A Conspiracy of Dunces?

Maybe not the case…

“Ann”, a reader of WMRW.com since its inception, offers her take on the case:

I’ve been following this blog for almost one year. I have always been a “passive reader” because of the big effort I have to do to write in English (I’m not an English- speaker) and also because I have always thought that my theory would be automatically rejected by most of you.

But in view of the little public advances and new features in the investigation, I have decided to share and contrast with you my thoughts about this case.

1. Three years after Robert Wone’s murder, it’s a fact that there seem to be no evidences that Zarbosky, Ward and Price did it.

2. Even if they were at the house, even if they found the body, even if they had strange behavior when the emergency team arrived, even with all the circumstances that seem to point at them as the criminals, and even if they manipulated in some way the crime scene after finding their dead friend…if they haven’t been accused of murder it’s only because there is no irrefutable evidence that they killed Robert.

3. There have been many theories about how could it have happened and why (the reasons), all of them involving the three house mates of Swann street. None of them has been, until now, consistent enough to be brought to a Court. There are many more questions than answers: the lack of blood, the BlackBerry, the semen issue, the time line of the crime… just to mention some of them. And, in addition, I’m sure that the three guys have been put under pressure during the interrogations… But all of them have always insisted on their innocence.

4. So this unsolved crime looks more and more like a perfect crime.

5. Is it possible to make a perfect crime without having planned it?  Did they plan in advance to sexually assault their friend, then to kill him and make sure that they would not leave any crime evidence against them?

6. If they hadn’t planned it, but it happened, would they have been able to erase all the crime evidence under those circumstances?

7. I think the answer to both questions is NO. If they had planned it in advance, they would have also foreseen that everybody would point at them, and that the intruder theory would be very hard to believe.  And if they did it without having planned it in advance (under drug effects, uncontrolled sexual impulses and other things that I have read at the posts), could they have had the cruelty of attacking a close friend and the callousness to do it in such a way that nobody could prove what happened exactly? I don’t think so.

8. Maybe many of you will call me crazy, but I think more and more strongly about a conspiracy against Robert, planned perfectly to frame the three guys of Swann Street. This sounds more and more plausible to me than all the other theories that I’ve read until now.

9. Why do I think about a conspiracy?

  • a. It looks like a perfectly premeditated and planned crime.
  • b. Given the time line and the lack of clear evidences to explain the facts, it looks like it was committed with the means and resources to create confusion and sexual theories, maybe to cover the real reasons behind it.
  • c. It looks more like the murder was committed by professional assassin(s). They did their job very quick, and very well. And they didn’t leave any trace evidence against them, just traces against the three house mates.
  • d. I have been thinking often about Robert: He was a lawyer. He had recently left his former job. He had just started a new one. He was an activist. Did he have some dangerous and powerful enemy from one of  his cases at his former job? Maybe in the new job? Did he know something that someone didn’t want him to reveal? What do we know in reality about Rob’s professional and activist contacts and enemies? Has this been investigated? Rob was involved with powerful organizations that probably have powerful enemies (Radio Free Asia, for sure). I don’t think his environment was so smart and innocent. Yes, I’m thinking about mafias. Why not?
  • e. So maybe someone wanted to murder Robert, and maybe someone had this horrible request. And they waited for the perfect occasion to avoid any suspicion. The killer or killers decided to simulate a sexually motivated crime when they knew, probably through Rob’s BlackBerry or emails, that he had an appointment with his “non-conventional” friends that night. That was the occasion: they had the potentially guilty parties, a devious motive and time enough (about two weeks) to prepare their operation very carefully.

So this is what I tend to think more and more strongly. That we are all looking at the wrong way. But maybe nobody will have the means to look into this possibility.

Thank you for letting me to share this theory with you.


42 comments for “A Conspiracy of Dunces?

