Poll Position

Most of us have had more than a year to kick the tires on every conceivable theory related to Robert’s murder.

Some fit the circumstances and known evidence more than others.  Each of the possible theories falls into one of six categories. As we move towards a new year, we editors feel it’s fitting to conduct a non-scientific poll of the followers of this web site regarding their position on the various theories. Please submit your response and comment freely.

– the Editors

60 comments for “Poll Position

  1. Clio
    12/28/2009 at 1:58 PM

    I vote with the majority who see 4 as the most plausible explanation for what happened. It is interesting to note the lack of support for either 1 or 2 or 6, because all other options (3, 4, and 5)presume the collective guilt of the trouple for some charge.

    Before this site was launched and before the Editors got the truth out about both Robert and the trouple, I may have said 3. But, given the known circumstances, I am now firmly in the 4 camp. The 5 option with its dispose-the-body-in-Virginia dimension is also possible, but I still am not casting Dyl and Joe as master strategists who wanted to do what they perversely saw as “the perfect crime.”

  2. CDinDC
    12/28/2009 at 2:33 PM

    #4 for me. However, I don’t think the premeditation extended beyond that night.

    I believe an advance was rebuffed and a sexual assault insued, resulting in murder to kill the “witness,” and then an elaborate cover up to hide both crimes.

    • Bea
      01/02/2010 at 5:14 PM

      I agree with CD. The crimes were still premeditated despite being ‘thunk’ up that night as it was intentional act to stab Robert three times.

  3. former crackho
    12/28/2009 at 2:52 PM

    #4 for me as well. Its the only theory that holds up to the evidence as we know it.

  4. former crackho
    12/28/2009 at 2:59 PM

    I have to add – I still believe the death wasn’t intentional or premeditated. I believe the stabbing was a result of their panicked attempt to to cover up their drugging and sexually assaulting Robert, after they thought he died from an overdose.

    • CuriousinVa
      01/02/2010 at 4:31 PM


  5. She did it
    12/28/2009 at 3:28 PM

    i voted 6. my heart says one of the girls went batshit crazy (tina + pre-existing emotional issues) and the other(s) covered for her (why, i’ll never understand). i do not see premeditation.

  6. BenFranklin
    12/28/2009 at 4:37 PM

    I’m farily certain Ward was on too many potent prescription antidepressants & hypnotic sedatives & possibly street drugs. He’s the catatonic fugue state slasher who cleaned up after himself & left the back door open for the origin of the intruder deception.

    It was a sudden & unexpected slashing by a trusted friend in the shared bathroom, perhaps triggered by a stern rebuff to an unwanted advance by Ward while Wone was bathing, after masturbating & putting in his mouthguard. Wone had no time to react, thus no defensive wounds.

    No premeditated murder. No premeditated sexual assault-simple tragic mental instability combined with antidepressants & hypnotic sedatives. The “come to Jesus” sex party allegation is the fruit of police & prosecutorial misconduct.

    • Mike
      12/29/2009 at 11:43 PM

      So, Ben, you posit that Ward forced his way into the bathroom while Robert was showering and stabbed the busy young man (cue “Psycho” theme: skree! skree! skree!) so quickly and expertly that three perfect holes were left, while presuming that Robert had put in his mouth guard BEFORE the shower? Why?

      Are you on street drugs yourself?

      You seem so corrupted by your allegiance to Joe that any theory you offer is going to be hilariously implausible. Not worth reading.

      Oh hey, gang: I stopped by Lambda Rising today and they still have tons of great stuff and it’s all 40%-50% off. Try your best to stop by there this week. Happy New Year!

      • BenFranklin
        12/30/2009 at 4:56 PM

        No drugs here, Mike. I’m all about clarity. I always rinse my whitening tray before putting in my mouth & the shower is as good a place as any. I realize Price is not very popular around here & I don’t care about singing in tune with everyone who has total faith in the cops.

