The Day Swann Street Stood Still

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.

dylan-ward-mug2However, 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

54 comments for “The Day Swann Street Stood Still

  1. NYer Wants Justice
    10/28/2009 at 12:28 PM

    Hello all,
    I have continued to follow this blog but I haven’t posted in months (there is another NYer guy – but different than me). Keep up the great work guys.
    One piece of the puzzle that I think may have been a little overlooked is the patio. It seems to keep coming up – an intruder came through there, some blood may have been found back there (anyone remember exactly?), and according to Officer Durham’s statement, Price first said that they found Robert there. So I think something must have happened on the patio.
    The trouple’s story is that Robert came over and they talked in the kitchen, but the editors have shown that the kitchen was not a very comfortable meeting place. Could they have actually been on the patio? Would they have drugged or stabbed Robert outside where it might be seen? Or did they just go out there to clean up after?
    I think the fact that the trouple incorporated the patio into their story shows that they were afraid that evidence might be found out there, and that they wanted to cover for that. Thoughts?

    • CDinDC
      10/28/2009 at 1:00 PM

      Absolutely, NYer. I agree 100%. Again, another kernel of truth. Incorporate the patio in some fashion because evidence may be found. (As well as Joe’s statement of bringing him upstairs. This would account for blood evidence being found throughout the house.) Perhaps in Joe’s adrenalinen-fueled state (and possibly drug-fueled, as well) he forgot what he originally said.

      • Hoya Loya
        10/28/2009 at 2:12 PM

        And maybe the door chime did go off, but as part of the clean-up process, not becuase of an intruder.

        • CDinDC
          10/28/2009 at 3:02 PM

          good point, HL. (Again, for fear that someone heard in the quiet of the night.)

  2. Doug
    10/28/2009 at 1:04 PM

    Hello and welcome back, Justice.
    The patio is a puzzlement at several levels. We learned that cadaver dogs found blood residue in the patio drain, as well as in a dryer lint trap, but that won’t be admissible in trial.
    And yes, the defendant’s stories of what did (or didn’t) happen there are clearly confused, with several different stories cast out.
    As to the blood evidence, we’ll soon be featuring the thoughts of an expert forensic blood pattern analyst, who had some very candid thoughts about this case.
    -Doug, co-editor

  3. Clio
    10/28/2009 at 1:25 PM

    Two years prior to this indictment, preparations for “the burglary,” I am sure, were in full gear. That other self-sacrificing ruse in this case — besides Joe and Vic’s saving of Dyl — delayed any “seismic activity” until Mr. Ward’s arrest in Miami.

    I do hope that Ward’s activities in southern Florida were being monitored by the police just before his arrest. Just to be safe, of course! Did Dyl know that he was going to be arrested? Or, was he “shocked, shocked” a la Casablanca that such a predictament could have befallen him?

  4. Violet
    10/28/2009 at 3:36 PM

    I’m another lurker interested in justice.

    I keep returning to the fact that Robert had his mouth guard in. I think he went to bed and was either previously drugged (the glass of water in the kitchen) or attacked when asleep. They may have taken him outside to wash him afterwords, thus the blood on the patio. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would have thought to put his mouth guard in at some point.

    • Mike
      10/28/2009 at 5:26 PM

      I agree, Violet, and I hope that this settles the continuing (and weird, to my mind) debate about whether Robert was on the DL. Clearly he was interested in sleeping that night, not sex. All you have to do is look at the mouthguard and the timeline.

    • BenFranklin
      11/02/2009 at 7:28 PM

      A mouth guard makes some sense in a electro-sex scenario–to prevent grinding/chipping of teeth and tongue/lip biting. Some of the modes and routines on the power boxes claim to be intense and unpredictable.

      • Mike
        11/02/2009 at 7:38 PM

        He wore it every night, to prevent grinding his teeth. Testimony of his wife. I mean, c’mon.

        • Bea
          11/02/2009 at 9:24 PM

          Exactly, Mike.

          Ben, you have to accept that while your theory may well be true (though I don’t think so) that it doesn’t help to be grasping at straws to make your point. Joe identified the unit as a TENS unit and nothing suggests otherwise. Mouth guard he wore every night because he did the teeth-grinding thing. The notion that Robert was accidentally shocked to death and then the ‘boys’ stabbed him as a cover-up or because they thought he was dead is too specific a theory – unless you were told this by one or more of the defendants or someone close to them. Is THIS true?

