writer is far more plausible than Victor as the actual assailant. But both roles, of course, are criminal.

      • John Grisham
        10/14/2009 at 6:35 PM

        John remains certain — as albeit an outside bystander — that Victor gave permission for that evening’s events in his home.

        • Bea
          10/14/2009 at 7:17 PM

          Gave permission to murder? Wow.

          • Clio
            10/14/2009 at 8:06 PM

            That premise would mean that Joe had told Victor about Robert’s planned visit well in advance, which is not what is in the affadavit. So, John, in this scenario, Joe was a considerate spouse to Victor, after all, in a sick and twisted way.

            What’s another lie, though, to the trouple?

            Victor greenlighting a rape/murder to keep her wingnut husband (and his sidekick dom) happy? That is really pushing the limits of “stand by your man!”

            • John Grisham
              10/18/2009 at 8:08 PM

              Before Robert’s arrival, none of the household members ever expected that he would eventually be murdered. However, at least three household members certainly anticipated there would soon be a little bit of fun and hanky panky.

              • Clio
                10/19/2009 at 9:50 AM

                Even Victor, John? So, the official story’s downplaying of Victor’s role is because Victor co-authored it in haste with Joe? If so, the lady was really a tramp, too!

                I cannot imagine a wife so devoted to her husband that she would permit such shenanigans to go on in her own house as she slept. A woman can tolerate only so much!

              • Bea
                10/19/2009 at 12:29 PM

                “At least three” anticipated fun and hanky panky – who do you see as the third? Victor or Sarah? Or are you saying you don’t know which but one of them? Trying to follow your line of thought.

                • John Grisham
                  10/19/2009 at 1:32 PM

                  Victor. Sarah hadn’t known about their plans when she stumbled upon the crime scene.

                  • Bea
                    10/19/2009 at 1:59 PM

                    Of course you may be right. It just doesn’t ring true to me that he got home unexpectedly and went to bed early that he “approved” anything except a test balloon that if Robert wanted to “play” the it was okay with him. No different than eliciting tricks from alt.com. But I don’t see Victor “approving” rape or murder.

                    • John Grisham
                      10/19/2009 at 3:18 PM

                      We disagree on the extent of Victor’s involvement, and that’s fine. I hope you are right, that Victor was not as involved as the other two, and that he eventually comes forward. But that doesn’t ring true to me. I don’t see it.

                      I doubt that Victor went to bed early.

                      He probably was never asked to “approve” anything. Just informed broadly about the evening’s plans. And perhaps, once doped up, eventually joined Dilweed and Joseph.

                      As previously stated, “’At least three’ anticipated fun and hanky panky.”

              • Perplexed
                10/24/2009 at 7:39 PM

                I agree John. It also makes Victor’s emphasis in his statements that he didn’t know about RW coming over ahead of time make more sense….what’s the point of emphasizing that…it makes me think he was not a part of the physical deeds, but was aware of what they were planning to do to RW and of what they did after it happened….

  5. AnnaZed
    10/14/2009 at 7:23 PM

    Certain is pretty strong stuff, I rarely partake of it.

    Certain that Victor consented to a plot to incapacitate and sexually assault Robert or certain that Victor was complicit from its inception in a plot to assault and murder Robert?

  6. Clio
    10/15/2009 at 12:21 PM

    Victor may be “roiling with unexpressed rage and resentment” now after having to give up that made-over townhouse for bunking at Aunt Marcia’s, but I doubt that he ever has had a “fantasy of domination and the infliction of pain” (that was strictly Joe’s bag; hence, the need for Little Dyl). So, his saying no to “those reindeer games” in itself did not bubble up to rape and murder on August 2, 2006. Yet, to save his marriage, family, and children, he co-authored (along with hubby Joe) the cover-up of what his boys did to Robert: the tigress protecting her own with a thespian tear and a well-executed gamble (that almost worked.)

  7. Former Crackho
    10/15/2009 at 2:54 PM

    I think because Joe appears to be such an obnoxious jerk its easy to place Victor on the good guy pedistal, but really, who would stay with someone involved in the drug/party scene for any long period of time if they weren’t involved to some extent themselves? Victor is no angel. He just fit in to their “story” in a way that appears to give him less involvement. He could very well have his own alt.com alter-ego out there that we haven’t found yet. And weren’t there signs of drugs in the bedroom he and Joe shared? I guess it makes it seem a little easier for everyone to swallow all of this if we believe that at least one of them has some shred of decency. But that hope doesn’t mean its true.

