Day 1: Updates

Motion to Supress Denied –  Opening Statements

Update @ break – 3:25pm

Price counsel Bernie Grimm and Ward counsel David Schertler delivered strong opening statements.  A 15 minute break followed.

Grimm began, “The government’s theory is unequivical, absolutely not supported by any evidence, fantastic…”

Grimm says the government has floated an idea that “someone,’ i.e. Michael Price, could have done it.  “This theory is based on ignorance.  The case is summations and innuendo.”

Of his client Joe Price, he was candid. “He can talk, he’s a know-it-all…  but he’s just an initiator.”

Schertler began with a clear statement.  “The government’s opening statement is based on assumption, speculation and innuendo.  It creates an incredible story.”

Schertler presented an impressive refutation of the government’s theory.  Moving point by point to demonstrate where the government’s evidence falls short.

Among that evidence, is the “missing knife.”  Schertler maintained it was never in DC, it was never missing.  It was in Seattle, Washington.

Schertler also pushed back pretty hard on knife fibers.

Connolly up next and an update to follow at close of business.

Earlier hearing highlights after the jump

Lunch break recap @ 1:45

Court came back into session at 11:35 this morning, with the government offering its opening statements.

“The government will show these three defendants covered-up, orchestrated and misdirected with respect to the homicide of Robert Wone,” AUSA Glenn Kirschner began.

Calling the evidence and crime scene “…interesting, inexplicable, strange circumstances…”, Kirscher alleged the three defendants, bound by a powerful family bond with Joe Price as the leader, counted on the strange crime scene to confuse and obfuscate.  “And in the short term, they seem to have gotten away with it,” he added.

Lasting an hour and twenty minutes (well over the :45 minute statement Judge Leibovitz suggested counsel stick to), Kirschner restated much of what has already been discussed in bits and pieces – attempting to tie it together into a coherent picture of deception and conspiracy.

Even without a jury to address, Kirschner employed the tools of a prosecutor: banging on a photo of the stairs when talking about the intruder’s stealth, wielding a knife from the actual Swann Street butcher block against a photo (not visible to the audience) from Robert’s autopsy, and pulling out the white towel to demonstrate, what he called “…a dog that don’t hunt…” in terms of explaining the housemate’s actions.

Sarah Morgan will testify, as will EMT Jeff Baker.  Kathy Wone will be the first prosecution witness, and Kirschner promised we would learn interesting things about how Michael Price was behaving at Robert’s funeral.

In all, from the prosecution’s view, it’s a story of “…Joe Price tak(ing) control of the agenda from the moment law enforcement arrives.”  After a push or two to wrap it up, he did so, and court adjourned at 12:55 for lunch.

Morning break recap@ 10:40am

After a delay of nearly 1/2 hour, Judge Lynn Liebovitz turned first to the outstanding Motion to Supress.

Finding that at no time would a reasonable person have believed they were in custodial care or being a suspect, an further finding that Joe Price’s demeanor was “…confident, at times dismissive…” andWard was “…sophisticated in demeanor…” and  further finding that all defendants knew their rights and that the police had “…made it maybe all too clear that they hadn’t solved the murder…” the Judge denied the motions to suppress.

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113 comments for “Day 1: Updates

  1. former crackho
    05/17/2010 at 12:01 PM

    Awesome!

  2. BadShoes
    05/17/2010 at 12:05 PM

    “maybe made it all too clear..”

    Huh?

    Suggesting that if the police had maybe made it less clear, then what would have have happened??

    The defendants would have confessed? The defendants would have shut up and called their lawyers?

    I guess the judge’s point is sort of a Catch-22: Since the police made it clear that the defendants weren’t suspects, the defendants felt free to tell the tales that are now prosecution evidence. If the police had told the defendants they were suspects, then the defendents would have availed themselves of their constitutional rights. The fact that they chose not to do so shows that the defendants knew they weren’t suspects.

  3. CC Biggs
    05/17/2010 at 1:05 PM

    If the police had made it clear that they (the police) believed that the three housemates killed Wone, then there would be a better argument that the interviews were indeed custodial interrogations of actual suspects, thereby strengthening the defendants’ argument that the interviews should be suppressed.

