Day 2: Wrap

FINAL: 8:30pm – Testimony from Kathy Wone, RFA, 1507 Neighbors and the EMT

Today’s updates were a little thin due to few and very short breaks called by Judge Lynn Leibovitz.   To make up for the short updates, this will be a thorough readout on the day’s proceedings.

The session kicked off at 9:45am with Kathy Wone back on the witness stand being questioned by AUSA Glenn Kirschner.  Kirschner asked how and when Robert’s overnight at Swann Street came about.  She said it was a “good idea” for him to stay in town considering his full evening – the CLE and his planned visit to the RFA night team.  He had a choice to stay at Price’s house or with a Lisa (not Goddard).  He chose Price.

The Wone’s day began with a gym visit and a Metro ride into town from the Vienna station.  As was customary, he walked her to her office on Connecticut Avenue then kissed her goodbye in front of her office.  Kathy and Robert exchanged a few emails during the day after that. 

Following the CLE, Robert called her around 9:30pm.  She was at home planning an October weekend trip to a B&B in Williamsburg.  On the call Robert “…sounded very happy.”  They said goodnight and “I love you,” with the understanding they’d see each other the next day.

It was the start of a very long and emotional day.

Kirschner asked Kathy about Robert’s habits for overnight trips.  She said he’d pack, then she would “repack” – a running joke between them.  She identified Robert’s gym bag that had been packed by way of a government photo exhibit, #330. 

After three and a half years of marriage, she learned his habits well. At the end of a work day he would hang his suit jacket and pants, while tossing his shirt into a hamper.  He’d hang his tie up and any sweaty gym clothes would be hung on a drying rack.  Kirschner asked if he would toss them on the floor. “No,” she said. 

What would Robert do with a wet towel?  Hang it on a towel rack to dry, not the back of a chair, a place Kirschner may have thought the defense was headed.

Kathy went to sleep around 11:00pm.  The phone rang at 12:04am. It was Joe Price:

“Kathy, I can’t believe I’m calling you about this, but go to GW Hospital.  Robert’s been stabbed.  Robert was stabbed in the back.”

Kathy called a cab, picked up Robert’s parents along the way and headed to DC. She said her mind was racing with thoughts of how and why:  What was Robert doing outside?  Was he surprised from behind? Why was he out at night?  She was consumed with ‘where in the back’ he was stabbed. “Kidney, shoulder blade, spinal cord?  Was he paralyzed?”  She thought of how they could make the Oakton townhouse wheelchair accessible if that was the case.  She thought that she “wouldn’t love him any less if he’s disabled.”

She and Robert’s parents arrived at GW too late.  Robert had already been pronounced dead.

Kirschner turned to her communications with Joe Price.  She got a mid-morning call from him on Thursday, May 3, while he was still at the Anacostia VCB.  The police were done with Price, but Ward and Zaborsky were still being questioned.  He volunteered some information:  Robert arrived around 10:20pm, they hung out at the kitchen island, drank water, Victor already in bed, they retired for the evening and Robert took a shower.  Price told her he went to bed and watched some TV.

Price told her he heard a chime, ignored it thinking it was roommate Sarah Morgan.  Price said he heard a “commotion” and ran downstairs to find Robert.  Did he mention a stab location Kirschner asked?  “No.”  A knife? “No.” 

Asked when she next spoke to Price, Kathy said it was the next day, Friday August 4 in Oakton, while friends and family were paying condolence calls and the funeral was being planned.  She said she did not know Price, Ward and Zaborsky were coming.  She said she took them into the basement for privacy and that she “wanted to comfort them”  She asked how they were doing and holding up.

Did all three talk, Kirschner wondered?  “No, Joe did all the talking.”  Ward and Zaborsky were “very quiet.” Eventually they talked about what happened.  Kathy said Price restated the points from the phone call from the day before but that she asked for a few more details.  She heard of the grill fire, the plumbing problems the housemates struggled with that night.

Kathy asked if they knew of the back door had been locked.  “I don’t think it was,” replied Price.  Minutes later Price’s cell phone rang.  “I got the sense it was a call he didn’t want me to listen to…it sounded like it was a lawyer.”  Price excused himself to take the call leaving Kathy with his housemates.  When Price returned she had more questions: “I was strong enough to ask what happened,” she testified.

“Did you hear any voices, noises? A scream, a fight… That’s what Robert would’ve done.”  She said Price made a stabbing motion, three times, accompanied by an “uh-uh-uh,” perhaps an effort to describe the noises he allegedly heard before descending the stairs.

“I immediately told him to stop.  It felt like opening a book to the most terrifying page, and I needed to slam it shut,” she said.

The next 20 minutes was consumed by testimony on Robert’s habits: would he sleep under the sheets, how he would arrange bed covers, when would he put in his bite guard and wrist guard (for carpal tunnel – that he did NOT pack that night) and whether she could recognize his BlackBerry, wallets, watch, cotton hanky from a government evidence photo.

Next up: the defendants behavior at the funeral.  All three housemates attended…joined by Michael Price. Kathy had never met him before.  Joe introduced them and all Michael said was, “Hello.”  The next time she saw the housemates was at the wedding of “mutual friend” Lida Goddard in October 2007.  After dinner, Zaborsky stopped by her table and said hello. Price told her he had a few of Robert’s things that he wanted to get to her.  He did not elaborate and although the wedding was “emotionally difficult” for her, they went about making plans to get together again for lunch. 

The date would be in November at Speize on L Street, NW.  Price handed Kathy a two inch stack of paper, emails and notes between Joe and Robert.  Price offered his view on the state of the investigation.  “He was angry, bitter and disparaging of the police work.”  He said the MPD did not follow up on the list of 1509 key holders, contractors.  He complained that the police may not have looked at “the crack house across the street,” or the dumpster behind the house.  According to Mrs. Wone, Price made no mention of the October burglary, but he did mention Florida and that Ward moved down there two months earlier and that he “wanted to start a new life.”  The mid-morning break followed at 10:45am.

After the break, Kathy said plans for a follow up meeting did not materialize, but they next saw each other at a December 1, 2007 dinner hosted by Lisa Goddard and her husband.  All three housemates attended but the topic of Robert’s murder was not brought up. Any subsequent communications, Kirschner asked? “No,” was the answer.