  7. Also from the Post story
    12/29/2009 at 1:17 AM

    I voted for 4, but only narrowly over 2. I keep coming back to the speed and completeness of the cleanup and the question of *who made off with all the cleanup materials??*

    I know there are glitches to this theory… but I won’t be surprised if it turns out one or more people (scuzzy friends of Dylan?) were in on the “party,” helped do the amazingly fast cleanup after it went bad, stuck the bundle of materials in their car out back, and then maybe were coming back to help remove the body (the most important part of a murder-scene cleanup, duhh!) — when they realized that Victor had panicked and made the insane 911 call, cops would arrive momentarily while the body was still there — and dashed back to their car and took off.

    All three housemates would have excellent reason to keep mum about them: so police wouldn’t hunt them down as witnesses. (And maybe they hoped, in the heat of the moment, that the others left traces of “intrusion” that the police would find. Their presence might even have put the “intrusion” alibi in mind.)

    More theorizing: Dylan with his scuzzy friends ordered Joe, Dylan’s longtime sub, to participate in raping his old college friend as some kind of ultimate Dom-giving-orders thing. Dylan sounds extreme enough for this. And Victor blundered in on the scene more or less unawares (though able to accept some fast coaching).


    • BenFranklin
      12/29/2009 at 1:52 AM

      1) if the slashing happened in the shower, cleanup may have required minimal effort & materials.

      2) Ward’s libido was likely at a frustratingly low level due to his antidepressant prescriptions. The picture you seem to have of Ward is some kind of natural monster dominant master. I’ve heard Ward is quite effeminate, soft spoken, and pressed into uncomfortable, reluctant top service.

      • David
        12/29/2009 at 10:23 AM


        Where did you hear this about Ward? Or is it just what you have read on this site?


        • David
          12/29/2009 at 10:28 AM


          Also remember that many pyschiatrists will prescribe Wellbutrin along with another anti-depressant because Wellbutrin is known to take rejuvinate sexual appetite that the other anti-depressant has decreased.

          Ward was on Wellbutrin and Lexapro.


          • former crackho
            12/29/2009 at 11:56 AM

            I take Lexapro and Wellbutrin exactly for that reason. No problems at all. And I didn’t even go to William and Mary, Mary.

            • Clio
              12/29/2009 at 12:22 PM

              The problem with #2 is Dyl’s lack of personality and friends: he may be a zombie of sorts, but he just needed at least one more person — his first and only love, Joe — to carry this horrible deed off. And, besides, Scooter Girl was not appropriate for that kind of a boys’ night.

            • BenFranklin
              12/29/2009 at 3:25 PM

              I only answer to Mary if it’s from another queer.

              Do you ever take any prescription sleep aids Ambien (zolpidem) or Lunesta, and if so what’s your dose on all the meds you’ve revealed? Is your Wellbutrin XR (extended release) or the SR? Just curious.

              • former crackho
                12/29/2009 at 4:12 PM

                Well, since I’ve already divulged in this forum that I am a former crackhead (crystal user) in recovery, I don’t mind giving other medical details if it helps give anyone a better understanding of these crazy meds. I have been on Lexapro (between 10 and 20 mg’s a day) for 6 years). I didn’t have major sexual side effects, but it did make me feel a bit like a fat neutered cat. I started taking Wellbutrin XL to stop smoking 4 years ago, and in addition to helping me stop smoking, it gave me a bit of energy that the lexapro alone seemed to take away, so my doctor kept me on it. He says he has great success with patients on both. Particularly guys who struggle with meth addiction (the doctor I go to specializes in addiction).

                Well I do not take sleeping aids on a regular basis (I relish my sleep these days and can’t wait to hit the hay most nights), I have taken prescription sleeping aids, including Lunesta and Ambien (not together of course), when on travel. The worst they do is cause me to have funny dreams.

                This is my experience only. But I know a lot of recovering addicts (as well as regular folks) on these very meds who haven’t had and reacted on the the urge to stab three times a guest in their home.

                • former crackho
                  12/29/2009 at 4:37 PM

                  Oh, and from one to another, hey, Mary!

          • AnnaZed
            12/29/2009 at 12:16 PM

            In addition, street drugs are generally ingested for the explicit purpose of enhancing sexual arousal, are they not?

