Has The Swann Street Three-Way Always Been A Two-Way Street?

Love is a Two-Way Street

Love is a Two-Way Street

Joe and Victor Jumped to Dylan’s Defense; Why Didn’t Dylan Reciprocate?

Throughout the investigation into the murder of Robert Wone, the Metropolitan Police Department maintained that the Swann Street defendants told a consistent story about what happened on the evening of August 2, 2006.  Diane Durham’s statement was the first to question the authenticity of this claim.

Yet, if their version of events from that ugly evening always lined up, you would also think they always had each other’s backs.  However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In the original affidavit both Joe and Victor defended Dylan. Joe’s statement was the strongest:

“There’s no way on the face of the earth that Dylan could even punch somebody.  I know Victor and Dylan better than I know my mom. They (Ward and Zaborsky) couldn’t even spank a child that was being bad.”

Victor’s statement was equally definitive:

Zaborsky speculated that Ward could not have killed Mr. Wone because Ward is “one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met.”

While being questioned in Ancostia the evening of the murder both Joe and Victor were quick to defend Dylan from any involvement in the murder of Robert Wone.  Also notice, though, that their defense is not based on first-hand, eye-witness evidence, but rather is character based.  Dylan is sweet, so he could not doing anything so reprehensible.

What Dylan said follows after the jump.

When asked whether Price or Zaborsky could have committed the murder, Dylan was not able to say.  The original affidavit reads:

Ward indicated that he could not say whether Price or Zaborsky killed Mr. Wone as he [Ward] claimed that he did not emerge from his bedroom until well after the stabbing had occurred.

Why didn’t Dylan immediately jump to Joe and Victor’s defense just as they had done for him?  Was Dylan just being more accurate in testimony by not adding any rhetorical flourishes that couldn’t be supported by evidence?

He easily could have given the same character-based defense that Joe and Victor did for him. But, during that long night in Ancostia, it looks like Dylan wasn’t ready to walk that plank for them.

Throughout the course of this long investigation, the conventional wisdom has been that the defendants always stuck to the same story, and were always watching out for each other.

After watching the three defendants choose separate entrances at the January 15 status hearing, is there a chance daylight was between them as early as the night of the murder?

— Posted by David

49 comments for “Has The Swann Street Three-Way Always Been A Two-Way Street?

  1. Hoya Loya
    01/29/2010 at 12:18 PM

    I have to hand it to you David — you and your co-eds are always finding new angles that have been staring us in the face the whole time.

    Dylan is clearly sticking to the pre-arranged story that “he did not emerge from his bedroom until well after the stabbing had occurred.” Maybe that’s even true — Robert might have been stabbed IN his bedroom.

    In the meantime, Joe and Victor cover for each other by saying they were together upstairs and both cover for Dylan by saying he wouldn’t hurt the proverbial flea.

    But it is also true that Dylan did not appear to be sticking his neck out for the other two. And let’s not forget (I’m sure we haven’t) Joe’s sudden concern for Dylan’s whereabouts and well-being in his interrogation. Was he legitimately worried Dylan would go off script?

    • Clio
      01/30/2010 at 1:16 PM

      Going off script — as with their BDSM tableaux as choreographed by Counselor Price himself.

      • Mike
        01/30/2010 at 2:11 PM


  2. CDinDC
    01/29/2010 at 1:42 PM

    Interesting, David!

    Maybe Dylan’s personality was shining through. Lackluster. Unmotivated. Lack of direction. Even in a life altering moment such as being interrogated for a suspicious death, Dylan probably shrugs his shoulders and is incapable of giving concrete information.

    “Where’s Joe? I need help with the answers”, he’s probably thinking.

  3. CDinDC
    01/29/2010 at 1:48 PM

    Hoya Loya says: “Robert might have been stabbed IN his bedroom.:

    Hoya, the autopsy report indicates the stab wounds were sharp side up. This means if someone were holding the knife in a natural position (sharp side down), a person would have had to have been above Robert’s head to inflict wounds with the sharp side up.