    And that acrylic chair has to GO.

    • Craig
      10/15/2009 at 4:53 PM

      Has the gravitational pull of the blame game zeroed in on Price and Ward because of their alleged S&M proclivities? Does the S&M factor alone carry a stigma?

      Or is the treasure trove of toys found in the house that helps complete the Government’s torture theory? A case of simply connecting the dots?

      Just askin’

      • CDinDC
        10/15/2009 at 5:43 PM


        For me, it has nothing to do with Joe et al’s S&M proclivities.

        It is Joe’s confirmed personality traits and his drug use that clinch it. Take that narcissistic “I can do whatever I want” behavior and couple that with years of drug abuse (ketamine has been documented to cause violent behavior), and Joe the Attorney could turn into Joe the Murderer.

        Hell, some of the nicest people I’ve ever known in my life like to get their a**es whipped.

        • CDinDC
          10/15/2009 at 5:45 PM

          And before there is a barrage of “what do you mean?” responses, I don’t equate any of those traits or habits to being able to murder someone.

          It’s JOE and HIS traits and habits that make me feel that way.

      • Bea
        10/15/2009 at 5:51 PM

        With noted exceptions, most of us have given Victor the benefit of the doubt on participation in the actual murder, and in my estimation, it’s based on (1) him not allegedly having been scheduled to be there; (2) no one fingering him for even having talked to Robert (bed early); (3) historical/sociological implications of battered-wife/tolerating-mistress/tolerating S&M, and the few posts of him being “the nice one”. Not to belabor, but the sound in his voice when he (finally, it SEEMS) realizes the knife is in Robert’s chest.

        And we can all be wrong – there’s no denying that.

        Joe clearly seems to fit the pattern more – and for me, it’s not the “alt” stuff but the personality of having a mistress AND a nice wife, the blustering jackass know-it-all persona, the “I’ll talk for everyone” thing.

        And we can all be wrong, again. But it comes down to gut reaction based on certain facts/theories. Just sayin’.

        • CDinDC
          10/15/2009 at 6:18 PM

          A big ditto on this.

      • Doug
        10/15/2009 at 5:59 PM

        A provocative thought, Craig. One worth considering.
        -Doug, co-editor

        • Craig
          10/15/2009 at 6:11 PM

          These are exactly the sort of reasoned responses I was hoping for. Love to all!

          • Bea
            10/15/2009 at 7:15 PM

            Always good to reevaluate.

  8. Clio
    10/15/2009 at 7:18 PM

    Craig, the S&M activities found on the computers and at alt.com as well as those implied by Little Dyl’s devices and toys go far beyond the Stand & Model (S&M) theater of everyone’s usual experience. So, if you add those extremely libertine dimensions with both the forensic evidence and character profiles of the defendants (not to mention possible drug use), the blame for the assault and murder seems to lie squarely with Joe and Dylan at this time. The alt.com admissions are the icing on the cake of “All About Joe.”

    On the other hand, if Victor is seen as an active engineer rather than a passive dupe of the cover-up, then his long-time alliance with Sarah Morgan needs to be rescrutinized. Why would Sarah do anything for Joe and especially Dyl, with whom reportedly she had issues? She wouldn’t do anything to save those two weirdos. But would she for her darling Victor, who was suddenly desperate to fix what could not be fixed? What woman could resist “a girlfriend” in such dire need?

    So, under the influence of something, the “men” create the eternal mess that the “women” have to clean up for the children’s sake. It’s a hackneyed storyline (from Victor’s possible viewpoint) that the original owners of the townhouse could have understood, but one that obviously needs more information to pin down to this case.

    So, Editors, thanks for the opportunity to reassess Victor, but I look forward to the long-promised background piece on the basement tenant in order to explore every possibility behind the parameters of the ongoing conspiracy.