At 11:20am, Price counsel Bernie Grimm began his cross.  He went through how they first met, the 13 Club work and the extent of their long friendship. Grimm questioned her about Robert’s birthday party the housemates hosted, the Equality Virginia dinner they all attended.   Grimm accompanied his questions with defense photo exhibits, of happier days.  He asked if Robert had other gay friends. “Yes,” she replied.

He asked her to describe Price’s tone on the August 2 phone call. “I remeber his words were deliberate,” she said, then added, “…I thought during the call he also was in shock.”  Did she misunderstand Price?  Did he say, “stabbed in the bed,” not back?  No, she told Grimm.  Regarding the Thursday phone call from Price to Kathy, she related how Price mentioned how they were treated by the MPD during questioning.  “Joe was upset the way the police were treating them because they were gay.”

Were the housemates distressed and crying at the condolence visit?  Yes.  Grimm asked how long the Oakton commute was; a little over an hour we were told, door-to-door.  Did Robert shower at night during hot weather? “Rarely,” she said.  He asked about the defendants’ behavior at the funeral.  “They looked shell-shocked,” she answered.” How often did she visit 1509 Swann?  Did she ever go in and out through the back door? Did she ever attend a BBQ there?  Did Robert go to Roanoke to visit Price’s parents?

One of his final questions was about the midnight call she first got from Price after the murder, apparently she did not answer the phone the first time but got it on the second.

At 12:15pm Ward counsel David Schertler began his cross. More of the same: folding clothes, what he’d do with a wet towel, the contents of his go-kit, what he would wear to bed, if he slept under a comforter of top sheet, and finally, the mouth guard.  Demeanor at the Friday condolence call, were the housemates grieving?  “That’s how it appeared to me,” she said.

At 12:45 Zaborsky counsel Thomas Connolly asked the briefest of questions, all focused solely on his client, not the others. “When Victor paid the sick call in Oakton, did he cause you comfort and joy?”  Yes.  “Do you agree that Victor is a naturally quiet person?”  Again, yes was the response.

Judge Leibovitz then had a few questions of her own: comforter, top sheet, did he sleep on top of them or pull them down? Did he read or watch TV in bed?

Kirschner was next with redirect.  He wanted Kathy to more clearly characterize Robert’s relationship with Price, perhaps to pushback on Grimm’s rosy scenario of BFFs.  Could she “quantify” the friendship. “I was surprised to learn of certain things.”  Maybe she didn’t know Joe that well after all. 

And back to the birthday party.  How did Price ‘orchestrate’ the affair?  Who paid?  Kathy made it sound like she picked up the full tab.  Who toasted Robert? Joe alone, neither Kathy or Robert’s brother Andrew did.

UPDATE:

The afternoon session got underway at 2:00pm with Kenny Swift, night shift supervisor at Radio Free Asia. Swift recounted the details of Robert’s visit there on the night of August 2.  He remembered quite a few details of the visit because they didn’t see many at night, and even fewer of Robert’s position. 

AUSA.Patrick Martin asked Swift how Robert was dressed. “Like a lawyer, white shirt and tie,” was his response.  Courtroom laughter followed. He said Robert was “very interested in what we were doing,” and that he recalls the visit lasted until about 10:30pm.

Grimm and Schertler’s cross was minimal, Connolly took a pass.

Next up at 2:15 was W-3, the 1507 Swann Street neighbor who reported hearing a scream that night.  Mr. William Thomas took the stand and relayed the evening’s events to AUSA Rachel Carson Leiber.  His wife Claudia later backed up his version of the night.  Mr. Thomas went to bed around 10:30 but woke up sometimes after 11:00pm to use the bathroom.  He remembered hearing the scream when WJLA’s Maureen Bunyan was anchoring the evening news.  While in the second floor hallway, he heard her voice from the TV on the first floor.  Mrs. Thomas was watching Bunyan in the kitchen before doing the dishes.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas both survived pointed cross by Connolly, Grimm and Schertler. Both witnesses were asked if they reviewed their September 2006 grand jury testimony to refresh their possibly faulty memories.  Both admitted they did.  Both still stuck to their stories, adamant that the scream occurred while Bunyan was on the air. We also learned something about the glacial pace that the MPD conducts murder investigations.  These next door neighbors were not interviewed by detectives until nearly three weeks after the murder.  That lapse, too, as possible room for error or hazy recollections, was pointed out by defense counsel.

After a mid-afternoon break, things got back underway at 3:45pm.  Zaborsky’s 9-1-1 call was played in its entirety, including several previously unreleased minutes from the tape, which mostly sounded like Zaborsky crying and EMT chaos in the background. The sound of first responder footsteps going up the house’s wooden staircase to the second floor were pronounced.  This recording may be the US Secret Service enhancement.

Zaborsky sat motionless and emotionless during most of the call’s playback, but was seen wiping tears away from his eyes at the conclusion, the extra minute or two of nothing but radio static and sobbing.

Another short break followed as the model of 1509 Swann was brought in.  The FBI-made model was not to scale according to Grimm’s objection, seemingly prompted by his client Price.

EMT Jeff Baker, first to arrive at 1509, took the stand. He relayed his 14 years of experience answering calls in DC, minor and traumatic. He’s seen several hundred violent crime scenes including many stabbings.  He described the typical atmosphere he sees as “chaotic.”  He arrived at 1509, saw Zaborsky on a phone at the stoop and proceeded upstairs with a Reeves stretcher. He says he saw the unresponsive Ward even before getting to the top of the stairs.  In the guestroom he observed Price sitting on the bed with his back to him, a leg tucked up underneath.

Baker volunteered, “…hair stood up on the back of my neck.”  A moment later, the entire defense table seemed to erupt with an objection, as if they’ve been waiting years for that moment.  Sustained.  Leibovitz cautioned Kirschner to better manage his witness and to stick to the observations, not feelings.  “I’ll strike the last sentence and instruct myself not to consider it,” she said.