    It’s highly unlikely that a person would grab a knife and use it upside down (sharp side up), even in a fist-clenched stabbing position.

    That’s why I’ve always believed Robert may have been stabbed in the bathtub. Robert could have been positioned in the bathtub so that the assailant was behind him AND above him. The wounds could have been inflicted by going over his shoulder. The wounds were also in a downward angle.

    In addition, the bed was completely unruffled. One indentation where Robert’s head laid. The bed was practically pristine.

    • Hoya Loya
      01/29/2010 at 2:17 PM

      Well, I meant in Dylan’s bedroom, which he says he didn’t leave. But good point about the angle, etc.

  4. Mike
    01/29/2010 at 4:00 PM

    Ward’s lack of conviction (“…could not say”), in my mind, casts suspicion on himself. Someone with more to lose than the other two defendents would be less likely to go out on a limb. His failure to vouch for them suggests he’s protesting a bit too much – sticking (desperately) to his “I saw and heard nothing” story so closely that he doesn’t do the normal thing and stick up for his lovers.

    And this perturbs me because I’ve always viewed Price as the more culpable.

    • CDinDC
      01/29/2010 at 4:44 PM

      I don’t see Dylan’s lack of enthusiasm as a sign of more or less culpability.

      Dylan, Joe and Victor all have totally different personalities. It’s difficult for me to say that all three should react the same way in their separate interrogations. And what happened in the interrogation rooms mirrors what happened in the house. Joe blabbing away. Victor performing on the phone. And Dylan remaining quiet. I think you are seeing their true personalities emerge.

      It’s hard to say what is “normal” behavior for these men.

      • David
        01/29/2010 at 5:07 PM


        I agree that what you see are their personalities, and what I see from Dylan’s here is that he is more precise in his wording than either Joe, the lawyer, or Victor, the PR guy.


      • Mike
        01/30/2010 at 12:03 AM

        Yeah, Dylan was being just as weird in the interrogation room as he was at Swann. But that’s still deeply weird, and I wonder why.

        “I can’t say” if they commited the murder is the same as saying “could be.” You would never, ever say that about your partner in such a situation, CD. And neither would I. These guys are all trying to appear as pure as driven snow. Yet, even after seeing the corpse of their “friend” lying in the place where he was supposedly stabbed, Dylan can’t commit? Not even “That seems impossible”?

        Just bizarre to me. I’m not sure what it means, other than that Dylan was acting much more like a live-in prostitute than a full-rights “partner.” Which runs against the PR image Joe and Victor were trying to sell at this time. Could someone of Ward’s alleged intellect really be so dizzy?

        What a chuckle if Master Ward truly was the clueless, innocent angel in all this.

        • Clio
          01/30/2010 at 11:49 AM

          What an impertinent, ungrateful imp that Mr. Ward seems to have been to his only love, Mr. Price! Was his odd choice of words payback time for having to put up with all of those dreadful alt.com performances, or was it truly ignorance of the dastardly betrayal, rape, and murder that had just gone down in a flash?

        • CDinDC
          01/30/2010 at 12:50 PM

          Mike says: “You would never, ever say that about your partner in such a situation, CD.”

          Of course not, Mike, if they were INNOCENT. But if they were guilty, it would be a different story. I would NOT lie to protect my partner if they killed someone. I’d run for the hills and contact the police.

          Maybe Dylan’s reaction was reflective of the events that night. I always thought that Joe did the deed. Maybe Dylan is the only one in the house with a conscience, and his gut reaction wasn’t to blatantly lie.

          Also, I can imagine Dylan didn’t feel so good about being left out to dry either. Joe asked Victor to cover for him. He may have felt like “what about me? Who’s gonna cover for me.”

          Maybe he went into that interrogation room with a bad taste in his mouth.

          I would say it’s normal to defend your partner if they are innocent, but NOT normal to defend your partner if they are guilty.

