"Our Theory is Evolving."

03/12/2010
By Doug

A Clearer Sense of What We’ll See at Trial

Considering the reams of paper filed in advance of Friday’s status hearing, Judge Lynn Leibovitz again demonstrated firm command in managing her courtroom.   Amazing what can be accomplished in just one hour and nine minutes.

Attorney Tom Connolly (on left) and his client Victor Zaborsky (blocking Ward counsel David Schertler)

310 Moultrie was packed – not an empty seat – when Judge Leibovitz gaveled proceedings in at 3:05.  Tom Connolly & Amy Richardson for Victor Zaborsky; David Schertler, Robert Spagnoletti (who stayed seated in the gallery) and Veronica Jennings for Dylan Ward; and lone wolf Bernie Grimm for Joe Price; AUSAs Glenn Kirschner and Patrick Martin for the government.

The motions to sort through were many, including one just filed today – an updated Defense Joint Motion to Compel Discovery.  Judge Leibovtiz cleared the plate somewhat by moving the motions to sever and to suppress to another time, but that left plenty to discuss.

David Schertler started off on the Motion to Compel 16 (a)(1)(e) Disclosures, stating while the defense has met it’s obligations in providing all the experts they intend to call (although we learned later that may not be completely true) the government hasn’t.  That’s about as far as he got before Judge Leibovitz cut him off, the first of many times she did that.  “I will deny your motion without prejudice to what may come up, and you’re free to object at trial.”

But she had warning words for the government as well.  Responding to defense complaints that the expert disclosures were somewhat stingy, she warned “…the government slims down at its peril.  It may be satisfactory, but at trial is something unexpected comes up, it may be inadmissible.”   In other words, the government has met its discovery obligations, but let’s not have any surprises.

Leibovitz also cautioned the government that it has very little time left to continue its testing – notably Patrick Martin’s comment that Deedrik and Spaulding “…continue doing some additional tests, stabbings through t-shirts, blood transfer…” and the like.

“When will it be done?” the judge asked.  “We haven’t got a firm response,” Martin answered.  “It’s now exactly two months to trial.  Additional test results may or may not come in.  The question’s going to be: what’s fair to the defense.” The same caution was provided to the defense, too.  When asked if its disclosure on experts was complete, Shertler stepped back from his earlier assertion.  “There may possibly be two more…in two weeks we should have everything.”

Leibovitz made it clear, very clear, she wants no continuance.  This trial will commence on May 10.

Discussion next followed of what evidence the defense would try to move off the table via a Frye hearing, such as the tests that found semen inside Robert, the toxicological testing of a paralytic agent, and other items.

Most of which were rendered moot by what happened next.  After the jump.

We learned a great deal from the prosecution today.  Glenn Kirshner confirmed that only 3 ml of Robert’s blood are left; too little according to FBI consultants to allow for any further probative testing.   Kirschner said that on April 24, 2007, the D.C. Medical Examiners office “discarded” Robert’s toxicological samples (along with those for hundreds of other cases) but that histological samples remained in formaldehyde – making them useless for further biological testing.

We learned that the radio run recordings were erased by the MPD per standard operating procedures, since years elapsed before any arrests, and most likely do not exist anymore (clearly an admission that irritated Mr. Kirshner.)

We learned that Detectives Whalen and Waid – according to the prosecution at least – say that there’s no record of a 2007 visit with Dylan Ward…but there was of some questioning of Joe Price after the October 2006 Swann Street break-in.  This exchange brought a very visible reaction from Joe Price, assertively shaking his head in the negative.

Then the discussion moved to the hot button topic of Uncharged Conduct.  It was at this point that Kirschner began to more clearly lay just what the government is inclined to present at trial.  Leibovitz pressed him repeatedly on several points.

Referring to pages 1 and 2 of the governments filing on Uncharged Conduct, she asked Kirschner if he still intends to present to the jury that the killer is someone known to the defendants and not an intruder.  He said yes and also indicated Price’s brother Michael may also be someone in-the-know.

Leibovitz:  “But you’re not saying that any or all of the defendant’s participated in the crime of assaulting, restraining or killing Wone.”

Kirschner:  “Exactly,”

Leibovitz: “…and that the clean-up is the evidence.  You’re not saying someone here did it.”

Kirschner:  “Not directly, no.”

Leibovitz:  “So you won’t present that to a jury?”

Kirschner:  “Not directly, no.”

This lead to more direct questioning by Leibovitz as to just what the government intends to present as far as page 9 of Kirschner’s filing, if Robert was sexually assaulted and restrained.  Kirshner again, “Not directly.”  At that point Bernie Grimm jumped up to interject to ask what exactly “not directly” meant but Leibovitz cut him off.  The crimes discussion will come later she said.

She kept drilling Kirschner.  Was he planning to argue to the jury… that he was sexually assaulted, any equipment was used to assault him or if he was injected with a paralytic?   “Our theory is evolving,” said Kirshner and that his experts’ opinions vary.  “We’re moving away from the sexual assault… but we will continue to see to introduce certain items such as restraints.”   The government, he said, is also not inclined to present that Robert’s semen was found inside him.   “Torture I think is an open question at this point,” he added.