Baker saw Price and “spotted him up,” short hand to determine if he was a threat or not. Asked if he saw any blood on Price’s hand, Baker replied “no.”  Moments later Baker attended to Robert.  The stab wounds were visible, but he didn’t see any blood on his chest, abdomen or anywhere in the room.  Robert’s vitals were flat, no signs of life. As an EMT he could not pronounce death, just presume it.  Robert appeared dead to Baker.

Kirschner asked Baker about life saving measures and was told that in the ambulance on the way to GW, a firefighter was compressing Robert’s chest while his EMT colleague was hooking up an IV.  It went into the bend of the elbow while Baker worked Robert’s airway.  It was en route to GW that Baker noticed the striations on Robert’s abdomen.  “It looked like it was wiped down,” and that the imprint of a towel’s texture was visible. “It looked like a light film,”… moist with linear marks.

Kirschner showed Baker a large blow up of an autopsy photo, government exhibit #381, and it was briefly visible to the audience. Members of the Wone family were crying even before that. Baker was asked about other needle puncture marks and said he was not authorized to insert needles into a patient’s chest.  He also said there would’ve been no reason for any resuscitative needles in Robert’s feet or ankles.  While hooked up to monitors in the ambulance, Baker said Robert was ‘P.E.A’, meaning Pulseless Electrical Activity.

Kirchner hauled out another government exhibit photo to show Baker, this one of the sofa bed Robert was found on.  Anyone in the audience who got a quick glance saw what looked to be clean sheets and only two crimson spots, maybe four to five inches across. 

To wrap the session Kirschner next had Baker guide him through the route and steps he took when arriving at 1509, illustrating it with the model.  Judge Leibovitz descended the bench to take a closer look and joined them in her courtroom’s well. The session wrapped a few minutes later.

Court comes back into session on Thursday at 9:45am.

139 comments for “Day 2: Wrap

  1. Bea
    05/18/2010 at 7:45 PM

    Thanks, Guys! Was Kathy Wone asked whether she received two text messages from Robert (apparently not since weren’t sent)? Also, whether he’d be likely to text her after 11 (i.e. what would be the ordinary bedtime cut-off)?

    I hate to ask so many questions as I assume some of this will be answered in the next post, but can you describe the defendants – one story made it sound like Dylan was practically avoiding Joe/Victor.

    • Doug
      05/18/2010 at 8:02 PM

      Bea: new update coming soon. Doug, co-editor

    • Bob
      05/18/2010 at 8:34 PM

      I was not following this case until recently. I just want to thank the co-editors for providing this web site.

      What I want is simply to see that justice is done. I don’t think that I am a religious fanatic, but I will quote Deuteronomy 5:17 and Deuteronomy 5:20.

      Thank you for following this murder and injustice. Justice is not always done, but it should always be done.

    • Nelly
      05/19/2010 at 12:56 AM

      No, she was not asked those questions, but she was asked what was the last communication she had with him.

  2. Anonymous Friend
    05/18/2010 at 7:46 PM

    I feel so selfish, but thank you for all of your efforts to bring the courtroom to those of us who can’t attend. I can’t find words.

  3. Leonard
    05/18/2010 at 7:50 PM

    Badshoes

    If Robert had been over-sedated and pehaps on the verge of cardiac arrest his blood pressure would have been so low that you wouldn’t get the usual pumping flow and spatter. Maybe the murderer thought he killed him with an overdose and used the stabbing as a coverup? No marks would have led to much more extensive testing for possible drugs. Drugging / rape goes bad, guy OD’s and can’t be revived. What to do? Stab him and say an intruder did it.

    • plumskiter
      05/18/2010 at 8:12 PM

      i think this is a very plausible theory, leonard.

  4. superstadtkind
    05/18/2010 at 7:53 PM

    Regarding RW and his wife’s rituals when he was away, did this happen often? Often enough that there was, indeed, a ritual?

    • Doug
      05/18/2010 at 8:01 PM

      StadKind: We can say that this was the first time Robert stayed overnight at Joe & Victor’s house; a stay-over that was planned in advance.
      -Doug, co-editor

  5. CC Biggs
    05/18/2010 at 8:04 PM

    Why would Michael Price attend the funeral? He didn’t even know Robert (and certainly didn’t know Kathy), right? It makes no sense.

    • Bea
      05/18/2010 at 8:07 PM

      Maybe Joe was keeping an eye on him? It is curious at best.

    • plumskiter
      05/18/2010 at 8:13 PM

      i think michael price’s attendance at the funeral is bizarre and creepy.

      • Clio
        05/18/2010 at 8:56 PM

        And, it may betray a tad bit of either guilt and/or contempt on the part of both the Brothers Price.

    • ES
      05/19/2010 at 11:24 AM

      Huh. If one of my sibling’s closest friends died, I would attend the funeral whether I knew them or not to be there for my sibling.

  6. superstadtkind
    05/18/2010 at 8:15 PM

    Doug, I guess what I’m saying is that you can compare regular nights to travel nights in general, not just night at JP’s, which only happened once.

    • Doug
      05/18/2010 at 10:24 PM

      ssk: good point…as the prosecution took pains to point out today, Robert was a fastidious person. Meaning, as Kathy discussed, Robert was a person who had specific habits, particularly those focused on order and cleanliness.
      -doug, co-editor

  7. egc
    05/18/2010 at 8:19 PM

    What were the answers to all those questions above in the update? Sleep on covers, read watch tv in bed, who paid for the party etc.

    • Nelly
      05/19/2010 at 12:58 AM

      Usually, he would pull down the comforter and sleep under the top bed sheet, like any normal person would. She said he did not watch TV in bed. Don’t remember anything being said about paying for the party.

  8. Vandy
    05/18/2010 at 8:39 PM

    Is the May 3 (2006) date correct above…?

    • Nelly
      05/19/2010 at 1:00 AM

      That is a typo. It should be AUGUST 3rd.

  9. cjh78
    05/18/2010 at 8:56 PM

    Does anyone know if the prosecution or defense plan on calling Sarah Morgan or Michael Price to the stand?

    • Bea
      05/18/2010 at 9:00 PM

      In the opening statement, there was a claim from the prosecution that Sarah Morgan would be testifying. No mention of Michael Price, but that would be an excellent “get”.

      We can always hope. . .