          • Clio
            01/30/2010 at 3:08 PM

            My earlier reply here probably went into the Spam bin, but here it is, as revised below.

            What an impertinent and ungrateful imp that Mr. Ward seems to have been toward his only love, Mr. Price. After giving the Dylletante elegant food and shelter for at least three years, his patron could only get this tepid nonanswer from Mr. Ward in Joe’s defense. I would want my money back, if I were Joe! Is there a Better Business Bureau for DC’s kept men?

            Was that nonanswer payback for having to endure dreadful, extreme BDSM scenes that he was not into, or was it real ignorance of the depravity of which his patron was fully capable?

            • AnnaZed
              01/30/2010 at 3:10 PM


            • CDinDC
              01/30/2010 at 4:49 PM

              I don’t get why everyone thinks Dylan should have sold his soul any further for Joe. Look at the mess Joe may have gotten everyone into. (I do believe Joe was the principal player.) Would he have been an even more ungrateful concubine if he had confessed? Or should he take it to this horror to his grave to save his keeper? I don’t think so.

              If Joe killed Robert, I find Dylan’s response more appropriate than a song and dance in support of the piece of shit.
              We’re talking murder….. not “Survivor.” If my partner killed someone, the allegiance would be out the door.

              • Bea
                01/30/2010 at 5:47 PM

                I suspect Joe was the “guiltiest” of all and that it crossed Dylan’s mind that he might be sold down the river (especially since Victor couldn’t be fingered for the murder, Dylan “knew” that he’d be Joe’s likeliest target). He’d know what Joe was capable of and he hedged his bets – that’s my two cents.

              • Mike
                01/30/2010 at 6:03 PM

                But the fact is, Ward IS going along with the cover-up, the obstruction, the bogus Chimera script, everything. That’s why it strikes us as odd that he’s not giving a more believable performance. If I were guilty and determined to pose as innocent, I would eat, drink, breathe innocence. I would take my role to heart (though a stranger to the elaborate play-acting of BDSM). Not give a little “I dunno” shrug if asked if my ostensible lovers had butchered a dear friend.

                Ward at this point is steeped in guilt as an accessory at the very least. What’s with his reticence? A sign of greater or lesser guilt? David is correct to find it interesting. That’s all.

                • CDinDC
                  01/30/2010 at 6:12 PM

                  Definitely interesting, Mike (and David).

                  Too bad we don’t have more about Dylan’s personality to work with.

                  You have to wonder if this is typical behavior or atypical behavior on Dylan’s part.

                  Where oh where are those “I knew Dylan in college” people.

                  • She did it
                    01/30/2010 at 8:27 PM

                    not sure where they are; but i know where they are not. they are not sleeping on the basement couch of their lover’s husband’s aunt — in other words: they have a life, they are living, they have jobs, spouses, partners, kids, neices/nephews, homes, confidence, good mental health, retirement accounts. i suspect ward is one Georgetown graduate who does not have a standing invite back to the hilltop.

                    • Clio
                      01/31/2010 at 12:17 PM

                      Bill Clinton is such a Georgetown alum, as well as Dick Durbin, the current Majority Whip in the Senate. The current Democratic Congressman from Tidewater, Virginia — Glenn Nye — is also an alum of the School for Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown: unlike Dyl, Glenn Nye has kept his good looks into middle age.

  5. CDinDC
    01/29/2010 at 5:17 PM

    Do you think Dylan acted alone?

    • Clio
      01/30/2010 at 12:44 PM

      What kind of Master could not punch or spank anyone, even in a theatrical way? Only Joe would know about the mechanical or “tortured” nature of those intimacies. Those seized office pictures may show the strain on Dyl’s face as he tries to act tough.

  6. CDinDC
    01/29/2010 at 5:17 PM

    Or do you think Joe came along and cleaned up Dylan’s mess?

