Double Edged Sword

The Missing Knife – that says it all, or does it?
The knife used to murder Robert Wone is one of the most perplexing pieces of physical evidence in a most bewildering case.

Knife Recovered from Guestroom

The prosecution claims the knife found on the night stand next to Robert’s body was not the weapon used to commit the murder.

That knife, they contend, came from a culinary set of three knives located in Dylan Ward’s room, which went missing.   Medical Examiner Lois Goslinoski reached this conclusion based the nature of the Robert’s wounds, concluding the missing knife was more consistent with the shape and depth of the wounds than the one found next to Robert.

The defense claims that an intruder found an unlocked backdoor, grabbed one of the knifes from their kitchen knife set, ran upstairs to the front of the 2nd floor, stabbed Robert and then left the knife on night stand.  The intruder then made a hasty retreat without being seen or heard by anyone in the home.

While these two stories are seemingly irreconcilable, they do raise questions about each that might help explain what happened that evening.

First, what intruder would depend on having to find a murder weapon in the home?  It was clear that this intruder did not intend to steal anything, or they would have done so.  If their intent was to kill, why depend on the murder weapon being readily available in the kitchen?

Yes, many kitchens have knife sets, but just as many do not.  Many people, especially families with small children might have their knives tucked away.

Second, why didn’t the intruder take the weapon with him/her when they left?  Leaving the knife would mean leaving behind a key piece of evidence.  Was the intruder lucky enough to find an unlocked back door, a readily available murder weapon, a home where everyone was asleep, but so unlucky as to leave behind the murder weapon?

Third, if one of the housemates committed the murder,why didn’t they dispose of the weapon?   And why then did they, as the prosecution contends, plant another knife?

Not only plant another knife, but go so far as to wipe Robert’s blood on the knife to make it look like this was the murder weapon.  Would this throw investigator’s off the trail from finding the real murder weapon, and the real murderer?

If that was the case, this decision reveals a certain type of thinking.  A missing knife from Dylan Ward’s culinary knife set would have been too incriminating.  Why?  Because the intruder would have needed to go into Dylan’s room, while he was there, find the knife, and take it.  And that wouldn’t square with Dylan’s story that he slept through the entire event.

A murder weapon taken from the downstairs is more easily explainable and still allows none of the housemates to see the actual intruder.

-posted by David

53 comments for “Double Edged Sword

  1. former crackho
    02/10/2010 at 2:42 PM

    I wonder why they didn’t get rid of the entire knife set?

    Just another way of Joe pointing the finger at Dylan? Maybe Dylan didn’t even know that Joe took that knife out of his room earlier that day? Maybe that knife set was in Dylan’s room as more of an S&M play set than anything else, so Dylan wasn’t suspect when Joe had them bring them out to play. I’ve met more than one guy that was into knife play during sex. You surely wouldn’t want to prepare food with the same knives you used to titillate your sub.

    But again, I think a lot of the questions raised in this wonderful post have to do with the fact that the boys were interrupted in either the murder or the clean up effort, and changed the course of their original plans (whatever they were).

  2. Friend of Rob
    02/10/2010 at 2:44 PM

    Maybe Joe’s watched a little too much Godfather — “Drop the gun, take the cannoli.”

    • Bea
      02/10/2010 at 3:09 PM

      Hilarious, Friend.

  3. Bea
    02/10/2010 at 3:14 PM

    The knife that was used that came from Dylan’s room was simply ‘too hot’ in exposing the housemates as killers, and in muddled and panicked thinking, they decided on the knife downstairs. Clearly they don’t watch enough crime shows – rubbing the knife with blood was downright silly (and I am grateful). I can almost picture one of them being “happy” to have thought of it.

    But, yes, Eds., the whole train of intruder/killer without a weapon is spot on. Why pass Dyl’s room and go to the guest room?

