One Year Ago Everything Changed
In mid-September, when Diane Durham’s statement came to light about conflicting stories of the evening’s events, the ground seemed to shift.
However, the original ground shaking event in the investigation occurred one year ago when Dylan Ward was arrested in Miami on obstruction of justice, and the subsequent publication of the original affidavit revealed for the first time that police believed Robert Wone was “restrained, incapacitated, sexually assaulted and stabbed.”
Until this news, friends of the Swann Street trio had no reason to suspect anything other than an intruder had broken into their home and stabbed their good friend on that hot August evening. After all, the three housemates were upstanding members of the community.
One was a highly accomplished partner at well-respected law firm; his domestic partner was a marketing executive at a well-established DC trade association, and their roommate was a summa cum laude Georgetown School of Foreign Service graduate, and now a professional writer. All of them engaging, each of them personable.
Moreover, where the home is located in Dupont Circle, crime is common. For many folks, they could envision this type of break-in happening to them. If anything, many folks who knew the Swann Street trio felt genuinely sorry that such a devastating, sad and tragic event happened to three genuinely good guys.
Yes, they had heard the media reports that the crime scene had been tampered with, but without any hard evidence from an official police investigation, it was easy to chalk this up as incorrect reporting at best, or biased, even bigoted, police sources at the worst. After all, the metropolitan police aren’t the most gay-friendly bunch of folks looking out for the interests of the gay and lesbian community.
And yet, even with all of these rationalizations, what the Swann Street trio had going in their favor was the lack of any charges against them. If the cops had something, surely they would have brought it by now. They must not be involved.
On October 27, 2008, all if this changed.
The well-choreographed, white-picket-fence facade of Team Price crumbled in the face of disturbing allegations about everything from their behavior the evening of the murder, to the missing knife from Dylan’s room, to the extensive adult sex toy collection, to a timeline that just didn’t make sense.
Long time friends didn’t know what to make of it, to say the least, forcing many to question their relationship and friendship with the threesome. A few asked for the first time if they even knew the three men portrayed in the affidavit. For others, it was a reason to circle the wagons tightly, lend their support, offer prayers to and raise money for the falsely accused.
While a few had suspected that the threesome were just that — two gay men in a long-term relationship who grew bored with each other so they had taken another into their relationship. This is not that uncommon, and when it happens, gay men are very well-trained at turning a blind eye to such arrangements.
What was shocking was the degree to which the three-way relationship was codified sexually as two two-ways, with one of those two-ways involved in a deeply felt sadomasochistic relationship of dominance and submission. Sure, many gay men dabble in S/M, but for many, it turns out to be more theater and dress up than lifestyle.
The S/M relationship of Joe Price and Dylan Ward, as portrayed in the affidavit, wasn’t your garden variety of a few nipple clamps here and a few adult sex toys there, but rather a complete immersion into the depths and rewards of the bondage discipline sadomasochism (BDSM) experience. This was not the Joe Price and Dylan Ward they knew at social events or in the courtroom.
Then people had to square the new information about the condition of Robert’s body. For friends of Robert, to read these details about the needle marks and stab wounds — none of them defensive, must have broken their hearts all over again. While Robert may have been a gentle soul, he was a Brooklyn-born man who was known to sleep with baseball bats under his bed and carry two wallets, one without cash in case he was assaulted on the street. In other words, he knew how to defend himself.
For friends of the defendants, they needed reassurance that all of this could have happened because of an intruder.
The sexual assault charge was probably the most distrubing with Robert’s semen not only found around his anus but inside his rectum. Many scratched their heads, and mind you, several of these are gay men, and asked, “How could that happen?”
We have heard from people who knew the defendants that August 2, 2006 changed the housemates in many ways, but October 27, 2008 changed their lives and the clock began to tick.
— posted by David