The Toxicology Report
For the past three years, case watchers have held many unanswered questions regarding several aspects of drugs, testing and blood samples. Both prosecution and defense teams have shared some of those questions.
In the original affidavit, the government theorizes that prior to his stabbing Robert Wone was injected with paralytics. They base this on two factors: he showed no signs of defensive wounds of fending off the knife attack, and the autopsy revealed a number of unexplained “needle puncture marks.”
Much of the last year’s legal battles at the status hearings involved what other tests the government could perform on the scant amount of blood saved, only 3 or 4 cc’s.
We’ve long known what specific drugs Robert’s blood and tissues had already been tested for – they’re spelled out by Medical Examiner Lois Goslinoski in the indictment. However those test results, all negative, combined with the puzzling puncture marks and lack of defensive wounds, led Dr. Goslinoski to speculate:
“…there are various incapacitating or paralytic drugs for which no tests were run as there was no early indication — in light of the statements that Price, Zaborsky and Ward gave to the police — that Mr. Wone may have been injected with any such drugs while at the Swann Street residence.”
The prosecution has posited that an unknown agent was used to incapacitate Robert, but the defense has, for just as long, argued the government could provide no specific, positive evidence as to what specific agent was used.
At the May 22nd status hearing, Zaborsky defense attorney Thomas Connolly pressed the prosecution to test for “…anything they wanted…just get it done…”, even if it meant consuming Robert’s last remaining blood samples. Mr. Connolly’s repeated, boisterous calls for any and all needed testing were notable for their seeming confidence.
We have long speculated whether ketamine could account for the curious circumstances around Robert’s murder. However, the affidavit did not specifically mention whether ketamine was tested for – and you can’t prove a negative, or a thing by its absence.
Now, guesswork yields to lab work.
Signed by Rory M. Doyle, Deputy Chief Toxicologist of the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the 10th and final page of Robert Wone’s autopsy report answers this lingering toxicological mystery.
The toxicology laboratory pulled several specimens for testing: Femoral blood (2), heart blood (2), urine, bile, vitreous, liver, brain, and gastric.
Tests were performed to determine the presence of:
“…ethanol, acetone, methanol, isopropanol…amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine metabolites, methadone, methamphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), propoxyphene…gamma-hydroxybutyrate…(and) carbon monoxide…”
All tests were negative – or in the normal range. It is now certain that NO testing was done for ketamine.
And since ketamine has a short half-life, with residue testing at its limits at 2-4 days, not 2-4 years, all parties can safely assume any further testing on the remaining blood samples will never show positive for ketamine.
Now we fully understand why, at an earlier status hearing, Zaborsky counsel Tom Connolly was more than happy to let the government exhaust any remaining amounts of Robert Wone’s blood.
When it comes to ketamine in this case, there’s just no there there.
-posted by Craig and Doug
On the Docket: We’ll have full blown coverage of this Friday’s status hearing, the first presided over by the new judge assigned to the case, Lynn Leibovitz.