      There’s an old saying in the legal world that you never ask a question of someone testifying that you don’t know the answer to, but with Michael Price I am guessing that sometimes not even Michael Price knows how he’ll answer (if they catch up with him when he’s on a drug cycle).

      • cjh78
        05/18/2010 at 10:44 PM

        Thank you for creating and updating this website. As a gay man in DC, I must say that I am ashamed and embarrassed of the selfish and careless lifestyles of the three defendants. Their actions give ammunition to opponents of the GLBT community and provides validation to many of the negative stereotypes attached to gay men.

        With this website, you guys have given a voice to Robert Wone and his family, and in doing so, helped to negate the harmful impact that the defendants have had on the gay community.

        My thoughts are with the Wone family, as well as the countless others who have been and continue to be affected by this senseless murder.

        • 05/19/2010 at 12:53 PM

          I agree with you 100%. My initial reaction after learning this case was outrage towards the accused and suspicion towards gay men in general. After visiting this website, I must say that it reminded me of the fact that there are good and bad members in any society and subculture. I am grateful for all those (including members of the GLBT community) who worked so hard to update this website and to help find justice for the Wone family.

  10. Clio
    05/18/2010 at 9:06 PM

    Our own Mona Lisa in the news again? The former Ms. Goddard acting as either a “conciliator” of friends caught up in tragedy, or as an “intermediary” from Team Price carrying a not-so-subtle message? It IS no wonder that Nancy Grace did not want to touch this case! I still find it odd that other “journalists” have not picked up on the Lisa angle: would that emphasis be a little too close to home?

    • Bea
      05/18/2010 at 9:16 PM

      Sounds like she was trying to smooth things out for Joe & Co. by having them over to dinner with Kathy Wone. Wonder if Kathy knew in advance that they would be there. I suspect Lisa just can’t fathom that her friend Joe could have had anything to do with Robert’s murder (or cover up) and that her journalistic objectivity has simply escaped her. Too bad.

      • AnnaZed
        05/18/2010 at 11:27 PM

        Let’s say that her friendar is working ok in that regard, that Joe did not himself murder Robert. That sort of brings us back around to little Dyl doesn’t it?

        • Anonymous in DC
          05/18/2010 at 11:43 PM

          I actually am wondering now if it was Michael and Joe. I am very curious about his demeanor at the service.

    • Bill Orange
      05/18/2010 at 11:17 PM

      Again, I’m going to defend Lisa Goddard on this point. I know that you think that she’s running around behind the scenes spiking news stories, but I just don’t see that happening. It’s just not who she is. Her actions fit with someone who’s trying to respect the memory of a friend–she would’ve invited Robert and Kathy as a couple if Robert were still alive, and the logical thing for her to do now is to invite Kathy, even though Robert is gone.

      As for carrying not-so-subtle messages, I can’t see her doing that, either. It’s not who she is.

      As for the lack of coverage by Nancy Grace, I would assume that her lack of interest has more to do with this story’s lack of either children or heterosexual white people than with anything Lisa Goddard is doing.

      • AnnaZed
        05/18/2010 at 11:25 PM

        I think that you are probably right about this. I don’t see a huge conspiracy here.

  11. Anonymous friend of Robert
    05/18/2010 at 9:18 PM

    Thank you again for covering the trial for those of us who cannot attend. My heart just broke over your description of the family crying – yet again.

  12. AnnaZed
    05/18/2010 at 9:18 PM

    “…She said Price made a stabbing motion, three times, accompanied by an “uh-uh-uh,” perhaps an effort to describe the noises he allegedly heard before descending the stairs. “I immediately told him to stop.”

    I know that I am repeating myself, but I didn’t know about the stabbing motions (what!!!) when I posted about this earlier. This is just flat out unbelievable to me, that anyone could do or say such a thing to Robert’s newly widowed wife, I’m flabbergasted.

    “…at the funeral. All three housemates attended…joined by Michael Price. Kathy had never met him before. Joe introduced them and all Michael said was, “Hello.”

    What the hell! Did Michael even know Robert? Were they just moving as a pack during those days and weeks following Robert’s murder?

    Truely, the mind reels at the coal-fired insensitivity if nothing else.

    • 05/19/2010 at 1:03 PM

      Exactly what I was thinking, too. How cruel was it for Price to imitate the stabbing motion in front of Kathy. I can’t help but wonder if Price has always been jealous of Kathy, if Robert had always been the secret “love interest” that Price could not have because Robert was straight. Just a guess.

  13. Clio
    05/18/2010 at 9:25 PM

    Culuket’s pantomime of his own possible actions before Kathy, complete with sound effects, seems to me to be especially dastardly. Was does Judge Moon think of his former clerk today, after the surfacing of that horrible moment, pray tell?

    BTW, who knew that Joe’s parents lived in Roanoke! For their sake, I do wonder if the Shenandoah Valley’s papers are covering this case: let’s hope!

    • Clio
      05/18/2010 at 9:31 PM

      Oops, that question above should read: What does Judge Moon think …? Delete “was”, and substitute “what”.

  14. AnnaZed
    05/18/2010 at 9:33 PM

    Reminded of these words from Victor when reading them quoted in the Wsahington Post coverage: http://tinyurl.com/WashingtonPostAlexander

    “…I don’t know who stabbed him. We don’t know how they got in. The person has one of our knives,” Zaborsky said….”

    How at that point, if as he says he was just roused from bed, would he have any idea that this “intruder” has one of their knives, particularly given that a knife was sitting right there next to Robert? If he hadn’t been downstairs how would he know that they hadn’t broken the back door or front door or a window or come up somehow from Sarah’s apartment? Somebody really messed up the script right out of the gate there.

    • Bea
      05/18/2010 at 9:38 PM

      Exactly, AZ. I was surprised to read that the 911 tape (likely enhanced) has Victor telling EMTS/COPS that the back door had been left unlocked. And he knows this how? Yet during interrogations the three are all adamant that once the cops escorted them all downstairs that Dylan was the one who noticed that the back door was unlocked. In looking at the photos of the house, I still don’t see how sitting on the sofa he could tell that, but the time travel he managed to whisper in Victor’s ear during the 911 call is quite the feat.