    • BadShoes
      05/17/2010 at 1:16 PM

      okay, thanks.

  4. dcbill
    05/17/2010 at 1:18 PM

    Thanks for giving highlights of the prosecution’s opening statement. This blog is simply awesome. I wish I could have heard it in person, though, and maybe it would have made a little more sense to me. “‘a dog that don’t hunt'”? Um okay.

    • AnnaZed
      05/17/2010 at 2:27 PM

      More like a dog that didn’t bark, but ok Mr. Prosecutor we’ll chalk that up to fog of war but don’t do it again!

      • Themis
        05/17/2010 at 3:20 PM

        “A dog that don’t hunt” is a southern colloquialism. It harkens back to the day when dogs were kept for utitiliarian purposes. If the dog didn’t hunt, it was worthless. When you’re raised around such sayings, they often roll off of the tongue before you realize it. I would be surprised if that’s what happened here. More likely the AUSA was trying to distinguish himself from the slick suits on the other side.

        • AnnaZed
          05/17/2010 at 4:21 PM

          I know this, being a Southerner myself, I just thought that the Conan Doyle “dog that wouldn’t bark” metaphor made more sense … and being tense and nervous on the first day I just blundered that out, sorry.

          In any case, well observed about the calculated nature of use of such a colloquialism to humanize oneself Themis!

  5. Bill Orange
    05/17/2010 at 1:19 PM

    Michael Price was at the funeral?

    The fact that Joe Price took control of the agenda when law enforcement arrived really doesn’t seem to mean much to me. He’s obviously the alpha dog. I would expect him to take charge of the situation regardless of their innocence or guilt.

    • Clio
      05/17/2010 at 2:53 PM

      Why would Michael be at the funeral? Didn’t he have one of his off-the-wagon relapses around that time? When did he have the time to study for his final exam at Montgomery?

      This may explain the lachyrmose strains in Mr. Hinton’s memorial statement, as Louis documented the emotions and guilt with which his lover/sidekick/dealer Michael was grasping.

      • CDinDC
        05/17/2010 at 2:59 PM

        I have to wonder if Michael even knew Robert very well. How often did Joe and Victor invite Joe’s drug-addled brother to their events involving Robert? It’s not like Robert was a regular visitor to Joe’s home.

  6. Hoya Loya
    05/17/2010 at 1:22 PM

    Doug:

    Any sense if Glenn had the judge’s attention during his statement or if she was at all annoyed or impatient with him going over on time?

    • interestedobserver
      05/17/2010 at 1:45 PM

      The judge did gently interrupt about the time length, but emphasized that she was listening closely to the prosecutor’s opening.

  7. Just Another Friend
    05/17/2010 at 1:24 PM

    You’re such a tease, Doug. Who’s W-5?

  8. Meto
    05/17/2010 at 1:33 PM

    Doug:

    I echo Hoya Loya’s question. If the Defense counsel are smart they will be short and crisp especially after lunch. If the prosecution continues to annoy the Judge that could hurt them at some important time during the trial. I can barely fathom being provided 45 minutes for an Opening Statement and certainly would not go over. This is not a good sign for the prosecution.

    Respectfully,

    Meto

    • rk
      05/17/2010 at 1:57 PM

      I see your point, but if the prosecution gave a short and sweet statement, someone else would say that was a bad sign for the prosectution due to a dearth of content.

      I’m guessing the opener has been in the can for a month or two and was intended for presentation to a jury. Instead of cutting it down and shortening it for the judge, they went with the original. Just a guess.

      • Uncle Ernie
        05/17/2010 at 2:20 PM

        Right. But more importantly, it’s not like the case is going to be won or lost on an opening statement that ran 20 minutes over. Why? It ain’t evidence.

  9. Anonymous Friend
    05/17/2010 at 1:34 PM

    Thanks so much for helping those of us who can’t be there have a sense of what’s going on. I look forward to hearing more details … what evidence will the government offer to satisfy the specific elements of the offenses? Thanks for helping us map out the proofs, since we know that’s where the judge will focus.