Items that remain on the government’s table: paralytic perhaps no, but there was evidence of puncture wounds – 3 to the neck, 3 to the torso, 2 to the ankle and 1 to the hand.  “There will be evidence that there were pre-mortem puncture needle marks.”  The medical professionals he said, contended those punctures were not all the result of medical or therapeutic intervention. Then this, “I don’t think we’re going to get to the paralytic phase to be honest…  that is my inclination,”  he said.  Sexual assault and paralytics are out Leibovitz asked; Kirschner confirmed.

Leibovitz asked that Kirschner respond to the defendants Uncharged Conduct response and clarify his theories.  That is due April 2.

Schertler got up to complain once again that the defense had to hit a “moving target.”  The winnowing of the theories is good he said but he wants a date certain when he’ll know just what the government is going to argue.  “I think May 10, 2010 is the date and you all know that,” Leibovitz chuckled.

Then the discussion moved to a change in venue – not outide the jurisiction but out of the cramped confines of room 310.

A brief defense ex parte followed, as observers filed out.

Next status hearing:  Monday, April 5 at 300pm.

The Scene

A fifteen minute delay in the start of the hearing allowed for extended interaction among attendees and observers.  However, much like the growing sense that the trial to come may be a little drier than previously expected, the scene outside was a little less eventful than previously.

Supporters of Kathy Wone turned out in large numbers, arriving early and keeping a tight circle.

Victor and Joe arrived together, each wearing their commitment rings.  Making a bee-line to their supporters, Victor greeted Aunt Marcia as if he had not seen her in a long time.  While Kim Musheno was showing Aunt Marcia photos on her iPhone (adorable children shots, perhaps?) Victor stayed close, smiling and enjoying the conversation.  Arriving a bit later and sporting a good tan, Dylan spent a considerable portion of time speaking with an unknown male supporter…all while Joe mingled and networked with supporters.

Unlike previous hearings, there seemed to be very little discussion between attorneys and clients.  It was a mostly quiet affair, with Kathy’s supporters in one clump, the Trouple’s supporters in another, and the growing defense counsel in a third.

In the court room, Victor sat on the right, Dylan in the middle and Joe on the left.  It was noted that there was a fair amount of space in between the three defendants, and unlike past hearings, Joe remained nearly silent…although frequently fidgeting, biting his nails and generally appearing uncomfortable.  Victor appeared unusually grim, scowling at both defense and prosecution.  It was actually Dylan who seemed the most engaged, speaking several times with Schertler, and demonstrating more emotion than we’ve seen at any other hearing.

Like the last hearing, Dylan and Victor left by the rear exit along with attorneys Connolly and Schertler.  Bernie Grimm was seen leaving shortly after.  Joe, curiously, was not seen at either the front or rear exits.

The Sights

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgjXpAWgf5E]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFWrwNd9TLc]

-posted by The Editors

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56 Responses to “ "Our Theory is Evolving." ”

  1. She did it on 03/12/2010 at 10:17 PM

    joe was not seen at exits – front or rear. did anyone check the cafeteria?

    as always, gret work, editors.

    was that aunt marcia (in the video) leaving with victor?

    • Clio on 03/12/2010 at 11:59 PM

      Well, there is a Cosi restaurant right across the street from Moultrie: did anyone check there for the elder Price? They do serve breakfast/comfort foods around the clock.

      Were Louis & Michael in attendance, Editors? A little bird did tell me that Michael’s name was mentioned at least once at today’s hearing.

      That same little bird told me about Bernie’s and Tom’s need for a larger courtroom; Bernie’s assistants for one apparently took up almost all of one of the first rows. The judge, to my spy’s delight, did have a sprightly, comedic repartee with the attorneys over this sideshow “issue.”

      In another delicious tidbit, one of the court officials led off the hearing by apparently mispronouncing Victor’s last name, sparking a chuckle from both Joe and Bernie.

      The umbrellas were out today, but one of the Editors, according to my informed sources, had a wonderfully purple one that put the others to shame. Keep styling, guys!

      While umbrellas were definitely in, Editors, was Miranda (not Carmen) completely out today? If so, why?

      • Doug on 03/13/2010 at 12:50 AM

        Clio;
        Your birdie has keen sight. We could use him.
        First, neither Louis nor Michael were in attendance. And as long as Michael’s name rises in government briefings, we don’t expect to see him…in the audience.
        Second, the defense actually sent a letter to Judge Leibovitz & the court regarding a larger courtroom. At the hearing, larger seemed to oppose another defense request for an electronically-equipped courtroom. At our reading, Judge Leibovitz wryly observed about the relationship between size of courtroom and seniority of judges, but seemed less inclined to requesting special “electronic” rooms which may be smaller. The defense agreed: quoting Mr. Schertler: “Mr. Connolly needs the room, big courtroom.”
        We heard several mispronunciations today; Mr. Zaborsky’s last name (“zah-BOHR-sky”) and succinylcholine (“suss-in-al-CO-line”) The judge happily learned both pronunciations. We expect to be hearing more of both in the coming months.
        Finally, we decline comment on any editor’s style – or lack thereof – but offer that next week we will be offering our analysis of what happened, and why some issues (Miranda) were left for later hearings.
        Tell your birdie s/he has sharp eyes.
        -Doug, co-editor

        • Clio on 03/13/2010 at 3:36 PM

          Thanks, Doug, I will. Tom’s smart beige suit (from the cams and eyewitnesses) just said “spring” to me, but, despite (or because of) the “winnowing” ordered by Lynn, the day seemed to be a narrow win for the more rumpled Glenn. We won’t get to hear Plante go on about the Joyrider, partially disassembled, but who wanted to hear that distracting, if d’lovely, testimony anyway?

