Tool Time

Government Turns Over Discovery Information

Last week, the government laid out their blueprint for the prosecution of this case. Now, in the most recent filing, AUSA Glenn Kirschner opened up his toolbox to reveal just how he will accomplish his task.

What is curious is this discovery summary isn’t part of the public record (yet) and only showed up as an attachment from the defense, whose joint motion complained that the government’s discovery summary was incomplete and inadequate.

More about the defendant’s motion will be posted later this week.

But, for case watchers, the information the government turned over won’t disappoint in either the breadth of its scope or new revelations.

For starters, the government turned over 3,043 pages of documentation, and this doesn’t include the amount of video/photographic evidence.

Recently, there has been concern that some of the videotapes of the defendants’ statements were lost. This might be well founded as the government supplied 5 CDs of the defendants videotaped statements — two CDs each for Price and Zaborsky yet only one for Ward.  This is surprising since Ward was held the longest, and submitted to a polygraph test during the long night.  Was part of Ward’s testimony lost?

Also turned over is photographic evidence from happier times in the trouple’s life such as their trip to Tuscany, Italy the year before the murder, as well as photos of Robert’s 30th birthday party.

Revealed for the first time is an extensive list of experts in every field from the medical examiner, trace evidence, sadism and masochism, electronic forensics, chemists, fingerprints, blood spatter and toxicology.

The summary goes into greater detail about the work of blood spatter expert Robert Spalding, who is doing additional tests about blood patterns resulting from a blood-soaked towel to a clean knife.

The list of experts also shows some strategy as well. For example, they listed an additional medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler, who is Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland.  His findings corroborate Lois Gosilinowski’s results, which should help ward off an aggressive defense attacks on the autopsy’s results.

Over the past year and a half several government filings have mentioned numerous nameless witnesses that have provided information about the character of the defendants.  Now, they are no longer nameless.

They include Scott Hixson, who lived across the street from the defendants and is an interior designer (could this be the friend at Cosi after the murder?).  Also mentioned is David Anderson, who used to live in DC but now lives in Miami, and Jefferson Wilson, a hairstylist who works at Axis salon.

Other listed names that have been noted before include Joe Price’s brother Michael and Louis Hinton, Michael Price’s domestic partner at the time of the murder.  Also cited are Lisa Goddard and Peter Dernbach, both who were roommates of Joe and Victor when they lived on Constitution Avenue, as well as Mark Bright, for which little information is known about so far.  Lisa Goddard was the “Lisa,” the friend mentioned that the defendants spoke about in the kitchen with Robert a short time before his murder.

There is one name notably absent from the list — downstairs roommate Sarah Morgan.  Is this because she isn’t considered a government witness?  Or is it because she is a material witness and not a “character” witness?

On the other side of case, it looks as if the defense might try to get the e-mails that were found by Detective Waid on Robert’s Blackberry but subsequently lost when the imaging was not conducted.  The summary details that Detective Waid has met with the defense to discuss his recollections.

— Posted by The Editors

54 comments for “Tool Time

  1. Nelly
    02/23/2010 at 10:56 AM

    Very interesting. Here’s hoping that the prosecution will rake those character witnesses for the defendants over the coals, especially if they knew Robert too. How does one get to be an expert witness in S&M? Does James Plant own a store or teach a class?

  2. 02/23/2010 at 11:00 AM

    This must be why Nancy Grace and CNN won’t cover the Wone case.

    • Bea
      02/23/2010 at 1:46 PM

      Great find! Let’s hope she takes her journalist’s creed of honesty to heart. Very interesting, too, what Friend of Rob has to say about her ties.

      • CC
        02/24/2010 at 9:28 PM

        And another W&M grad! How incestuous.

        • Clio
          02/24/2010 at 11:04 PM

          OMG! So, this is the Lisa about whom Dyl said that they were talking that fateful evening. An amped-up version of Jule Gardner Banville with much better hair and make-up, our own Mona Lisa has done quite well for herself: a minor player within the power elite. Let’s hope that, in this drama, she’s better than her own reporting on South Carolina politics.

          • Clio
            03/07/2010 at 8:50 PM

            Could Lisa, in lieu of Sarah, testify to the trouple’s private infelicities such as recreational drug use or poor hosting skills? In preparation for her testimony, her colleague Anderson Cooper could give her the rubric of standards for genteel bachelor hosts.

  3. Lyn
    02/23/2010 at 11:16 AM

    I’d love to know more about the Swann St. window screens that were “recovered.” Were they recovered from Swann Street or somewhere else? Why were they recovered and why are they considered evidence? And finally, when were they recovered? They weren’t turned over to the FBI for testing for several years.

