Take the defendants at their word; an unknown person came into their house with the express purpose of murdering Robert.
The killer must have had one of only two possible careers, violent home invasion burglar or assassin. Sure the ninja has been mocked and derided as implausible, but so too, has the defendants’ intruder theory, at least according to their own statements. So for the sake of argument, keep the hit man in the equation.
Either would follow the same path: jump the fence and jackpot, an unlocked door.
A ready knife is just inside the door and grabbed for later use. With utmost stealth, scope out the house, go upstairs, head to the guestroom and stab a sleeping man. Hightail it out just in the nick of time.
Ninja, Intruder; both follow identical steps: slip in, kill, slip out. Remarkable silence. Follow along, after the jump.
Another unexplained silence, the defendants’ failure to speak publicly about the murder, has always stood out to case watchers who look beyond the trial evidence. This is one of the case’s many intangibles that, for many, never made ‘reasonable person’ sense. Now maybe, it’s starting to. Just follow the Ninja.
Let’s run through these two killers’ motives for the murder.
Ninja: Because of Robert’s classified work at Radio Free Asia, he was targeted by nefarious interests: i.e., Chinese agents or some other black bag outfit. The surveillance is good, they know his every step including Robert’s planned overnight at Swann Street. Professional hit, in and out with no trace.
Such a skilled assassin could’ve killed Robert in any number of more public places, an empty suburban Virginia Metro platform, or a near-deserted M Street late one night. Too high risk perhaps. Why not an unexpected location, away from his home and having three possible dupes to pin the crime on?
Even the dumbest of dupes knows when they’re being set up to take a fall. And what does every dupe, even the smart ones say? “We was framed.”
Intruder: At Wednesday’s motions hearing, Dylan Ward counsel David Schertler characterized the crime not as a run-of-the-mill breaking and entering job, this was a home invasion that went extremely violent. A random act of city savagery that saw the assailant catch every break and to this day, remain at large.
Again, take the defendants at there word, that they were the target of a home invasion that ended in murder. And because of the intruder’s luck and guile, the housemates immediately fell under the intense glare of the investigative spotlight. Though not by design, publicly, although not legally, they were in effect framed for the murder.
Either way, intruder or ninja, they were set up. The three must have known or felt they were suspected of the murder, framed directly or indirectly. If they didn’t sense this then their attorneys should have.
In addition to fighting the good legal fight, the attorneys – if they truly believed in their clients’ innocence – would’ve counseled them to speak publicly and candidly to lessen the glare. There is poor legal advice and then there’s bad communications counsel. The Swann Street legal team may have offered the latter if they counseled silence. They muzzled their clients without regard to practical realities.
Likewise with the defendant’s supporters. Because if Joe, Dylan and Victor were framed, then they need voices behind them, too.
However you look at it, silence has not been a friend for the Swann Street defendants, three possible fall guys.