  2. AnnaZed on 03/13/2010 at 12:38 AM

    ShakyCam and SteadyCam, two perspectives, cool!

    • Doug on 03/13/2010 at 12:50 AM

      Consider this SoggyCam.
      -Doug, co-editor

  3. Robert on 03/13/2010 at 7:26 AM

    There is an article on the Robert Wone case which
    has been written by reporter Lou Chibbaro in the
    dcagenda of 12 March.

    According to that article, prosecution requested
    permission to introduce S&M devices. These
    include devices which may be used to “administer
    a shock to a person’s genitals.” Previously, a
    company which produced a device found in the
    Swann Street house denied that its device could
    have produced effects such as stimulating Wone
    to ejaculate. In these blogs, I disputed company’s
    claim at the time it was made. Apparently, the
    prosecution agrees with that assessment.
    The defense is claiming that “there is no evidence
    that Wone was restrained in any fashion and
    absolutely no evidence that any one of the erotic
    accessories was used on Wone for any purpose.”

    As soon as the Price/Ward S&M angle was publicly
    revealed, I hypothesized herein that Robert was
    first restrained in some manner, second
    immobilized with a paralytic, third sexually
    assaulted and finally stabbed to death in the guest
    bedroom. Others herein have questioned whether
    a paralytic was administered and whether Robert
    was killed in the guest bedroom. I have argued
    that Robert was administered a paralytic and that
    he was killed in the guest bedroom. Apparently,
    authorities generally agree with that analysis
    which was made prior to release of police report.
    I also hypothesized herein that a “date rape” drug
    like GMBH was put in Robert’s drink while he was
    socializing with one or more of his so-called “good
    fella” friends” in the kitchen. This is not resolved.

    Contrary to the defense contention, the coroner
    observed absence of defensive wounds as pointing
    to a likelihood that Robert was restrained. Based
    upon my own prior study of this subject, I have
    stated in these blogs my agreement with the
    coroner’s position on this matter.
    At the time that Robert’s semen was found inside
    his rectum and on his genitals, then washington
    Blade reporter Lou Chibbaro asked me for my
    analysis relating thereto.
    Apparently, the prosecutor agrees with a theory similar to the one
    which I put forward to Chibarro before release of
    the coroner’s report commenting on this matter.
    However, the defense will argue that the “lack of
    sperm cells indicates that the semen found on the body was
    due to normal discharge . . . that occurs when men die
    and internal muscles relax.”

    Thus, I could very well be mistaken regarding this issue.
    The defense claims that “chemical tests of the
    body have not found any traces of a paralytic drug
    and it disputes the government’s claim that such
    drugs quickly dissipate in the body and cannot be
    found by chemical tests.” As I recall, a blogger’s
    relative had some veterinary expertise with the
    use of paralytics such as ketamine on animals.
    The blogger herein put forth the vet’s dissipation
    theory.

    I readily accepted the vet’s expert opinion.
    As one who has worked as a prosecutor,
    I pointed out in these blogs that coroners do not check
    a corpse for every drug under the sun after a death –
    even one occuring under suspicious circumstances as in this case.
    It would not make sense in first
    place and be impossible to do in the second place.
    Coroners generally look for drugs implicated by
    the facts surrounding a case. There are simply too
    many existing drugs for a coroner to do otherwise.
    Here the coroner defended her decision not to
    check for either a date rape drug or a paralytic
    such at the time of the autopsy. I have no
    difficulty in accepting her explanation.

    Herein, I also rejected the intruder theory from
    the start — even before it was reported that the
    Swann Street trio themselves admitted it was
    “implausible” during initial police questioning at
    their home on the night of the killing or law
    enforcement authorities afterward expressed their
    skepticism with respect thereto. Consistently, I
    have taken this position because: 1) there was no
    evidence of a break-in at or burglary of the home;
    2) the trio claimed not to have heard an entry, a
    stair climb or a departure; 3) Ward’s bedroom was
    bypassed on the way to the guest bedroom where
    Wone was sleeping and found; 4) Wone was
    stabbed from the far side of the bed and nothing
    was taken from him.

    Apparently, the police agree
    with that analysis which was made prior to theirs.
    If I recall correctly it was CDinDC who questioned
    a blog in which I characterized the subject stab
    wounds as “surgical.” He claimed that the coroner
    described them as “methodical” not surgical.
    According to this recent Chibbaro article, the
    autopsy revealed the wounds to be “surgical-like
    stab wounds.” Given the wounds indeed appeared
    to be surgical in nature, I contended herein that it
    was unlikely the knifings were made by more than
    one person — unless it was a surgical team.

    I continue to disagree with those who think
    otherwise whatever their theories may be.
    Ward studied culinary arts; Price was an Eagle
    Scout. I think that a reasonable argument could
    be made that either of them was the stabber.
    Personally, I lean toward Dylan on account of his
    more recent and extensive training in how to wield
    a culinary knife of the sort that investigators have
    determined was the actual murder weapon as
    opposed to the knife presented at the scene.