  4. Bea
    02/23/2010 at 1:24 PM

    A couple of preliminary thoughts after a quick read – the reference to Michael Price and others is worded in a way which suggests these people are likely to be called by the prosecution but whom the defense may think of as “character witnesses”. My guess is that each will be called to talk about what happened that night/following morning and thereafter. Why Sarah Morgan is not listed is intriguing indeed. I assume that “W-5” is among them – the person to whom Joe bragged about pulling the knife from Robert’s chest (PLEASE hold up! PLEASE don’t lie now!).

    The window screens were likely tested to ensure that no one (i.e. an intruder) pushed through to enter or leave the home thus having to have entered and exited “the long way”. It’s at least possible that they were tested to see if the bloody towels etc. were ‘dropped’ from the window so as to not drip down the stairs/hallway but I doubt that – too strange a thing for a neighbor to possibly witness.


  5. Friend of Rob
    02/23/2010 at 1:24 PM

    By way of background, Lisa was the Student Association president the year after Joe and Robert was Lisa’s chief of staff. Joe was a senior and Lisa was a Junior when Robert was a freshman, if I recall correctly.

    • Clio
      02/24/2010 at 6:42 PM

      Is Lisa similar in personality to Sarah? Does she have many confirmed bachelors as friends?

      • Friend of Rob
        02/25/2010 at 2:02 PM

        I’ve never known Lisa to have that reputation.

  6. Hoya Loya
    02/23/2010 at 2:32 PM

    Dr. Yosaitis jumps out at me — testifying about commonly used, not closely controlled anesthetics, easily accessible to those with access to operating and emergency rooms, that can knock one out in 30 seconds and cause paralysis but allow the afffected person to retain bodily functions such as digestion and sensory perception. Chilling.

    I wonder where Lisa’s current sympathies lie? Robert was her chief of staff after all, though she was also Joe and Victor’s tenant. Care to hazard a guess FoR?

    • Bea
      02/23/2010 at 2:35 PM

      Perfect stuff for the criminally-inclined wannabe phlebotomist.

      I too would love to hear FoR’s take on Lisa’s sympathies – and to the extent that he knows her (even a little) whether she’s a ‘stand-up gal’ in terms of truth at the expense of (living) friends.

      • rk
        02/23/2010 at 3:00 PM

        When were the character witnesses provided by the defense? Lisa might have agreed to testify on Joe’s behalf before the indictment was made public and the trouple’s intruder story fell apart. Does the naming of a character witness in this filing mean that she has agreed to testify?

        Anyone with half a wit can figure out that the trouple’s explanation of what happened to Robert is BS. Lisa tesifying on behalf of Joe’s character, even only while he was at W&M, would be a slap in the face to the Wone family. She spoke at Robert’s funeral – I doubt that she’ll be in the Price camp now that she’s had a chance to review the prosecution’s case.

        • Bea
          02/23/2010 at 3:15 PM

          Personally I think the wording was a bit tongue in cheek – the government is saying that they plan to call those people AND that the defense MIGHT be planning on calling them as character witnesses. Doesn’t mean they WILL be character witnesses, only that the presence of their names don’t need explanation to the defense in the discovery filing. The thought that the defense might call Michael Price is all but hilarious. He’ll be called by the government, for sure, because he’ll be the lurking shadow of a killer in this trial (with or without help of the defendants) – and he may well take the 5th, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for the government. If he DOES testify, the prosecution will be thrilled given his goosey reputation (so why DID you burglarize your brother’s home?) – could do far more damage to the defense than any other single witness outside of those willing to share incriminating comments/information on the stand against their (former?) friends, and in particular, W-5, who could single-handedly convict Joe Price with testimony that Joe boasted of pulling the knife from Robert’s chest, thus making it clear that he was the one to wipe blood on that knife (the fake knife).

          • David
            02/23/2010 at 4:22 PM


            The way the line is written about the “character” witnesses is very vague. We checked with our sources, and at first thought this was a poor list as they were all social (no one from IDFA or Arent Fox on the list), but when we said this looks to be the government’s list they said that a few of those names might be able to discuss some of the defendants’ behavior including drug use.

            So the question is, would the government call anyone as a “character” witness who wouldn’t support their theory?

            David, co-ed.

            • Bea
              02/23/2010 at 4:29 PM

              Hi David,
              I think the use of “character” within the document was a quick way of communicating that the government would be calling these people who the DEFENSE might think of as “character” witnesses. And yes, drug and sex practices will be relevant, as would the history of Robert and Joe’s relationship.

