…Whoever You Are.
October 10, 2006 saw the first national story about Robert’s murder in the gay media. Gretchen Cook of the Advocate was playing catch up.
Monthly magazine long lead times don’t lend themselves well to late developments. Much of what she offered had surfaced in the August 14 Legal Times bombshell (which first mentioned the crime scene was tampered with), and the August 16 follow up Post piece.
But she had a couple of new nuggets including one that would resurface years later. Did Gretchen have a special source or did other reporters miss a biggie?
Written through a gay lens, Sgt. Brett Parson of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit figures prominently. Other outlets reported his unit’s involvement in the investigation, but no one apparently asked him why his was assigned to it. Gretchen did:
Nor would Parson discuss why his unit was involved. “We do not out people,” he says. “And to reveal why we were brought in on a case would potentially out someone.”
Hello? How could anyone out the Swann Street roommates? Could those three have possibly been any more out, loud, proud and public? Equality Virginia, Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins, domestic partners, that kitchen?
But that wasn’t all.
We won’t fault Parsons on that; it sounds like a mandated talking point. (His former unit, the GLLU, and several other “specialty units” appear on their way to being zeroed out by Chief Cathy Lanier).
Gretchen went on to profile the roommates and mentioned that the crime scene was “tampered with.” But who her source for this item?
It [the affidavit] also said Wone may not have been killed in the second-floor guest room where he’d been found.
“Tampered with,” yes. Moved? Like how Joe told Officer Diane Durham they had carried Robert’s body upstairs? No document we’ve seen from August 2006 mentioned “moved.”
This is a big point but it was Gretchen’s next-to-last sentence. For space consideration alone her editor could easily have lobbed that off.
Was someone close to the investigation getting chatty? And how was it the gay paper caught wind of this major point?
Don’t get us wrong, we admire the work of the gay press, but if an official is going to start peddling significant news on an active and evolving investigation, we would’ve suggested going to an outlet with a little more throw-weight.
Murder in D.C.: a straight lawyer is found stabbed in the home of a gay friend and his partner.
A series of startling twists has followed, but no one is talking.
When Robert Wone was found stabbed to death in a row house in Washington, D.C.’s predominantly gay Dupont Circle neighborhood on August 2, it appeared to be just another brutal killing in the nation’s “murder capital.” But the death of Wone, a 32-year-old lawyer, has since unfolded into a bizarre mystery that the city police force’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit and the FBI have been called to investigate.
At press time no one had been charged in the killing. Wone was stabbed three times in the chest with a butcher knife around 11 P.M. He had worked late that night and decided to stay at the home of college friend Joseph Price rather than making the 45-minute drive home to his wife in the Virginia suburbs.
Price and his partner, Victor Zaborsky, told police that Wone was killed by an intruder who came through the back door. They said they heard nothing, though the house was described to The Advocate as “like a sardine can inside” by a source familiar with the couple. The two men immediately hired lawyers and refused to comment. Police initially said there was no evidence of a forced entry, although they had not ruled out a burglary gone bad in an area that has had several violent attacks in the past year.
Three days after the murder, however, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit was called in, and authorities said they believed Wone had been targeted. “Mr. Wone was not the victim of some happenstance,” says Sgt. Brett Parson, who heads the unit. “This attack was specific towards him.”
But police would not give any possible motive for targeting Wone, who met Price, general counsel for the gay rights group Equality Virginia, while studying at the College of William and Mary. Nor would Parson discuss why his unit was involved. “We do not out people,” he says. “And to reveal why we were brought in on a case would potentially out someone.”
Wone, who worked in D.C. as general counsel for Radio Free Asia, never represented himself as gay, says a friend who declined to be identified, adding that in “no way was he leading any kind of double life.”
Making matters murkier, the couple’s roommate, Dylan Ward, had also been in the house the night of the murder. “Some of the information we were told, I just don’t believe,” Capt. C.V. Morris told reporters at an August 3 briefing. A police affidavit seeking a search warrant for the house also said the knife used in the murder was from a set found in the kitchen, and nothing in the house appeared to have been ransacked or taken.
But the most startling twist came the week after the murder, when it was learned from the affidavit that the crime scene had been cleaned and apparently “tampered with.” It also said Wone may not have been killed in the second-floor guest room where he’d been found.
A grand jury has convened in the case, but at press time only Wone’s wife, Katherine, had been called to testify.
–posted by Craig