Defense: Semen Is From Postmortem Process, Not Sexual Assault
A flurry of motions in the Robert Wone case hit the DC Superior Court with a ferocity to match last month’s Snowmaggeddon, as the defense sought to fortify their position that Robert Wone was not incapacitated or sexually assaulted on the night he was murdered.
This came in their joint response to AUSA Glenn Kirschner’s blistering motion of uncharged conduct which stated Robert Wone was, in fact, incapacitated and sexually assaulted before he was murdered.
Also discovered in the mounds of paper swirling around at the Moultrie Court House were defense motions to sever the defendants from a trial with each other, as well as to suppress involuntary statements. We will tackle those motions in the coming days this week.
But, first, after the jump, let’s jump feet first into the defense’s joint response to the Uncharged Conduct.
The defense contends that the government has no evidence to show Robert was incapacitated or sexually assaulted, so therefore it can not be entered at trial.
On the incapacitation charge, the defense argues that all blood tests came up negative for any incapacitating drug. They reveal for the first time that the only drug found so far in Robert’s system was atropine, which is an alkaloid drug frequently given in medical intervention or emergency room situations. AUSA Pat Martin’s office confirmed that indeed atropine was administered by medical personnel to Robert.
The defense is very sensitive about the government entering the paralytic agent succinylcholine without a positive test from Robert’s remaining blood sample. This is a little surprising in light of defense’s confidence that bordered on cockiness as they taunted the government to test away, because they were so sure that no paralytic agent would be found.
The defense’s strongest argument comes in their refutation of the purpose of the puncture wounds. After examining the autopsy report, the EMS report, and GWU Hospital ER records, they write:
“Those records document that GWU medical personnel attending Wone necessarily caused a number of puncture marks while attempting to save his life. The EMS Report produced by the government likewise documents that the EMS responders made puncture wounds in Wone during the course of what was ultimately an unsuccessful effort to obtain intravenous (IV) access.”
The defense also zeros in on Robert’s semen being found in his genital and anal regions as the sole evidence of the government’s sexual assault charge. They draw a distinction about what was actually found on Robert was not “sperm” but rather seminal fluid. This is important to their argument since:
“Indeed, it is well documented in forensic pathology literature that seminal fluid and urine are commonly secreted by men as part of the postmortem process: “muscle relaxation immediately after death explains the finding of leaking out of urine or seminal fluid…”
If the defense contends this is result of the postmortem process, then it would also follow that the seminal fluid should have been found on Robert’s underwear just as it was on his genital and anal regions. Robert’s underwear was tested, and nothing about seminal fluid is mentioned, which suggests nothing was found.
If that is the case, does this argue that seminal fluid seeped out when he was nude? If he was nude when this happened, it wouldn’t be consistent with the defendant’s story.
There are a lot of unanswered questions here. For example, when does a corpse begin to seep seminal fluid in the postmortem process? Is it immediately after death, or several hours later…and was Robert dressed the entire time? If it happens immediately afterward, Robert should have been dressed, according to the defendants’ statements, as they found him dressed when they discovered he had been stabbed. For now though, the lack of seminal fluid being found on Robert’s underwear seems to be a significant hole in their argument.
The defense concludes that since no evidence supports sexual assault, none of the BDSM materials should be allowed into trial, and request an evidentiary hearing to settle the matter.
–Posted by David