            • CDinDC
              02/23/2010 at 4:29 PM

              But can’t “character witness” go both ways? There’s bad character, as well. If the government is calling them, I would think they are going to support the government’s position. Otherwise, they would have to be approached as a “hostile witness,” wouldn’t they?

              • CDinDC
                02/23/2010 at 4:33 PM

                And a “hostile witness” is simply questioned differently. Same questions, different delivery.

                Friendly witness: Ann, do you know if Joe did drugs? “Well, yes, he did.”

                Hostile witness: Ann, Joe did drugs, didn’t he?

                • Bea
                  02/23/2010 at 4:43 PM

                  The government can’t really call ‘character’ witnesses – no one can take the stand and say “he’s a jackass”. They can take the stand to describe actions they’ve seen. I’m sure Michael Price will be deemed a hostile witness, tho perhaps Lisa and others are neutral enough not to. It comes down to whether one can ask a leading question (as you’ve pointed out) or not – lawyers can ask the judge to declare a witness ‘hostile’ after they’re on the stand if the witness has decided not to ‘play nice’.

        • Hoya Loya
          02/23/2010 at 5:32 PM

          It struck me as a disclosure issue — “btw, the prosecution knows of the following witnesses who may be of interest to the defense,” especially in the context of this document. IIRC, the prosecution must disclose, and cannot hold back, information that might potentially be of interest or helpful to the defense.

          • Craig
            02/24/2010 at 12:13 PM

            Hoya, et al: We’re tight with a certain case watcher who’s in a front row seat. He read the latest filing, found it “weird” and offers the following take:

            “Under Brady and a host of other cases, the government must reveal any evidence favorable to the defense. DOJ is really on the USAOs nationwide to disclose if there’s any doubt whether something is exculpatory or not.

            Given that, I suspect the gov’t. believes these witnesses might be of assistance to the defense along the lines of , “Hey, those guys are great guys and would never murder anyone.” (potential character witnesses) so the gov’t. decided to give the information over.”

            • Hoya Loya
              02/24/2010 at 4:25 PM

              Thanks for the confirmation.

      • Friend of Rob
        02/23/2010 at 4:22 PM

        While I wouldn’t expect Lisa to go out of her way to say bad things about Joe, there is no way she would lie for him to help cover for Rob’s murder.

        • Bea
          02/23/2010 at 4:47 PM

          Very good to know.

          • Nelly
            02/24/2010 at 2:37 PM

            Good, so she does have a sense of morals.

        • AnnaZed
          02/24/2010 at 11:04 PM

          Why wouldn’t she say anything “bad” about Joe if she does not believe his account of Robert’s death (and how could she)? Why isn’t she outraged?

          • Nelly
            02/25/2010 at 12:46 PM

            Heck, yeah, she should be outraged, and I hope she has grilled Joe about his stories. But I sense a tinge of underlying disrespect and arrogance toward Wone in her constant appellation of him as “Bobo,” even when she knew he hated it. That would have really pissed me off!

            • Bea
              02/25/2010 at 1:01 PM

              Nelly, can you explain/provide more info? Thanks.

              • 02/25/2010 at 7:46 PM

                See her remarks at Robert Wone’s funeral service, which our gracious editors put up at
                She was a good friend of Joe’s also.

                • AnnaZed
                  02/25/2010 at 8:24 PM

                  Wow, reading that speech where she gives a shout-out to Joe one can’t help but wonder just how nuclear white hot her feelings of rage and betrayal must be now. Surely, she can’t be believing in the elves anymore, so what on earth does she think?

                  • Craig
                    02/25/2010 at 9:04 PM

                    It’s worth noting that Roberts’s memorial service was held seven days after he passed.

                    Based on the audit of the initial wave of media coverage on the murder we did last August, authorities believed within 48 hours after the crime, perhaps less, that the scene was tampered with. Yet they failed to leak that information to the media until 10 days afterward.

                    You can bet that the dynamics and possibly attendance at the church would’ve been far different had the MPD, et al not been so half-assed in trying to smoke out the killer(s).

                    There may have been no better opportunity to turn up the heat than in that first week.

                    Total communications fail.

                    • CDinDC
                      02/25/2010 at 9:11 PM

                      Perhaps Joe’s filthy hands would never have touched Robert’s casket.

    • Anonymous Friend
      02/26/2010 at 12:58 AM

      Doctors/nurses out there … know anything about succynolcholine? Is it really so easily accessible to anyone in a hospital? Even phlebotomy students? Why would a phlebotomy student be permitted access to an OR or ER? Is there an inventory kept of the drug? Are there video cameras in the rooms where the drug is stored, or does patient privacy prohibit that? Thanks, as always.