    • Bea
      10/15/2009 at 10:10 PM

      I would love more info on Sarah. It’s my understanding too that she was Victor’s friend originally, but she seems to have benefitted from Joe’s “largess” in renting her the basement apartment (I realize Victor is co-owner but suspect that Joe would have had to have agreed). Too, did she throw in with the boys (collectively) that morning at Cosi’s? Did any inconsistencies and/or “strategy” get discussed? The fact that Joe was the one to call her, the fact that she allegedly called Joe to say she wouldn’t be coming home (which still seems terribly convenient on a school night unless Tom & John lived far away and/or the activities would be time consuming or leave her inebriated – which she could have had at Swann).

      Do we know ANYTHING about Tom & John? Damn but I’d love to know WHEN she arrived there and what she told them.

      • Craig
        10/16/2009 at 12:10 AM

        Sarah remains a cipher in some ways. We want to do her justice and not just bang out some exploitative post. In due time…

        Challenging long held assumptions on Victor has been an valuable exercize. Doug has a good post in the queue challenging another aspect of the conventional wisdom.

        • CDinDC
          10/16/2009 at 10:30 AM

          It’s helpful to explore the Victor avenue. For the past year, Victor has played a certain roll in the events, and his actions have rarely been questioned. Did Victor scream? Was his 911 call scripted? Did Victor come home unexpectedly? Was Victor in bed when Robert arrived? All questions that go relatively unchallenged.

          Maybe by turning the heat up a little more on this kettle we call Victor, it’ll sing.

          • Bea
            10/16/2009 at 12:39 PM

            CD, while we’d love for Victor to sing, my guess is that he’s got some pretty thick skin. I’d like to think that Joe will do something so intolerable that they’ll break up and he’ll talk to authorities but, really, what is WORSE than what we think he’s done (rape, murder. . .).

            • Clio
              10/16/2009 at 7:18 PM

              So, Bea, Victor has a spine after all: it’s just on the wrong side of history!

              A factor behind a possible flip: Joe could anger Aunt Marcia, who, I’m sure, is getting tired of the same old kitchen chats and television shows by now. There is just so much Project Runway that a woman can watch!

              • Bea
                10/16/2009 at 9:44 PM

                OOOHH! Hadn’t thought of Aunt Marcia taking the situation in hand to “force” her nephew into doing the right thing. Like allowing Dylan’s room to be wired. Hmmm.

        • John Grisham
          10/18/2009 at 8:31 PM

          “In due time” . . . What are you four hiding or protecting in regards to Sarah? Your collective silence about Sarah is indeed intertesting and should be noted.

  9. Craig
    10/17/2009 at 1:25 PM

    Bea – What a wild scenario.

    If Aunt Marcia has a sneaking suspicion that her one or more of her three tenants may be culpable in Robert’s murder, she wires the house in an effort to score the 25 large in reward money…

    • Bea
      10/17/2009 at 1:53 PM

      Or decides to “save” Victor from himself by agreeing to allow the house to be wired, thinking that while he can’t send Joe down the river she certainly can, forcing Victor’s hand.

      • Clio
        10/17/2009 at 5:23 PM

        Little Dyl could also be a wildcard, as always. $25,000 of his own (without Needham’s ever-present control) would be a lot of cash for the saturnine massage therapist, whose ardor for Culuket had cooled long before his terrifying stay in the Florida brig. So, one more back-handed compliment from Victor or Aunt Marcia in reference to his frequent change of careers could have Mr. Ward playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with the authorities.

        • Bea
          10/17/2009 at 5:55 PM

          I suspect Dylan is too high-priced to fall for the $25K – that’s just a month’s worth of legal bills Needham has ponied up. And there’s the little problem of his (likely?) participation that night which might give the prosecution serious pause to cut any deals.

          So, Aunt Marcia, are you reading? Can you take Victor aside and explain that in this instance (1) taking care of Number One and (2) taking the moral high ground may be one and the same? Maybe even squeeze him by saying you’ll tell what you know (eavesdropping? Freudian slips?) to help Victor make up his mind? If you’re not willing to agree to wiretaps of your home, do some intelligence yourself and make the call.