  1. Former Crackho
    11/23/2009 at 11:44 AM

    That is an interesting theory, Ann. Or maybe the MPD just made too many mistakes during the investigation to charge the trouple with murder. Just because MPD flubbed up any evidence that existed against the trouple doesn’t mean the
    boy(s) didn’t do it.

    For what its worth, I’ll put my money on the Joe/Dylan theory over a conspiracy theory any day of the week.

    • CDinDC
      11/23/2009 at 12:00 PM

      In addition, to possible mistakes, the ability to pin the crime of murder on ONE person is seemingly impossible. This is another reason there may be no murder charge to date. There were 3 men in the house. They can’t prove which one. Or how many.

  2. Former Crackho
    11/23/2009 at 11:49 AM

    Also, from all accounts he and he and Kathy were very closed and shared everything. If he had any information or a dangerous or powerful enemy, I believe he would have discussed this with her. He had a dangerous and powerful enemy all right – in the guise of a close friend.

  3. CDinDC
    11/23/2009 at 11:58 AM

    Just a few random thoughts….

    1. There is no evidence that a 4th party was involved in Robert’s death. None.

    2. I’ve worked in law firms for years and currently in a very large, world class firm. It is nothing like the “The Firm” and I’m nothing like Julia Roberts. It’s not like what we see in the movies. There is not that much excitement here. And Robert handled real estate law and transactions, for pete’s sake.

    3. Grassy knole, anyone?

    Ann, your thoughts are appreciated, but lack of evidence (blood, etc) IS evidence of a crime.

    Again, if someone wants to offer evidence in support of another theory, I’m all ears. There is no evidence here. All speculation. Wild speculation.

  4. BenFranklin
    11/23/2009 at 12:14 PM

    Interesting post Ann,

    Are you aware that the CIA recruits a high percentage of its new agents directly from the ranks of W+M undergraduates from it’s nearby Camp Peary?

    The CIA identifies W+M students with the academic & leadership skills & ethnic heritage needed for specific covert training operations. I know several students who started training on “the farm” while they were third & forth year at W+M, and they continue to serve “the company” in the Asia or Europe as operatives.

    Do we know if Wone spent any time at Camp Peary?


    • AnnaZed
      11/23/2009 at 5:06 PM

      Ben you are creating new meaning for the expression “give it the old college try.” Do keep it up though, it can be not only amusing but revelatory.

      • Clio
        11/23/2009 at 5:42 PM

        Ben, Robert spent as much time at Camp Peary as you did at Valley Forge.

        Now, may I suggest that you return to the salons and their kind of repartee. The ladies of Paris will believe anything!

  5. AnnaZed
    11/23/2009 at 12:23 PM

    Thank you for your post Ann.

    I am reminded of an encounter that I had several years ago with two people whom I “knew” from reading their posts on Salon where I used to be a sort of enthusiastic poster. These two were (let’s say) not my supporters. Lord knows why I agreed to meet them, but I considered that I would be safe enough in Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan, so I went. Once there, one of the two adopted the persona of a person who is deaf and insisted on writing all of her responses in a notebook. This was a conceit the absurdity of which I did not bother to point out, on account it being obvious.

    As to tales of spies and super agents

  6. AnnaZed
    11/23/2009 at 12:33 PM

    (sorry I pressed “submit” by accident)

    continued ….

    As to tales of spies and super agents; color me unimpressed.

    As I once said to Ben: Is that all you’ve got?

    I don’t think that a jury will be willing in a conspiracy and obstruction trial to simply brush away in a few phrases the essence of the charges themselves, “…even if they had strange behavior when the emergency team arrived, even with all the circumstances that seem to point at them as the criminals, and even if they manipulated in some way the crime scene after finding their dead friend…”

    An advocate would have to do better than that.

    I am encouraged though by an environment in which those that struggle to frame an innocent scenario for these men have in effect abandoned any hope of arguing against the conspiracy and obstruction charges themselves and have moved on to defense against murder charges. That is very enlightening.