    • David
      01/29/2010 at 5:26 PM

      That’s another 64,000 dollar question about this case. And your questions aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Dylan could have acted alone in the murder, and Joe helped clean it up. But from the timeline to available evidence it seems highly unlikely that Dylan acted entirely alone. That is an enormous amount to cover in 79 minutes for one individual.


      • CDinDC
        01/29/2010 at 5:32 PM

        Agree 179%

        • Bea
          01/29/2010 at 7:36 PM

          I know there’s no need to drive off this bridge till we come to it, but I will venture a guess here.

          Joe KNOWS that Dylan is going to draw the most attention – hell, Joe put him in that position by leaving him without an alibi while Joe himself has placed himself by Victor’s side in the 3rd floor marital bed. This doesn’t keep Joe from claiming the (false) verification by Victor and letting Dylan swing all alone, mind you, but he very likely sold this as “we have to look perfectly ordinary, and that requires that I went to bed with my domestic partner at a reasonable hour”. Meanwhile, Dylan is the surefire suspect in the initial picture.

          So is Joe knowingly stirring that pot by mentioning Dylan’s inability to hurt children and his use of antidepressants? Is he at least positioning himself away from being the most-likely-to-take-the-fall by painting Dylan as exactly that?

          This post mentions all the sweet talk about Dylan’s character from Joe and Victor – but is it really that? These are relatively bright guys.

          I’m reminded of high school, being out with friends and having beer in the trunk – we got pulled over for a traffic thing, and a friend blurts out “officer, we are so sorry to cause you this trouble but there is absolutely no reason for you to look in the trunk.” This was a guilt-stricken 16 year old talking – and now there was probable cause to search the trunk. People like Joe can see what might actually help him even while he sounds like he’s helping someone else – here, Dylan. Lawyers develop a way of ‘hearing’ how things are going to sound, and I wouldn’t put it past Joe, particularly if Joe and Dylan acted together. And Victor likely believed whatever Joe told him that night – and I strongly suspect Joe at least intimated that Dylan could be in serious trouble – thus causing Victor to come to Dylan’s defense.

          If I had to guess, as to Dylan’s close-mouthed approach, it was because Joe whispered SAY NO MORE THAN YOU HAVE TO. USE AS FEW WORDS AND NEVER ANSWER ANY MORE THAN IS EXPLICITLY ASKED. Of course, this age old advice Joe himself did not follow. Or maybe Dylan was still really, really high. Or he did say nice things which were not reported – they thought for purposes of the report that it was important Dylan conceded that either Joe or Victor could have come downstairs without him knowing.

  7. former crackho
    01/29/2010 at 8:12 PM

    I think Dylan was just being cautious in his statement. Or, the statement could be true. Wouldn’t it be something if Joe and Victor – not Dylan – actually did the dirty deed. Maybe Dylan really was in his bedroom the whole time. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    And you know they read this site – perhaps they are playing little games by coming in separate doors to the court room, etc., and checking out what we say about it.

    • Craig
      01/29/2010 at 9:00 PM

      FCHo – Maybe that’s the case and the threesome are throwing head fakes. You’d think they’d have better things to do than to game the discussion here. It’s the jury they should most care be about influencing.

      Either way, it’s bad optics and part of a poor communications plan that started with them refusing to make a single public statement about their friend’s murder.

      And to the affidavit excerpt above: I agree David that Victor was definitive vouching for Ward’s good character. But who ever banged out that document prefaced that with Zaborsky saying he “…speculated that Ward could not have killed Mr. Wone…”

      Speculated? Hardly a full-throated defense.

      • Clio
        01/31/2010 at 12:53 PM

        Perhaps, Victor was speculating, though, because he could not believe that, despite his rough edges and origins, Joe had killed Robert so quickly and brutally. So, Victor was holding out hope that Dyl did it by merely speculating that Dyl could not do it. Just speculatin’?

  8. AnnaZed
    01/29/2010 at 9:04 PM

    Maybe Dylan did take a sleeping pill, and he only woke up when Joe asked him to help clean up a (really big) mess.