  4. She did it
    02/10/2010 at 4:26 PM

    none of the trouple supporters have been intellectually honest enough to answer the question “where is dylan’s missing knife?” has nobody asked the little blue diplomat, chef, author, masseur? or are those the wearing blinders too afraid to hear the answer that they forego asking the tough questions.

    if there was a credible explanation, you can bet someone would have floated the trial balloon by now.

    hope the girls remember to bend their knees while shoveling dear marcia’s driveway.

    and editors; cheers and hat tip on a wonderful cartoon that made me laugh aloud. keep going . . .

  5. BenFranklin
    02/10/2010 at 6:37 PM

    Ward, still dazed, emerges from his prescription fog with the benefit of a massive adrenaline rush & physical exertion.

    He takes his bloody knife out back and stashes it down in some dirt or under the patio drain grate where he or someone else can recover it later.

    Ward leaves the back door ajar on the way back inside and grabs a knife from the kitchen before silently creeping barefoot back upstairs for some heavy lifting to stage Wone’s corpse .

    • former crackho
      02/10/2010 at 8:20 PM

      The snow is really white!

      • Bea
        02/10/2010 at 8:43 PM

        My grandma has terrible gas!

        • CDinDC
          02/10/2010 at 10:01 PM

          Is it still snowing?

          • Clio
            02/12/2010 at 10:34 PM

            Happy Valentine’s Day to all, except the biologically male guests at 7900 Ariel Way!

  6. CDinDC
    02/10/2010 at 9:59 PM

    I think the knife from the set was probably in rotation in the kitchen. They may have simply forgotten that the box and matching piece were in Dylan’s closet. I think they would have gotten rid of the entire set if they remembered.

    I’ve got a closet in my dining room that has a bunch of extra kitchen and serving stuff in it….I have no idea what’s in there. it’s always like Christmas when I go in there. “Wow! I forgot I had this.”

    • Bea
      02/10/2010 at 11:02 PM

      CD, then why go get the extra “regular” knife if they could have picked it up the first time? I guess I think it makes more sense that Dylan’s knife was upstairs and grabbed before the they regained the little sense they had and realized it was not good to use “Dylan’s knife” if it was an intruder.

      • CDinDC
        02/10/2010 at 11:31 PM

        Nothing about switching knives makes sense. I just don’t think the suspected knife (Dylan’s knife) was removed from the case that was stored in the closet. If they got rid of the original knife for whatever reason, i think they would have gotten rid of the case as well (if they had removed the knife from the case). That’s why I think the knife wasn’t in the case or in the closet.

        For some reason they felt the need to ditch Dylan’s knife. The cover their tracks. They left a clue behind. I think that was an accident.

  7. AnnaZed
    02/10/2010 at 11:36 PM

    The whole knife thing is one of their more splendid fuck-ups though. It’s curious this extensive cleaning and washing and tableau creating mania; it seems that to someone the tableau just wasn’t complete without an actual knife. Recall that at one point Joe claimed to have removed the knife from Robert’s chest. That was at Cosi (right?). I wonder if that friend could be subpoenaed to tell that little tale, if there were more than one person there it wouldn’t just be hear-say (right?). I wonder at the disgust and horror that those friends must feel at having been used and lied to like that. Or did I just imagine all of that?

    • Bea
      02/11/2010 at 12:29 AM

      AZ, I went back to the Affidavit to see who said Joe told him/her he pulled the knife out of Robert’s chest – all it says is that “W-5” said so. Either it’s late and my eyes can’t find W-5. I wonder if W-5 is WORKING WITH THE PROSECUTION???

      • AnnaZed
        02/11/2010 at 12:47 AM

        Between W-5 and Officer Durham Joe is coming out of the gate looking very bad indeed, good.

    • CDinDC
      02/11/2010 at 1:09 AM

      AnnaZ says: ” I wonder if that friend could be subpoenaed to tell that little tale, if there were more than one person there it wouldn’t just be hear-say (right?).”