          • CDinDC
            11/02/2009 at 10:12 PM

            Also there was no evidence of heart failure in teh autopsy.

          • BenFranklin
            11/03/2009 at 1:51 PM

            Bea, can anything be too specific? Aren’t we all grasping at straws? There are plenty for everyone!

            In this scenario the killer is the sex/body worker with the deep toy box, and a taste if not a preference for handsome Asian men.

            Remove the paralytic drug and forced rape elements from the time line–both difficult to prove without lab evidence or witnesses–and what’s left supports a possibly consensual massage-masturbation-electro-session with a tragic ending.

            I’m not talking about cheating on the wife or having gay sex but a “bodywork” treatment from a trusted “professional” that went beyond agreed boundaries and ended with electrically-induced acute cardiac arrhythmia, mistaken for death –perhaps from mishandled electrodes or malfunctioning equipment.

            The 6 needle marks may be evidence of a someone looking desperately for signs of life with a pin pricks–or accupuncture needles–not injection sites–because no drugs or syringes were found. Rob’s slowed heart beat and low blood pressure would account for the sparse blood/spatter evidence.

            The sociopathic bodyworker makes the call that Rob is dead, gets the knife from his cutlery kit, and finishes him off to make it look like another DC stabbing, and the botched cover-up begins.

            Does anything not work here?


            • Bea
              11/03/2009 at 4:03 PM

              Hi Ben,

              We all get notions which embed themselves in our psyches which fade, somehow, into what we perceive as ‘facts’ – I am guilty of hanging on to the notion that Victor was not among the killers, and I am the first to admit that I want very badly for one of the three NOT to be a depraved human being. That isn’t to say that the facts don’t paint him at least part of the cover-up (at the very least). The problem I have with your assessment is that it’s quite a stretch – unless you’ve been told this by someone who’s peddling the story (and you didn’t answer my question if this is the case). There are so many possible fact patterns that yours seems hard to really grab on to because of the lack of substantiation. If “could” have been that Robert went to sleep and Dylan decided to seduce him and opened his door, but Robert panicked and hit his head – thus he/they decided to kill him. Or Joe and Robert were wrestling as they did in college (who knows) and Robert lost consciousness – thus he/they decided to kill him. Any of these end with ‘thus he/they decided to kill him’ and that’s the telling part. As CD points out, the coroner didn’t note any heart problems that your theory suggests, and a TENS unit (which I get in PT) and a mouth guard are hardly ‘evidence’ of hardcore electrostim play. It’s been mentioned a few times that the Dylan-likes-Asian-men thing seems to have cropped up from nowhere and we can’t validate even that (clearly Joe isn’t Asian, and there wasn’t even ‘Asian a plus’ on the Alt profile which seems likely given that THAT was for Joe-and-his-Dom/Dyl).

              My point is that unless that is what the trouple is telling friends what happened, it seems like one of a hundred scenarios that may have started what happened that night. I’ve often wondered if Dylan didn’t offer to give Robert a massage as part of the ruse, but I don’t see Robert (from what is known about him) agreeing to any kind of sexual massage – once someone suggested stim-to-orgasm it seems a ‘no, thank you’ would’ve been communicated. I suspect in the regular massage mode, Dylan and Joe would have had an easier time overwhelming him AND he wouldn’t have seen what was about to happen. I think the duo was too drugged to be thinking about consequences until after they’d raped him – and then, having no morality, decided to kill him rather than face the consequences (charges, jail, loss of ‘future’) that they deserved. It is moral depravity of the highest – no, lowest – order, particularly because Robert was their ‘friend’, had hosted parties for he and his wife. No matter the ‘facts’ – even in the light most favorable to the defendants, namely that Robert “appeared” dead, can I take that final step with them, to take a knife and stab him three times. I grew up on a farm, and regularly my family killed/dressed animals for food (cattle, poutry, fish) and so I know the visceral sensations that such acts create – to put that in the context of a human, a friend in desperate need, and I truly think such actions fall FAR outside the realm of moral human behavior. If they are not ALL sociopaths, then I wonder how they sleep at night.

              So, Ben, is this story being circulated?

              • BenFranklin
                11/03/2009 at 4:32 PM

                I live far away and only heard about this a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know anyone close to the case so this blog is my group therapy (thank you). My hypothesis is my own fresh synthesis of what is currently released about the physical evidence and time line, without wanting or needing to make anyone into a saint or a monster. Everyone must look at it through their own lens of experience–that’s why it’s such a compelling mystery. The true facts may never be known. Spoiler alert! When nothing makes sense meth is usually responsible.