  15. CDinDC
    05/18/2010 at 9:43 PM

    How on earth could Joe tell if the model was to scale? That is so bizarre.

  16. CDinDC
    05/18/2010 at 9:44 PM

    I love the Judge’s comment: “I’ll strike the last sentence and instruct myself not to consider it”

    Self…

    • AnnaZed
      05/18/2010 at 9:45 PM

      I know, you gotta love that; note to self …

  17. Clio
    05/18/2010 at 9:47 PM

    Why would Kathy pay for the birthday party in full, an event which was hosted by Culuket at Swann? That sounds pretty cheap to me!

  18. Clio
    05/18/2010 at 10:01 PM

    In what year did the Wones attend Equality Virginia’s Commonwealth Dinner in Richmond? Was it in 2005, when Joe seemed to be hogging the stage? If they did attend that particular dinner, then they must have ran into Dyl, a prime organizer of the event.

  19. CDinDC
    05/18/2010 at 10:08 PM

    Wasn’t it said that Ward did not sit with Price and Zaborsky? if so, why are the court sketches showing Ward seated with P and Z?

    Eds, how was the seating arrangement today?

    • Bea
      05/18/2010 at 11:06 PM

      CD, I’m very curious about this too. One article was adamant that Ward was appearing to distance himself from Price/Zaborsky (though the two of them were cozy) and that he didn’t sit with them – but the sketches appear contrary. Isn’t the shorter-haired blonde guy supposed to be Dylan? I can recognize Joe’s jowly appearance but the thin-to-medium-sized guys are harder to distinguish.

      Would love to hear more about demeanor, courtroom tone. I realize you guys are likely beat AND have to do this all over again for the foreseeable future.

      • Bert
        05/19/2010 at 11:47 AM

        Simply put, the sketch artist is not drawing to scale nor perspective. He/she is just trying to get faces as a portrayal, not an accurate snapshot.

    • Nelly
      05/19/2010 at 1:10 AM

      Not true. Most of the time, Z & W were sitting together, with a woman to Ward’s right, followed by Price on the far right. At least once, Price leaned over to say something to Ward.

  20. James
    05/18/2010 at 11:30 PM

    Has anyone discussed theories about what was actually intended for that night? Clearly a plan of some sort went awry or the defendants’ stories would have been more buttoned up and ironed out further in advance… and if the plan all along was to drug then assault RW, did they believe it could have transpired without any recollection from the victim? and if Victor’s early homecoming was unforeseen, did they move forward with Plan A? Just looking for one reasonable theory of a) what was supposed to happen and b) what went so terribly wrong?

  21. srb
    05/18/2010 at 11:32 PM

    Kathy’s testimony that Price said on the phone that Robert had been stabbed “in the back” is intriguing. It’s hard to understand how he could have gotten such a fundamental detail wrong. Could it be possible that when he said “in the back,” he wasn’t referring to a part of the body but a location, essentially giving her the same account that is reflected in the female detective’s (Durham?) notes, i.e., that he found Robert bleeding in the back of the house, at the patio door?

    • AnnaZed
      05/18/2010 at 11:42 PM

      Well noticed, it could be that.

    • CDinDC
      05/18/2010 at 11:57 PM

      Good point, srb. Very good point!

    • Bea
      05/19/2010 at 12:21 AM

      Very good eye, srb! There may have been additional innuendo that led Kathy Wone to think Robert had been walking around outside, as she testified to! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Joe had messed up his story a couple of times, especially if he was stoned out of his mind. Maybe that accounts for why his statement was much worse (in reading, anyway) than Victor’s or Dylan’s. Someone else wondered tonight if it wasn’t Joe and Michael – there was some reason why I’d speculated that Joe met up with Michael right after work to do/get drugs (and then Michael missed class in the early evening).

  22. Schwanendreher
    05/18/2010 at 11:47 PM

    Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are wonderful people. And God bless them for doing their civic duty with this terrible case, which cannot have been easy. Their words should be accepted as the gold standard.

    • Bea
      05/19/2010 at 12:17 AM

      Agree – am very glad they were as clear as they seemed to have been.

  23. AnnaZed
    05/18/2010 at 11:49 PM

    I am wondering how things are going at Auntie’s house these days. With things certainly hotting up quickly at Mountrie and various and sundry flimsy lies and blatant fabrications already withering quickly in the kliegs (surely the ridiculous attempts to insert an awkward “version” of events by Victor from facts that he could not possibly know if his own statements are even partially true can not have escaped Judge Leibovitz) I wonder if any of the men are starting to think that they might actually prefer prison to another day in each other’s company.

    • Bea
      05/19/2010 at 12:15 AM

      Wonder, too, if Dylan has moved into a hotel with his parents – I assume they are in court. I guess I assumed, too, that they were the reason that Dylan was ignoring Joe/Victor: Daddy told him to.

      • Nelly
        05/19/2010 at 1:13 AM

        Unless he now looks drastically different from his professional website picture, Needham’s not there. He’s gotta keep working in Tacoma to pay da bills, bills, bills.

  24. emg
    05/19/2010 at 12:09 AM

    I think Joe saw what happened. He slipped up when he made stabbing motions while mimicing noises he heard. Why did he assume they were concurrent events unless, at the very least, he was present?

    • Craig
      05/19/2010 at 12:23 AM

      I double checked my notes: “stabbing motion 3x.. uh-uh-uh.”

      Kim from morning thread, re: Kathy Wone’s pecuniary interests, maybe so on paper, but I think that the $20M is the last thing on her mind right now.

      Clio: I think it was the 2005 EVA dinner. We’ve seen a pal’s photo album that had pictures of everyone, Sarah Morgan too.

      • Nora
        05/19/2010 at 8:02 AM

        Craig – from the photo of Ms. Morgan, could you tell if she truly was “too heavy” to ascend a short flight of stairs?

        For someone incapacitated by her size, she did an awful lot of rushing around after hours. Did she have a sedan service on call (w/ wheelchair jack) to transport her back and forth between Swann and her beloved bachelor friends?

        Joe’s gratuitous barb about her girth has always stuck in my craw. What was he trying to accomplish w/ that weird aside? That she knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about the make-up of the gentlemen’s quarters? Lest she be questioned about things being out of place there?

