Wild About Harry

A Year In The Making

Joining Paul Duggan’s masterful two-part Washington Post series on Robert’s murder from last June, is another must-read for every case watcher’s bookshelf.

In the May issue of Washingtonian Magazine, veteran DC journalist Harry Jaffe has penned an opus on the case.  He chronicles the years since Robert’s murder, those caught up in its wake, the still-emerging magnitude of the loss, and most importantly, the resilience of the human spirit.

A sneak peek after the jump.

Before the story of heartbreak, Harry tells a story of romance and commitment, friends and family.  This was a difficult article to write, but he struck the right balance of compassion and thoroughness.  He broke news, too.

Harry obtained an email that Joe Price sent a William and Mary friend, from just before the indictments came down:

“It’s a true Catch-22.   The police get to accuse us of not saying all we know, but we are not allowed to fully respond for fear that they will retaliate by arresting one of us.  Based on what we know of the investigation, it seems they were just so sure from the get go that one of us did it, they never bothered to EVER investigate the possibility of an intruder.

“Now that their theory that it was one of us has not panned out, they are doing their very best to cover up from the Wones and the public that they never bothered to pursue the intruder theory.”

Washingtonian readers new to the case don’t have the benefit that many wmrw.com readers have of more than a year of microscopic examination of the principals and details.  For those with the home field advantage, this email raised red flags immediately.

We were told last fall, direct to our four faces from a very informed source with first hand knowledge of the investigation, that the intruder theory was taken very seriously and was vigorously pursued.  “Our instincts said intruder,” we were told.  The intruder that was most suspected?  Michael Price.

The investigators’ instincts said ‘intruder’ for many of the same reasons, as you’ll see in Harry’s piece, that those close to the housemates believed ‘intruder’ as well.  Friends couldn’t do that to a friend; motive didn’t fit anywhere.

What the housemates say they knew of the investigation contradicts what we know about the investigation.  Odd, because we were all probably talking to the same people.

Washingtonian.com has a preview of the feature online.  The issue is on newsstands now and will be arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes later this week.

The full article will not hit their website for another few weeks.  Go grab a copy.  For out-of-towners, single issues are available: call 202-331-0715.  The cost is $10.00, which includes shipping.  It’s money well spent.

Our thanks to Harry for his interest, hard work and good nature throughout. We’ll remain forever wild about him.

-posted by Craig

41 comments for “Wild About Harry

  1. TK
    04/22/2010 at 8:36 AM

    I guess I’m still reeling a bit from the relatively new theory that Michael Price was the ‘intruder.’ Surely he didn’t enter the house, assault and murder Robert without the help of at least one of the others. Did Joe plan for Michael to join them? This just doesn’t fit with the knife evidence if it was all planned (at least the stabbing). Anyone want to suggest the scenario the prosecution might put forward?

    …Off to buy my copy of Washingtonian…

    • Doug
      04/22/2010 at 9:18 AM

      TK: Perhaps we’re reading too much into these things, but a close reading of the Government’s Omnibus Opposition might provide some guideposts.
      -Doug, co-editor

    • Robert
      04/27/2010 at 11:34 AM

      If Michael was involved in the first place, I think it would only have been to inject Robert with a date rape drug/paralytic at Joe’s direction.

      If Michael was involved in the second place, I think it would have been to dispose of the real murder weapon through his drug connections.

      He may also have been involved in other cleanup and disposal efforts which I will leave to others for exposition.

      • Carolina
        04/28/2010 at 1:06 PM

        I’m curious why anyone thinks the murder weapon had to be “processed” in some way. Perhaps I’m too much of a Jersey Girl, but wouldn’t it simply require tossing it in the Potomac? It isn’t as if anyone is going to drag for it.

        • Bea
          04/28/2010 at 1:22 PM

          Carolina, I agree. Could be in a dumpster, the Potomac, somewhere never to be seen again. They want it destroyed or hidden and never found, would not give it to anyone except to haul it away and dispose of it.

        • jeff
          04/28/2010 at 8:06 PM

          Also agree with Carolina and Bea. Especially if one assumes that the bedside knife was thought to be the murder weapon until the coroner suggested otherwise. The police would not have conducted the same type of search for a weapon.

  2. Bea
    04/22/2010 at 2:39 PM

    Kudos, Harry Jaffe!

