This Space For Rent
Longtime reader and always smart contributor Hoya Loya weighs in again.
In a guest commentary he tackles the perennially thorny subject of whether there was anything consensual going on at Swann Street on August 2, 2006.
We love taking the occasional day off and welcome insightful and thorough reader contributions like this (already grammar and spell-checked).
Getting to the bottom of this mess takes a village, and a lot of loyas too.
“The idea that Robert consented to anything other than a sleepover is always a touchy subject on the site, which has brought criticism from the trouple’s supporter(s).
Like most others here, I’m not convinced that it is a serious possibility, but have arrived at that conclusion through reasoning, not merely a gut feeling. Let’s try to be objective and play out the possibilities, based on the facts as we know them:
a) Robert had consensual relations with one or more of the trouple and the stabbing occurred later (done by an intruder or one of the trouple, perhaps out of jealousy). This fails on two counts: there is no evidence that Robert would have been interested and it has been demonstrated over and over that the intruder theory doesn’t fly.
Since the relations and murder would be separate events, would the trouple really cover up a pure act of murder, even if done by a roommate? Also doesn’t do much to explain needle marks or the DNA evidence.”
b) Robert went to Swann St. to participate in consensual acts with one or more of the trouple, but more vanilla in nature than what the trouple may have had in mind. He is then murdered to cover up the rape or is stabbed when they mistakenly think he is already dead to fit the intruder scenario. Again, there is no evidence that Robert would have been interested, but we do have evidence of the activities that interested Joe and Dylan. What followed would be assault and murder.
c) Robert went to Swann St. to participate in the same sorts of alt activities we know Joe and Dylan enjoyed and dies by “accident.” Again, no evidence that even a) or b) above would have been the case, never mind this, though stabbing as cover-up on the mistaken assumption he was dead would follow here.
d) Robert went to Swann St. to meet a “fifth person,” possibly in arrangement with the trouple, who then covered things up to protect his reputation. (This theory pops up on Above the Law and Gawker every time they post on the case, in almost identical wording).
If we discount a later intruder did the “fifth person” do the stabbing? With Dylan’s knife? Or was the stabbing part of the trouple’s cover up, on the assumption that Robert was already dead? Why would “friends” cover up the circumstances rather than try to find their “dear friend’s” killer, never mind stab him? Wouldn’t justice trump outing at that point? If they were in on it, wouldn’t they have known who it was, or had some idea? This just doesn’t hold water.
But as I’ve said before, I suspect some version of a) or d) is the story pedaled to some supporters and possibly even the LGBT task force (remember they didn’t want to “out someone”). Theories a), c) and d) all serve to diminish the trouple’s culpability, which is why I find them suspect when offered up by possible supporters without evidence beyond a conviction that “they just couldn’t have done such a thing.”
e) What if there had been a prior encounter or relationship between Joe and Robert and Joe expected to pick up where they left off, or, even more likely, if Joe perceived or imagined that there was interest on Robert’s part and that the sleepover was a sign that Robert finally intended to follow through. A failure by Robert to reciprocate because he was now married or because Joe’s perception was wrong could bring about an assault, particularly if drugs were involved. And the stabbing would then be to cover up rape. Again, there is no evidence to back up any prior history of mutual or one-way interest.
That is why it would be enlightening to hear from friends and other observers to shed light on the dynamics of the friendship going into August 2, 2006. Did Robert ever discuss possible interest by or advances from Joe with anyone? Did Joe ever express an interest in Robert to friends? Were Robert and Joe ever particularly close at any point during their overlap at W&M, or later on before Robert met Kathy?
Did Robert ever joke with Joe about an attraction (as straight men often do with gay friends – “Hey Joe, you look good today, even I’d be interested” or “Thanks for offering to let me crash but don’t get any ideas!”)? Any interesting observations from Robert’s birthday party? Did Joe comment to anyone about plans for the anticipated sleepover (“My cute friend from college is coming over, wink wink”)?
Anyone who might have information like this and is holding it back should consider coming forward as it could help provide a motive and help solve Robert’s murder. But is that likely?
Everyone who has come forward has been unanimous that Robert was straight and faithful and nobody seems to have noticed anything untoward in Joe’s friendship prior to August 2006. So unless something new is revealed, it is likely that the view that Robert was not a willing participant will still hold sway with most of the posters on this site.”