        Surely her weight wasn’t the first “alibi” that leapt to Joe’s mind to exonerate her of Robert’s stabbing.

        Nothing else makes sense to me.

        • cinnamon
          05/19/2010 at 8:09 AM

          What always stuck me as odd about Joe saying that she was too heavy to go up the stairs is that she would have had to go up and down stairs to get to her basement apartment.

          • AnnaZed
            05/19/2010 at 10:21 AM

            Yes, in addition to being a prime example of Joe’s compulsion to gratuitously insult anyone foolish enough to call himself (or herself) his friend it makes absolutely no sense given that she rented a basement apartment accessible only by stairs.

        • Casual Observer
          05/19/2010 at 11:07 AM

          Sarah is certainly able to climb stairs. Any implication that she can’t or couldn’t do so is ridiculous.

      • Daphne
        05/19/2010 at 8:33 AM

        Also, it’s unlikely there’s any money to be had. Price sold the Swann St residence and bought a house in FL which has an unlimited homestead exemption. That means that no party can obtain any of the value of the home. Very smart move on JP’s part.

    • Bea
      05/19/2010 at 12:23 AM

      Exactly – and why did he not tell the cops this info? Because he needed that account to be more vague. But it freaked him out to know that the cops had questioned Kathy and he then asked Jason Torchinsky to get Kathy to waive the attorney-client privilege so he could know what the cops had asked and what she had answered.

      I think Joe really dug himself in. Wonder if he can’t even see the truth any more.

      • AnnaZed
        05/19/2010 at 12:25 AM

        Oh man, he’s dug himself in so deep he probably can’t even see daylight and it’s just days into the proceedings.

        • Clio
          05/19/2010 at 6:10 AM

          Thanks, Craig. Would that pal be willing to donate copies of the relevant photos from that event to a local museum or archives? They do seem important for the historical, if not legal, record.

    • DonnaH
      05/19/2010 at 1:37 AM

      I believe it’s because he was making up the event out of whole cloth. The descriptions of the wounds indicated there was no struggling when they were inflicted, hence that Robert was already somehow incapacitated, and would not have been making any noises.

  25. wolftownjeff
    05/19/2010 at 6:01 AM

    Someone explain the semen.
    Wone could have been bi-sexual, he would not be the first married man to be so.

    • Daphne
      05/19/2010 at 8:40 AM

      As I understand it, the semen was RW’s and was in or around his anus.

      • NoName
        05/19/2010 at 9:33 AM

        This is getting pretty graphic, but whoever assualted RW may have used his (RW’s) own semen as lubricant. Remember, Ward had numerous sex toys in his room.

    • Hoya Loya
      05/19/2010 at 10:10 AM

      Sexual assault has been dropped from this trial by the prosecution. The defense does not seem to be touching the issue of Robert’s sexuality, probably because there is no “there” there. Even the defendants inisist that he was exclusively straight.

      We haven’t shied away from the issue here though — for an extended analysis and discussion see the “Consenting Adults” post.

      • Fascinating
        05/19/2010 at 12:08 PM

        The thing about the sexual assault — at least the way I understand it — is that it is not 100% conclusive that Wone was assaulted. The semen in the anus could have been from after he died (he “voided” and it dripped … sorry to be graphic).

        I always found the sexual assault aspect of the trial troubling.

        I’ve decided to stop thinking about it — it’s not going to be part of the trial. And unless someone confesses EVERYTHING that happened that night, we’ll never really know.

  26. HKG
    05/19/2010 at 7:51 AM

    Really heartbreaking to read of the Wone family’s reactions to the testimony today, having to relive parts of the murder. And even more horrifying, as AZ has reacted, to hear of Price relating the stabbing motions to KW.

    Been reading this site religiously from all over the world since the June 2009 WP articles, and been meaning for some time to comment and thank the editors for their amazing coverage. So, as many others have said before, thank you Editors for your herculean efforts. Hard to think of a more fitting and lasting gift than the pursuit of justice to celebrate and give memory to a life well lived.

    Thanks also to the many active posters here, like AZ and CDinDC, and to rk’s witty comments making me laugh every now and then on such a serious subject. And special thanks and kudos to Bea who in addition to explaining the legal minutiae for laypeople like myself, has always seemed to ask the questions i’d want to ask, and to answer the questions in minute detail and with weighty substance that i haven’t even thought to ask yet.

    I’m also so amazed at how open you have kept these comments, allowing so many by detractors and naysayers with empty jibes, veiled threats, and rarely theories of their own — a very direct challenge to the delicate balance of civility that you have been able to maintain.

    Please do let us know where we can contribute to share in the costs. And again, Bravo!

    • BadShoes
      05/19/2010 at 9:46 AM

      Mrs. Wone’s ‘stabbing motions’ story was certainly odd. We will never know what Mr. Price was thinking. However, his behavior is consistent with some of the curious elements in his statement to the police.

      –Joe Price told the police that there was “blood everywhere.” (this was likely true–at one time).

      –Joe Price repeatedly provided a consistent and vivid account (complete with mimicry and now pantomime) of what a murder sounds like. (Mr. Zaborsky never seemed quite sure exactly what he heard, and Mr. Ward said he heard nothing.)

      –Joe Price, in declining to confess, called the murder of Robert Wone “a screw up.”

      –Joe Price, even when prompted repeatedly, didn’t immediately deny that he killed Robert Wone. (He said it was unthinkable. He said he had no motive. He said he was stupid to think the police wouldn’t suspect him. Eventually, towards the end of the first recorded interview, he did make a simple declaration).

      Its like bits of confession just leak out.

      Robert Wone only died once and is at peace. But, if one were present, perhaps Robert Wone is murdered anew every night.

      • Lyn
        05/19/2010 at 12:20 PM

        Interesting observations. It’s amazing how the subconscious affects our conscious behavior/statements.

        • CDinDC
          05/19/2010 at 12:58 PM

          It’s sort of like the “kernels of truth” we speak of here at WMRW. In order to lie, you have to know the truth, and bits of that truth comes out in the story that is woven around the actual event. Maybe Joe’s interview was the same.