  3. Laura
    04/22/2010 at 3:06 PM

    Long-time reader here. I am an ex-pat DC area Yank now living in the UK and I am so very thankful I maintained my cherished subscription to The Washingtonian. It’s a fine magazine with consistent, excellent investigative reporting. I shall look forward to receiving my copy later this week and reading Harry’s words. I am also reading every word posted here as we near the trial date. Thanks to everyone who posts…very many of us are here supporting the efforts for justice!

  4. Hoya Loya
    04/22/2010 at 3:36 PM

    That email is mind-boggling. I’m still reeling trying to digest all of its implications. Most salient is the different take on the usual mantra: “We didn’t do it. CAN’T SAY who did.” And, of course, it’s all the fault of the police.
    As I re-read it, I can’t resist the urge to argue back:

    “It’s a true Catch-22.”

    No it’s not. Unless you killed Robert, you have always had the opportunity to cut a deal to avoid lesser charges in exchange for telling all you know. If you did kill Robert, or know who did, you should be talking and not talking is just avoiding responsibility for your actions/inactions, not a Kafkaeqsque dilemma.

    “The police get to accuse us of not saying all we know, but we are not allowed to fully respond for fear that they will retaliate by arresting one of us.”

    You are admittedly not saying all you know. How would telling what you know implicate one of you unless that person is indeed guilty of something? And now you’ve been arrested anyway, so who are you protecting by not saying all you know if not yourself? Did you really throw your life and career away for Michael, Dylan or even Victor? When that person killed a friend who was doing so much good and was seemingly beloved by everyone he ever met, including, allegedly, his pallbearer?

    “Based on what we know of the investigation, it seems they were just so sure from the get go that one of us did it, they never bothered to EVER investigate the possibility of an intruder.”

    There is, and never was, any evidence of an intruder to investigate, beyond a door that you admit you yourself might have left unlocked. And even the prosecution, in its conspiracy case, is leaving open the real possibility that the crime may have been committed by an intruder, albeit one known to you for whom you are inexplicably covering to this day.

    “Now that their theory that it was one of us has not panned out, they are doing their very best to cover up from the Wones and the public that they never bothered to pursue the intruder theory.”

    As our editors have pointed out, the intruder theory is still being investigated. As for a cover-up, talk about the pot calling the kettle black … Again, if you know something, why don’t you disregard Bernie’s advice and spill, for the sake of the Wones and the public? You’ve done noble work in the past for equal rights – do the noble thing here, however late in the game, and call an end to the charade. Fire your lawyer and come out with the truth.

    And Michael: if you didn’t do it, and know who did, you’d better speak up soon. As I’ve warned you before, the prosecution clearly has you in its sights.

    • Bea
      04/22/2010 at 6:01 PM

      Hoya, very much agree with your assessment and your call-out to the Brothers Price.

      Joe, Dude, the wording in your email will be ringing in the jurors’ ears (the prosecution will make sure of this in closing): the police accuse you of not saying all you know, and that you’re not able to “fully respond” for fear one of you will be arrested.

      You can’t fully respond because if you did, one/all of the trouple will be arrested (a) for murder and assault, or (b) conspiracy, obstruction and tampering?

      Oh yeah, the latter ARE the charges against you. You can’t still be worried you’ll be arrested for “b” – you already have! Could it be you’re worried about “a” too? Logic would dictate. . .

  5. METO
    04/22/2010 at 4:40 PM

    Editors and anyone who has found hard copy:

    I went to local Borders this afternoon (okay that was a mistake) and they still have a zillion copies of April issue out on their stand. Where can I pick up copy of this May issue?

    Robert – your dissection of Joe’s e-mail is excellent, if sad. As you note, if accurate, doesn’t Joe admit that he/they know something that they are not telling the police because if they do one of them will be arrested?



    • jeff
      04/22/2010 at 4:47 PM

      I had to hunt to find mine as well; finally found it at One-Stop in the Shops at 2000 Penn

      • METO
        04/22/2010 at 5:23 PM


        Thanks. On my fourth try I got mine at the gift shop in the Capital Hilton.


        • Vandy
          04/22/2010 at 9:09 PM

          Giant food stores have a bunch of them.

          • Lyn
            04/23/2010 at 9:50 AM

            Good old 7-11 worked for me. Excellent article. Made me well up a couple of times when thinking of what Kathy has gone through.

    • Craig
      04/22/2010 at 5:07 PM

      Today is the first day the May edition is on the racks. They’ll start surfacing around town very soon.