      Since Joe told this to W-5 directly, it wouldn’t be heresay? Hearsay would be if someone else at the table said “I heard Joe tell W-5 that he took the knife from Robert’s chest.” Is this correct?

      • Bea
        02/11/2010 at 1:40 AM

        With the caveat that I haven’t practiced criminal law since the year I got out of law school (a girl never tells her age?), I think W-5 could testify what Joe said for the simple reason that it’s not asserted to prove the TRUTH of what is stated. Hearsay is “an out of court statement, made in court, to prove the truth of the matter asserted”. The witness wouldn’t be there to “prove” that Joe DID pull the knife out – he/she would be there to testify that what Joe said (1) was INCONSISTENT with what Joe told the officers, and (2) contraverts the notion that Robert might have bled to death because the knife was already out when Joe arrived – if Joe pulled it out while he was there then the argument fades – and that’s not all. It suggests that if the knife was sticking in Robert’s chest then he didn’t roll over – an odd thing that he didn’t even move enough for the knife to slip out. And MOST of all, it would PROVE that WHOMEVER wiped blood ON the knife would have to have to have been JOE himself!!!

        • Friend of Rob
          02/11/2010 at 3:24 PM

          It would also be an exception to the hearsay rule as a statement by the party opponent in civil litigation — don’t know if that also applies in criminal litigation.

    • JusticeForRobert
      02/11/2010 at 1:50 AM

      AnnaZed: I agree. What seems so difficult to explain, may just explain a great deal. I do believe this person will be called as a witness for the prosecution if it even goes that far. To a chef, their knives are a personal connection, much like her iron skillet was to my Granny. These are not something that would be left laying around for just anyone to use. This explains why they were kept in the closet. It also may explain why on a subconcious level, Dyl did not want to part with the remains of the set, having believed that Joe did such a good cover up. The missing knife used left the house that night along with the other bloody evidence.

      • Clio
        02/11/2010 at 8:19 AM

        And, yes, what exactly would have accompanied the Tranchier knife to the dumpster, or Tom and John’s, or Silver Springs, or where ever? Bloodied towels and sheets, play mats, video recording equipment, etc.? Did they have a cart or bag to take it all away? A packed suitcase full of evil? Joe’s BMW showed no signs of conveyance, so exactly who hotfooted this stuff out of there?

      • ced
        02/11/2010 at 10:08 AM

        This is of no great importance one way or the other, but I had a different take on the knives in the closet. To me they sound like a gift, perhaps a cooking school graduation gift. The set is for carving meat I believe, a two-pronged fork and two knives and comes elegantly packaged in a case. It sounds like something someone from a generation with traditional, meat and potatoes, ideas about what a gourmet meal is might give a newly graduated chef. And carving a roast is a manly thing to do with food, like barbecueing, something conservative parents might like to picture their firstborn son doing (more than say butterflying shrimp or rolling out flaky pastry). They might have been stored in the closet because Ward didn’t prepare a lot of roasts and the kitchen already had plenty of good knives. Or one of the knives could have been in rotation, as CDinDC thinks, while the rest of the set was stored. And as JFR proposes, Ward may have been reluctant to ditch the rest of the set because it had sentimental value.

        • CDinDC
          02/11/2010 at 2:21 PM

          Re reasons to ditch the original weapon, perhaps someone nicked themselves and their blood was on the blade. Good cutlery is VERY sharp. I can attest to the fact that it can slice you with minimal effort.

          In that vein, I suspect the defendants hands were not inspected, and a small cut may not have been noticed.

          So, perhaps they ditched the original weapon in the interest of hiding potential damning DNA evidence.

          And just forgot about the case in Dylan’s closet.

  8. former crackho
    02/11/2010 at 11:16 AM

    I still think the knives were used in their sexcapades.

    • David
      02/11/2010 at 12:39 PM


      If that was the case, then I imagine the cops could test the other two knives from the missing set for DNA evidence. It would be interesting if only Dylan and Joe’s DNA were identified, because that might speak to these knives being involved in their sex play. Even more interesting, we have heard that while Dylan was the trained culinary chef in the family, it was Victor who did most of the cooking, and our sources don’t remember ever seeing Dylan in the kitchen preparing meals.

