A Diary's Dire Circumstances?

03/01/2010
By David

Hinton Diary Reveals Michael Price’s Behavior AFTER The Murder

Last week, the government turned up the heat on Robert Wone case when they laid down their blueprint in the notice of uncharged conduct.

In doing so they also revealed that Joe Price’s brother, Michael, who remains uncharged in the Robert Wone case, is still a prominent person of interest.  The relationship between Joe and Michael Price has been discussed  extensively on this site, though Michael Price as an individual has not been fully discussed.

We learned in the latest government filing that during the summer of 2006 Michael Price was enrolled at Montgomery College in a phlebotomy course.  What makes this curious to government investigators is phlebotomy is all about drawing blood through needles, and it’s been claimed that Robert Wone’s body had several pre-mortem puncture wounds.

It became even more interesting when the government explained that Michael Price had perfect attendance at the class, and the first class he missed was August 2, 2006.  This revelation combined with a priceless nugget of information tucked deep in the search warrant affidavits paints a fuller picture of Michael’s behavior on the day of the murder and immediately afterwards.  

In previously unreported information, Michael Price suffered his worst drug relapse in the days immediately following the murder.

The government writes:

[Michael Price's Domestic Partner Louis] Hinton stated his diary/journal also has entries  about Michael Price relapsing with crack cocaine immediately following the murder and described that relapse as the worst one.”

In a case full of these sorts of odd circumstances, these two bookends about Micheal Price’s behavior just so happen to surround the period when Robert Wone was murdered.

How the diary came to be important to the case is a story itself.  Hinton didn’t bring up the diary as a way to document Michael’s relapse, but instead he was using it to vouch for Michael’s alibi about his where about’s during the time of Robert’s murder.  Hinton states that Michael was at home in bed with him, and Louis wrote about it in his diary.

You have to assume that if this diary was electronic, investigators checked the entry for the date, and if it was posted after the murder.  That could suggest that it was entered as part of the conspiracy.  They MPD have never mentioned this, so it seems safe to assume that it checked out.  But, we have come to learn that every assumption in this case needs to be verified.

Joe Price has not been shy about discussing his brother’s drug addiction.  Judy Tseng’s piece about Robert and the murder confirms this when Joe answered questions about Michael during the investigation into the break in at 1509 Swann Street three months after the murder:

“Joseph Price told police that Michael was a drug addict who hung out with other addicts, and that Michael was not given permission to go back there to take anything.”

If Michael Price had a significant relapse immediately after Robert’s murder, were the police able to locate anyone who was involved with Michael during this time?  Would an addict speak about the reason for the relapse?  Did Michael say anything to anyone while allegedly smoking crack?

While Louis Hinton’s diary protected Michael with an alibi, it also opened another avenue for the investigation.

– Posted by David

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12 Responses to “ A Diary's Dire Circumstances? ”

  1. Bea on 03/01/2010 at 2:10 PM

    While I’m suspect about the partner’s diary being a genuine alibi (who writes that one’s partner is next to him in bed on a particular evening?), too I assume that the ‘worst’ episode of crack relapse following the murder could also be caused by having the much-admired-Joe calling Michael for help (minimum to pick him up in Anacostia jail – maximum to helping clean/removing evidence). As stated in the post, would love to hear what Michael prattled on and on about.

    Former C-Ho – in your experience, would Michael be chatty with others? My experience doesn’t include crack, and these things are fairly drug-specific.

  2. Anonymous Friend on 03/02/2010 at 12:59 AM

    Editors, have you had any luck uncovering why the government dismissed what seemed like slam-dunk robbery charges against Michael? Why not keep the pressure on? Anyone out there know Hinton? Are he and Michael still partners? I vaguely remember a post ages ago that shared a deep reflection by Hinton, perhaps sent into Robert’s legacy.com online obituary. Any chance he is a man with a conscience who is cooperating with police? Has he ever been in court with the defendants? Thanks, as always, for whatever information you can share.

    • Craig on 03/02/2010 at 11:14 AM

      Anon Friend: We’ve seen Louis at the status hearings but as far as we can tell he arrived and departed alone – not in Michael Price’s company.

      We’ve never been able to get documents on the burglary but we’re still trying.

      Here is the text from Louis’ legacy.com remembrance:

      “Words are not adequate enough in times of grief. No one can pretend they know your pain. The Life you shared, so precious and dear. The loving moments, your hopes, your dreams all seem so heavy now.

      I know the tears of sorry. I know the tears are hopes and dreams being renewed. I know the tears contain the life that was once shared. I know the tears will allow you to feel the embracing touch of a love.

      And, I know now that each teardrop contains life, and my love one lives within!

      My prayer is that God brings the understanding to you. Because He loves us all!”

      Louis Hinton (Silver Spring, MD)

      • Clio on 03/02/2010 at 10:51 PM

        Mr. Hinton then is a Christian of sorts with much more sensibility than sense: let’s pray that his alibi for Michael is as phony as this note.

  3. AnnaZed on 03/02/2010 at 1:53 AM

    Well, it seems that Michael Price’s devotion to Louis did survive Louis assaulting him as he slept in the early hours of April 20th of 2004:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/13998828/Hinton-Court-Docs-Assault-Charges

    On the other hand, the scene described also makes mention of Louis having been convinced at the time that Michael had stolen his money. There may have been a little mutual assaulting going on that morning. They also seemed to have been sleeping in separate rooms at that time, if the arresting officer’s account is correct.

  4. Clio on 03/02/2010 at 10:25 PM

    As an historian, I am heartened by the suggestion that ordinary people such as Mr. Hinton still keep diaries in this busy day and age. I hope, for the investigation’s sake, that it is electronic and therefore time-stamped, but the entries still would be great in Palmer-method long-hand. I wonder if Mr. Hinton routinely observed and recorded the sleeping habits of the younger Price, or if he only noticed Michael being home on August 2, 2006.

    Michael’s worst drug-relapse ever is rather telling episode. Was he worried sick over losing his best meal ticket, or was he suffering from his own fears about being implicated as the bagman in a botched brotherly booby trap? Go figure!

    • CDinDC on 03/03/2010 at 12:33 AM

      Or does he actually have a conscience and was tormented by wrong-doing of some sort.

      • Clio on 03/07/2010 at 12:58 PM

        The idea that lowly Michael and Louis are more human and humane than their patrons, the formerly fashionable Swann Street trio, does comfort this muse, who has always wondered if luxury is truly the root of all evil.

        Stray Thoughts: Did Louis in his diary note Michael’s progress in class at Montgomery? How long is his diary, and does it comment on the durability and depth of the bonds between the Brothers Price?

        • Clio on 03/20/2010 at 7:57 PM

          Editors, can you digitize excerpts from the diary online with Mr. Hinton’s permission? When did this online journal begin and end? Was it manufactured and backdated to cover only the summer and fall of 2006?

          • Craig on 03/21/2010 at 2:17 PM

            Clio: We’d love to get a look at it. It’s hard to say if it’s going to come up as evidence at the trial. Who knows what role Michael Price may have in either the prosecution of defense of this case? Everything remains as clear as mud.

            • Clio on 03/21/2010 at 6:03 PM

              Well, if the diary cannot be admitted as evidence, then perhaps it can be acquired by the National Archives. Louis, please place a codicil in your will ASAP with such a bequest.

              I also wonder what Michael’s classmates and professor at Montgomery College thought of him. Did they see him as either an earnest adult learner or creepy Peter Pan?

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Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

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