  10. interestedobserver
    05/17/2010 at 1:43 PM

    W-5 is a friend of Joe Price (and sometimes more than that according to the prosecution) who will testify that Joe Price stated right after leaving the VCB that he had to pull the knife from Robert’s chest.

    • Anonymous Friend
      05/17/2010 at 1:44 PM

      How do you know this?

      • interestedobserver
        05/17/2010 at 1:45 PM

        I was there this morning.

        • Anonymous Friend
          05/17/2010 at 1:49 PM

          Ahhh … thank you. I’m curious what you mean by something more … the prosecution suggested a sexual link b/w the 2? Really? Thanks for your bird’s eye reporting.

          • interestedobserver
            05/17/2010 at 1:52 PM

            The prosecutor simply said that the relationship between Joe Price and W-5 was friendship, but that it was sometimes “more” than a friendship. There was no further information provided other than that. I guess we’ll see when W-5 testifies.

            • TT
              05/17/2010 at 2:02 PM

              Tell us more, please…..

              • David
                05/17/2010 at 2:04 PM

                The indication is that Joe had a sexual contact with W-5.

                • CDinDC
                  05/17/2010 at 2:11 PM

                  Figures.

                  • Clio
                    05/17/2010 at 2:44 PM

                    So, if Joe slept with him, W-5 is NOT Miss Morgan. Yet, the elusive former basement tenant will be testifying after all. Goody!

                • AnnaZed
                  05/17/2010 at 2:47 PM

                  implication? implied how?

                  • David
                    05/17/2010 at 2:49 PM

                    Sarah Morgan is W-4. W-1 and W-2 are EMTs. W-3 is neighbor who heard the scream.

    • Just Another Friend
      05/17/2010 at 2:21 PM

      That’s the same information that’s in the affidavit supporting the arrest warrant for Dylan. Sigh. I guess I’m just going to have to wait for more from & about W-5.

    • Daphne
      05/17/2010 at 5:55 PM

      What’s “VCB?”

  11. plumskiter
    05/17/2010 at 1:49 PM

    so, no big surprises or new info in the opening?

  12. Nora
    05/17/2010 at 1:57 PM

    Thank you, Sarah Morgan! Hopefully she will provide an insider’s perspective that will be hard to refute. Has she been called as a witness for the defense or the prosecution?

  13. deepsouth
    05/17/2010 at 2:03 PM

    Long time appreciative reader, first time poster, out of towner. Finally, the day has come. Was there any indication whether Sarah Morgan will be testifying for the prosecution or for the defense?

  14. John Grisham
    05/17/2010 at 2:09 PM

    Likely for the prosecution, you’d think, if it was first disclosed this morning.

  15. John Grisham
    05/17/2010 at 2:13 PM

    From the BLT: “Kirschner said Zaborsky was, essentially, reading from a “script” during the 911 call.”

    • AnnaZed
      05/17/2010 at 2:50 PM

      paging Mr. DeMille.

  16. deepsouth
    05/17/2010 at 2:14 PM

    That was my thought too, but then I wondered if the prosecution might mention her to get out in front of something they think she’ll say for the defense. I’m not a lawyer, so I could be way out in left field on that one.

  17. ra1n
    05/17/2010 at 2:20 PM

    Just got back from the courtroom. What a mob scene. The whole (small) room was basically reserved for press and staff, angering friends and supporters that actually knew Robert. We were shepherded to the overflow room which was filled as well and listened to just the audio.

    I found it interesting that the defense tried to prevent Kathy Wone from hearing the opening statements since she is a witness.

    The prosecutions opening statement was long but good. I also thought Glenn painted a good picture of how careful and meticulous Robert was by detailing how neat he was and the fact that he carried two wallets, and would give a dummy wallet to a burglar in the event he was mugged. The “intruder” walked past both wallets to get to Robert and didn’t steal one.

    Cant wait to read about the defense’s statement…I just couldn’t be there all day…

    • CDinDC
      05/17/2010 at 2:24 PM

      Thanks for teh feedback ra1n! I read elsewhere that they were thinking of putting the press in the jury box. Did that happen?

      Did Kathy make it into the main courtroom?