      And don’t forget: we’ve got another status hearing tomorrow. More on that later.

  6. former crackho
    04/22/2010 at 5:22 PM

    I can’t wait to read this article – way to go HJ – and way to go editors…you guys brought life to this case when no one else was touching it.

    So, if I tell the cops what I know, then one or more of us will be arrested. Uh, not if you didn’t do anything wrong.

    I don’t think Michael was involved in the murder. Maybe the cover-up, but not the murder. Why would he? Drug money? Nothing was taken. I just don’t feel it that Michael did it.

    Well, at least they will go down on the obstruction/tampering/conspiracy charges. I don’t see any way around it for the trouple.

  7. corgivet
    04/22/2010 at 5:46 PM

    Applause applause

  8. METO
    04/22/2010 at 5:59 PM


    The article is a “must read.”

    There isn’t much new regarding 1509 Swann Street for many of us other than the above-discussed e-mail, but the story is a very full and touching story about Kathy, her family, Covington, and Robert and Kathy’s friends and of course, Robert.



    • Clio
      04/22/2010 at 8:21 PM

      As a goddess, Meto, I just wiggled my nose, and the whole article appeared as a pdf attachment in my inbox. Whatever works in this AD era!

      I do not want to spoil everyone’s reading, but I do want to commend Harry both for capturing the vitality of the Wone marriage and for detailing the internal civil war within those close to both Culuket and Robert. Bravo!

      I am still looking, though, for any author to fill us in on the Price family dynamics from Okinawa and Massachusetts that shaped Joe and Michael into possibly being responsible for Robert’s murder. Understanding that family will help us to understand (but not to forgive) why this horrible loss happened.

      • Meto
        04/22/2010 at 9:01 PM


        Sigh. I am still a mere mortal assigned to the man-God Caesar who (like our Supreme Court – I am not taking a shot here — the case this week regarding e-mail shows how little The Brethern know about modern technology) doesn’t understand modern technology. I am delighted you short-cut this problem.



  9. CDinDC
    04/22/2010 at 9:11 PM

    I have to say, that the article was a sweet, albeit painful, testiment to true love shared by two incredible people. Robert and Cathy Wone. My heart breaks for Cathy Wone. I so hope she finds the peace she deserves.

  10. Robert
    04/22/2010 at 9:31 PM

    I recall that at one point AG Kirschner suggested that the trio might not be the guilty parties but knew the identity of the culprit.

    Michael had the phlebotomy training and drug access to have participated in the drugging. But there is no evidence of BDSM of which I am aware. And what about nothing stolen?

    • Bea
      04/22/2010 at 9:45 PM

      It doesn’t matter for the purposes of THIS trial if Michael was involved or not – the possibility or mere suggestion is enough to convict the defendants if they conspired, obstructed, tampered on behalf of the murderer (whomever he is). Showing Michael’s sordid side, complete with how the trouple acted in unison to keep Michael from being arrested for a burglary he clearly committed, adds to the story and believability that not just Joe, the brother, but both of Joe’s wives, are willing to lie to authorities on Michael’s behalf. If these three are convicted, as I think they will be, then the sites will be recalibrated and perhaps Michael will get a shake down, and that might result in murder charges (on which I base hope but not great faith).

      Again, shaking Michael down might get the names of the murderers from his mouth – I don’t think he’ll fare well with Joe in prison and no one to shelter or lead him away from dangerous paths. And there’s the chance of post-conviction confessions from one/two of the trouple, though if that’s going to happen, my guess is that it will occur on the courthouse steps on May 10.

      • BenFranklin
        04/24/2010 at 10:49 AM

        Exploiting the defendants’ compassion for HIV positive, drug-addicted brother Michael “whether he was involved or not” it is disingenuous, cynical & desperate.

        The government must not lie or deceive in the peoples’ name to win a conviction at any price, no matter how much you “hope” for it.

        The government has already demonstrated how “ugly” it can be with deplorable, malicious lies in its early incompetent casework. The damage & anguish these lies caused the Wone family & the defendants is unforgivable.

        Once these lies & “head fakes” are beat down with Science maybe we will hear a truthful “full response” on the courthouse steps before the trial.

        If it goes to trial I predict acquittal.

        • Clio
          04/24/2010 at 12:20 PM

          “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

          • Bea
            04/24/2010 at 3:10 PM

            “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

            • Craig
              04/24/2010 at 3:37 PM

              Bea: Get out of my brain! I’ve been pounding that song (a blistering live version) all week on the iPod. Lots of Neil too lately.