                • Clio
                  11/03/2009 at 5:45 PM

                  Ben, I can see why the ladies of Paris were so enamored of your charms, but I cannot see myself the pleasures involved in electrostimulation. It just seems like so much work for moments of fleeting pleasure! It must be meth, after all. As Harold said in the movie “Boys in the Band” forty years ago, “give me librium or give me meth.”

  5. She did it
    10/28/2009 at 7:20 PM

    wonderful post, david (a phrase usually reserved for craig).

    i am aware of two trouple early supporters who rethought everything once the arrest was made and the nature of the charges and the relationship of the trouple was exposed. i would love to see the list of donors to the defense fund to see who is supporting the gang and at what level. then, i want those same supporters to answer the recent questions posed by hoya loya. what a fabulous exercise that would be. i wonder if the affidavit caught family members by surprise (yes, you: dianne) and how they reacted/rationalized it. i am all ears, needham and marcia . . .

    • Craig
      10/28/2009 at 10:17 PM

      SDI – We know former trouple boosters as well.

      Shoot us an email and let’s compare notes.

      • Bea
        10/28/2009 at 10:28 PM

        Secrets we all want to hear!

        • Clio
          10/29/2009 at 4:49 PM

          Oral history interviews of these former members of Team Price need to done: hard copies of the transcripts could be placed in the National Archives. Before that, of course, non-classified excerpts could be the basis of a special edition blog post here as well. Just a thought.

          • Clio
            10/29/2009 at 5:16 PM

            Oops! Minor typo: insert “be” in the first sentence in the post above — as in “… Price need to be done: …” Thanks!

  6. corgivet
    10/28/2009 at 9:15 PM

    Lots for me to catch up on…but love the new format guys

  7. Rebecca
    10/29/2009 at 1:27 AM

    There is no sign of prior mental illness for any of the three men which is creepy. It isn’t one person in a fit of passion, or one person premeditating murder, or one person who took a sex act too far. It is murder with a knife, it involves a trio, and it involves intelligent, group thought. Qas he gay? Did his wife know? Did he stay there that night on purpose, hoping for gay sex? He is attractive. He is smart. He is, in so many ways, the fourth member of the threesome — all smart, all good looking. So, why him? The three men have no Axis I or Axis II diagnosis, no past criminal behavior, just a couple of guys who got into S&M so deeply they couldn’t pull themselves out. . .and a ritual is played out one night on a bi-curious guy?

    So here are my questions.
    Was he gay?
    Was one of them into him?
    Did one of the others make them show their love for him by making them kill him?
    Was he lured there?

    And for those of us reading this? Is there something strangely erotic in the grossest of ways to following all of this? Why are we fascinated? Is there a person in all of us that has a sexual fantasy that could go this far? Would I have stopped Price? Would you?

    • JusticeForRobert
      10/29/2009 at 2:50 AM

      Hi Rebecca: While there may not be available to the general public, evidence that any of the three had a mental disorder, that does not mean one or more does not exist.

      To address your questions:
      “Was he gay?”
      For over three years now, Robert’s life and death have made news and been the subject of many investigations. In that amount of time, not one person has ever stepped forward to even imply that they ever had any type of gay relationship or same sex contact with Robert. I am a gay man Rebecca and I have a hard time with how hard of a time that the general public has with how a straight man can “just be friends” with a gay man or a group of gay people. I dont mean at all to chastise you for asking a question that has been asked a million times already, I just do not understand why so many people have difficulty with a straight man being friends with and spending the night with 3 gay men. I have straight friends that are very attractive, take good care of themselves, have careers and wonderful personalities. Some are even single. A few are even famous. I love them as my friends, no desire to have sex with them. I feel the same about my gay friends who are just friends. Just as it is possible for a straight man to have a female friend that he never sleeps with, the same holds true for a gay man and his male friend or friends.

      “Was one of them into him?”
      This is certainly possible.

      “Did one of the others make them show their love for him by making them kill him?”
      Good question, but thus far, I dont think so. I do think that one of them was able to convince the other two to help with covering up the murder of Robert.

      Was he lured there?
      No, not to the house anyway. His visit was planned in advance. He could have been lured into the area or area’s of the house where his sexual assault and murder would take place.