      What was the demeanor of the defendants, etc.

      • ra1n
        05/17/2010 at 2:36 PM

        I’m sure they used every seat in the room including the jurors but not sure if they were for press. Most of the other seats were reserved with names and news orgs (MSNBC, FOX, WMRW.com, etc)

        Kathy did make it in and the judge did not allow the defense to have her removed for the opening statements.

        Not too much from the looks on the defendants faces. No smiles, just very business like. Although with the number of press talking about footage the got, the huge crowd around the courtroom doors prior to them opening, and exhibit after exhibit being rolled into the courtroom, the tension was palpable. I had butterflies in my stomach and I was just a spectator.

        • CDinDC
          05/17/2010 at 2:42 PM

          Wow. Are you going again tomorrow ra1n?

          • ra1n
            05/17/2010 at 2:51 PM

            Wish I could. Unfortunately I just cant be out of the office that long. I’ll have to follow along here.

            I have never attended a trial before in person and I thought this was the perfect opportunity given how closely I have followed the case. I really wanted to be there for the opening statements.

            • CDinDC
              05/17/2010 at 2:52 PM

              Darn. Well, pull up a chair, ra1n. We’ll all be sitting right here watching with you.

        • Just Another Friend
          05/17/2010 at 2:50 PM

          Was there a seat reserved for CNN?

          • ra1n
            05/17/2010 at 2:55 PM

            Not sure…if there was I didn’t catch it. Almost the whole left side of the courtroom was reserved for press though. The rest was was for staff and family. There was very little room for other spectators.

            Also at least 4 satellite trucks with cameras were parked out front.

          • Clio
            05/17/2010 at 2:59 PM

            Well, there’s always a space for Lisa at Moultrie (and in our thoughts) as anything from a W-6 to another (possible) unindicted co-conspirator: just leave Miss Cooper at Cosi’s across the street!

            • CDinDC
              05/17/2010 at 3:01 PM

              Maybe she’ll hold your wallet for you.

              • Clio
                05/17/2010 at 3:18 PM

                Only for a Price, however!

        • Hoya Loya
          05/17/2010 at 3:30 PM

          Trying to remove the victim’s widow from the opening statement? Not a great way to get in good with the judge.

          Could they be planning to grill Kathy on cross?

          • Lindsay Bluth
            05/17/2010 at 4:30 PM

            It’s standard to exclude witnesses from the courtroom, period. Especially in cases like this. Maybe not a popular move in this situation, but I’m surprised to see shock from attorneys here.

            • AnnaZed
              05/17/2010 at 4:33 PM

              I thought that too Lindsay, but didn’t want to say so least I seem unsupportive of Mrs. Wone (such is the labyrinth way of the mind).

            • Bea
              05/17/2010 at 4:40 PM

              I doubt it’s shock – of course it is part of the drill – yet with spouse witnesses who shed little light on the events of the evening, some would think it’s in bad form for the defendants to waste efforts to exclude her as the first witness and only hearing the openings.

            • Hoya Loya
              05/17/2010 at 4:52 PM

              Not shock, just questioning judgement and strategy about one witness in particluar. Kathy will testify primarily about her life with Robert and factual information about learning of his murder, most likely also her basement summit with the trouple the Friday after the murder and possibly her later lunch with Joe. What could she possibly have heard during opening that she does not already know or suspect given her relationship to the victim and the lenghty investigation?

              It comes across as petty. She lost her husband — don’t try to keep her out of the opening. She’s not an expert or someone who heard Joe say he pulled the knife out. She’s testifying first and will likely be in the courtroom for the balance of the trial anyway.

              • Anonymous Friend
                05/17/2010 at 5:04 PM

                DC practioners – is there a court rule that expressly excepts family of the victim from being excluded from the trial even if they’ll testify? If so, this was foolish – no possible tactical gain – just rude and insensitive posturing. If not, then I understand that lawyers have to do their job, even when it leaves a sour taste.