    Maybe Joe attacked and murdered Robert.

    Maybe then for different reasons Victor and Dylan helped clean up (they are always being defined as the spineless ones after all).

    Joe was the one who knew Robert, would conceivably have been having fantasies about him or something.

    Maybe the curious pairing of Victor and Dylan outside of the courthouse is the two of them starting to separate themselves from Joe.

    Maybe the two of them were willing to ride it out while Joe was regaling them about how smart he is and how he could get the conspiracy and obstruction charges dropped, but not now that the trial is proceeding and murder charges are looming as well.

    It’s possible.

    They could both be in terror (reasonable enough) over what price they would have to pay once they break their silence and admit their part in the thing.

    Someone from the prosecution is maybe reaching out to them.

    I don’t know enough about it to know if they could expect a deal that lets them off with no time in prison, maybe.

    Maybe they are all still willing to risk a shorter term in prison for obstruction vs. a longer stay for murder for even one of them (still a loyal trouple).

    That could all be true if Joe was the one who attacked and killed Robert.

    • CDinDC
      01/29/2010 at 10:38 PM

      i agree with so much of what you have said here, AnnaZ.

      Re reasoning for Dylan and Victor to help Joe clean up, I’ve always believed it to be two-fold. Unhealthy emotional dependence and financial motivations. Victor life was completely tangled up in Joe’s and removing himself would result in a divorce like no other. I would imagine Joe wouldn’t exactly be a willing participant in losing his assets. And Dylan? Where would the waif go? Starting over may be a scary thing for Dylan.

      • Clio
        01/30/2010 at 11:54 AM

        Especially at 40 plus.

  9. former crackho
    01/29/2010 at 9:14 PM

    Well, whatever happened and whatever they have schemed, the bottom line is one, two, or three of them thus far have gotten away with murder.

    Whoever did what, the truth is they are all monsters for what they did and covered up.

    • AnnaZed
      01/29/2010 at 10:55 PM

      FormerCHo. of course, that’s a given; parasites sucking on the rectums of worms all three of them.

      • former crackho
        01/29/2010 at 11:05 PM

        I know, but I have a real hard time understanding how and why this all happened. These aren’t stupid people. And did they do this type of thing before, and, if not, why all of a sudden? I mean, we can blame drugs to a point, but I did a ton of them over the years and never came remotely close to something as disgusting and depraved. I guess the reasons don’t matter though. The only thing that matters now is that they pay for their actions and it doesn’t happen again.

        • CDinDC
          01/30/2010 at 12:34 PM

          I’ve said this a bunch of times and I’ll say it again….people kill other people everyday. Mothers kill their children. Spouses kill their spouses. Business associate kill their business partners. Spurned exs kill their exes.

          Hundreds of murders everyday for senseless reasons. Joe et al are no different. Just because they were tidy little gay men that lived in a tony townhouse and had nice jobs, doesn’t make them immune to this kind of craziness.

          There is no good excuse or reason.

          FCH, they are STUPID people. Clearly.

          • former crackho
            01/30/2010 at 8:48 PM

            Well, I don’t think these guys are unintellignent. Evil, narcissistic, yes. But not stupid. but I don’t think they aren’t intelligent. These are well-educated men. It takes a certain level of intelligence to be able obtain the various degress these guys have. And at least Joe and Victor seem fairly ambitious. I know people kill every day. I just don’t get how you work hard your entire life for things that are obvioulsy important to you, and for the most part be functional members of society and then one night just snap and kill your friend. I know it happens all the time. I just can’t compehend it.