    I agree with Bea that Wone was Straight. In
    addition to the arguments which she has made in
    that regard, I have referred to my 25 years of
    experience in the relatively small Gay Asian Male
    community where most everybody is connected to
    everybody else within “6 degrees of separation.”
    Given drug use by Michael Price and the botched
    robbery of the Swann Street residence by him , I
    was unsure of his capacity to carry out any crime
    let alone a murder. I only just learned of Michael’s
    training as a phlebotomist and his perfect record
    of course attendance until the night of the killing.
    Michael’s being both a druggie & a phlebotomist
    makes me wonder if: 1) he might have supplied
    a “date rape” drug to his brother Joseph or Joe’s
    S&M playmate, Ward; and/or 2) he might have
    administered a paralytic drug to Robert.
    According to crackho, it is most likely that a
    paralytic such as ketamine was administered
    intramuscularly.

    I know that phelobotomists have
    training in the administration of intravenous
    injections; I do not know about their training in
    intramuscular injections. Of course, Michael Price
    could have learned about the latter “on the street”
    where he apparently did a lot of his living.
    Michael’s partner, Louis Hinton provided Michael
    with an alibi for the night of the murder. I am
    always suspicious of alibis provided by loved ones
    in cases where a crime has been committed.
    Given that “there is no honor among thieves” or in
    this case alleged killers, I anticipated that Price,
    Ward and Zaborsky might each seek to have their
    cases severed. This is apparently the route now
    being proposed to the court by the respective
    lawyers for the defendants.

    • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 2:32 PM

      Thank you Robert for your succinct, knowledgeable and comprehensive analysis.
      I do not exclude the factor of Michael or his partner Louis Hinton. Remember that Hinton has been convicted of animal abuse. That and starting fires are signs of real psychopathology.
      Did you ever consider what abuse Hinton carried out on these animals. Perhaps experimenting on animals in ways that were preliminary practice
      to what happened to Robert? Has that been investigated?
      I agree strongly that those three surgical-like wounds are significant. To me that suggests someone who is methodical and practiced in the art. I still cannot figure why anyone would use the knife upside down unless it has some special significance.

      • CDinDC on 03/13/2010 at 3:03 PM

        Eagle, the wounds would reflect the position of the person handling the knife, not the knife itself. Robert was most likely suppine when stabbed. He was probably not standing. Accordingly, the person was most likely standing above Robert’s head to inflict wounds. Hence the knife went from over Robert’s head and shoulder and into his body from above. Therefore, a person holding a knife in a normal position could inflict knife wounds that were upside down when viewing the body from a regular angle.

        • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 6:45 PM

          CD: appreciate your clear explanation. Makes sense.
          We know so little.
          A stabbing from an above the head position. Nine separate needle insertions into the neck,torso, arms, feet. No apparent resistance from the victim, not even a wiggle. The occupants of the house hear nothing, see nothing. (I don’t know about you, but I am very sensitive to even small noise changes in my house at night.) Limited time for the deathly outcome of whatever activity was going on . The crime scene was pristine clean.
          What I envision in this scene is more than one person carrying out whatever happened to this Robert. How could one person do all this almost methodical activity and not be heard moving around?
          How could they do it in such a short time?
          Get in and out with needles and a knife?
          Another thought: Could there have been some element of preplanning for this to come off so smoothly if there was only one person carrying out whatever was carried out?

      • Robert on 03/13/2010 at 3:50 PM

        EAGLE Thanks for the compliment if that is what it really was. I had read about Hinton’s abuse of animals and pyromania, but I must confess to ignorance about the degree to which his behavior has been explored. It would be good to hear a mental health expert’s take on those matters.
        Interesting point about the upside down knife.
        I must admit that I never thought about that.

        • Robert on 03/13/2010 at 3:51 PM

          I also stand corrected by CDinDC on the identity of the animal abuser and pyromaniac. Still interesting.

          • CDinDC on 03/13/2010 at 7:11 PM

            Hi Robert,

            I think that might have been Craig? See below.

            • Robert on 03/14/2010 at 3:45 PM

              CDINDC Sorry. I do not normally confuse one person with another. I know that Craig and you are not the same individual. Thank you for your various helpful observations now and in the past.

        • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 4:00 PM

          It was a compliment.

          • Robert on 03/14/2010 at 3:47 PM

            Thanks. Sometimes the sarcasm on this site makes one wonder about what the commenter is really attempting to communicate.

  4. Craig on 03/13/2010 at 2:39 PM

    Eagle: Mr. Hinton was not involved in animal cruelty or abuse.

    That was Phelps Collins, who was Michael Price’s ‘partner’ in the Swann Street burglary.

    • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 2:49 PM

      Sorry. Very sorry in fact.
      However, Philip Collins conviction on animal cruelty does bring a person with animal abuse record close to Michael Price, who now is a player in this mystery.

    • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 2:54 PM

      My apologies to Louis Hinton.

  5. AnnaZed on 03/13/2010 at 2:42 PM

    Ah yes, Phelps Collins that shining example of local citizenry, why hasn’t the government cast its gimlet eye upon him I wonder?

  6. Craig on 03/13/2010 at 6:07 PM

    Both the Blog of the Legal Times and the Washington Post wrote on the status hearing. Links on the Media page.

    • Clio on 03/13/2010 at 8:10 PM

      Keith Alexander of the Post has certainly zeroed in on Michael, the absent, possible co-conspirator. Is it in part because thirty-something Michael is enrolled in college yet is not a college graduate?

      Sadly, though, through unfortunate wording, Alexander continued to leave the impression of the mythical, impromptu, “working late” sleepover. For the tenth time, Robert and Culuket planned it in advance!

