Day 3: Wrap

05/20/2010
By Doug

The Pace Picks Up

Six things we learned today:

1: Needle Marks.  EMT Jeff Baker made the point repeatedly that the needle puncture marks found in the autopsy were not from any efforts to resuscitate Robert either at 1509 Swann or en route to George Washington University Hospital.  This, despite the defense best efforts to knock it down. 

Baker was also pressed on the striation marks – admitting confusion as to whether they were on the abdomen or chest, given the delay in Det. Waid’s interview three weeks later.   Additionally, however it happened, Baker said Robert’s chest was exposed: unknown is who lifted or tore Robert’s shirt before Baker arrived. 

One thing he was sure of: he could see Robert’s chest and there was no active bleeding.  Last note:  Grimm quizzed Baker: “Do you run or jog up the stairs on a call?”  Baker: “I’m 44, 270 pounds.  I walked up the steps.” Knowing laughter.

2: ER Procedures.  GWU head nurse Leah Lujan marched through standard operating procedures for trauma cases such as this, and her particular role in documenting Robert’s treatment.  As previously noted, Lujan made clear – on direct by Martin and cross by Richardson and Schertler – that the majority of needle puncture marks on Robert would not have come from any resuscitative activity while at GWU.  

More after the jump.

 Interestingly, after Lujan had stepped down, Schertler admitted “earlier negligence” in not objecting to introduction of the puncture wounds.  “Physical evidence can’t be commented on,” queried Judge Leibovitz?  “Unusual, odd, weird and fresh injuries have some relevance.  It makes it a less ordinary than a more a more ordinary death.”  She added, “…unexplained injuries were inflicted at some point.” 

Schertler objected; objection overruled. “I can’t imagine rejecting it,” she offered.  Thomas Connolly offered a thunderous rejoinder – one quickly dispatched from the bench.

3: Glaring Behavior.  We’ve mentioned Ofc. Gregory Alemain’s recounting of the night, and Joe’s glares to Dylan.  To repeat: “…like a little kid who got in trouble,” in his words.  After cutting Ward off, Price repeated “…we heard a chime,” then added “…there’s a black guy that lives in the alley.  And there’s a knife next to the bed.”  

A rat-a-tat from Grimm followed: “Did you think it was important to tell homicide?”  “Who did you tell it to?”  “Did you tell any supervisor?”  “Did it make it into your notes or report?”  It seems the ‘glare’ only surfaced recently…a fact the defense ran with.

4: The ME.  Kirschner positioned Dr. Goslinoski early on as an expert in forensic pathology.  Her first glimpse of Robert was in the examining room and the body bag was unzipped.  Anything unusual, Kirschner asked?   The placement and orientation of the wounds, she responded. (Her report is here).

Hands, legs and arms were examined for defensive wounds, and only found a little dried blood on his right index finger.  “Any blood on the hands?” No.  “Did that surprise you?”  Yes.   As to the puncture wounds, she reports she was able to determine – based on vasodiolation and other signs – that the wounds to the elbow was “…more consistent with post-mortem,” while those at the ankle and chest “…were more consistent with anti-mortem or early post-mortem.”

5: The Blood.  The tally from the autopsy of blood recovered in Robert’s body: approx. 2 liters.   What she would expect to find in an average man of Robert’s age and build: 6 liters. Very little more was said.  Message delivered.

6: Motion.  “What the body’s response to a painful stimulus,” asked Kirschner.  “Motion,” she replied.  “Some motion is reflexive.  Autonomic responses are not voluntary.”  Throughout the day’s occasionally detailed medical testimony, Dr. Goslinoski was clear in her summation.  “In 45 cases of knife autopsies,” she said, “this is the only case I’ve done…where there was no indication of motion in the torso or extremities.”

Parting shot: Grimm got a few question in to Dr. Goslinoski before breaking, and they weren’t softballs.  “Were you pressured to say that (meaning the ‘duplicate Ward’ knife) that was the knife that could have caused that injury?  You told us you received pressure to say it was the other knife,” said Grimm.

“Everyone wants me to identify a specific knife that inflicted the wounds.  I simply cannot.”

Court reconvenes Friday at 11am.

Tags: , , , ,

248 Responses to “ Day 3: Wrap ”

  1. CC Biggs on 05/20/2010 at 8:24 PM

    The missing blood is the single most damning physical evidence against the defendants. If a large quantity of blood cannot be accounted for, then it’s pretty easy to find that there was tampering/obstruction. Even leaving aside all the other evidence (a lot of which is circumstantial and based on impression and innuendo), the missing blood is enough.