      “And for those of us reading this? Is there something strangely erotic in the grossest of ways to following all of this?”
      Only speaking for myself, not erotic at all.

      “Why are we fascinated? ”
      It is a who done it, with many an unusual twist. Unusual in the public eye in so many ways.

      “Is there a person in all of us that has a sexual fantasy that could go this far?”
      Not in this boy. I have lived out many a sexual fantasy, none of them involved the violation and murder of any of my friends, or anyone for that matter, Thank God!

      “Would I have stopped Price?”
      I sure would hope so.

      “Would you?”
      Without question, Yes. Stopped him from the delusion that this could have been covered up and gotten by with. That was just plain dumb on Joe’s part.

      • Michael
        10/29/2009 at 11:47 AM

        JFR –

        I echo your sentiments and life experience. My partner and I have hosted many straight male friends for overnight stays. My straight male and female friends probably out number my gay ones. I feel that this is typical of those who do live a significant portion of their lives outside of the gay community whether for work or social reasons.

        Rebecca – Joe Price makes reference to Dylan taking anti-depressants, and Dylan mentions his taking sleeping pills. One may not consider the taking of these medications as a diagnosis of “mental illness” that could lead to violent behavior, many of the medications from both categories do carry FDA warning labels that the medications may lead to more serious behavior issues, including violence and suicide.

        The confluence of personalities, drugs, and relationships involved may have created a catalytic reaction that would have never occurred in one-to-one interactions. The trouple have hung together, professing their innocence. This speaks to a level of intimacy and bonding not generally common (in my experience) between three people. One can only wonder if that bond could sustain or promote pathological behavior resulting in the murder.

        – Michael, co-editor

        • Clio
          10/29/2009 at 4:58 PM

          Michael, I wonder if the trouple hosted many straight people — male or female, married or single — at their home. My guess is that they did not. Sarah was straight, but she was integrated into gay male cultures.

          I am thinking that any overnight stays at 1509 Swann between 2003 and 2006 were mainly “tricks” of Mr. Price and/or Mr. Ward. So, when Robert agreed to stay over, Joe and/or Dyl immediately thought of the opportunity for sexual mischief instead of seeing it as a perfunctory social obligation.

    • Friend of Rob
      10/29/2009 at 5:05 PM

      “And for those of us reading this? Is there something strangely erotic in the grossest of ways to following all of this? Why are we fascinated? Is there a person in all of us that has a sexual fantasy that could go this far? Would I have stopped Price? Would you?”

      Ithink, in all seriousness, that you should probably seek help.

      • Clio
        10/29/2009 at 5:25 PM

        Hear, hear, FOR! When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible, as per the younger Bush, but I would have cock-blocked Price and Ward in an instant, if I could have.

        There is nothing erotic, fashionable, or lucrative in doing any of this blogging or even lurking: getting at the truth is simply the right thing to do, Rebecca!

        • Friend of Rob
          10/29/2009 at 9:15 PM

          I wonder if Rebecca is really Dylan???

          • Clio
            10/29/2009 at 10:56 PM

            I do not think that Rebecca is Dylan in part because Schertler and Spag have probably banned “Little Red Riding Hood” from posting here.

            I suspect, though, that Dyl and his family, both bio and adopted, are lurkers, albeit occasional ones. Nevertheless, one may hope that the members of the trouple are not “getting off” on this blog’s scrutiny of their private lives and affidavit statements. Joe, in particular, may think that all publicity is good publicity, relishing his new reputation as villian. Dyl may not like the spotlight: he cannot do it again now!

  8. alithere
    10/29/2009 at 10:00 AM

    Could the killing have been the culmination of some type of ritual? Mr. Price, I believe, somewhere listed his religious affiliation as “alternative”. Might part of their S&M scenario involve a very dark acting out of such a belief system? I know that idea might be outlandishly speculative, but the finding of the victim’s semen in his own cavity provokes outside the box speculation. I wonder if the defendants’ computer files might contain pictures suggesting that their religious and sexual practices intersected in a very nasty way on that particular night.

    • Clio
      10/29/2009 at 5:12 PM

      “Alternative” came from Culuket’s online profile. John Grisham had rightly interpreted “alternative” to be “hedonism”, and, just as spot-on, Bea had suggested that it meant “self-deification.” Did it mean also Satan worship? Probably not.