      • Craig on 03/13/2010 at 9:12 PM

        The Post missed on which recordings were purged. The ‘radio runs’ may be gone, but as we all know, the 911 call lives on.

        • Eagle on 03/13/2010 at 10:31 PM

          Surely the EMTs had a written documentation of some kind recording what
          happened on their run to Swann St. If only some kind of form that needed filling out.
          If they don’t, it reflects very badly on the ambulance service and I doubt if they could legally operate without some kind of record of Robert’s condition- if only to protect themselves legally.

  7. Wentworth on 03/14/2010 at 1:00 PM

    last night on America’s Most Wanted was a profile of a man who had been jailed for rape and murder for 22 years – he was odd and lived with his mother and there were eyewitnesses, including a respected police officer. Problem is, DNA proved him innocent and now new investigators say the whole case was botched by eager police. It struck me that the defndants came in with their supporters and obviously this board are friends of mr. Wone; thus the question: is it at all possible to be objective or are emotions running high? Similarly, Americans generally think Amanda Knox was railroaded while Italians think she is guilty – there is no basis of fact, mostly emotions. I would just ask members of theis board to honestly look at your motives; are you projecting emotional desires over facts? For instance, EMS in DC constantly screws up. Certainly they could have stuck needles in Wone to try to do whatever medically they do – or out of incompetance. The three defendants are all pretty unsavory narcissists as detailed on the board, but the leap to make them murderers seems unfounded. I’d love to hear what they’re supporters have to say. Maybe you can get some intereviews when you see them?

    • Eagle on 03/14/2010 at 4:04 PM

      W:
      Trust me. There is no emergency service, not anywhere in the world that could or would screw up enough to put 9 injections into a body-and in the neck, torso, arms and feet where they would not have the skills or a reason to be in there. Just try and imagine such a scene.

  8. Wentworth on 03/14/2010 at 1:04 PM

    I meant to add – let’s not forget that Mr. Wone considered Price his friend. What does this say either about Wone’s judgment (Wone either liked obviously narcissitic deranged people or Price is not a bad guy if Wone saw something good in him)

    • CDinDC on 03/14/2010 at 1:11 PM

      Joe, Victor and Dylan are not on trial for murder. They are on trial for conspiracy, obstruction and tampering. They are certainly guilty of those charges. Out of the mouths of the defendants came the “intruder” tale. No one else.

      • Clio on 03/14/2010 at 3:58 PM

        Yes, Wentworth, the trouple are human, too. Birdie reported to me that even Joe had a certain charm in greeting supporters outside of Room 310, even if his voice was a pitch higher than expected. You would never know that he could be involved in such a mess — unless, you started to read the facts analyzed endlessly at this blog. Not the understandable emotions, Wentworth, but the mountain of facts.

        As was noted many years ago, “evil is banal,” and those doing evil things strike in the most irrational and unexpected ways. The tragedy is that we usually see the evil only after it has been rendered. No one could have seen this fatal trainwreck coming … except, maybe the three or four soon to be on trial. I hope that that helps!

        • Eagle on 03/14/2010 at 4:06 PM

          Too true Clio

  9. Robert on 03/14/2010 at 7:55 PM

    I think that my own personal theory may be evolving.
    I am sure that you will all be relieved to know that I
    have no intention of restating my past hypotheses.
    However, I do desire to reformulate two of my prior
    theories in light of some apparently new evidence.

    I had previously theorized that Joseph Price and
    Dylan Ward may have killed Robert Wone under one
    of two scenarios: 1) they believed Robert to be alive
    when he was in fact dead; 2) they believed Robert to
    be dead when in fact he was alive. Under the first
    scenario, a fear by Price and/or Ward would have
    been one of exposure from a Wone awakening to the
    realization that he had been sexually assaulted.
    Under the second scenario, a fear by Price and/or
    Ward would have been one of conviction for a Wone
    killed unintentionally by a drug overdose.

    But now comes Assistant US Atty Glenn Kirschner to
    a hearing where he claims that the state shall prove
    that Joseph Price, Ward and Zaborsky are guilty of
    obstruction of justice by covering up a crime. A crime
    which Kirschner makes pretty clear he believes was
    NOT committed by the defendants but by another?
    And not just any other. But an other known so well
    to the defendants that they would cover for him.
    In that connection, he mentions that the prosecution
    is looking at Michael Price as a “person of interest. ”
    In which case, WE might be looking not so much for
    an outside man of mystery but an insider with a key.

    Coroner Lois Goslinowski determined that the cause
    of death of Robert Wone was stab wounds.
    Coroner Goslinowki’s autopsy evidence also revealed
    1) no defensive wounds; 2) yes sexual assault; 3)
    unexplained puncture wounds; 4) no “date rape”
    drug traces; 5) no other drugs in victim’s system.
    Suppose Robert was killed by stabbing as determined
    by the coroner. Under my first scenario, Joseph Price and
    Dylan Ward would have had the most to
    lose were Wone to awaken to his rape.
    Thus, they would have had a strong motivation to kill Wone.

    But suppose Robert was not killed by stabbing but by
    an accidental overdose of a paralytic in which case the
    Goslinowki theory would be in error.
    A paralytic which was injected in the belief that it
    should cause not death but rather a delirium which might
    make the victim, Robert Wone, a less than credible testimonial
    witness to his own sexual assault.
    A paralytic injected by an expert in blood drawing,
    such as a phlebotomist named Michael Price,
    to protect from a rape charge the brother, Joseph Price,
    who had always done his best to protect Michael.