          • She did it
            10/17/2009 at 9:10 PM

            Bea –

            One question to be answered before your plan can take place — what is the intellectual capacity of the dearest of dear aunt marcia? is she a thinking woman — curious, engaged, an independent thinker, intellectually honest, a woman of integrity? did she read the indictment with a fish eye, and then ask the gang the tough follow-up questions? is she a learned woman, hungry for knowledge and truth? does she reach for the economist or the new yorker when its time for her infamous morning dump, or does she sit on the throne wondering what time wheel of fortune is on (despite it being on the same time every day)? if she is a thinker, bea, then perhaps your plan could be put in motion. from what i know about her initial judgment of bringing this filthy trouple into her neighborhood despite the nature of the charges against them, i think it is worth exploring her brain power and mental capacity before she can help dearest nephew come to Jesus.

            love and candy corn, to all. and a big shout out to dillion the craptacular, if you are reading (wink, wink).

            • Bea
              10/17/2009 at 10:52 PM

              Hey SDI, don’t know a whit about Aunt Marcia. She was married to a respected scientist (Uncle Oskar Zaborsky) but don’t know if that means anything about HER. It would be too sweet if she was workin’ it to save her foolish, lovelorn, spineless nephew.

              • Clio
                10/17/2009 at 11:39 PM

                One possible factor in any bonding between Aunt Marcia and her disgraced guests:

                Dr. Oskar Zaborsky died in September 2006, coinciding with the trouple’s initial displacement to McLean from 1509 Swann. Victor and company may have consoled Aunt Marcia in her grief from losing Oskar, and, so when the trouple needed her again in 2009, she may have felt obligated to take them in, despite any possible personal epiphanies regarding their potential guilt in the Wone case.

                Showing mercy for such grievous sinners is understandable, but it is not necessary: Aunt Marcia, do the right thing!

                • Bea
                  10/18/2009 at 12:42 AM

                  If I found the “right” Marcia Zaborsky, she’s a college educated woman with a professional job. Hope she uses her smarts to make sure her nephew’s fate is not thrown in with his husband and his husband’s lover.

      • Perplexed
        10/24/2009 at 7:45 PM

        Blood is ALWAYS thicker than water….

  10. Also from the Post story
    10/23/2009 at 1:16 PM

    Well, making a 9-1-1 call was insane if Victor was in on the killing. The call would bring police swarming in minutes, while the body *was still there!* Without that call, the three would have had the rest of the night to finish the cleanup at their leisure, AND get rid of the body — dump it in an alley somewhere. When investigators showed up the next day (or week), the three could say that he never arrived at all and they wondered what happened to him.

    (I forget — was there any other witness that he arrived? Or any evidence other than the possibly faked cell-phone message?)

    Without that hysterical, premature 9-1-1 call while the body was still on the premises, I bet they could have gotten off scott-free.

    • CDinDC
      10/23/2009 at 1:32 PM

      Is Victor making the 911 call any more or less insane than, say, the spider or the intruder or the lack of blood? C’mon. It’s all insane.

      I’m just surpised Joe didn’t stab himself in the leg and say he fought off the attacker. That would have been the cherry on top.

      • Clio
        10/24/2009 at 9:36 PM

        In most scenarios, Victor’s “insanity” at making the call shows that he was involved in the creation of the cover story. He co-wrote and acted the script, as a Plan D, because the murder, if not the rape, was not scheduled in advance.

        If the boys had not awakened milady from her sound sleep, then she would not have had to put in those extra hours trying to save them from themselves. Victor did go to work the next day, so the business trip and the unexpected detour to Anacostia in the early morning could not have been that daunting.

        There was time for a rest for the wicked a little later in the year, though. In late October 2006, Joe and Victor (sans Dyl?) went on vacation. The “burglary” followed!

  11. Perplexed
    10/25/2009 at 7:25 PM

    Also wanted to point out that VZ is 5 years older than JP (6 years older than DW – JP and DW are closer in age – 1 year apart?). Usually people stay in rel. b/c it benefits them in some way.

    VZ was very open to moving into untested territory – take his decision to follow JP in donating sperm to their two friends to help create a diverse family for his child. This seems like a truly open polyamorous rel., and I am having difficulty finding evidence that VZ was not happy with the set up.

    With that said, it cannot be minimized what VZ’s contribution to the cover up was, including possibly helping with the clean up and fabricating of the intruder story. This would explain the tight bond ongoing b/t all of them. VZ’s rel. with DW may not have been sexual, but in polyamorous rel. it is created for both sexual and emotional bonds/support – b/c of JP’s personality, I am guessing DW and VZ had a strong emotional bond.