      David, co-ed.

      • CDinDC
        02/11/2010 at 2:26 PM

        REMINDER: Spell out “alt dot com” and you can outsmart the spam filter. -Craig

        There was no mention of “knife play” or “cutting” in Joe’s profile either. You’d think it would have been listed if they participated in that kind of activity.

        • former crackho
          02/11/2010 at 9:21 PM

          good point cd.

        • CC
          02/15/2010 at 12:07 AM

          From my experience, because of the risks associated with blood, most restrict that type of play to the home team. That might mean nothing here, but it’s a consideration.

          • Bea
            02/15/2010 at 12:32 AM

            CC, showing ignorance here – ‘home team’ in this context would mean? I could guess but I’m likely to be wrong.

            • Nelly
              02/15/2010 at 1:49 PM

              People that you live with and regularly engage in those types of acts with, rather than tricks.

      • AnnaZed
        02/11/2010 at 9:48 PM

        Galloping off into the too much information territory, I will tell you that it would be very odd knife play that would involve a carving knife. For that kind of stuff a smaller, more hand friendly, easier to control kind of knife (it’s all about the … ahem … tip … usually … not the blade edge so much) is the usual thing, in my experience anyway.

        • CDinDC
          02/11/2010 at 10:30 PM

          especially if actual cutting is involved. An unwieldly carving knife to scratch the skin would certainly be odd, as AnnaZ points out.

        • ced
          02/12/2010 at 4:05 AM

          Back to the affidavit: “In Ward’s bedroom, tucked away in a cabinet, the police recovered a cutlery set box. The box was designed to contain three items: a large carving knife, a large fork, and a smaller knife. The large knife and fork were present in the box; the smaller knife was missing.”

          • AnnaZed
            02/12/2010 at 11:57 AM

            Ah, thanks for that reading ced. In that case if the missing knife is the smaller knife in one of those three knife carving sets it would be just the thing for a knife play session. Apologies to all for having spent the better part of a year gassing on about a carving knife, and being confused by it myself too because a carving knife would have been an unwieldy weapon in the crime itself.

  9. Hoya Loya
    02/11/2010 at 11:59 AM

    Excellent post guys and excellent comments. Indeed, I have been thinking long and hard about the knife. Why make the switch? I can see why they might want to hide the fact that the weapon came from Dylan’s room, but why not just get rid of it? Why substitute another? Why not get rid of a knife from the kitchen as well to imply that was the weapon? Why smear and plant it at the scene? Why would M’am cop to it being “one of our knives?” They could not have been thinking clearly. And where is it now? Was it dropped in a sewer? In the trash? In Rock Creek? Or is it in safekeeping somewhere, with someone’s fingerprints on it (Joe’s?), ready to resurface if that someone rolls over on one of the other housemates (say Dylan)? Is that the mysterious factor holding the three together?

    • former crackho
      02/11/2010 at 4:15 PM

      Does anyone here have the belief that the prosecutors read this site and consider our creative hypothesis when doing thier preperations?

      • Bea
        02/11/2010 at 5:21 PM

        I assume some lower level person reads it, not for our brilliant theories but to make sure someone isn’t posing and making valuable comments. That said, prosecution person, please make sure that W-5 is ready to say Joe did claim to pull the knife out of the chest since this would blow away any opportunity to claim “the intruder” wiped Robert’s blood on the knife. Sound of jail cell slamming comes to mind.

      • AnnaZed
        02/12/2010 at 2:03 AM

        I think someone lower down has been tasked to keep an eye on this blog. Frankly, I would imagine that there has been more than one thing, like Officer Durham’s report, that might have been a bit of solid information for them. Any little thing would be good.

        • former crackho
          02/12/2010 at 2:22 AM

          Perhaps Ben as an expert witness?