              • CDinDC
                05/17/2010 at 5:11 PM

                She will also probably testify regarding how far in advance the sleep-over was planned. And with Victor’s testimony that he didn’t know anything about the sleep-over, it may come across with some level of pre-meditation. Joe knew something was going to happen in that house that night, and it again, speaks of Joe’s pattern of concealing things that may be harmful to the family (just like the robbery).

  18. Themis
    05/17/2010 at 2:27 PM

    If her testimony was previewed by the governtment, the government will call her. The defense could call her to, but assuming you can hit all the topics you want examining a witness on cross is better than calling them for a direct.

    On a different issue, I would strongly advise my client not to testify if I didn’t think he could withstand questioning by the judge as well as the prosecutor. Judges can always ask questions of witnesses, but they tend to be more restrained in front of juries. Without a jury, the questioning can be extensive and tough, and Judge L. would appear to be a very engaged judge. I would not be surprised if Joe was tempted to spar with her, which generally is not a good thing.

    Finally, I have a question for DC practitioners. Does DC have a structured sentencing scheme like the USSG? If so what is the guidelines range for someone with the lowest criminal history category convicted of the charged offenses? If there are convictions, can the judge make relevant conduct findings as long as the sentence stays within the maximum that would be authorized by the verdict?

    • CDinDC
      05/17/2010 at 2:39 PM

      Themis,

      As a defense attorney, do you prefer a bench trial? Or are there times you find a jury trial beneficial. Doesn’t relate here. Just curious.

      • Themis
        05/17/2010 at 3:28 PM

        As demonstrated by my spelling, punctuation, and grammar, I am not at my best today. That said, I’ve never had a bench trial. There are risks and potential rewards, but it would really depend upon the facts of the case, the legal issues, what the jury pool looked like, what I could expect to do in jury selection, whether the client would testify, and other matters. I would not like sharing my strikes and questioning with attorneys who aren’t my co-counsel. And I smile at the thought of the Four Horseman attempting such a feat.

    • DC Attorney
      05/17/2010 at 5:39 PM

      Themis:

      The District has voluntary sentencing guidelines that are far less structured than the Federal Guidelines. Nonetheless, unless a Judge strongly feels that there are reasons to depart, he or she rarely will. Because the DC guidelines are voluntary, departures from them cannot be appealed. That said, the guidelines range with no prior record is 36-84 months for each count of obstructing justice, 1-12 months for each count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and 1-12 months for each count of tampering with evidence. Under DC law and the DC guidelines, the Judge would have discretion to run those consecutively or concurrently.

  19. Bill
    05/17/2010 at 3:00 PM

    I think it was a smart move by the defense to opt for a bench trial. I believe the cross section of a DC jury, predominated by minorities, would be very homophobic and prejudicial. This would be further escalated by the issue of the defendants being perceived as wealthy. Gay, white and wealthy would be too much for the average DC juror to overlook despite their claims to the contrary.

    • Clio
      05/17/2010 at 3:16 PM

      “Mercedes, Mercedes, Mercedes!”

    • Clio
      05/17/2010 at 3:22 PM

      “Mercedes, Mercedes, Mercedes!”

      Yet, doesn’t DC with an African American majority have gay marriage, and doesn’t Virginia with a white majority have the worst anti-gay laws of the nation? Yes and yes. Go figure!

      • Bill
        05/17/2010 at 3:55 PM

        I agree with your assessment. But I believe a Northern Virginia jury would have been more sophisticated and open than a DC jury. Nevertheless, I do agree with the decision of the defense to go for a bench trial in DC.

        • anon
          05/17/2010 at 4:21 PM

          Been on a DC jury and it’s a joke how white and wealthy jurors are compared to the city demographics. Everyone in my office who gets called says the same thing.

  20. John Grisham
    05/17/2010 at 3:01 PM

    W-4 is about to send them to the slammer.

    • Ludmilla
      05/17/2010 at 3:08 PM

      I certainly hope so.

    • Bill
      05/17/2010 at 3:11 PM

      Why the immediate assumption that they are guilty on the first day of trial?

      • John Grisham
        05/17/2010 at 3:17 PM

        Because most of the evidence against them has been public for nearly 18 months.

      • Friend of Rob
        05/17/2010 at 3:18 PM

        Because we’ve been following this for three years, dumbass.