    • CDinDC
      10/25/2009 at 8:17 PM

      Perplexed says: ” take his decision to follow JP in donating sperm to their two friends to help create a diverse family for his child.”

      Both children were conceived prior to Dylan entering the picture. The first child was 3 in March of 2004. The second child was born in April of 2004 (which means it was conceived in July 2003). Dylan graduated from Simmons in 2003 and relocated to DC. after that.

      I imagine it would have taken a bit of time for the polyamorous relationship to take hold.

      I think we’ll have to disagree on Victor’s level of happiness with the situation. I think Victor’s committment to the relationship was probably based on familial and financial bonds, and not because he was enjoying the new arrangement. Again, just because you look a certain way on the outside, doesn’t mean you feel a certain way on the inside.

      I think Victor tolerated his situation.

      • CDinDC
        10/25/2009 at 8:30 PM

        Oh, and thanks for the fresh take on things. It’s good to think outside the box and look at all the different angles.

  12. are you kidding me?
    11/04/2009 at 11:08 PM

    The fact that Victor was not “supposed” to be there and the 991 call lead to the conclusion that he was not involved. period. end of story. (That’s beside the point that this entire thing assumes the guilt of someone in the house.)

    • AnnaZed
      11/05/2009 at 12:06 AM

      Who told the authorities and others that Victor was not “supposed” to be there: the defendants. So, forgive me if I am disinclined to take that on faith.

      What is it about the 991 [sic] call that leads you to conclude that Victor was not involved?

      Leaving aside your wildly mangled syntax (are you drinking?) what “entire thing” are you referring to?

    • CDinDC
      11/05/2009 at 10:03 AM

      Kidding Me You Are,

      Victor was under the same roof as Robert Wone the night he was murdered. That makes him as suspect as anyone else.

      • Bea
        11/05/2009 at 12:52 PM

        Much as I think Victor wasn’t involved in the killing, at a minimum he has to have hidden some piece of information and cooperated with the murderers. That makes him a conspirator. If you know him, please tell him to cut a deal. It’s the honorable thing to do, and he’ll sleep better.

        • Also from the Post story
          11/05/2009 at 1:25 PM

          > If you know him, please tell him to
          > cut a deal. It’s the honorable thing
          > to do, and he’ll sleep better.

          And he might also avoid 20 years in prison. Helping to hide evidence is a lot less serious than murder. If this is all the prosecutor thinks he did, he might cut a deal for no prison at all.

          And the other two know it! If I were Victor, I would be very careful about what I eat or drink when they prepare meals at the aunt’s house, or about having some sort of accidental heart attack in my sleep.

          • CDinDC
            11/05/2009 at 1:30 PM

            Absolutely, AP. Victor is probably on a very short leash.

            • Bea
              11/05/2009 at 3:11 PM

              Part of me is surprised that Joe hasn’t dumped Dylan altogether just to show Victor “that he’s always been the one”. Maybe he HAS but allows Dylan to stay in the house. So sad if Victor is falling for this BS – hard to fathom that he’d risk his freedom for such a slimebag who’d have thrown him under the bus long ago if the tables were turned.

              • CDinDC
                11/05/2009 at 5:40 PM

                Dylan WAS living in Florida when everything “went down.” Makes me wonder if things were cooling off enough for Joe to have Dylan away from the nest.

                Also, there has been speculation as to whether the threesome had intentions of moving to Florida, but perhaps the digs were a nice ploy on Dylan’s part or perhaps Joe’s deal to keep Dylan’s mouth shut. Maybe Dylan is continuing to hold out in hopes of being “kept” for a veeerrrry long time.

        • CDinDC
          11/05/2009 at 1:27 PM

          Indeed, Bea. Some people think Victor is “less guilty” than the person or persons that plunged the knife into Robert’s chest. Maybe so. Perhaps the prosecution feels the same way.

          Victor has the chance to rid himself of the guilt and garbage in his life and do the right thing.

  13. Clio
    11/05/2009 at 10:42 AM

    AYKM, how long have you known Victor? Is he still afraid to go downstairs?

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