    • Meto
      11/23/2009 at 1:38 PM

      Well Happy Thanksgiving to all, in advance.

      Where to start?

      Ben, I know of no reason why W&M, just because of proximity to Camp Peary, has ever had a special place with The Company. If anything, northeastern schools have held that position. And CIA agents are more valuable say in the State Department, as civilians working for the military, at other federal agencies with posts overseas or NGOs not at Covington doing real estate work. and CD is definitely right, work at so-called BigLaw is not precisely world changing subterfuge (except to the extent that it helped fuel our present economic circumstances – veering of course).

      Ann, thanks really for your theory; it is thoughtful and deserving of responses and debate. Let me pose some questions, if I may: (1) why was it necessary to have such a complex plot to eliminate Robert — what about putting something in his drink at work and eliminating him through traceless poison?; (2) What if Robert had changed his plans or what if he had been welcomed as the long-time friend and he and Joe and sat up all night discussing old times?; (3) did the plot also involve stealing Dylan’s knife in advance — after all how it could be taken during the events?; (4) doesn’t the plot mean that the plotters would have access to the property before and after?; (5) the time-line suggests minimal time for a clean-up — how is all that done without waking one of the three residents?; (6) if one assumes that one or more of the residents cleaned-up anyway, why?; and (7) (most importantly for me) the three residents should have, if this theory holds water, shouted their innocence from the rooftops and certainly on Good Morning America; they should have hired an investigator; spent every waking minute trying to get at the truth — they would not have (as appears to be the case) clammed up, refused to help the police, sold the house so that they no longer had access to the crime scene for their investigation, bought a new house in Florida, had one of them travel to Asia and then Florida and on and on. I realize that I am imprinting my own world view of what I would and would not have done under such a circumstance where my best friend is killed and I am being framed, but I think Meto’s efforts view is more realistic.



      • BenFranklin
        11/23/2009 at 7:14 PM


        Agreed. The Covington BigLaw real estate-attorney would not likely be a target, however the Radio Free Asia attorney might be. The US Congressional Research Service reports that journalists in China claim that Radio Free Asia is a CIA broadcast operation.

        I leave the possibility open that the SS/RFA/CIA, or the widow, intentionally made Wone’s Blackberry vanish. But I don’t think his work had anything to do with his murder.


        • CDinDC
          11/23/2009 at 9:18 PM

          ::enter Tom Cruise::

  7. CDinDC
    11/23/2009 at 1:59 PM

    Ann says: “But all of them have always insisted on their innocence.”

    Rarely do the guilty admit guilt. This in itself proves nothing.

    Another thought……..what about Joe’s inconsistencies in his statements? Seems if he was innocent, Joe would have only one story to tell.

  8. Lee
    11/23/2009 at 2:13 PM

    There is one major problem with your theory:

    If somone wanted to assasinate Rob – why not just shoot him on the street? Why not hijack his car?
    Why not ambush him in a parking lot?
    Crimes like that happen all the time in DC.

    For an assasin t0 set-up those 3 guys with the principle goal of murdering Robert makes no sense.

    If someone’s main purpose was to set-up one or all three residents of Swann St. – then yes.

  9. Bea
    11/23/2009 at 2:29 PM

    If the CIA wanted to frame the trouple, there would have been much more damning evidence than what was found. The apologists here appear to be reaching in a big way – real estate transactional attorney has pissed off Tony Soprano? The in-house attorney at Radio Free Asia, in his job for a month, has garnered sufficient enemies to be ‘rubbed out’? Too much bad television.

    If it had been a professional hit, from either side of ‘the law’, there would have been absolutely no clues or enough clues that everyone would have known the ‘why’. In trying to step back and block out prior hunches, I just don’t see two CIA or mafia types sneaking into the house, going up the stairs without detection, either dragging Robert downstairs or killing him and cleaning up all around him without anyone being the wiser – and recall that Victor and Joe ‘heard the chime’ so they were fairly light sleepers or were barely asleep.