        • Bill
          05/17/2010 at 3:19 PM

          What such a comment necessary? Further, it is a violation of the community standards set by the organizers.

          • Friend of Rob
            05/17/2010 at 3:34 PM

            Apologies Bill. This has been a very bad day with the trial bringing back a whole lot of memories. I can’t imagine how Kathy is handling this.

            • Bill
              05/17/2010 at 3:43 PM

              OK – thank you. I hope that this process will bring you peace and closure.

          • Just Another Friend
            05/17/2010 at 3:53 PM

            Bill,
            First, welcome to the site and to our discussions.
            If I might be so presumptuous, I think this is what FoR was trying to say:
            A number of us who read, comment, and/or lurk here actually knew Robert. Different people here knew him at different times of his life. We miss him, and we have been missing him since August, 2006. Since 2006, we have been searching for answers, and searching for justice for this fine man.
            We are not here trying to demonize the three men who are on trial. In fact, many of the people on this site who knew Robert also know/knew Joe.
            As Robert’s friends and colleagues, we have spent a lot of time combing through the evidence to try to find answers for ourselves — to try to answer the “who,” “how,” and “why” of Robert’s murder. Because we knew him. And because we know that no one deserves to go through what he went through that night. Our searching and our review of the evidence has led some of us to reach conclusions about what we think happened that night. These are not “immediate assumptions.” They are based on a lot of analysis that has only been enhanced by the fantastic folks on this site who are engaged in this discussion even though they didn’t ever meet Robert.
            For us, this trial is not an interesting story. For us, this is about justice for our friend. It’s personal. And unfortunately, we understand that this trial probably is the only shot that we have for getting any justice for Robert.

            • Friend of Rob
              05/17/2010 at 3:55 PM

              Thanks JAF. Better than I could have said it.

            • Bill
              05/17/2010 at 4:22 PM

              I have been, as you say, “lurking,” for a few months, but only today — due to the start of the trial — posted. I appreciate your providing a context for your and other’s responses. I am more like the founders of this site, I neither knew Robert nor know the defendants. I am not new to blogging since I have authored a political and social commentary blog since 2006 and frequently comment on blogs that I read. I was surprised by FoR’s response by appreciate his and your comments. As I stated, I hope that you find healing in this process and that the trial brings your friend the justice that you so earnestly wish for him.

      • Hoya Loya
        05/17/2010 at 3:23 PM

        “Innocent until proven guilty” is a standard of proof at trial. At the moment is the concern of Judge Liebovitz. A number of people here have been following this case for up to the 18 months this site has been up, studying all the available evidence. Some have been following the case since 2006. They are free to draw and express their conclusions based on the evidence and many have.

        This site provides both an objective, detailed look at a fascinating criminal case and a forum for speculation as to what may have actually happened to Robert Wone in August 2006. We all want a fair trial and we do not want innocent people convicted, but given the nature of this case, strong opinions are going to be expressed.

        • DC_Rat
          05/17/2010 at 5:53 PM

          Just wanted to make a slight correction to the above post. “Innocent until proven guilty” is not a standard of proof. It is merely a shorthand statement to indicate that the prosecution bears the burden of proving its case. “Standard of proof” or “burden of proof” refers to the level of proof that the party bearing the burden must carry. In a criminal case such as this one, the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

          I’m a first-time poster, long-time lurker, and an acquaintance of Robert who last saw him and Kathy the week before Robert started his job at Radio Free Asia. He was so looking forward to embarking on that new path of his career. Although I didn’t know Robert that well, there was no doubt that he was as kind, compassionate, and caring of a man as I have ever met, and Kathy’s strength and grace in such difficult times is truly inspiring and admirable.

          • Hoya Loya
            05/17/2010 at 6:18 PM

            Thanks for the tweak DC_Rat — my brain is a bit scrambled today trying to keep up with events. Special thanks for sharing about Robert.

    • Bill Orange
      05/17/2010 at 3:19 PM

      How so? Unless she drops some sort of bombshell, the most she’s likely to say is that Joe told her to get lost that night. And Joe will say that he asked her to spend the night somewhere else, because Victor was coming home early, and he wanted the three of them to have a nice steak dinner together.