  27. newbie
    05/19/2010 at 8:23 AM

    Very reluctant to post. But I will risk it. And it is a risk, in spite of all the bluster regarding issues of libel. The thing about that is…being dragged into court is expensive. You can drag someone into court and keep them there for years knowing full well that your case is BS.

    Websters: Lible
    1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
    2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel.
    Yeah, yeah…judges don’t use Websters. Just sayin.

    So, my opinion regarding the defendants is unfavorable and exposes them to public contempt….but it is not unjustifiable. In light of all that has been published and written about this case, I feel that the defendants obstructed justice and conspired. Period. I think that one of those three, alone or in combination…did more than that. I guess you can come to another conclusion…but the mental gymnastics that are required to get there are beyond me. And, I think beyond any reasonable, objective person. In spite of the terrible job done by the DC cops, the judge will find them guilty and sentence them to lengthy prison terms.

    Kathy’s dinner with Joe Price in fall of 2007. Why? How? How do you sit across the table from him?

    The semen? I’d like someone to explain that too. I can imagine a number of scenarios. All of them disturbing.

  28. Lee
    05/19/2010 at 8:27 AM

    Bea said that Joe “asked Jason Torchinsky to get Kathy to waive the attorney-client privilege so he could know what the cops had asked and what she had answered.” That sounds intriguing. Where can I read more about that?

    • NoName
      05/19/2010 at 9:30 AM

      I don’t understand this question. There is no attorney/client privilege in what anyone tells the police, even with an attorney present. The privilege is only in what someone tells their counsel in private/confidence. If ANYONE else is present, it is not considered priveleged communication.

      This is the first I’ve seen of this topic. Can you elaborate?

      • Bill Orange
        05/19/2010 at 10:02 AM

        I think the issue is/was that Torchinsky was with Kathy Wone when she was initially interviewed by the police, and Joe Price wanted Torchinsky to tell him exactly what Kathy Wone said. So the conversation was privileged in the sense that Kathy Wone would have to give consent to Torchinsky for him to discuss it with Price, but not in the sense that anything she said would be inadmissible in court.

        • NoName
          05/19/2010 at 10:39 AM

          Thanks, got it.

    • Just Another Friend
      05/19/2010 at 9:42 AM

      It was in the Washingtonian article. More discussion here:
      http://whomurderedrobertwone.com/2010/04/27/deconstructing-harry/

  29. Bill Orange
    05/19/2010 at 8:32 AM

    I have to admit that I hadn’t put much stock in the scream that the neighbor heard. I had pretty much assumed that the defense would be able to throw all kinds of doubt on this–Could it have come from people walking by outside? Could it have been a cat in the yard? Could it have been someone’s television?

    But it sounds like the witnesses were VERY specific, and the defense really wasn’t able to shake their testimony. So now the defense has a BIG problem. As pretty much everyone here has pointed out in the past, there’s now a big hole in the timeline. The 911 call is timestamped. You can argue that the timestamp on the 911 system was off, but the tape doesn’t have gaps, and the EMTs likely logged a lot of their times, as did the police.

    If I were the judge, I don’t think I’d be willing to convict on this alone, but Kim has pointed out that there’s little if any DIRECT (as opposed to circumstantial) evidence of obstruction. I think a delay in calling 911 would be pretty strong direct evidence (although the lawyers might argue that this is still technically circumstantial) of guilt.

    • David
      05/19/2010 at 10:11 AM

      Bill,

      I agree; it looks like the defense didn’t make the dent they needed to in order to discredit the Thomas statement.

      I am also very curious about how it was reported else where that Thomas said:

      In other testimony Tuesday, the housemates’ neighbor, William Thomas, testified that he was awakened and heard a “desperation scream” sometime between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The timing is significant because it would have happened at least 19 minutes before Zaborsky called emergency crews. Thomas said he was sure of the timing because he could hear Channel 7 news anchor Maureen Bunyan announcing the 11 o’clock news.

      The word I find important here is “announcing.” If Maureen Bunyan was announcing the news, this means it could have been even earlier than 11:00 pm, as part of their teaser which happens before the 11:00 o’clock show. If this was the case, it would be more consistent with EMTs observations that the body appeared to be dead more than an hour.

      I am double checking with our editor who was there if this was the exact wording that Thomas used to timestamp the scream.

      David, co-editor

      • Bill Orange
        05/19/2010 at 10:18 AM

        David,

        Did Claudia Thomas testify that she heard the scream, too, or did she just confirm that she was downstairs watching the news from 11 to 11:35?

  30. NeighborhoodWatch
    05/19/2010 at 8:46 AM

    From what I’ve read on this web site, several things are pretty clear:
    1. Dylan was involved in Robert Wone’s murder.
    2. Joe was clearly the ring leader for the cover up and may have been involved in the murder.
    3. Victor seems to have become involved in the cover up after it was underway.

    I think that Joe has reassured Victor that they will all get off scott free. When things start looking bad, I hope Victor will break from the other two and tell what he knows.

    If Joe doesn’t end up doing some serious time for this crime, I guess we can only hope that he has some sports memorabilia that he will try to recover in some sleazy Las Vegas setting.

  31. Lyn
    05/19/2010 at 9:28 AM

    From today’s Washington Post: “No towel was found on Wone’s chest, and Baker said he saw no blood on Price’s hands.”

    Price and Zaborsky both told authorities that Price was holding a towel to Wone’s stab wounds. They also said Wone was bleeding a lot. We already know that the towel had hardly any blood on it (just enough to wipe some blood on the non-murder-weapon).

    Certain Price defenders then claimed that maybe a blood-soaked towel did exist but that it was carted off by EMTs on route to the hospital. Well, now we have direct testimony that there was no blood-soaked towel to begin with.

    And since Price claimed there was a lot of blood and that he was holding a towel (two towels, actually) to Wone’s wounds, don’t you think there would be blood on Price’s hands? Now we have eye witness testimony that his hands were blood-free.

    As all these small but important details continue to emerge, it’s looking more and more clear to me that there is very strong evidence that the trouple’s stories are fabricated (ok, i’ll admit it was already abundantly clear to me). There is only one reason you’d fabricate a story in this situation.