          • BenFranklin
            12/29/2009 at 1:30 PM

            Wellbutrin can neutralize the extreme loss of libido & sexual function caused by Lexapro in only about 50% of male patients, but add in a prescription hypnotic sedative & perhaps a street drug & I see a man dozing off into zombie land while reading an Updike article about famous writers at the end of their lives. I don’t see a horny crazed monster top determined to rape a straight, married house guest. Wellbutrin’s worst side effect is short term memory loss.

            • former crackho
              12/29/2009 at 4:35 PM

              Where am i?

            • former crackho
              12/29/2009 at 4:44 PM

              Hmmm. Have you ever tried crystal meth? It easily overpowers most sedatives, from my experience, with the exception of too much GHB. And all that does is make you pass out for hours if you take too much, even while on crystal. When I was high on meth, taking two ambien was like taking two tic tacs. It put my mind on a one track mission involving sex. And that is all that needs to be said. Sorry if I am over-sharing 🙂

              • CDinDC
                12/30/2009 at 10:46 AM

                FC, you’re not oversharing.

                Your experience and knowledge about drug use is very informative.

                I appreciate your posts.

        • BenFranklin
          12/30/2009 at 9:54 AM

          I am within their orbit. I know neighbors & alumni who are/were very close to Price, Zaborsky & Ward.

          • CDinDC
            12/30/2009 at 10:28 AM

            Bully for you.

      • AnnaZed
        12/29/2009 at 9:09 PM

        The wounds inflicted on Robert were not “slashings” but a trio of methodical incisions unlikely to impossible to inflict on a moving person.

        • BenFranklin
          12/30/2009 at 10:05 AM

          The interpretation of the wounds by the Medical Examiner is subjective, not objective. The DC ME is only suggesting the wounds were methodical–read the suggestive language. It’s not conclusive language. Another independent examiner, not within the influence of the detectives trying to “nail those guys” can legitimately interpret the wounds as a sudden slashing.

          So many of the conclusions in the affidavits are suggestions & interpretations that were influenced by the detectives’ “hunch” from day one.

          It smells like misconduct to me.

          • CDinDC
            12/30/2009 at 10:43 AM

            Ben, of course they are subjective. Duh.

            Have you read the section entitled “The Autopsy” in the affidavit? The ME’s language is a bit more than “suggestive.” (Where are you getting this stuff?? LOL)

            “The wounds were determined to be ‘perfect slit-like defects’………..’appear to have been methodically inflicted.'”

            There’s nothing “suggestive” about that.

            If the ME finds them methodical, I would imagine she is drawing her conclusions based on myriad research in this field.

            For example, it is known that a wild stabbing (or slashing as you say) would result in wounds penetrating at different angles, different depths. A wild stabbing may result in bone fragments, ripping of muscles, etc.

            If the ME found none of the above. The wounds were all at a nearly identical angle. (Please read the autopsy results revealed in the affidavit on line.)

            It would be impossible for 3 stab wounds to have identical angles if they were “slashings.”

            • BenFranklin
              12/30/2009 at 2:34 PM

              “Appears” is subjective (syn=seems). Did you not study rhetoric & philosophy? Affidavits are not independently verified autopsy results or bench notes & photos.

              • CDinDC
                12/30/2009 at 5:50 PM

                No, Ben, I didn’t study rhetoric & philosophy. I didn’t need to in my line of work. Taht certainly doesn’t mean you cornered the market on the english language.

                So..here’s another definition of “appears” from Dictionary.com:

                …….”to be obvious or easily perceived; be clear or made clear by evidence.”

                How about this one from Merriam Webster:

                “to become evident or manifest”

                Would you like me to define evident for you? “Clear to the vision or understanding,” as in “It is evident that Ben is an ass.”

          • AnnaZed
            12/30/2009 at 10:46 AM

            As we move into the new year I remain encouraged and heartened by the increasing desperation and hysteria of Ben’s posts. They make very hard reading, that is true, and one wants to interject and argue and and point out the obvious flaws of logic (an instinct that I shall seek to quell in my own posts in the future though we shall see if I can maintain my composure).

            Scratch the surface and I see panic. As previously noted, it is of interest that the central charges of the trial itself are abandoned and that the looming murder charges are being worried at and recast constantly instead. Now he is reduced to what is in its essence the OJ defense; that of a vulnerable minority being set up by a conspiracy of official origin however ludicrous the construct may be. They might as well hire Alan Derskovitz and be done with it.