          • Clio
            02/12/2010 at 10:27 PM

            Well, Ben is cheaper than Henry Lee (that was true in 1776, with different people/same name, too)!

            • former crackho
              02/15/2010 at 2:17 PM

              Ben is just about as credible as Henry Lee.

    • AnnaZed
      02/11/2010 at 9:58 PM

      That’s an interesting thought, maybe I am wrong and Michael has it after all. Maybe Victor touched it too. Very Agatha Christie, but weirder things have happened in real life.

  10. Hayley
    02/11/2010 at 7:30 PM

    I’m a long-time lurker but in re-reading the Affidavit today I noticed something that stuck out to me, particularly given this post and the related discussion, and I decided to wade in. On page 9 of the Affidavit, it states “Ward said he did not see a knife, but indicated that Price told him that he [Price] moved the knife.”

    Was Price saying that he moved (or “removed”) the knife from the body? If so, this would be another instance of Price saying that he removed the knife, as he told W-5.

    Or is Price saying that he moved the knife from where the “intruder” had left it? (I’m assuming this is the case, since further down on page 9 it states “Price claimed he picked up the knife and put it on the night stand.”) Did Ward ask Price about the location of the knife or did Price offer this information without Ward having to ask for it? That seems like a strange question to ask upon finding your house-guest repeatedly stabbed. I’m not sure my first thought would be “where’s the murder weapon?” I’d be thinking more along the lines of “Is he alive? What should I do to help?” And if I were in Price’s position, I wouldn’t even think in that particular moment to tell Ward the location of the knife. There was probably more pertinent information to relay at that time.

    And if Ward did ask about the location of the knife, why did Price give such a vague answer? When asked that question I think my instinctive response would be to just say exactly where it was, as in, “over here by the bed.” Saying only “I moved it” seems evasive, and if the Intruder Theory were true, there shouldn’t have been any reason for Price to be evasive in that moment.

    It looks to be another example of the housemates discussing details ahead of time that they think will be important, and then offering those details up to investigators to try to bolster their story. On page 10 it states “Price also said the police might find his fingerprints and/or DNA on the knife because he (Price) picked it up.” So Price had his nugget to offer the police re: his fingerprints/DNA, and Ward had his, which he dutifully offered. I guess it’s lucky for Ward that it made it into the Affidavit so Price has no doubt that he did his part in that regard.

    Thanks for letting me jump into the discussion.

    • Bea
      02/11/2010 at 8:45 PM

      Hayley, WELCOME!

      I think your post makes perfect sense. And why would someone (an attorney) MOVE any weapon? I hope W-5 is solid that Joe told him/her he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest because the “dipped wrong knife in blood” sure looks like Joe had to have done it.

      And despite the elaborate layering of lies concocted by the trio, it sounds just like Joe to have to embellish the story with friends to say “I had to pull the knife out of Robert’s chest” to elicit further empathy. The jackass deserves what is coming to him from that serious mistake.

      • CDinDC
        02/11/2010 at 10:23 PM

        You would think if the knife WERE laying somewhere other than the bedside table it would have left a bloody mark.

        Frankly, it seems strange that the “intruder” would have left the knife on the bedside table anyway.

        And what was it that Victor told Joe not to touch? The knife?

        • Bea
          02/11/2010 at 10:35 PM

          I think Joe said he ‘moved it’ to the bedside table and that’s why his fingerprints might be on it. Don’t know WHERE it was he allegedly moved it from – damn it would be sweet if he could be definitively committed into saying he pulled it from Robert’s chest. I really think that would be game over since the knife AFTERWARD had blood wiped on it. Here’s to the spine of W-5 and his/her ability/willingness to tell the truth on the stand!

          W-5 was likely the ‘other’ person at Cosi – didn’t someone mention an interior designer being present? We know it was Sarah and the boys, but who else was Joe preaching to?

          “And I had to pull it from his chest” with the poignant pause for effect.