    • Bill Orange on 05/20/2010 at 9:09 PM

      I don’t agree. The defense is going to be able to trot out any number of witnesses to argue that the amount of blood that’s “missing” isn’t that significant. I think the things that have really hurt the defense so far are the things that they’re not going to be able to argue about when they present their own case:

      1. The timing of the scream heard by the next door neighbor, which was well before the 911 call.

      2. The blood pattern on Wone’s chest, as seen by the EMT.

      3. The “extra” needlemarks on Wone (which I had previously thought were the result of the resuscitation efforts in the ER). The ME’s testimony about which marks were antemortem and which were postmortem probably won’t hold up, since she didn’t put any of this in her report. But the fact that they’re there, and that the EMT and the ER nurse both say that neither of their teams put needles in those regions, is a big problem for the defense.

      When the trial started, I honestly didn’t think the prosecution had much of a case. Now that several key witnesses have testified–and held up much better on cross-examination than I was expecting–I think their case is quite solid. Last week, I thought that Victor would walk, and Joe and Dylan only had about a 50/50 chance of being convicted. Now, I think it’s highly likely that all three will be convicted.

      • prtyboydc on 05/20/2010 at 9:28 PM

        This may be way off base, but Dylan was a trained masseuse. Is there any chance he also knew acupuncture? Or would’ve been inclined to experiment with it?

        • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:28 PM

          This has been speculated about on this site before and is an interesting theory. My own experience with acupuncture (and it’s pretty considerable) is that the tiny bore of the needles leaves scarcely a mark, not like an injection site with a larger bore hollow hypodermic needle.

  2. Casual Observer on 05/20/2010 at 8:30 PM

    That and the unshakable testimony of the neighbors, which establishes the delay in calling 911.

    • Der Schwanendreher on 05/20/2010 at 11:00 PM

      The “neighbors” have told the simple and unavoidable truth.

  3. TT on 05/20/2010 at 8:34 PM

    I have followed this case for well over a year and have been active in posting on this website. Today’s information leaves me emotional. No motion from Robert after being attacked. I just find it so sad.
    Hello, what about the evidence today, Robert’s shirt, blood all over the back of the t-shirt. No “active bleeding”. Who lifed Robert’s shirt, it was not the EMT’s? The needle puncture marks found on Robert, were declared “post-mortem,” by Dr. Goslinoski. Where is the missing blood. The “glare” from Joe after Ward decided to speak.

    I know I am repeating what the editors have given. I am sick. Justice, I will keep praying. As always, thank you to the editors and to all that post on this site that I respect.

    • Bea on 05/20/2010 at 9:15 PM

      Agreed, TT. Sad. Robert Wone should not have died, let alone have been treated so recklessly and savagely.

      I believe that in Joe’s interrogation transcript he says that he lifted Robert’s shirt (and that there was “a lot of blood”). Both Joe and Dylan said that the blood “went under him” and “under the sheets” (or something to that effect). It certainly doesn’t appear to match what the EMTs saw.

      • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 9:55 PM

        Maybe they said it went under him because the back of the t-shirt had blood on it. (Which I still don’t understand and how blood wouldn’t have transferred onto the bed unless the t-shirt was completely dry.)

        • whodoneit on 05/20/2010 at 11:00 PM

          He was not wearing the shirt when he was killed as demonstrated by the lack of shirt fibers the wound. I would think that the shirt was near the site of the murder at the time it was committed and the back of it got bloody from the 4 missing liters. The shirt was put on and a knife inserted into the vicinity of the wounds (or the knife inserted into the shirt before it was put back on) to support the intruder attack on sleeping victim story.

          • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 11:12 PM

            Was that ANY blood on the front of the shirt?

            If the blood got on the back of the shirt while it was off of robert, the blood surely would have soaked onto the front as well.

            Maybe Robert was laid on something bloody before being placed on the bed, and no one knew blood was on teh back.

            I’m just thinking “out loud.”

            • whodoneit on 05/20/2010 at 11:20 PM

              Certainly plausible. I was also thinking out loud.

            • Nelly on 05/21/2010 at 12:23 PM

              It looked like there was blood all over the shirt, front and back, with big patches of white or grey where there was no blood. The blood was brown-colored, after all this time. Very gory to see it, and the lawyers were handling it like it was no big deal.

  4. xxx on 05/20/2010 at 8:42 PM

    Why would someone dispose of bloody sheets, etc? There was a dead body with stab wounds right there. Help me understand what someone might gain by disposing of bloody sheets.

    • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 8:45 PM

      As the initial step in a two step process. Someone goes to get rid of the stuff while another person washes the body of all DNA evidence in preparation to dispose of it in step two.

    • Bill Orange on 05/20/2010 at 8:56 PM

      You’re assuming he was killed in the bedroom.

      • prtyboydc on 05/20/2010 at 10:03 PM

        Would it not also take at least two people to move a body weighing 152 pounds? And, presumably, if it was after Robert was stabbed, it would create quite a mess. It seems to me that cleaning up the kind of mess that such a brutal crime would create such that there is virtually no evidence of a crime other than a body would take longer than any time line presented so far would allow. Assuming it’s possible, it would seem that it would require more than three people and, even then, some pre-planning to pull off. Does anyone else think that an hour to an hour and 15 minutes is a very short period of time in which to restrain or otherwise incapacitate Robert, sexually assault him, stab him brutally, sterilize the scene which may mean moving a body around the house, develop a story to tell police and regain composure prior to any first responders arriving?