      • John Grisham
        05/17/2010 at 3:27 PM

        Not only did Sarah share a house with them and socialized with them, she was likely the one person most immediately in contact with them (other than perhaps Michael) both before and after the murder. Sarah has a lot to say.

        • Bill Orange
          05/17/2010 at 3:46 PM

          Maybe. I think it’s more likely that–at most–she’s going to say that Joe asked her to make herself scarce every once in a while, and he did so that night. When Joe takes the stand–and I’m fairly sure he’ll testify unless there’s a summary judgement–he’ll either say that he did this because Victor was coming home early, or (if he made the request prior to Victor’s travel plans changing) he’ll say that he was planning on having a gentleman caller that night, but he changed his plans when Robert asked to spend the night, and he forgot to tell Sarah that she didn’t need to make other plans.

  21. Bea
    05/17/2010 at 3:17 PM

    I’m sure that Sarah is a prosecution witness if mentioned (as it appears) in the opening. An opening is the oral summary of what the witnesses will tell the court so that there is a context in which to consider each.

    The defense may have the option (often it does – don’t know about DC) to defer its opening statement until the prosecution rests and it is time for the defense’s case.

    John, you may well be right about Sarah’s testimony. If she’s got some goods it will be important – whether it’s about that night or even if she counters something Joe was adamant about to show he’s lying (the alarm being set, what they said at Cosi, etc.).

  22. Friend of Rob
    05/17/2010 at 3:18 PM

    If Sarah had as much to say as well think she could say, this would have been a murder trial.

    • John Grisham
      05/17/2010 at 3:29 PM

      That will come next.

      • Friend of Rob
        05/17/2010 at 3:36 PM

        I pray you’re right. I can’t help but think, though, that the trouple must have a very good idea as to what she is capable of testifying to and Victor would have taken a plea if she really knew enough to support a murder conviction.

        • John Grisham
          05/17/2010 at 3:47 PM

          I still think Sarah gets a lucrative book deal out of all of this once its all over.

          • Anonymous in DC
            05/17/2010 at 4:34 PM

            What is your take on the role of Lisa in all this?

            • Bea
              05/17/2010 at 4:44 PM

              It may be that she’s not W-5 (who will testify that Joe claimed to pull the knife from Robert’s chest) since THAT person had a sexual relationship with Joe. Maybe the interior designer who was at Cosi? My guess is that Lisa will stick to the facts – based on what was written of her – but whether there’s anything inflammatory in there remains to be seen.

              Unless SHE had a sexual relationship with Joe (maybe back in college?). The language suggested something more recent. . .

              • CDinDC
                05/17/2010 at 4:45 PM

                Maybe she’s a dominatrix. LOL

                • interestedobserver
                  05/17/2010 at 5:31 PM

                  W-5 is a male, whose name was identified this morning.

                  • AnnaZed
                    05/17/2010 at 5:48 PM

                    Good God man who is it then! (don’t be a tease)

              • Bill Orange
                05/17/2010 at 5:13 PM

                I’m assuming you’re talking about Lisa Goddard here. I can tell you that I knew Lisa Goddard back in high school and college, and here’s my take on her: She is both a loyal friend and one of the most ethical people I’ve known. She is exactly the kind of person you would call if you’ve just spent the night in a police station after one of your mutual friends ended up dead in your guest bedroom. That being said, there is no way in hell I can see her helping Joe Price–or anyone else, for that matter–cover up a crime, particularly one of this magnitude. That’s just not who she is.

                • Bea
                  05/17/2010 at 5:19 PM

                  Hi Bill,
                  We’ve heard nothing but good things about Lisa Goddard. Did you know Joe as well in college?

                  • Bill Orange
                    05/17/2010 at 5:37 PM

                    Yes. Lisa was a friend of mine in both high school and college. Not a close friend, but a friend. Joe was more of an acquaintance.

                • John Grisham
                  05/17/2010 at 5:21 PM

                  What high school was that again?