    • Craig
      02/11/2010 at 11:24 PM

      Hayley – Thanks for jumping in, with both feet.

    • former crackho
      02/12/2010 at 1:44 AM

      Hi Hayley, thanks for joining the discussion. Didn’t Joe say somewhere that the knife was lying on Robert’s stomach, and that he picked it up from there and placed it on the table?

      Bottom line, in my opinion – no intruder would leave a knife, yet take time to wash Robert’s body and clean up. The murder weapon is the one thing I would take with me and find a very clever and permament way to dispose of. Unless I wanted to throw off the police.

      Perhaps Joe was more calculating than we are giving him credit for in throwing off the investigators.

      • Hayley
        02/12/2010 at 11:38 PM

        FCH, are you saying you think Joe knew there was no way they could get off free and clear so he intentionally made a mess of things? That he knew they were going to get collared for some crime, so they took actions to make sure the crime was conspiracy /obstruction, rather than murder?

        That makes a lot of sense to me.

        I never understood how three intelligent people could think that anyone would believe the scene and story they created. They didn’t think their story was believable, but it didn’t need to be. They just needed to make sure there’d be no way to prove murder, and it seems like in that respect they may have succeeded.

  11. Mia in NYC
    02/12/2010 at 5:56 AM

    The knife baffles me too. Surely Joe the lawyer would have known that forensic testing would show that the knife placed next to Robert’s body did not create the stab wounds. I am not a lawyer yet even I know this. I’m still undecided on whether JP et al simply tried to make the crime scene as muddled and confusing as possible for the investigators (perhaps knowing the DC police are completely incompetent and counting on this incompetence to screw the entire investigation), or whether there’s a chance that JP really did think the knife placed by Robert’s body would be taken for the murder weapon, i.e., that he really is that stupid.

    Also, slightly off topic but I’ve only recently begun reading this site and the many comments attached to it, and I’m in awe that there are still those who think there’s a realistic chance that Robert consented to being shot up with drugs, was allowing Dylan to give him a massage (and was attacked with a needle unexpectedly during the massage), or that Robert was attempting to shoot up with drugs himself. Simply ridiculous! Granted, I do not know Robert, but everything I’ve read about him does not attest to a man who would inject or allow himself to be injected with recreational drugs, and I think that to even speculate such is disrespectful to his memory. I just cannot see this young man, who it seems may not have even ever touched a joint before, out of the blue becoming an IV drug user. Again, simply ridiculous. I do question the various/many needle marks though, and as someone with unfortunately quite a bit of first hand experience in the matter, I w9nder – could Dylan et al have been looking for a vein in an inconspicous spot on Robert’s body (i.e., not in the crook of his arm, whch he wold have surely noticed in the morning) and simply been unable to find one? Perhaps the perpetrator(s) WERE looking to ‘mainline’ (inject into a vein) some kind of drug, and when unable to find a vein in an inconspicous spot on RW’s body after several attempts, gave up? Just a thought.

  12. TK
    02/12/2010 at 4:25 PM

    It does seem odd that they would wipe blood on the knife with a towel–surely Joe would know about fiber evidence. Why didn’t they (sorry to have to say this) just insert the knife in the wound a few times to get blood on it? Or maybe they thought that would show up in an examination that a blade had been inserted in the same wound twice…

    • CDinDC
      02/12/2010 at 5:11 PM

      I think in the heat of the moment, people wouldn’t think about intricate forensics. They didn’t even think about the obvious forensics. Knife size.

    • AnnaZed
      02/12/2010 at 6:40 PM

      Indeed TK, indeed it does.

      The whole entire crime is odd. Once they crossed the line there was no turning back and everything was improvisation.

      Someone’s peculiar obsessive take in what a crime scene in which they themselves are blameless should look like included a knife so somebody helpfully went and got one and dabbed some blood on it with a towel. The whole knife thing is from dinner theater, but there it is, that’s what they did.

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