        Also, the level of activity that would, I think, be required to accomplish all of the above would leave the perpetrators sweaty, agitated and disheveled–which is exactly the opposite of how they were found.

        I don’t ask the questions because I think they exonerate the trouple. I am just having a hard time getting my head around how all this was accomplished in such a short period of time.

        • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:10 PM

          The men were freshly showered when the EMS and Police arrived.

          • prtyboydc on 05/20/2010 at 10:35 PM

            That, to me, further complicates the time line. Presumably the last thing that they would’ve done (other than dispose of the knife) was shower. We know that Joe and Victor were not in the shower past the point when the 911 call was initiated. And, we assume that they would’ve showered after Victor’s scream was heard. That’s a very short window of time.

            • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:39 PM

              “…And, we assume that they would’ve showered after Victor’s scream was heard.”

              Why not?

        • dcbill on 05/20/2010 at 10:21 PM

          I am with you prtyboy. The timeline doesn’t jive with all this activity. Is there any way to place Robert at 1509 Swann any earlier in the evening?

          • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:24 PM

            There are recreational drugs, drugs familiar to those on the “party” scene, that can make a person quite focused on certain tasks. Tasks like cleaning can be accomplished very quickly when high on these drugs. It’s quite a well know phenomenon.

            • To Fair and Balanced Reporting on 05/20/2010 at 10:32 PM

              They give people energy. They don’t make people meticulous.

              I have observed people in close proximity under the influence, and my sense is that such use would make people MORE prone to error, not less.

              • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:37 PM

                well their story was less than stellar

              • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:37 PM

                Well, your millage may vary, but my own experience is one of intense if misdirected focus (being a girl this manifested as extreme uncharacteristic tidiness). I should also add that the drugs that I am speaking of are in the same class of drugs that are prescribed to teens with ADHD to make them focus and that they work quite well for that, and that other students abuse them to prepare for tests and so forth.

                • To Fair and Balanced Reporting on 05/20/2010 at 10:44 PM

                  AZ, I get your point. But under the theories being considered, the defendants would have been some multi-tasking motherscooters, NOT task-focused.

                • KKinCA on 05/21/2010 at 2:28 AM

                  My doctor recently prescribed one of those ADHD meds for me for treatment of depression (long story) and my experience is that I have become slightly more OCD in everything I do, and find it difficult to pull myself off of a task (reading this website for example!). My focus is INTENSE on whatever I am doing. If in fact meds of this class were used by the co-conspirators, I can see Joe controlling everyone by giving them each a task to focus on, then giving them another task from Joe’s list. Just my opinion.

              • prtyboydc on 05/20/2010 at 10:38 PM

                As a former party boy, I can tell you that there is no party drug that has an effect that would have made it easier for anyone involved to accomplish what was done.

                • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:42 PM

                  As a former party girl I will have to disagree with you there.

                  • prtyboydc on 05/20/2010 at 10:49 PM

                    My experience, which is considerable, is that the drugs have very different effects on women than they do on men. While the drug in question does make one focused, it is almost always on a singular task, not multiple tasks that would’ve been accomplished here. And, it is rare that it would cause three people to be focused on the same thing. My experience in dealing with people who are high on this drug is akin to herding cats. All may be focused on something, but it is never the same thing.

                    • Carolina on 05/21/2010 at 9:28 AM

                      There is no biological difference that would make a drug react differently just because you have or don’t have a penis.

          • HKG on 05/21/2010 at 8:29 AM

            [apologies for the repeat post, as i left a similar longer response to this in the last two webpages.]

            the May 31, 2009 WP article said that Wone made a 10:22 call to the Swann street house. i am not aware of any evidence of that though.

            so could the following have been possible?

            9:15 CLE class ends / walk to Metro Center (6 minutes)
            9:30 exiting Farragut North station calls Kathy Wone perhaps from taxi? (taxi to RFA ~2 minutes)
            [9:33] arrival at RFA / introductions & small talk
            [9:48] leaves RFA / taxi to Swann Street (5 minutes)
            [9:55] possible arrival at Swann Street?

            • Timeline on 05/21/2010 at 11:18 AM

              I posted a similar question in the Day4 post that just went up — but my question is that even if he was on foot, it still shouldn’t have taken him until 10:30 to walk from the RFA office to Swann St. It’s just not that far of a walk. At most it should have been 10-15 minutes. Google Maps walking directions puts it at 20 minutes, but I think it’d be shorter (based on a couple of decades of doing lots of walking in the area!!). Still, even 20 minutes is less than half of the time it supposedly took.