      From earlier posts, Victor apparently was seen church-shopping before she married Joe. Nevertheless, the trouple’s going to Robert’s church for the funeral was probably their first visit to a place of worship as a family unit. Dyl and Joe may have gone to churches and synagogues to raise funds for Equality Virginia, but I do not see them as spiritual people — even Dyl’s foray into Thai massage seems more pleasure-driven than holistic.

  9. LAD
    10/29/2009 at 1:10 PM

    I guess I am just ignorant as to how some things work legally but it seems like with all of the “true crime” stories I have read, people have been convicted of murder with so much less evidence than what we have here. And to think, we don’t even KNOW all of the evidence that exists!

    If Robert was really in bed, mouth guard in place, then how come the “intruder” undressed him before killing him (which had to happen due to lack of blood on clothes) stabbed him, cleaned him off, redressed him and then took a different knife and cut holes in the shirt corresponding with the knife wounds which killed him and then left. I mean really? REALLY!?! Why can’t they peg murder on them? There is zero evidence that there was an intruder that night which only leaves one plausible answer.

    I know everyone on this site is as frustrated as I am, but as a usual lurker, I just needed to vent. Sorry.

    And one last thought…I personally could care less if Robert was “secretly” gay or not. He didn’t deserve to die and I don’t think anyone should speculate in that regard. As far as his friends and family are concerned…he was not. Out of respect for them I think that line of questioning should stop.

    • CDinDC
      10/29/2009 at 1:45 PM

      Hi LAD….maybe they can’t press murder charges because they can’t prove exactly who did what. Hence, the conspiracy charges. It’s obvious something happened, but the solidarity of the defendants make it difficult if not impossible to present exact details. Not to mention the crime scene was cleaned.

      I just hope a conviction of conspiracy/ tampering/ obstruction results in a LENGTHY jail sentence. If I recall correctly, they stand to spend 30 or more years in prison if convicted and given stiff sentences. And each charge could result in multiple sentences. Not necessarily concurrent.

      And I agree….whether Robert was or wasn’t a willing participant, he was murdered. People need to let that go. It wouldn’t make his death any less tragic. (I don’t believe for one second that Robert was a willing participant. He was in love with his wife and he was a honorable man. Cheating wouldn’t befit his personality.)

      • LAD
        10/29/2009 at 5:30 PM

        Thanks CD. I guess I just think if prosecutors can get a conviction when there is no body, they should be able to get one even though the crime scene has been cleaned. And as for their current charges, your right, we can just hope for a lengthy sentence when they are convicted.

        btw – I seriously hope I am never investigated for anything serious. I have been looking up some seriously creepy stuff on my computer since I started following this case! (crime scene clean up, disposal of murder weapon, blood found in drainpipe…)

        • CDinDC
          10/29/2009 at 5:48 PM

          LAD says: “I seriously hope I am never investigated for anything serious. I have been looking up some seriously creepy stuff on my computer since I started following this case!”

          You and me both. LOL

  10. PRG in SS
    10/29/2009 at 2:35 PM

    What continues to puzzle me about this case is the notion that a “friend” could do what was done to Robert Wone. Sorry, but the intruder theory just doesn’t fly anymore, if it ever did. What was the original plan of Robert’s so-called friends? Did they intend to invite him to join their “games” or was it the plan from the start to drug him once he was asleep. I would guess it was the latter. But why was it necessary to kill him? Did Robert wake up during the sexual assault forcing the attackers to either administer more drugs or stab him? Do we know whether lethal doses of drugs or the stab wounds killed Robert? I am appalled that not one of the three defendants has the common decency to confess and spare Robert’s family the trauma of the coming trial. What monsters they are.

    • des
      10/29/2009 at 3:39 PM

      i just had a thought, and forgive me if it’s been discussed before.
      maybe they put the pillow over robert’s face/head to muffle his scream? that would account for the scream and the suffocation that didn’t kill him.
      i’m still not convinced that it was robert who in fact screamed but the thought entered my mind and i thought i’d throw it out there.

      • des
        10/29/2009 at 3:45 PM

        or maybe i’m just naiive and the suffocation is one of those torture/s&m things.

        • CDinDC
          10/29/2009 at 5:07 PM

          That’s a good point, des. Interesting thought.

          Robert had burst capilliaries in his eyes. The suffocation would have had to have been rather severe to accomplish that. The pressure in Robert’s eyes would have had to rise to a high level to cause the pressure to burst the capilliaries.