  32. dcbill
    05/19/2010 at 9:54 AM

    Why are they taking a day off? Or was any reason given?

    • Bob
      05/19/2010 at 11:15 AM

      I would also like to know why there is a day off, but there are various possible reasons, in particular involving the judge. Maybe she had always had the day scheduled for personal business, or maybe she is handling post-trial matters for the previous felony cases that she has tried since January, such as sentencing or motions for new trials. (I don’t think it would involve the lawyers, since each of them has associates who could cover the case.)

  33. cjh78
    05/19/2010 at 10:00 AM

    Perhaps it’s just me, but Victor seemed to become overly dramatic and hysterical when EMT arrived. In addition, I found it odd that he would continue to cry on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator in front of the house after the EMT entered the home. One would think he would want to guide them to Robert’s body and avoid being alone outside with the possibility of the “intruder” attacking him.

    On a side, how embarrassing must have it been for Victor when the operator continued to refer to him as a female? I’d have to correct her regardless of what was going on.

    • Bill Orange
      05/19/2010 at 10:15 AM

      I think the emotion was genuine, regardless of his innocence or guilt. Many people here think that he didn’t get involved with any of this until he stumbled upon Joe and Dylan during the clean-up, which would fit with him being hysterical at the time of the 911 call.

      The fact that he stayed outside doesn’t seem that odd to me. Someone was just stabbed to death in his guest bedroom–I suspect one of the places he would have felt safe is by the ambulance with all of the flashing lights.

      • dcbill
        05/19/2010 at 10:23 AM

        Is the transcript of Zaborsky’s MPD interview somewhere on this site? I am amazed that the detectives didn’t lean on him more in the hopes that he would tell what he knows. Arresting Dylan Ward in Florida and expecting him to get spooked and cofess always seemed a little flawed to me. Of course, maybe they figured Zaborsky would never roll over on Price.

        • interested observer
          05/19/2010 at 10:58 AM

          Is there any information available concerning police follow-up on the use of injected paralytic drugs in the murder? While I know that only Ecstasy was found in the house, did the police research credit card and computer records to determine if such drugs and/or syringes had been purchased by the trouple?

          • BadShoes
            05/19/2010 at 11:46 AM

            The toxicology tests run by the Medical Examiner’s office are listed in the autopsy report.

            Much later, the prosecution commissioned some additional tests, but we (or at least I) do not what other drugs were sought. We do know that the second test found trace amounts of xylene (!?).

            The indictment provides no evidence that would connect the defendants with medical paraphenalia or unusual prescription or veterinary drugs. This might mean the police didn’t look, or it might mean they did look and didn’t find anything that supported the indictment.

            Joe Price’ brother was taking a phlebotomy class. Joe Price also told the police that his brother had, in the past, [used] “all kinds of drugs.”

      • AnnaZed
        05/19/2010 at 11:31 AM

        Actually I have never quite reconciled Victor’s claim that he is afraid to go downstairs and the fact of his being downstairs on the stoop when the EMTs arrived.

        Anecdotal I know, but my own experience with a crazed ex-wife of a boyfriend marauding around my house and a 911 call when she broke a window was that the 911 operator advised me to go to another room and lock the door and wait inside until the police arrived.

  34. Not Playing
    05/19/2010 at 10:29 AM

    I think this case cost Arent Fox the defense case For Toyota. The defending of Toyota in the product liabilty suits would have paid millions. I wonder if you have to be gay to work at Arent Fox. I would venture a guess you would at least have to be into bondage based of the testimony.

    • Carolina
      05/19/2010 at 11:44 AM

      On this I would have to disagree. I think AF was very much inclined stand behind Joe, not because of his sexuality (which is a moot point as long as you are bringing in money) or indiscretions that involved their computers, but because he did his job and did it well. However, once he became a liability, he was dismissed. I can’t see it affecting their relationship with any other clients, especially Toyota.

  35. emg
    05/19/2010 at 11:38 AM

    I assume the prosecution has picked up on the inconsistencies with Victor’s 911 call and with Joe’s initial police interview. Initially Victor tells 911 he heard chimes and then a “scream from our friend”. (May be the scream the neighbors heard) Later in the tape he says he didn’t hear the door(chimes) until after the scream. This contradicts what Joe later tells the police- He is awakened by the chimes and then he hears noise. Joe does not characterize the noises as a scream to either the police or Robert’s wife.

    Interestingly he tells 911 that it “was one of our knives’. That is a pretty impressive observation on his part when he is so distraught.

    • Bea
      05/19/2010 at 12:24 PM

      Not only did Victor know that the “intruder” had one of their knives, too he knew and reported that the back door was unlocked. Yet NOBODY had gone downstairs (except the “intruder”)?

      Funny that Dylan later got credited with ‘noticing’ the door was unlocked when corralled downstairs because he “could see” the door was unlocked.

      In Joe’s interrogation, he’s adamant that upon seeing Robert he immediately sent the hysterical Victor upstairs to call 911 – wonder who imparted the knife and door knowledge to Victor if that was the case. Telepathy?

      • pocohontas
        05/19/2010 at 12:48 PM

        Bea, excellent points (as usual).

  36. Fascinating
    05/19/2010 at 12:12 PM

    Again, I will say THANK YOU THANK YOU to the editors for keeping us updated.

    As for what happened at yesterday’s session …. Two thing stand out:

    1. Dylan moves to Florida to “start over” …. Mmmm, I would, too, if I had murdered/assisted murdering someone.
    2. Michael Price — unknown to Kathy Wone — showed up at the funeral. Hmmmmmmmmm. What’s THAT about??

  37. Leonard
    05/19/2010 at 1:25 PM

    According to Researchsea.com re Xylene:

    Besides showing where in the brain toluene acts, the researchers also demonstrate that, surprisingly, toluene substances are most effective when used at low concentrations. Since toluene is rapidly absorbed in the brain, this might explain why the preferred mode of delivery is by “huffing” or “sniffing”. Sniffing is frequently considered a harmless recreational or party drug but unlike other drugs, even a single session of inhaling the compound can disrupt heart rhythms enough to cause cardiac arrest and lower oxygen levels enough to cause suffocation.

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