    Or suppose Robert was not killed by stabbing but
    by an intentional overdose of a paralytic?
    A paralytic which was injected with the intent that it
    would be fatal but with knowledge that drug would not be
    traceable after an “indecent interval” and thus make it
    appear that the victim, Robert Wone, was a recreational
    drug user responsible for his own death.

    A paralytic injected by an expert in blood dosing,
    such as drug abuser named Michael Price, to protect
    from a murder charge the brother, Michael Price,
    who had always done his best to protect Michael.
    If scenario one went wrong, instead of becoming
    delirius Robert would have been dead.
    Thus creating the need for a cover up of manslaughter.

    If scenario two went right, Robert would have been dead.
    Thus creating need for a cover up of murder.
    In either case: Joseph and Dylan’s sexual assault
    would have been the motive for killing, but Michael’s
    injection would have been the instrument of killing.
    Which would make Michael the actual “murderer.”

    If scenario two went wrong and Wone survived the
    overdose, Robert would have need be killed such as
    by stabbing. Thus, creating the need for cover up of
    Michael Price’s attempt to overdose Robert in the
    first place and for cover up of Joseph Price’s and/or
    Dylan Ward’s stabbing of Robert in the second place.

    In that case, Joseph and Dylan’s sexual assault would
    have still been motive for killing Wone, Michael’s injection of
    Wone would have been the instrument for attempted murder
    and either Joseph or Dylan’s stabbing would have been the instrument for murder.
    Which would make either Joseph the “murderer” and
    Dylan the accomplice or Dylan the “murderer” and Joseph the accomplice.
    In either case, Michael would be an “attempted murderer.”
    In scenarios such as the last one, I have tended to
    take the position that Dylan’s culinary skills made
    him more likely the front stabbing “front stabber” for unGay Asian sexual liberation.

    But I have also previously conceded that Joseph’s Eagle Scout skills
    could have instead made him the “back stabbing” front stabber for
    Straight Asian unrequited love.
    Under any of my above scenarios as well as most others which have
    been proposed herein, I believe that which has been labeled a “cover up” was:
    1) orchestrated by Joseph; 2) carried out by Dylan and
    3) publicly related by Victor. Which would make Joseph Price,
    Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky all guilty of at least obstruction of justice.
    Got anthrax?

  10. Hoya Loya on 03/15/2010 at 10:33 AM

    It seems the prosecution is focusing on what they really need to get a conspiracy conviction, and moving away from medical/scientific evidence that may not be necessary on that point, to prevent having that evidence picked apart. This allows for further study and analysis of that evidence and preservation of its value so that it can be presented more strongly at the murder trial that they hope will be made possible by a resulting plea bargain or confession or by new developments in the “ongoing” investigation.

    • Bea on 03/15/2010 at 2:18 PM

      Agree – the prosecution doesn’t “care” in THIS trial whether Michael is the murderer or if it’s Joe and Dylan. Not the point, so too are the incidentals – it’s not that the prosecution thinks that the paralytics and restraints were not used, just that they don’t need to establish it for purpose of convicting these three.

      Often one streamlines a case to prevent the jury from being sidetracked. If you had a murder trial with all sorts of Dungeons and Dragons side stories, and some jealousies, and even some drug use, if one guy pulls a trigger and shoots another, and there are witnesses and everything adds up, there’s no need to confuse things with all the ‘why’ and ‘what for’. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just that it doesn’t help get the job done, i.e. getting the conviction.

      • CDinDC on 03/15/2010 at 2:56 PM

        Bea, do you think they will indict Michael eventually? After the conspiracy trial? Do you think the conspiracy trial is simply part 1 of the prosecution’s strategy?

        • CDinDC on 03/15/2010 at 2:57 PM

          Bea (AND Hoya, of course!), do you think they will indict Michael eventually? After the conspiracy trial? Do you think the conspiracy trial is simply part 1 of the prosecution’s strategy?

          • Hoya Loya on 03/15/2010 at 3:46 PM

            I think the strategy is to get a plea or a conviction in the conspiracy trial in hopes that will precipate, one way or another, enough evidence for the trial of the actual killer, whoever that might be.

            • Robert on 03/16/2010 at 6:06 AM

              HOYA I agree with you. I think that Victor is the most likely defendant to “crack” (no pun intended).

              I understand the above arguments that for the conspiracy case there is no need for so much detailed evidence as I put forward.

              I just thought we were attempting to solve Robert’s murder a the same time.

              • Bea on 03/16/2010 at 6:06 PM

                I concur. I think the prosecution knows they have an excellent case for conspiracy, tampering, and obstruction and they believe that at least one of the three will decide that he/they will not be willing to do serious prison time to protect the killer. The least culpable (most of us presume Victor) SHOULD take immunity and testify. At that point the prosecution SHOULD bring murder charges against the killer(s). I seriously doubt that Michael Price is the killer, let alone the sole killer – I don’t see Dylan or Victor going even this far if it was Michael alone.

                Either Dylan or Joe or both was involved in the killing or were so integrally involved with the entire ‘plot’ (whether it occurred before or after the killing) that they couldn’t get a ‘deal’ if they wanted one. Prosecutors don’t ‘deal’ with killers, and even (for example) Joe “only” helped devise a plan which included the stabbing, he’d be doing 20+ years, so he won’t finger Michael – in other words, he’d hope that no one ‘breaks’ so that he’ll be convicted and only get 5-15. It’s worth it to that particular actor – if he has no soul.