          I’ve always thought they tried to suffocate him first, and finding it difficult to kill him that way, they stabbed him.

          Re “one of those torture/s&M things”… is. :/

  11. Clio
    10/30/2009 at 9:48 PM

    For the historical record, I wonder why Dylan was indicted first. The questions posed by Hoya Loya and, I’m sure, the police before him certainly seem to focus attention on Mr. Ward. So, in indicting him before the other two, did the authorities hope to pressure Dyl to confess or to tell on Joe and Vic? The enigmatic “author” was held the longest at Anacostia early on, too.

    The outward sense of unity, though, seemed to be strengthen during 2009 for the trouple, as Dyl is now reunited with his former housemates in McLean. Are they in the eye of their own self-induced hurricane? Regained familiarity may spawn mutual contempt in the long-term, however, as their court day with destiny draws ever so near.

    • Bea
      10/30/2009 at 10:06 PM

      Hi Clio,
      My guess about why Dylan was indicted first was that (1) he was in Florida and had to be extradited back, which would cause delays (and indeed he was locked up for most of a month), and (2) from appearances it was “possible” that he was no longer part of the family since he’d moved to Florida, and (3) they saw him possibly as the weak link due to his spotty employment record and depression. In all, I assume they hoped he’d crack. Too, though, I think the cops focused on Dylan as the most likely killer given the proximity of his room to the guest room, that he seemed to be the “owner” of all the torture devices, and that it was HIS knife that was missing.

      Probably the answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE.

      I can only hope that tight quarters at Aunt Marcia’s might bring on some bickering, contempt, and jealousy. My guess is that Joe is being an excellent ‘husband’ to Victor these days if my/most guesses that Victor is the least culpable AND because no doubt Aunt Marcia’s first allegiance is to her nephew. If she thinks he’s being mistreated, I would hope she’d take Joe/Dylan to task, or at least air her grievances directly to Victor. It might be that Victor looked the other way so long that it’s embarrassing to have Aunt Marcia witness what he’s put up with over the years. But, again, Joe likely realizes this and is on very good behavior. If he and Dylan are up to their ears in guilt, then Joe’s main concern is keeping Victor happy. Likely not something that’s been Joe’s primary concern for many years – pathetic if that’s the reason why Victor isn’t talking.

  12. Clio
    10/31/2009 at 12:04 PM

    Exactly, Bea. The outwardly shy Mr. Ward has proved to be a tougher nut to crack than anyone could have imagined. He sees himself as the little “engine” that could, as per his children’s stories. But that little “engine” cannot get away from that circumstantial evidence: it looks bad for him, and he knows it.

    But I do wonder if the prosecutor’s judicious decision to indict Dylan first reignited this inexplicable “we have to save Little Dyl” behavior on the part of Joe and Victor. Here, as the indictment of their third wheel/underdog came down, Joe was obviously ready to play the masochistic martyr of “bigoted” cops of what he called “the so-called justice system.” Victor then would be trying to out-masochist his own bottom of a hubby. Joe’s appeal letter makes the trouple out to be the real (because still alive) “victims” of this case. It’s been a race, at any rate, to the bottom in terms of audacious and astonishing defiance, ever since.

    • She did it
      11/01/2009 at 9:22 AM

      my own theory on why l’il dyl was indicted first: it was anticipated that the couple would act in their best interest and throw ms. ward off the bus; then prosecutors could go after ward not for a cover-up but for murder. perhaps unexpectedly, joe and victor did not immediately try to make a deal, and kept the trouple’s interests aligned — which to me suggests that dyl did NOT act alone on the underlying crime. it’s not too late for someone to make a break and cut a deal; but i do not see it at this point. together, the trouple is nothing; on their own, they are even less. i have nevr seen anyone who had the talent and opportunity and money as dylan do so little with life.

      • Clio
        11/01/2009 at 1:03 PM

        Yes, I wonder why the elder Wards are spending so much money to help out their prodigal first-born, when they have four other children and probable grandchildren. There is the law of diminishing returns, after all, and, by age 39, even in indulgent America, men should be independent of their parents’ purse.

        • Nelly
          11/01/2009 at 3:15 PM

          Let’s say Needham is making in excess of $500k or even $800k a year. So what’s an extra expense of $200k for the lawyers and experts for his beloved, troubled son? No biggie. Their gaggle of kids are all grown up, so what other expenses could the Wards really have now, other than contributing to Republican causes (if the Diane Ward in Tacoma who was donating to Republican candidates is indeed Dylan’s mom).