                  • Bill Orange
                    05/17/2010 at 5:38 PM

                    The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

  23. rk
    05/17/2010 at 3:25 PM

    Whether or not she was asked to make herself scarce that night will be very telling.

  24. Meto
    05/17/2010 at 3:44 PM

    Editors:

    Thanks for all of these updates. Please tell us more about “the knife was never missing — it was in Seattle, Washington,” if you know. Does this mean that someone for the defense is going to produce a knife matching the set and claim that the set was a gift to Dylan and he left the one critical knife that happens to match the wounds in Seattle? A bit overly-clever, but who knows what might work.

    Are the closings done and at 3:45 is the matter recessed for the day?

    Respectfully,

    Meto

    • CDinDC
      05/17/2010 at 4:02 PM

      Even still, the knife present at the scene doesn’t match the wounds.

      • Bea
        05/17/2010 at 4:20 PM

        It smacks of the defense “finding” the blo-poke that the prosecution thought may have been the murder weapon – didn’t even work in front of a jury in that case. Won’t wow the judge here – the wrong knife is the wrong knife. And having blood WIPED on it matters more than anything – especially if Joe says he pulled it from Robert’s chest (and then, what? wiped blood on it?).

        • Bea
          05/17/2010 at 4:21 PM

          Duh, reference was to Michael Peterson murder trial in Durham, NC.

      • Meto
        05/17/2010 at 4:25 PM

        CD:

        I know of course although the Defense will have an expert to say otherwise, still an interesting development that caught my eye.

        Respectfully,

        Meto

  25. Clio
    05/17/2010 at 4:24 PM

    Why would the missing knife be in Seattle? Did Needham and Di borrow it when they stayed over for Mac’s graduation from St. John’s earlier that summer? And, did they borrow it in order to serve steaks (medium rare and definitely not burned) for Di’s Republican donors to local races? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • John Grisham
      05/17/2010 at 5:07 PM

      I think Grimm was also referring to the missing $500 K in legal fees he still also believes will be found in Seattle.

  26. Clio
    05/17/2010 at 4:31 PM

    What does Mr. Grimm’s designation of the elder Price as an “initiator” mean? In other words, to Bernie, Culuket orchestrated the killing and conspiracy from the sidelines, but he was not the main agent doing the stabbing (Dyl) and cover-up (Vicki)? Thus, he’s technically not guilty? It does not sound, to me, like a ringing endorsement of his client: is this more late morning matinee for Lynn?

    • MotherOfInvention
      05/17/2010 at 4:48 PM

      I think it’s just Bernie’s euphemistic way of trying to deal with Joe’s alpha status in the household.

      • Bea
        05/17/2010 at 4:55 PM

        Defense attorneys often throw a bone like this. Mark Geragos in defending Scott Peterson (for killing his wife and unborn child) called his client a “cad” from the outset – making the point that as an adulterer, he’s a cad, but that doesn’t make him a murderer. Here, Grimm is trying to take the sting out of the prosecutions words by saying ‘sure, he’s a blow-hard, but that’s it”.

        • David
          05/17/2010 at 5:01 PM

          Bea,

          I agree that is the defense’s strategy re: Joe’s personality, but it didn’t work in the Scott Peterson case (he was found guilty), so the question is open as to whether it is a smart strategy to pursue. It seems to show that the defense sees Joe’s personality as a weakness, and they need to address this early and often if they are to succeed.

          David

          • Bea
            05/17/2010 at 5:07 PM

            Good point re Scott. I suspect that the defense is trying the same thing since there’s not much else – when he’s branded the alpha dog, the scriptwriter, the one they turned to when Michael burglarized their home, the defense has to acknowledge the “little things” which undoubtedly will be said by all witnesses: that Joe ran the household.

  27. Bea
    05/17/2010 at 5:09 PM

    Curious to read if there was any difference in Connolly’s opening from the others. Eds?

  28. Daphne
    05/17/2010 at 6:06 PM

    Will there be a transcript published of the opening statements?

    • Bea
      05/17/2010 at 6:14 PM

      Unless the Eds can work out a deal with other interested parties (with deep pockets), I doubt they could afford the daily transcripts, even with our donations, at least not on an ongoing basis.

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