            Anyway, I am interpreting these signs of irrational panic as emitting from the trouple camp and as good signs, signs that they are comprehending the gravity of the conspiracy and obstruction charges and have taken on board that the trial is unwinnable.

            As predicted, the “throw Dylan under the bus” campaign is in full swing, and I am not entirely unsympathetic to this. Joe and Victor will have to individually weigh the considerable extent to which time is not their friend. Every day that passes that they continue with this farce digs them deeper and deeper into the mire. It will not be a simple flick of the wrist and the words “Ok, I’ll tell now, Dylan did it, all of it.” to get them out of the situation that they are in. The crimes that have been committed are grave indeed and the old childish formula of lie, lie and lie again; then when cornered convert to a new lie simply will not fly.

            • Clio
              12/30/2009 at 11:24 AM

              I wonder if Spag and Needham are tacitly supporting the fables of Ben; they may be saying to themselves: enough already!

            • BenFranklin
              12/30/2009 at 2:34 PM

              No panic here. Inside the short bus is where Ward belongs until he can get his medications balanced.

              • AnnaZed
                12/30/2009 at 2:39 PM

                More like under the prison bus, eh buddy.

                Needham, I hope that you are.paying.very.close.attention.

          • David
            12/30/2009 at 11:23 AM


            Again your logic takes jumps. You assume that ME is under influence of the MPD, yet you don’t offer any evidence to prove this point. Does Lois Gosolinski have a history of being in bed with prosecution? Because her findings are cited by the prosecution means she’s in bed with them? And would an independent examiner have no biases?

            My main point is what has the ME done that is so off-base as to be biased? I haven’t seen evidence than anyone has brought forth to suggest such a point. You are just asserting it.


            • BenFranklin
              12/30/2009 at 3:58 PM

              See the post under Craig’s List. I give a concrete example there.

              • David
                12/30/2009 at 4:42 PM

                I did see under the post under CraigsList, Ben, and it looks like you are backtracking because now you say that it was the government putting words in ME’s mouth, when in your earlier post, you said the ME was so “bigoted, prejudiced” that we needed an independent examiner.

                So which is it? The ME is in collusion with the MPD, or is it the MPD that is spinning her conclusions?


                • BenFranklin
                  12/30/2009 at 5:00 PM

                  It doesn’t really matter-either way is terrible. Unforgivable. Be very afraid when we condone the “ends justifying the means.”

                  • AnnaZed
                    12/30/2009 at 5:02 PM

                    Stop trying to put words in other people’s mouths.

          • Penelope
            12/30/2009 at 3:16 PM

            Ben, the Medical Examiner will likely be treated in court as an expert witness. This means that unlike non-expert witnesses, the ME is permitted to opine on technical matters within her specialty, which would include interpretation of wounds.

            Nevertheless, the difference between slashings and stabbings is such that I fancy even someone without medical training could make a reasonably accurate distinction between the two.

            Regarding the independence of the DC ME, according to the organization chart linked at http://www.dc.gov/mayor/organization-1.shtm, the DC ME and the MPD are separate entities, both reporting to the DC Department of Corrections.

            • BenFranklin
              12/30/2009 at 5:07 PM

              I’m not talking about official reporting or organizational structure. I’m talking about winks & nods between veteran (read tired/lazy) detectives & ME & USADA.

              • Penelope
                12/31/2009 at 1:53 PM

                What evidence is there of these winks and nods? I can think of circumstantial evidence against. If the detectives had been more involved in the autopsy, wouldn’t they have insisted on additional blood samples for further testing, especially since the standard tests came back negative?

                I have a smidge of experience working with federal law enforcement, and I gleaned a few things from that. Lazy detectives don’t want to request warrants or work cases, let alone cases that aren’t slam dunks. Nor do lazy ADAs want to try cases that aren’t sure shots. These are defendants with ample resources, and police and prosecutors know this, and should be able to deduce that forensic evidence will be challenged by premier defense experts.

                As for the DCME, their office has been significantly understaffed with double the caseload of comparable MEs. Why would they take the time for this wink and nod business, when it just means useless time on the witness stand for them? My general experience in government is that agencies don’t interact and communicate well with other agencies.