          • Clio
            11/01/2009 at 4:07 PM

            We do then live in an affluent and permissive society where “helocopter” parents can buy justice, grades, etc. for their pampered children, however overaged. These parents never admit their child has done wrong, always siding with the child over the teacher or police officer even if the child has obviously done wrong. Dr. Spock certainly has created many monsters, and, I’m afraid, Dylan may be a late manifestation of postwar child-centeredness. That is fitting in some ways because Dylan’s first name evokes the teen-aged years of spoiled Baby Boomers. (Was his kid brother Mac named for the popular rock act Fleetwood Mac?)

            I wonder if Needham and Diane have visited Aunt Marcia’s, or are they just paying Little Dyl’s rent there? At any rate, a Thanksgiving dinner for the trouple and their parents in McLean would yield unexpected benefits for the prosecution, as family secrets and feuds may be revealed.

            • She did it
              11/01/2009 at 6:51 PM

              stop stealing my thunder, clio!!!! you took some of those words right out of my mouth. peace and cheers.

              sometimes throwing money at the problem is not good parenting. last time i tried to engage dianne in a parenting conversation, kimberlee let me have it — the topic obviously strikes a nerve with trouple supporters. even when one is in middle age, and their looks have passed them by, they still need parental support — someone holding them accountable, giving tough love, but real love (not love that money can by), counseling against unhealthy relationships, helping through difficult times by dealing with core struggles, and not just the superficial issues. many have suggested that dianne and needham have no responsibility for the work product of dylan. before jumping to that conclusion, someone tell me what did they know and when did they know it. were they in tune with the real dylan in the weeks, months before this incident? should they been? tough questions — anyone have answers?

              • Clio
                11/01/2009 at 10:07 PM

                Right-on, SDI. No one can steal your thunder, believe me.

                Kimberlee was probably channeling Kim Musheno, who was gently chided as being too indulgent a parent by none other than Joseph Price himself in that USA Today valentine from 2004.

                The parents of the Columbine killers faced public scrutiny for their parenting mistakes: why shouldn’t the defendants’ parents and families be questioned about the trouple’s upbringings?

                • Joe McCarthy
                  11/02/2009 at 12:23 AM

                  Lets just burn anyone who knows them at the stake!

                  • Nelly
                    11/02/2009 at 12:38 AM

                    Oh, don’t get all your panties in a wad. We are just pointing out that some parents won’t let or make their kids grow up and can be delusional or misguided in their support of their precious progeny. Wasn’t OJ’s mom always backing him up? Look at Scott Peterson’s indulgent mom too.

        • AnnaZed
          11/02/2009 at 1:04 PM

          The New York Times blog “Room for Debate” weighed in on this very topic recently (paging Auntie M):

      • AnnaZed
        11/02/2009 at 1:54 PM

        In the decades since matriculating from my expensive private education I have had the chance to observe many privileged people doing next to nothing with their education, opportunities, connections or talents. One might even count me amongst these featureless entitled drifters sans the trust fund.

        I have observed that some of the children of the moneyed classes are in fact particularly prone to not keeping their socks up, so vast is their sense of entitlement and so available are the capacious pockets of their families. In that sense Dylan is not unusual. Now that I am in my 50s I have also experienced several deaths from drug abuse, alcohol abuse or suicide from the ranks of my more privileged acquaintances, friends and former schoolmates. The condition that Dylan found himself in: several passes at training at various disciplines, thought by others to be “creative,” supported but only up to a point by is parents long into adulthood, mental instability coupled with illegal drug abuse and finally the ignoble decent into what was in all of its essentials prostitution is a pretty extreme example of this sort of person, but not unprecedented in my experience.

        Even with the twin face saving fictions of (first) “we are flat-mates” or then when more is known (second) “we are equal partners in a unique design-for-living type social experiment” as opposed to calling the situation what it actually was (which was being the kept pet of another man), this situation always had strife, inequity and the potential for disaster built into the formula. The striking difference is that the result was homicide, not suicide as one would expect.

        • She did it
          11/02/2009 at 9:42 PM

          wow — one of the more profound comments i have read on this blog – and there have been many.

          my hypothesis as to what happened comes directly from your post AnnaZed:

          “mental instability coupled with illegal drug abuse”

          why would anyone not directly involved cover-up this mess? i still cannot come to peace with this issue.

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