                That’s what gets me – the notion that Victor (presumably) doesn’t wonder why Joe would LET Victor do 5-15 alongside the more culpable actors. What a delightful partner he is! Personally I see Michael as a bit player in this, if involved at all, and that the prosecution is taking the easy way out – completely legal and even ethical in my opinion, since this is NOT the murder trial.

                Don’t forget too that even if one/all are convicted of these charges that murder charges can still be brought. The prosecution is undoubtedly being very careful around the issue of double jeopardy – which too may be a reason to streamline here.

                • CDinDC on 03/16/2010 at 7:04 PM

                  Interesting thoughts…..I do agree that if Michael was involved, he certainly did not act alone. I cannot imagine this entire crime being carried out by one person alone. Impossible.

                • John Grisham on 03/16/2010 at 10:16 PM

                  Nicely stated Bea. Let’s hope there is someone who is “least culpable” among the trio and that person finally breaks. I suspect not, and that all three were either “involved in the killing or were … integrally involved with the entire ‘plot.’” All will likely do some limited time for obstruction, but will ultimately dodge murder, as is likely their collective hope.

                  • Bea on 03/17/2010 at 12:22 AM

                    Hi John. I too doubt that the ‘least culpable’ will break (acknowledge that there may not be a ‘least’). The ridiculous part is that while Victor is willing to do serious prison time to protect Joe (just my personal speculation), Joe is simultaneously throwing Victor under the bus by simply allowing him to continue the charade. Sacrifice for THAT?

                    • John Grisham on 03/17/2010 at 1:14 AM

                      What charade is there, and what is Victor protecting, if Victor was already either involved in the murder or was integrally involved with the entire plot?

                      I don’t believe that any member of the trio is currently trying to protect another household member. Rather, they all have collectively calculated that by conspiring to hold firm in their denials, their own greater “good” (i.e. reduced or even no prison time) will be served.

                    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 1:46 AM

                      JOHNGRISHAM I could be wrong, but I have always thought that Victor aided and abetted after the fact.
                      I do not think that Victor participated in Joseph and Dylan’s S&M shenanigans in either the past or in this instance.
                      Indeed, I think that Victor only tolerated Joseph and Dylan’s S&M relationship because he had reason to believe that refusal to do so might lead to Joseph’s departure altogether and Victor could not bear the thought of this.
                      Many open” relationships” begin with the partner who loves less all but demanding such from the partner who loves more knowing full well that the partner who loves more so loves the partner who loves less that the partner who loves more will do most anything to keep the partner who loves less from leaving.
                      Even aside from Joseph’s narcissitic personality which would have demanded that anybody in Victor’s (or Dylan’s) position be a sycophant, I do believe that Victor loves Joseph to an extent that he would do not almost anything but anything for Joseph — even including the cover up of a murder as in this case.
                      The latter is the only explanation that I have for Victor’s willingness to be thought guilty of something which he may not be and to go to prison for something which he may not have done.
                      I admit that I do not know any of these men, but somehow I feel that jail time would be a lot harder on Victor than either Joseph or Dylan.
                      If this is true, I think that Joseph knows it and is being just as hearthearted toward Victor as he was toward Robert, albeit manifesting itself in a signifcantly different way.
                      This is not to say that Victor was necessarily unaware of Joseph’s unrequited love for Robert which may have been another hurt which Victor felt that had to be borne in order not to lose Joseph.

                    • John Grisham on 03/17/2010 at 2:09 AM

                      Then again, Robert, the inconspicuous Victor might have also been the enabler, encourager and even instigator and participant in such household BDSM dramas. I believe he was.

                    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 2:31 AM

                      JOHNGRISHAM I do not know if you were replying to my comments, but I did not mean to suggest that there was a “charade” here or that Victor is totally innocent in this.
                      If Victor is an aider and abettor after the fact, then he does indeed have a personal interest to protect. But not as great as a murder charge which might be lodged against him or his lover, Joseph.
                      Therefore, he may indeed be risking his relatively better position compared to Joseph by putting Joseph’s interests ahead of his own in order to protect Joseph.
                      IF Victor is NOT guilty of the murder per se (or even if he is) and he agrees to accept a plea bargain in exchange for turning “state’s evidence,” he would be placing himself in a better position than he otherwise should be in several senses: 1) he might not be charged with murder; 2) charges against him for aiding and abetting could be reduced; 3) sentence requested would be lessened.

                    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 2:33 AM

                      abettEr

                • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 1:00 AM

                  BEA If you look at the theories which I have propounded from the start, they implicate Joseph, Dylan or both. Given Michael’s inability to even carry off a simple robbery, I never thought he was more than “a bit player” as you would say.
                  The only reason for my evolving “Michael theory” is AUSA Kirschner’s suggestion that somebody other than the three was the murderer and that “that somebody” was close enough to the Swann Street trio that they would cover for him.
                  Under no circumstances did I mean to imply that Joseph and/or Dylan had no role in this. I was simply suggesting that if AUSA Kirschner is both serious in his comments and correct in “his theory” that Michael might have been the ketamine injector which would make him technically the “means” by which Joseph and/or Dylan’s motive was fulfilled.
                  Also, you and I have both always agreed that Victor is the most likely to crack and have hoped that he would do so.
                  I think that the reason why Victor has yet to “wonder why Joe would let” him do time is that Victor is blinded by the greater love he has always had for Joseph but that Joseph probably has never had for Victor.
                  But who knows what Michael is now professing in terms of his love for Victor and what Victor is believing with respect thereto.