            • Bea
              01/30/2010 at 10:03 PM

              I agree F C-ho that they’re all three intelligent mention. And that they’ve done something really stupid (and ghastly immoral). I do think that Joe felt himself bulletproof and above reproach, which led him into the position of having made a bad decision to “have” Robert against Robert’s will – called sexual assault/rape. And then he did something only a twisted and narcissistic, possibly sociopathic, person could do: in order to face charges should Robert go to the cops over the sexual assault, Joe killed him in cold blood. Dylan was likely right next to him the whole time – possibly even was the instigator of the assault – but my sense is that Joe was the ‘decider’ on everything, and the brutal stabbing of Robert Wone was Joe’s decision to make. And he did.

              • Clio
                01/31/2010 at 12:47 PM

                Stupidity transcends credentials and IQs, unfortunately; credentials and IQs may even magnify its impact.

                The loss of talents and future achievements here is criminal in itself — thanks, Joe, for putting the Wone family and the rest of us through this excruciatingly slow circus.

                • Mike
                  01/31/2010 at 1:22 PM

                  What’s always on my mind is how rare someone like Robert is – one of the few who strive effectively against “the darkness.” Despite the selfishness and cruelty you see around you every day, people like him really lift your spirits. In addition to being a tragedy, this whole thing seems so abominably unfair – really a crime against us all. All of us who believe in what Robert believed in.

                  Intelligence and talent fatally squandered on all sides. Will humanity always be like this? Wish I could believe in “moral evolution.” But even Clio’s peers on Mt. Olympus wrestled with these paradoxes.

                  • CDinDC
                    01/31/2010 at 1:37 PM

                    That was a lovely post, Mike. Speaking as a borderline misanthrope, I know goodness when I see it. The world has lost a beautiful soul.

                    • Craig
                      01/31/2010 at 2:29 PM

                      What has remained most unsettling for me is the notion that such a cool guy may have met his untimely, tragic end at the hand(s) of ‘friends.’

                      ‘Friends’ who knew more about Robert than most any of us, yet still may have…

  10. Clio
    01/30/2010 at 11:59 AM

    For Vicki, I guess Dylan was especially nice and sweet vis-a-vis the filibusters of her own boorish husband, Joe. Note that Vicki did not vouch for her hubby. Other sweeties for VZ, of course, are/were Aunt Marcia and Sarah.

  11. Nelly
    01/31/2010 at 9:01 PM

    “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” In this case, the reverse turned out to be true. After all, most people are murdered by people they know, not some random psycho on the street or an intruder.

    • Clio
      02/08/2010 at 11:56 PM

      Per Nelly’s quote, why would Joe be having lunch with Kathy in November 2007? Was he trying to preempt litigation, or was he merely fishing for where the investigation was leading?

      • AnnaZed
        02/09/2010 at 12:42 AM

        I wonder if it was that lunch that caused Mrs. Wone to realize that she was dealing with a liar and possibly a murderer. Joe’s amazing nerve in presenting himself to her as a friend and confidant does not surprise me.

        • CDinDC
          02/09/2010 at 1:04 PM

          Joe carrying on “business as usual” by attending the funeral, having lunch with mrs. wone, etc., shows him to be sociopathic. It was manipulative and even a bit cunning on his part to reach out like that.

          • David
            02/09/2010 at 1:17 PM

            I read the lunch between Kathy Wone and Joe Price much differently. By November 2007, Kathy clearly knew that authorities believed the crime scence was tampered. In August 2007, she was part of a press conference where Eric Holder asked for those who knew what happened that night to come clean — a not to veiled reference to the Swann Street housemates. Any lunch between Kathy Wone and Joe Price in November of 2007 was not as the defense motion states “a chance to see how the other was holding up since Robert’s passing.” It seems that it was more likely Kathy asking Joe to be held to account about what happened that night.


            • Bea
              02/09/2010 at 3:28 PM

              Agree, David. The press conference at Covington (can see it on YouTube) made pretty clear that Kathy Wone was asking that the defendant(s) come forward or that their friends/acquaintances tell what they know. Joe may have believed that he could persuade her of his innocence in November 2007, but my guess is that she was having none of it – and she was wearing a wire in case he slipped up. He’d have assumed this too.

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