              Last week it was a Ramones-a-thon and this song was in heavy rotation.

              What ear nerve damage? No wonder I can’t follow these hearings. With me, there’s no need for Leibovitz to flip on the husher during those ex partes.

              • Bea
                04/24/2010 at 8:11 PM

                I have two Patti tattoos. That’s all I’m saying.

                I remember lying in the back seat of a car on a ‘road trip’ in college with earphones on. My friend jostled me to ask me to change the (then) cassette tape because it was so loud and she was sick of it. Probably “Horses” or maybe “Radio Ethiopia”.

          • Nora
            04/27/2010 at 7:24 AM

            “The boy looked at Johnny. Johnny wanted to run….”

            • 04/28/2010 at 2:53 PM

              “Armageddon? It’s gotten!”

              Love me some Patti!

              • Bea
                04/28/2010 at 3:20 PM

                “I don’t f*** much with the past, but I f*** plenty with the future.”

  11. Robert
    04/22/2010 at 9:50 PM

    I agree with you on all counts including the cover up of any burglary. Did not mean to suggest otherwise.

    Might explain why Michael did not confess or strike deal at an earlier point in time. If he is guilty, why would others have risked so much?

    • Bea
      04/22/2010 at 10:11 PM

      Yes – I’m hard pressed to believe Michael was the sole killer. I think it took at least two people and I don’t see anyone (including Joe) risking jail time for these charges unless Joe and Dylan are guilty of something more than the cover-up. Victor may be stooge enough to risk it all to save Joe but not to save Michael. Frankly, I think Dylan’s real daddy (Dr. Ward) would have “made” Dylan tell the truth if he wasn’t “more” involved (after all, Dylan’s first instinct at the precinct is to call his parents – at 38!).

  12. Clio
    04/23/2010 at 6:20 AM

    Catch-22? That is an interesting choice of words by Culuket. It means that they are damned if they did it and that they are damned if they did not do it. So, they did it, and they are damned. Bernie and Spag: check, please!

  13. plumskiter
    04/23/2010 at 10:42 AM

    i think joe’s email is a very powerful piece of evidence for the government. he sounds like he is a lawyer for one of the accused, dissecting the case, rather than one of the accused. i generally avoid speculation about how one would behave if innocent (& a don’t buy a lot of the speculation posted by others about what people do – because we are all so different. ), BUT if joe were innocent, wouldn’t his email have read like this . . . “no one in this house killed robert; an intruder did and i am so upset that the police are not looking for the real killer.” he wouldn’t be talking about “the intruder theory”, because to him, supposedly, it is not a theory but a reality.

  14. Lyn
    04/23/2010 at 10:50 AM

    “we are not allowed to fully respond for fear that they will retaliate by arresting one of us”

    “Allowed” is an inappropriate word choice. You are allowed to respond, you have chosen not to. By choosing not to fully respond, you have put your self interest ahead of finding Wone’s killer and helping justice be served. Is that how someone treats a dear friend? Is that how someone innocent of a crime behaves?

    And note the word “we.” Price’s use of that word is important because it indicates that all three of the housemates know more than they are telling and all three are acting in concert to keep authorities from knowing the full truth. Sounds like an admission of obstruction to me.

  15. Bea
    04/23/2010 at 12:22 PM

    Plums and Lyn – good points. Especially struck by thought that if you were truly convinced that an ‘intruder’ entered your home and murdered your friend, you would not call it a ‘theory’.

    Each time I see use of ‘intruder’ now I think how odd it is that it’s the only word they ever use – on the 911 call, in separate statements, long after in emails to friends. Wouldn’t AFTERWARD you refer to this person as MURDERER or KILLER? I think one would graduate this person to a much more damning title. “Gosh, it horrifies me that the intruder is still running free” or “Gosh, it horrifies me that the killer is still running free.”

  16. Robert
    04/23/2010 at 7:20 PM

    Good point about their continuing to use the word “intruder” instead of “killer” or “murderer.”
    Have to admit their coolness makes my skin crawl.

  17. TT
    04/23/2010 at 8:13 PM

    Bea, can this e-mail be used as evidence?

    • Bea
      04/23/2010 at 8:22 PM

      So long as the person receiving it is willing to testify, then yes, I would think so.

Comments are closed.