    If the chime sounded once, why not twice? Only when Agent T. Soprano was leaving? Had they set up in the house, possibly taken Dylan’s knife, while Victor was asleep on the 3rd floor and the boys were drinking water on the 1st? Why did they clean yet leave semen on Robert’s genitals and in his rectum? If they’d wanted it to look like ‘intruders’ they’d have staged a burglary – so they’d have to have wanted to frame the trouple. Typically that’s not the CIA’s MO, to have innocent men put behind bars unless the trouple was the true “victim” – but then there’d have been planted DNA/fingerprints making this frame job a slam dunk murder case. The trouple may have pissed off some tricks in their day, but I just don’t see them on the radar of hired assassins.

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/23/2009 at 11:49 PM

      Bea asked: “If the chime sounded once, why not twice?”

      If we are to believe that a chime was heard and that it was a single chime, then one explanation would be that the door once opened, was left open. Doors will only chime when the contacts on said doors are activated by closure or closed contact.

      • AnnaZed
        11/24/2009 at 1:19 AM

        I for one do not believe that a chime sounded at all.

        • CDinDC
          11/24/2009 at 10:47 AM

          ditto – just another embellishment to the defendants’ story. If the door opened (which it most likely didn’t), the chime would have gone off, so they added it to their story.

          If heard that the more details to a defendant’s story the more likely they are lying. They over compensate to fabricate truth.

          • CDinDC
            11/24/2009 at 10:53 AM

            Or they added the chime as a kernel of truth because they sprayed something off outside on the patio.

            I wonder if the MPD got dna from the trip outside.

            • CDinDC
              11/24/2009 at 10:53 AM

              trap, not trip. Of course, they would have made a trip outside to test the trap. :p

              • Bea
                11/24/2009 at 4:16 PM

                I suspect the chime did go off once – when Sarah/Michael left with the knife and bloody towels. And it was “good” for Victor and Joe to say they heard it once. Dyl was “too asleep”. The kernel of truth in lying is correct – and perhaps the “Sarah/Michael leaving with evidence” chime IS what awakened Victor. But Joe was downstairs already, possibly annoyed that Victor had come upon the mess. In Joe’s mind, so long as he gets Victor to utter the “single” lie that they were upstairs together, it would have been best had Victor slept a bit longer, say until 11:45, long enough to get his bearings and make the phone call to regurgitate what he’s just been told – no more, no less.

                Sadly, though, I suspect Victor was up when the chime sounded just as the most damning evidence was leaving the premises – and sober Victor looked at it and said “what, are you crazy? The first place they’ll look for him is HERE!” And thus the yarn began to spin.

                • JusticeForRobert
                  11/24/2009 at 9:12 PM

                  Bea: I have good reason to believe that the chime was engaged also. If you are someone familiar with how your security system works then you are already aware, often by the salesperson in the presentation of their sales pitch, that the security company that monitors your system records all faults. A fault is any area or zone in your home that has detection equipment such as contacts on doors and windows. There are also glass break and motion detectors. Each time a fault is detected, it is recorded by the center that monitors your system. If your system is not set, then of course an alarm will not sound and the the center has no reason to contact you, however the faults none the less are still recorded. I do not know at this point if the detectives ever received a report from the security company, if they did, the read out would indicate the last time that door was opened or that fault was detected.

                  • AnnaZed
                    11/25/2009 at 2:55 PM

                    This is an excellent point. I fear that my own cynicism about the aptitude and diligence of the MPD causes me to doubt that they secured this significant information.

                    • JusticeForRobert
                      11/25/2009 at 3:30 PM

                      AnnaZed: I share that fear with you, even though it should have been protocol to follow up with the security company given the suggestion of a possible intruder. If you go back and look at the statements given by the three defendants in the affidavit in support of Dylan’s arrest, you find that Dylan made a point about the back door being open. Victor mentions this in his statement as well and of course Joe and Victor claim to have heard the chime. I dont think that Joe is lying about hearing a chime, I just have to wonder when he actually heard it. Whoever was working on that back patio was messy, they left the garden hose in disarray and left the cap of the drain lopsided. I would venture to say that doesn’t fit Joe’s MO considering his issue with spiders and porch lights.