              • Nelly on 05/21/2010 at 12:27 PM

                He took a cab to Swann St. That has been established.

        • To Fair and Balanced Reporting on 05/20/2010 at 10:29 PM

          “Does anyone else think that an hour to an hour and 15 minutes is a very short period of time in which to restrain or otherwise incapacitate Robert, sexually assault him, stab him brutally, sterilize the scene which may mean moving a body around the house, develop a story to tell police and regain composure prior to any first responders arriving?”

          Add to this disposing of evidence off-site, unseen by any neighbor, all while under the influence of drugs and sexually aroused.

          The timeline is indeed a tough sell.

          • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:31 PM

            I think this also lends to the case that others were present, hence the Michael theories.

            • HKG on 05/21/2010 at 8:35 AM

              if this were a Hollywood movie, there would have been a ritualistic killing, with many more people of some secret society who could help clean up. but then how would they all leave without detection?! but perhaps just a few people more than Michael?

              btw, could they have hidden the cleanup evidence in some box or attic crevice, and then come back for that later? or did the police search the house immediately?

            • Ivan on 05/21/2010 at 8:42 AM

              I also think there was at least another person present – someone who could’ve run off with the bloody sheets. Most likely someone very familiar with the house/yard and with a key.

          • Phil on 05/21/2010 at 8:25 AM

            While a tough sell, I certainly don’t find it impossible. If Robert’s water was drugged, then the whole thing probably started happening at 10:30. Certainly things could have gone very, very wrong by 11:00pm. That then gives them 45 (plus) minutes for the cleanup and story.

            Seems reasonable to me.

        • whodoneit on 05/20/2010 at 11:04 PM

          My theory is that they killed him by the drain where the blood was found near the uncoiled hose which was used to was down the blood immediately before it even had a chance to dry. I think they may have been planning to dump the body somewhere, but had to abandon that plan.

          • James on 05/20/2010 at 11:07 PM

            and neighbors heard/saw nothing? No way…plus he would have to be standing and the there was no struggle.

            • whodoneit on 05/20/2010 at 11:22 PM

              He was incapacitated from the drugs – no struggle. Why would he have to be standing? Just lay the body down next to the drain.

              • James on 05/20/2010 at 11:30 PM

                Okay, you’re right…perhaps not standing. But I would think 2 or 3 guys over a dead, bleeding body would be risky activity on a back patio — with neighbors close by. I think someone washed his hands/body of the blood while pretending to water plants is maybe more of an explanation.

                • KKinCA on 05/21/2010 at 2:19 AM

                  During his interrogation Victor made a point of stating, I think at least twice, going out to water the plants prior to Robert coming over – it escapes my memory if he claimed to water plants in the back patio.

                • NM on 05/21/2010 at 9:31 AM

                  The patio is surrounded by a very tall fence w/o slats – it is solid. You cannot see over or through it at ground level. The only way a neighbor could possibly see business conducted on the patio is from the upper floors / roof of surrounding houses. Everyone here has air conditioning, either central or window unit, on the upper floors because it gets very hot in the summer; windows would have been closed. No one would have seen anything.

            • Carolina on 05/21/2010 at 9:32 AM

              Elderly neighbors on a hot August night with their AC running? Had their bedroom not shared a wall with the guest room, they’d have heard absolutely nothing that night. Even Dylan mentioned that he didn’t hear anything because of the noise of the air conditioner running.

              • ramknts on 05/21/2010 at 1:08 PM

                I think the detectives discounted how loud the AC in Dylan’s room really was.

                I also agree that it would be really unlikely for them to do something so obvious in their backyard, especially since they say there were lights in the backyard. The houses are all several floors and are close together–I think most people wouldn’t attempt such a thing.

                I feel similarly about them attempting to grill things or hide things in outside drains. A person concerned so much with hiding evidence would be paranoid about anybody seeing them run to a drain and dispose of an item.

  5. emg on 05/20/2010 at 8:56 PM

    Help!
    Did PD confirm that Robert walked from RFA rather than take a cab? I would have checked cab companies to see if he got there earlier. Its important to find out when he really arrived as the timeframe is extremely short to have accomplished everything. It could have been much earler than 10:30pm. Only 1.6 miles from RFA to Swann.

    Since Robert’s phone is apparently “lost’ by PD forever, was Joe’s phone taken to check his incoming and outgoing phone calls during that period to confirm Robert called at 10:22 to say he was “on the way”. Should have been SOP. Would have been useful to see if he spoke with Michael that day when he was supoposed to be at gym.

    Is there a timeline for each person? It is very unclear as to what everyone was doing between 7:00pm and 10:pm other than showering and having dinner.

    I am new to this. Initially i thought Dylan was the culprit. i absolutely believe his interview. I don’t think he was involved but is terrified of Joe. He has nothing to offer so can not “turn” states evidence. Victor is a question mark, but he clearly will do whatever Joe tells him. He may however be more afraid of prison than Joe. I think Joe/Michael are the key.

    • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 8:54 AM

      I completely agree with you that this timeline is short; however, it is much more feasible if we consider that several individuals worked together to commit this heinous act versus a lone intruder. Also, when you consider that someone would have to clean up the mess, a lone intruder would have a serious disadvantage with not knowing where anything is- clean sheets (if murdered on the bed), hose to wash off, ect. Regarding Joe, I definitely think that he is the one in charge. Whether or not the others are afraid of him is unclear to me, although I do believe they all have a financial gain in remaining loyal to him. They are obviously a very tight knit group who describe themselves as a “family” and whom are willing to go to great lengths for each other.

  6. RodneyWilson on 05/20/2010 at 9:02 PM

    People treat this like a post-modern version of the old board game CLUE. It is so glaringly evident to anyone with a brain (and a heart!) that these sadistic monsters butchered this man. They did it to achieve some kind of ‘high’ and they were confident that their wealth, status, and sophistication would enable them to walk free. In the name of all that is decent, I hope that they will have to answer for what they did.

  7. James on 05/20/2010 at 9:03 PM

    Aside from ketamine, any idea what could have been injected in Robert to induce such a state of unresponsiveness and yet wouldn’t be detected in the tox screening? The time frame has always led me to believe that an otherwise established plan (on the part of Joe and/or dylan) went terribly awry….

    • slwapo on 05/20/2010 at 10:35 PM

      And how could they inject him with a substance without him jumping out of bed and defending himself? Did 2 guys pounce on him and hold him down while the 3rd guy injected him? That substance must be quite potent, to knock a guy out and then be virtually untraceable in the blood.

      • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:46 PM

        question is was his water in the kitchen drugged…but i doubt it. My guess is he was present to see the water poured into the glass by Dylan. Did the police ever verify drinking glasses in the sink/dishwasher? would have been a question worth asking since there was no glass or water bottle by his bedside. I always take a glass of water to bed.

      • Goose on 05/21/2010 at 7:34 AM

        I believe that the ME found evidence of burst capillaries in the eyes, indicating there was possibly some suffocation. Someone or two could have smothered him with a pillow until he passed out. Then injected him to make sure he stayed that way.

        • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 9:01 AM

          If someone put a pillow over my face, I would fight like hell which would lead to marks, bruises, and possibly scratches. Nothing like this was found on his body. This leads me to believe he must have been drugged before the needle marks.

  8. AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 9:06 PM

    Again, and now on the record in open court Joe is quoted as saying:

    “After cutting Ward off, Price repeated “…we heard a chime,” then added “…there’s a black guy that lives in the alley.”

    What a swine.

    • Cecily on 05/20/2010 at 9:56 PM

      I caught that too, so does that mean he has tried to blame the supposed “crack” house across the street and now a black guy? Swine indeed.

      • NM on 05/21/2010 at 9:34 AM

        I believe the answer is “yes.” And, for the record, there is no crack house across the street.

        • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 11:21 AM

          And, there are few, if any, crack houses in tony DuPont Circle, I would imagine. Why would anyone — especially an Arent Fox partner — refer to “a crack house” unless they had been to one recently? The mind continues to do a Virginia reel on that whopper!

  9. wolftownjeff on 05/20/2010 at 9:14 PM

    It is a shame the DC cops ALONG with the FBI blew this case.
    If this is not murder 101 what is? Lets hope one of the bad guys turns over, as this case gets stronger by the hour!

    • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 9:31 PM

      You need to add the secret Service to that list. They did us the favor of failing to photograph and retain the contents of Robert’s Black Berry and whiping it clean, so thanks!

      • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:11 PM

        Whip it! (I mean wiped clean)

    • Greta on 05/20/2010 at 9:54 PM

      I am hoping that Victor’s lawyer convinces him to to turn the others in, if that’s what happened. Please, please someone do the right thing.

      After today’s testimony, I can see why they would not want a jury trial in a majority African-American city. What dispicable behavior!

      • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 9:57 PM

        I’m really on the fence about victor knowing how Robert died. I’m guessing he mighty have been coached on how to deal with the police/emts/911, but did he see anything? Not so sure.

        • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:14 PM

          One thing is for sure; Victor knows a whole lot more than he is saying or than he told the police.

          • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 2:35 AM

            Seems that Victor has already prepared himself to accept daily prison yard requests over the next thirty-plus years.

            “Hey Vicky, want milk?”

            • Damala Leche on 05/21/2010 at 11:41 AM

              >>Enter obligatory prison rape joke here.<<

              So predictable.

              • AnnaZed on 05/21/2010 at 11:46 AM

                Lord I hope not. I think Robert would be appalled if anyone claiming to speak for his interests even seemed to suborn prison sexual abuse.