                  • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 1:51 AM

                    I meant “his” [Kirschner's]theory that a fourth party was the killer and in that case, my theory that Michael was the paralytic injector.
                    I also meant what “Joseph” (not Michael) was professing in terms of his love for Victor.

                  • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 5:18 AM

                    JOHNGRISHAM You may very well be right about Victor’s role in inciting the BDSM activities between Joseph and Dylan.
                    That just happens not to be my own speculation.

                    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 3:02 PM

                      I agree with you again.

                  • Bea on 03/17/2010 at 2:15 PM

                    I think we are in nearly complete agreement – speculation nevertheless. I do think Joe must be espousing all sorts of love nonsense that Victor hasn’t heard in a while – and Victor truly loves the jackass. Sad and pathetic.

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

                      I don’t mean to suggest that Victor is innocent of conspiracy, tampering, obstruction. He’s likely guilty of these charges, even if he didn’t murder and didn’t participate in the formulation of ‘the plan’. I respect John’s opinion, and acknowledge that we’re all speculating, but I suspect Victor was asleep during the most heinous of behaviors. AND I believe that the prosecution would love to ‘deal’ with Victor in exchange for testimony.

                      A sad truth is that in most murders the prosecution will offer a deal to the least culpable – many times it’s as basic as whether one was the ’shooter’ or not. If Victor slept through the murder but participated in the current charges, I’d bet big dollars that the prosecution would cut him a deal in an instant, would go so far to say that UNLESS he was present for the murder that all charges would be dropped against him.

                    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 3:01 PM

                      I agree with you Bea.

  11. AnnaZed on 03/17/2010 at 12:05 AM

    I am still nagged by this injection directly into the heart business. It is causing me to put aside my earlier more charitable view (and it was vile) and to seriously contemplate something that seems to me to be so very much worse, that is long premeditation and something more like a plot against Robert. A plot long in planning, a plot interrupted by Victor.

    Previously, I thought that at least one (probably two) of them (I am looking at you Joe and Dylan) attacked him with a view to sexually assaulting him, drugged him and then sort of (whoops) thought in a stoned way that he was dead and just pushed on to the ugliest possible dénouement.

    There is something about this one particular wound that nags and nags at me. I previously thought of it as one of many needle marks and just did not fully take in that it was what the medical examiner said was in fact a “pericardial centesis or a direct injection into the heart.” That says premeditated, hateful and cold-blooded in a way that the whoops-I-think-we-killed-him theory does not.

    If it is true that one of them or another party also present not only attempted to smother Robert but injected him in his heart (good Good) then finished him off with these famous neat incisions (also to his heart) that is another kettle of fish all together.

    We talked earlier about what type of planning would be required to have hypodermic needles loaded with specific incapacitating drugs at the ready when this crime was perpetrated, things like what are called “play mats” that could have been covered in blood were mentioned and yet the damned suspicious nature of these things being present beforehand seems to have just seeped away from this conversation. How relieved someone must be about that, and how vexed that the government is back worrying at this aspect of things again in such a big way they must be.

    For the purpose of this trial I am glad that the government has pulled back from any idea of placing before the jury an exact theory of this murder, but for the purpose of this blog I would be interested in what others think about this particular one of Robert’s injuries.

    Also, thinking about the attack on Robert’s heart; in my mind an attack on his heart ultimately specifically means something deeply personal and expressive of something, but what and by whom?

    • Bea on 03/17/2010 at 12:26 AM

      Well said – it’s late, I’ve been traveling, but one thought in response to your queries is that if in fact what you’re alluding to happened that night, one of the trio must be a true sociopath. No one else could do such a thing.

    • Robert on 03/17/2010 at 1:19 AM

      ANNAZED As I stated above, historically my theories have never included Michael in any serious way. But if Michael was the injector with phlebotomy expertise and overdose expertise, he might have injected Robert in the heart for reasons of effectiveness. If Michael was not the injector, that may well be “another kettle of fish.”
      From the start, I have always thought that the primary motivating factor in this affair had to do with Joseph’s unrequited love for Robert. Given Dylan’s associations with Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, I think that his Asian fantasies may have dovetailed with those of Joseph.
      If as I have speculated about Joseph and Dylan’s S&M relationship, Joseph is the “dominant
      slave” (he tells Dylan how he wants to be dominated by Dylan) and Dylan is the
      “submissive master” (he carries out Joseph’s wishes as to how Joseph wishes to be dominated) then at some point Dylan may have assisted Joseph in the fulfillment of Joseph’s desire to requite his love with Robert.
      Thus, if Joseph did not himself “date rape” dose Robert’s drink in the kitchen, Dylan may have done so at Joseph’s behest. Similarly, Dylan may have restrained Robert by 1) smothering with a pillow or 2) through the injection of a paralytic.
      While the coroner found no evidence of restraints such as leather or chains, I am not familiar enough with S&M to know how long it would take for such restraints to leave impressions on wrists or ankles — especially where the lack of defensive wounds indicates that there was no resistance.

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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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