  10. Craig
    11/23/2009 at 3:23 PM

    I’ll echo some comments above – that if this was a hit and the Trouple were indeed set up, they would’ve shouted their innocence from the rooftops.

    • Clio
      11/23/2009 at 3:47 PM

      And, even Myanmar is not that hard up to hire the drifty Dylan to do a hit!

      If this was a hit and the trouple had been framed, then we would all be joining Aunt Marcia and Needham in a March on Washington. We could all dance with each other at Halo, but that is pure fantasy. That scenario may be happening in a parallel time-space continuum, but it did not happen here.

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/23/2009 at 11:55 PM

      I agree Craig. There is no way that my close and dear friend would loose his life in my home and I would do nothing. That perhaps is the most telling of all things about this case. Sometimes it is not what you say, it is what you fail to say that says more than you could ever say.

  11. Lyn
    11/23/2009 at 4:06 PM

    Ann said: “The killer or killers decided to simulate a sexually motivated crime when they knew, probably through Rob’s BlackBerry or emails, that he had an appointment with his “non-conventional” friends that night.”

    Ann, how did the “hitmen” know that Ward had an electro-ejaculation device hidden in his room? How did they get in Ward’s room to retrieve it without him seeing them? How did they return it to his room after assaulting Wone? How did they get the knife out of Ward’s set in his closet? And if they wanted the trouple to appear guilty, why not return the bloody knife from Ward’s set to Ward’s closet? Why replace the actual knife used to stab Wone with one from the kitchen? How did these “hitmen” know that the trouple were all “sleeping” when they entered the house (and, therefore, that they wouldn’t be seen)? How did the “hitmen” incapacitate Wone so that he wouldn’t have any defensive wounds? How did the “hitmen” remove the blood-soaked towel that Price was, by the trouple’s own account, holding to Wone’s stab wounds during the 911 call while the trouple were all awake and dealing with the crime that had just happened?

    I could go on and on and on and on, but I think you get the point.

    • Clio
      11/23/2009 at 10:07 PM

      Right-on, Lyn. The real conspiracy may be still ongoing, though, … in a certain northern Virginian hamlet of McLean.

    • John Grisham
      11/24/2009 at 1:06 PM

      Unless the elusive and clandestine CIA assassin was … (drum roll) ….. SARAH!

      • Clio
        11/24/2009 at 2:01 PM

        No, she was at Tom and John’s all along, playing charades and gossiping about Dyl.

        Yet, the CIA did get so desperate after the Tenet debacle that they may have hired a former Maryland butcher instead — Michael Price. But only to hawk their XXL T-shirts, probably.

  12. CCBiggs
    11/23/2009 at 11:28 PM

    Actually, there is a lot of evidence of pointing to the guilt of the housemate(s). It is true that there is no conclusive proof of their guilt, but you can’t say that there is “no evidence” against them. There’s a lot.

    • Former Crackho
      11/24/2009 at 2:33 PM

      And they probably have even more evidence than we know of.

      OK, I am not versed in the legal side of things (though I have to admit to a one night stay in the pokey after a particularly rowdy evening many decades ago) and I am sure this has been discussed before, but once the boys are tried for the obstruction charges, could murder charges be filed at a future point should the DA find more substantive evidence? Or is it a one shot deal? Would it matter if they were convicted or aquitted on the obstruction charges?

      • Craig
        11/24/2009 at 2:42 PM

        FCH: I’ll let the legal beagles jump in on this, but I think ramped up charges CAN be filed after the May trial’s verdict, no matter which way it goes.