        • Bea on 05/20/2010 at 10:21 PM

          I know others disagree but I think when Victor says past the halfway point in the 911 tape “he was stabbed in the chest” and there is a quite different (despondent? defeated?) tone in his voice, I think THAT is when he knew that Robert was dead or dying. Possibly before that, he may have been told there ‘was a chance.’ I don’t want to get into my full Victor apologist mode since I think he’s certainly guilty of these charges, but I so very wish he’d strike a deal and bring the murderer(s) to justice. He may not have seen the murder committed but he has plenty more information than is necessary to convict him/them.

          Connolly, show us that Victor is indeed a quiet, gentle man who could not have done this. . .

          • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 10:24 PM

            I always wondered about the moment in the 911 call in which it seems Victor is lowering his voice. He was upstairs at that point.

          • HKG on 05/21/2010 at 8:17 AM

            i agree. at least perhaps he had the hope that he could be still alive. unless he is a better actor than he seems.

        • Nelly on 05/21/2010 at 12:45 PM

          I’ll bet he saw Joe & Dylan handling Robert’s bloody, lifeless body and frantically cleaning up. That is why Victor screamed.

      • wolftownjeff on 05/20/2010 at 10:26 PM

        what in the hell does that mean, “African-American city”?

        • Anonymous in DC on 05/20/2010 at 10:39 PM

          She said majority African-American city, which are the demographics of DC.

        • Friend of Rob on 05/20/2010 at 10:43 PM

          He said majority African-American city, which is true. It’s not called “Chocolate City” for nuthin’.

          • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:54 PM

            Forget sexual orientation, I’m thinking that these lawyers might reasonably have decided that having their alpha client (Joe) quoted in open court attempting to deflect police scrutiny to “a black guy” not five minutes into this debacle just wouldn’t have played all that well to a DC jury.

            • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:59 PM

              agreed

  10. crbdhw220 on 05/20/2010 at 9:28 PM

    I missed something. Where was the t-shirt discovered? The EMT said he never saw a shirt and the ED nurse reported the patient arrived naked. Where was the blood soaked t-shirt and the rest of his clothing found?

    • James on 05/20/2010 at 9:30 PM

      it was on him, but his stomach was exposed from what i understand

      • crbdhw220 on 05/20/2010 at 9:48 PM

        well if it didn’t arrive with him at the ED and Fire didn’t have it in their possession, where was it?

        • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:05 PM

          I think she was referring to when he was in the body bag that he had no shirt on (ugh, i cant believe i am typing this). So it had been removed after he was officially pronounced dead.

  11. vmm on 05/20/2010 at 10:02 PM

    Though I’ve read everything offered on this site, I’m having trouble making the Michael connection beyond “he’s Joe’s drug dealer brother” and “he was at the funeral.” Has it been established that Michael was present (at 1509 Swann) the night of the murder or is it simply a possibility being thrown into the mix?

    • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:06 PM

      He broke into the house months after the murder…on the site here somewhere.

    • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 10:08 PM

      It has not been established, that I am aware of, and Michael’s then-partner, made a diary entry that Michael was at home with him that night. However, Michael missed his phlebotomy class for the first time that night. Don’t think that was mentioned in the diary entry.

      • vmm on 05/20/2010 at 10:33 PM

        are you serious…phlebotomy? blood collecting? maybe 4 liters worth? joe/michael/dylan…case closed. victor screamed, then sobbed out all of the brain cells before deciding to help cover up. that’s my summation. i’ll await the verdict and metal doors closing on these four. “got 25 to life?”

        • Ivan on 05/21/2010 at 8:52 AM

          My thoughts exactly. 4 liters of blood aren’t accounted for. Someone involved knew how to handle blood.

    • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:15 PM

      vmn, you are absolutely right, I have not one scintilla of actual evidence that Michael was there or did any of the things that I am speculating about.

      • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:18 PM

        Except of course the break in thing which is public record and the missed phlebotomy class that night which is also a matter of public record.

        • NM on 05/21/2010 at 9:44 AM

          Michael never missing his phlebotomy class except the one on the night of the murder… the needle marks… missing blood… convenient diary entry… its just incredible.

          • ramknts on 05/21/2010 at 1:16 PM

            If you drugged someone, perhaps you would try to get rid of some of the blood to avoid detection upon toxicology…

  12. Themis on 05/20/2010 at 10:07 PM

    I have an esoteric question about the cross examinations. Are the defense attorneys asking questions such as who, what, why? Or are they making statements that the witness can either agree with or disagree with? It doesn’t sound like they are controlling the witnesses very well.

    • Michael on 05/21/2010 at 12:09 AM

      Hi Themis,

      While many of the questions are intended to be or could be answered with a simple yes or no, the witnesses are not well controlled. Even I as a layperson have been surprised at the amount of recitation the witnesses have provided. On occasion the attorneys have asked for a simple yes or no, but for the most part, the answers have been lengthy with explanations.