    • CDinDC
      12/29/2009 at 1:14 PM

      Based on accounts by people that knew the defendants directly (that have shared their thoughts with the website), Joe doesn’t take orders. And Dylan is meek.

      If anyone gave orders that night, I believe it would have been Joe.

      Dom does not necessarily equal strong.

  8. CCBiggs
    12/29/2009 at 3:26 AM

    Sorry to quibble, but with respect to No. 4, if the sexual assault was premeditated but the killing was accidental or unplanned, then the killing might not be “murder.” It could be a lower-level homicide such as manslaughter. With that caveat, I think scenario No. 4 is the most likely.

    • David
      12/29/2009 at 12:29 PM

      CC Biggs,

      If Robert died of a drug overdose, that could be accidental, maybe, but someone stabbing him three times isn’t much of an accident, even if they already thought he had died.


      • CCBiggs
        12/30/2009 at 2:21 AM

        Not so fast. If the stabbing was done after Wone had already died (such as in an effort to throw the cops off the trail by suggesting an “intruder” theory), then the stabbing had no role in Wone’s death and is legally irrelevant from the standpoint of determining whether Wone was “murdered,” or died in an accidental drug-related homicide.

        • AnnaZed
          12/30/2009 at 10:15 AM

          Biggs, do your homework. The ME established that Robert was alive (and for a while, horrible as it is to contemplate) when stabbed and after.

      • CDinDC
        12/30/2009 at 10:23 AM

        But if Robert died of a drug overdose, it shouldn’t be considered “accidental” because Robert didn’t take drugs, the drugs were very likely injected without his consent, and if the drugs killed him, they would still be charged with murder.

        Look at the case of John Belushi and Cathy Smith. Cathy Smith later admitted that she gave JB the fatal injection. From Wikipedia: “Smith was extradited from Toronto, arrested and charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain arrangement reduced the charges to involuntary manslaughter, and she served 15 months in prison.”

        If this is indeed what happened, defendant supporters need not get excited. Cathy Smith didn’t go to elaborate lengths to conceal JB’s death. She didn’t stab his body and stage a break-in or clean the house.

        And she didn’t rape him.

        So supporters don’t try to lessen the horror of this crime by claiming “an accident.”

    • AnnaZed
      12/29/2009 at 12:37 PM

      I am alway curious about that premeditation business. What is premeditation ~ one week, one day, twenty minutes but not five? I don’t know, but to my thinking going into one’s room and ferreting out one’s special knife involves some sort of thinking (meditation if you will) however addled. I would call that murder. Isn’t manslaughter more of a heat-of-the-moment, bar fight kind of thing?

      • CDinDC
        12/29/2009 at 1:21 PM

        From Wikipedia:

        “Premeditated murder is the crime of wrongfully causing the death of another human being (also known as murder) after rationally considering the timing or method of doing so, in order to either increase the likelihood of success, or to evade detection or apprehension.”

        From US Legal Definitions:

        “The amount of time necessary between the planning and the act to prove premeditation is judged on a case by case basis.”

  9. Penelope
    12/29/2009 at 5:52 PM

    I’m a longtime lurker, and speculating on the poll has brought me out of my shell to post.

    My thoughts on #1 – The defendants’ intruder theory.

    There seems to be little credible evidence of an unknown intruder. Based on earlier motions, the defendants seem to be desperately grasping at straws to get the any sort of forensic proof to support their theory. Besides, wouldn’t the defendants want to shout any favorable evidence from the rooftops, or at least leak it to their remaining friends to disseminate? Wouldn’t they promulgate other theories of the crime? They could have one of their stable of experts searching for registered sex offenders in the area to pin this on. They could bring to light other crimes that fit this pattern.

    How on earth would the defendants have been able to live at Swann Street again after the murder? As I understand, having one’s home breached by a mere thief can be extremely traumatic, devastating the sense of safety and security. Shouldn’t the intrusion of an unknown rapist and murderer create an incredibly traumatic emotional aftermath? What is known about the defendants’ state of mind following the murder? Any signs of PTSD? What additional home security measures did they implement?