        There’s a double jeopardy issue somewhere, somehow but I don’t think it impacts this. At least now.

        “Botched murder investigations for $200, please Alex.”

  13. Perplexed
    11/24/2009 at 9:38 PM

    It’s nice to have your input, Ann, but some quick thoughts are:

    1. Just b/c someone can’t be charged with murder, certainly does not mean they are innocent. Contrarily, when there is more than 1 person involved, and they are sticking very close together, it makes it all the more impossible.

    2. Factor in all jof the mistakes the MPD made. That in and of itself is fruit ripe for a novel. I will also put in that I’m quite sure the MPD does not come across this sort of thing every night and, frankly, the way the housemates were acting probably made the hairs stand up on their back so much, they had difficulty getting past that and completely onto the task at hand.

    3. It does not seem plausible that if RW had a hit on him, that it would be carried out in that fashion. It would more than likely have been done when there were no other people around.

    4. This also does not explain all the cleaning up that went on and more importantly – again – the very strange way the housemates were acting. Not concerned really for their dead friend and everything they said they were doing to help him – holding the towel to his gushing wound – was not correct or even happened.

    Just going on the facts – I’d have to dismiss that one…

  14. She did it
    11/25/2009 at 2:31 PM

    i did not know it was possible to post on a blog with one’s head so far up one’s ass. thank you, “ann”, for educating me on this point; and on your theory of the case. i will leave it to others to tell you how wonderful it is to have your different theory or point of view posted here — suffice it to say i was alarmed by the disconnect between the evidence and your reality. in any event, ann, have a wonderful holiday. it is an understatement to say that we will need to agree to disagree.

    • Former Crackho
      11/25/2009 at 3:14 PM

      I always thought Sara/h’s middle name was Lee, not ann. Except in Joe’s case; it appears he’s familiar with both Sara/hs.

  15. Clio
    11/26/2009 at 12:11 PM

    Ann posits that “in addition, I’m sure that the three guys have been put under pressure during the interrogations …”

    We know that the trouple was not waterboarded (Eric Holder would have never allowed it, even then!) and that they were not placed upon a rack (Joe and Dyl would have enjoyed it too much!).

    So, Ann, define “under pressure” — Folts’ merry ride to Anacostia, I hope, was the “good cop” routine playing itself out, but any “pressure” brought to bear later that morning was then easily assuaged by defense lawyers, bought and paid for.

    • cdindc
      11/27/2009 at 4:31 PM

      I’m sure they didn’t get any bruises during interrogation.

  16. Clio
    11/27/2009 at 6:38 PM

    I’m sure that they didn’t even break a sweat, let alone a nail, during the “interrogations.”

    The Florida bills combined with the Four Horsemen’s invoices, however, may be exerting useful pressures that the cops themselves could not apply.

  17. Jimmy
    12/01/2009 at 11:43 AM

    Yeah, as to the W and M and The Farm….everyone knows all the real action takes place at the point.

    Also, Northerners have been banned from the CIA. Haven’t you seen Body of Lies?

    All the real CIA guys are tarheels….duh

  18. new reader
    05/14/2010 at 1:17 PM

    Im new to this case, just read about it in the Post this week and have since been as intrigued as everyone else is.

    I have read a few over 1/2 of the pages on this blog (so I will admit that I am not as knowledgeable as many of you), and agree that yes, signs do point to the involvement of the “Trouple” at Swann Street (however am going to assume that, even in the Internet Age, there are things that the general public doesn’t know about this case). But I am truly amazed at the way you all are dismissing and insulting Ann. She is trying to help with her theory. Trying to help answer the question of “Who Murdered Robert Wone”. And all you people are doing is insulting her?

    Makes me wonder whether you are trying to answer the question “Who Murdered Robert Wone”, or instead “When Can We Friggin Prove The Guilt of the Trouple Already?? I Hate Those Guys So Much!!”. I would think that anyone really interested in what happened to Robert would embrace a new theory with open arms.

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