      • CDinDC
        02/26/2010 at 10:03 AM

        I still think they are barking up the wrong tree with succynolcholine. There’s really no connection between THAT drug and the defendants.

        However, there is a connection with ketamine. It is a party drug. Especially a gay party drug. It is widely available. You can ask any gay friend that parties and they can tell you where to get it or get it for you. Or your local vet, and I believe it has been discussed on this site before that Joe had a friend in the veterinary field.

        And then there’s that culuket thing. :>

        • Anonymous Friend
          02/26/2010 at 10:09 AM

          If anyone knows that Joe (or any of the defendants, Michael, etc.) had a veterinary friend, please bring that information to the prosecutor. That person needs to be interviewed. Heck, the same goes if anyone knows who might have supplied any of them with drugs of any kind. This blog is helpful for thinking through this crime, but I mainly care about uncovering leads to help find the truth. Please, err on the side of contacting the authorities.

          • CDinDC
            02/26/2010 at 10:49 AM

            Absolutely, Anon.

        • former crackho
          02/26/2010 at 2:07 PM

          Just about anyone with a the price of admission to Town would be able to score some K.

  7. CDinDC
    02/23/2010 at 2:49 PM

    “the government turned over 3,043 pages of documentation”

    Not to be a naysayer, but that’s it? 3,000 pages?

    That doesn’t even fill up a copy paper box. They won’t even need a cart to carry it.


    • Bea
      02/23/2010 at 3:17 PM

      CD, I had the same thought until I realized how many disks were being turned over as well – think about how many documents and photos fit on a disk. I suspect this is all the expert stuff. Still scant, perhaps, but possibly less a gasp than necessary.

      • CDinDC
        02/23/2010 at 4:10 PM

        Okay….that makes me feel better.

        I have 3000 pieces of paper on my desk on any given day. LOL

        • Bea
          02/23/2010 at 4:17 PM

          Me too, bro.

        • AnnaZed
          02/24/2010 at 11:15 PM

          Jeez, so do I, and I’m just a bicycle salesman.

          • former crackho
            02/25/2010 at 11:02 AM

            JUST a bicycle salesman? Oh, Anna, you are so much more to us!

            • Nelly
              02/25/2010 at 12:41 PM

              AnnaZed, you also did us all a favor setting the record straight on the gawker website. There are so many details to this bizarre case that some ignorant commenters there benefited from your summaries. Thanks very much.

              • AnnaZed
                02/25/2010 at 12:52 PM

                You are both too kind. Now, if only I could fashion a way to be more attractive to the Crew Club crowd all would be well with the world and the defense team’s diabolical plot to have the conversation about Robert’s death derailed by prudish lesbians* would be squashed!

                *this bizarre non-sequitur references another conversation on another thread:

                • Clio
                  02/25/2010 at 11:38 PM

                  Well, I’ve never been so alarmed by menacing old maids, AZ, since Miss Gulch hit Toto with a rake back in ’39. Then again, that incident was fiction, too!

                  • CDinDC
                    02/25/2010 at 11:53 PM

                    Clio, you make me giggle everyday. LOL

  8. Clio
    02/24/2010 at 7:13 PM

    Where is the Axis salon? I did not know that Mussolini, Hitler, and Tojo had their own beauty shop.

    • CDinDC
      02/24/2010 at 8:12 PM

      Clio, that provided my best laugh of the day.

  9. Clio
    02/28/2010 at 11:16 AM

    The public unveiling of the names of the specific character witnesses does raise some interesting, preliminary questions: Will character witnesses such as Mr. Hixson and Mr. Anderson delve into the intimate/bedroom details implied by the comprehensive list of items in Dyl’s toy chest? Why would Mr. Dernbach be consulted if he had left for Asia in 2003? Did Mr. Anderson, now of Miami, assist in the trouple’s search for a home in Miami Shores? Is Mr. Wilson Joe’s own beautician: if so, who then does Victor’s hair?

    • She did it
      02/28/2010 at 1:18 PM

      ah, the interior designer who dined at cosi the morning after has been outed. will she be cross-examined on her internal doubt about the trouple, which has troubled her for a few years now?

      • Clio
        02/28/2010 at 3:28 PM

        Hope springs eternal, SDI. I also wonder if Mr. Hixson gave his professional advice to the trouple in preparing the Swann for sale in 2008: its makeover from those photos indicated a designer’s flair.

        • She did it
          02/28/2010 at 8:15 PM

          Hopefully the charming southern belle will do some pro bono work over at dear Aunt Marcia’s. Judging from google earth, our darling Aunt is in desperate need of some updating/landscaping/roof.

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