    I seem to have rambled on; perhaps I’ll tackle 2-6 at some point later.

    • David
      12/29/2009 at 6:11 PM


      Love what you have written so far. Don’t stop!

      David, co-ed.

      • CDinDC
        12/29/2009 at 10:30 PM

        yes! A fresh voice and perspective.

        Looking forward to hearing more Penelope.

        • Clio
          12/30/2009 at 11:33 AM

          Penelope, keep working on this web of lies, and be sure to give Ulysses my love, if he ever returns!

    • Penelope
      12/30/2009 at 2:45 PM

      Thanks for the warm welcome.

      As for #2, a fifth person known to the defendants, many viable theories have been covered here. But nobody has asked this: Where was Aunt Marcia on the night of the murder? My ridiculous theory follows.

      Dylan and Aunt Marcia have a giddy, giggly, girly slumber party planned for that night. Joe acts as their slave boy for the night, procuring and administering an entrancing elixir of street drugs and prescription meds. Perhaps Dylan practices a little hypnotism on Aunt Marcia, just for fun. (And perhaps Dylan perversely enjoys making a spectacle of his rival’s beloved aunt.) Meanwhile, Victor slumbers in the third floor bedroom, unaware of the antics below.

      At some point in the midst of this timeline, Robert arrives. Upstairs, Aunt Marcia entertains herself with a toy from Dylan’s extensive collection while Dylan and Joe exchange pleasantries with their guest downstairs. Dylan makes a show of taking his “sleeping pill.” Robert retires, and the other parties pretend to do so. Dylan cajoles Auntie into pulling a “prank” on a sleeping Robert; possibly Joe offers some suggestions from his good old W&M days. Dylan and Auntie giddily wait for Robert to fall asleep.

      Robert begins to snore softly, and the plot unfolds. Dylan administers acupuncture or some other Eastern medicine technique to immobilize Robert and perhaps keep him asleep. Dylan ties up Joe. While Aunt Marcia holds a gag in place, Dylan assaults Robert sexually.

      At some point during or after the assault, Robert seems to have stopped breathing. By now, Dylan and Auntie are paranoid and hallucinating. Panic ensues, and they become hysterical. Someone sees Dylan’s knife and impulsively decides that if Robert is stabbed, it will be easy to blame an intruder. Somebody screams. Joe finally takes charge and orders that someone untie him. He notices that Robert is still breathing and suffocates him to complete the murder.

      Joe administers a sedative to Dylan and Aunt Marcia. Auntie is bundled up and spirited away, perhaps by Michael Price. Joe directs Dylan to clean up, and Robert is hosed off. Dylan and Joe stage the scene of the crime.

      The commotion of the cleanup wakes Victor, and he groggily heads downstairs, to a horrifying scene. He screams. Joe orders him upstairs to call 911. The truth dawns on Victor: his beloved aunt, his erstwhile partner, and his housemate have all participated in a murder. Joe feeds his fears, exaggerating Auntie’s role in the crime. Victor has no option but to protect his loved ones.

      • Clio
        12/31/2009 at 4:09 PM

        What would Oskar have said if he only knew!

        The problem remains that Vicki actually believes Penelope’s last sentence: she still thinks she’s being a maternalistic martyr for her husband and her son.

        Again, Victor, it’s not too late to grow a pair and to give the guilty parties up! Let Aunt Marcia drive you to Anacostia.

  10. AnnaZed
    12/29/2009 at 10:54 PM

    Not sure where to post this but Miller vs. Jenkins was decided today:


    Is Joe in a celebratory mood perhaps? Maybe he’ll get drunk and post here.

    • former crackho
      12/30/2009 at 10:29 AM

      Maybe he already has!

      • Clio
        12/30/2009 at 11:14 AM

        Thanks, AZ, for posting this breaking news.

        Poor Isabella! None of us can choose our parents, alas. Thanks, Joe, for helping to permit all families, gay or straight, to go through the joys of a bitter custody battle. Break out that champaigne, Culuket: no more tap water and alphabet soup for you!

        We can hope, though, that Kim is shielding her little boys from the scandal and shame of having possible rapists and murderers for fathers, although her appearance at status hearings does disappoint.

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