      I recognize that each of the defendants has their own legal counsel, but some of the cross examination by the multiple attorneys has been redundant, which is tedious. My observation is that this is wearing on Judge Leibovitz as well. I will say that Connolly, for the most part, has kept cross examination to a minimum, avoiding the repetitious questions.

      Michael, co-editor

  13. James on 05/20/2010 at 10:08 PM
    • vmm on 05/20/2010 at 10:49 PM

      thanks for the link. the bizarre just got moreso.

      • James on 05/20/2010 at 10:58 PM

        Despite the journal entries that provide his alibi, I have always thought Michael was implicit somehow…and i keep going back to the idea that this was not a premeditated murder. It was a plan for something else and it went very, very wrong. Like maybe an overdose…and the cover-up was made to look like a random murder. And perhaps even the cover-up went awry (wait, you stabbed him?!?) and that is why they spent all of the energy on the clean-up…figuring with so little forensic evidence, maybe they had a chance at getting cleared.

        • James on 05/20/2010 at 11:05 PM

          i meant “complicit”…not implicit. May be time for bed.

  14. Eagle on 05/20/2010 at 10:42 PM

    Legal question:
    If any or all of the defense attorneys knew that one or more of the defendants actually did murder Robert, would he have to reveal it to the court?
    Thanks

    • CC Biggs on 05/20/2010 at 10:44 PM

      I think they’d only have to withdraw from the case

      • srb on 05/20/2010 at 11:12 PM

        They don’t have to withdraw because it’s a past crime that was revealed to them in confidence; the attorneys just can’t suborn perjury (that’s a crime that wouldn’t have yet been committed). The chances of any of these defendants testifying is next to zero so it seems unlikely that this would come into play.

      • whodoneit on 05/20/2010 at 11:17 PM

        No they would not. They would not be able to put forth a witness that they know to be lying, but they could remain on the case and try and poke holes in the prosecution’s case by cross-examining the prosecution witness and putting on witnesses that support their case but whom they do not know to be lying.

    • ski on 05/20/2010 at 11:20 PM

      Someone please correct me if this is not accurate, but a co-worker of mine who used to be a public defender told me that no matter what the defense attorney may actually know to be true, it is the attorney’s duty to create the best case for his/her client and attempt to obtain a “not guilty” verdict, even if the defendant is truly guilty. I don’t understand how these people live with themselves. No amount of money could make me do that.

      • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 9:10 AM

        From what I understand, you are correct. A lawyer may have moral reason to not represent that client and withdraw from the case; however, from a legal perspective it is confidential information and to disclose that to the authorities is against their ethical code.

      • Daphne on 05/21/2010 at 10:29 AM

        I used to be a public defender too. We “live with ourselves” because we believe in the rule of law, we believe that the government has the burden to prove its case, and we believe every defendant is entitled to a vigorous defense in an adversarial system. Indeed, the professional canons require us to do so. Think about it: if you, or somebody you loved, was on trial, wouldn’t you wwant an advocate to fight the fight?

        As for all the money: PDs, generally (there are exceptions), don’t get paid squat. We do it because we believe in importance of due process. Without it, we’d just be a big lynch mob.

        • plumskiter on 05/21/2010 at 10:36 AM

          and, this from a retired career federal prosecutor, the requirement that guilt be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a trier of fact chosen by the parties protects all of us from the power of the government. defense attorneys do heroic work to insure that the government carries its burden of proof, particularly in sensational cases where the public is in lynch mob mode.

        • ski on 05/23/2010 at 10:38 PM

          To clarify my “no amount of money” comment, I wasn’t referring to public defenders. I know they are not paid well. I was thinking more along the lines of the team that defended O.J. Simpson and their ilk.

          I understand the “government has the burden to prove its case” stuff, but I simply can’t understand how someone can defend a person who he/she knows is guilty and attempt to let that person go free, unpunished. It’s just lying about the truth, because you are paid to do it. I can’t imagine doing that. Period.

          If I were guilty of a crime, I’m certain my guilt would overwhelm me and I would not even attempt to lie — I mean, mount a defense. And if I knew for a fact that someone I love committed a crime, I would want that person to admit it also and deal with the consequences. I would not defend him/her.

          Shouldn’t it be about the truth and not how crafty a lawyer is to dispel the truth?

  15. CC Biggs on 05/20/2010 at 10:42 PM

    Even if the judge finds that there was tampering and obstruction, will it really be possible for her to determine which defendants did what? And if not, how is it possible to attribute guilt and punishment in a fair and proportionate manner? I don’t think it is possible, certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, what if one of the defendants wasn’t involved in whatever happened that night (and still does not know exactly what happened), but simply went along with the cover story after the fact? Yes, that person would be guilty, but less guilty than the other “active” participants. How can the judge figure this out and convict beyond reasonable doubt? It’s a big problem.

    • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 10:45 PM

      I don’t think that she has to determine that, though the lawyers on this site certainly know more about this. That’s the thing about conspiracy ~ in for a penny in for a pound. That’s also why it’s a crime and not recommended.

    • vmm on 05/20/2010 at 10:52 PM

      we have to hope that victor cracks under the pressure–fearing prison more than joe–and tells the whole story.

      • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 11:06 PM

        I think Victor fears facing his son and telling him the truth more than prison.

        • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 2:24 AM

          I’d like to think. But really doubt Victor has any bond with his son.

          • prtyboydc on 05/21/2010 at 2:31 AM

            why?

    • BadShoes on 05/20/2010 at 11:49 PM

      It seems to me that the judge, in her role as finder of fact, just has to decide whether each defendant is guilty or innocent of each charge. Degrees of guilt are not the province of the finder of fact.

      “Going along with the cover story after the fact” requires lying to the police with the intent of sidetracking the investigation. If proven, that would seem to me to be sufficient cause to find a defendant guilty of obstruction, and, given the facts of this case, conspiracy as well.

  16. VA Librarian on 05/20/2010 at 11:10 PM

    One cliché that gets repeated a lot in first responder circles is that “blood expands,” meaning the volume of blood always is much less than it appears to be. This is striking because there was so little blood present and the fact that *four liters* was missing is just absolutely mind-boggling. WTF? On the surface, it would seem to be impossible for the trouple not to be found guilty of tampering with the evidence, since one cannot believe that any intruder made off with four liters of blood, given the time frame. I had wondered why there was so little blood available for toxicology testing, well, now we know.

    I’m inclined to believe that Zaborsky was not involved in the actual murder. I wish he’d come clean. I also don’t understand why people think that Price was necessarily the instigator. As a friend said the other night, he’d known Mr. Wone for almost two decades without anything untoward happening. The arrival of Ward, who after all was supposedly his dom and who apparently had a thing for Asian guys makes it horribly easy to imagine a scenario where he demanded of Price that a date rape type encounter be engineered with Mr. Wone as fealty. What happened after that and why it ended in murder is anyone’s guess. I could also see his water being spiked with something before the needle came out, or even old fashioned choloform being used. That would explain the petechiae.

    Having gone to the University of CA at Berkeley in the late 90s where drugged and dazed rape victims were found wandering the streets on virtually a weekly basis, it became all too clear that there are a hell of a lot of sociopaths out there who have no compunctions about raping unconscious people. None were ever caught, to the best of my knowledge.

    • James on 05/20/2010 at 11:16 PM

      Great points all, VA Librarian. But help me out here…what is petechiae?

      • VA Librarian on 05/20/2010 at 11:22 PM

        Bruising on the insides of the eyes, the conjunctiva, that are indicative of suffocation. Mr. Wone didn’t have it severely, just moderately, which reflected that he was at least momentarily being suffocated. That could happen while he was being chloroformed.

        • James on 05/20/2010 at 11:25 PM

          Thanks for that and a great detail to point out.

        • CDinDC on 05/20/2010 at 11:35 PM

          I’ve always thought that perhaps there was an attempt to smother Robert, but it proved to difficult so another means of killing him was used.

          Or, alternatively, perhaps he was stabbed but still alive, so someone smothered him to finish the act.

        • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 3:01 AM

          I would be surprised if choroforming caused that kind of trauma.

          • ramknts on 05/21/2010 at 1:24 PM

            His blood pressure would have been significantly reduced upon stabbing and have made it near impossible to produce petechiae at that point. Also, if he was smothered to death, his carboxyhemoglobin levels would have been much higher, regardless of the blood loss.

    • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 1:15 AM

      Interesting post VA Librarian – but one thing may be off. While it’s been repeated here that Dylan had a “thing” for Asian men, we’ve never found anyone who says that that’s true. It was presumed because he traveled to/lived in Asian countries for periods of time (to study massage, to teach English).

      We’re all just guessing as to who did what (and perhaps these three will be exonerated), and my opinion is the same as yours as to Zaborsky, but Price to me seems to be the leader of the trio in nearly every aspect – and clearly if Ward HAD been the “instigator” why Price hadn’t stopped other(s) from murdering his friend of nearly two decades is likewise extraordinarily strange.

      • Bill 2 on 05/21/2010 at 9:39 AM

        It seems I read something in mid-April that Joe had developed a “thing” for a young Asian man. Did I read that here or in the Post? It said that Joe was trying to get an Asian dancer from one of the gay bars to come home with him and that it was in the weeks before the time of the murder. Could he have been frustrated over that Asian dancer’s refusal and decided to try for another Asian by use of drugs, etc.?

    • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 1:36 AM

      Um…yeah, Dylan was a dom who HIGHLIGHTED passages in BDSM manuals so he could do the best possible job of frosting Joe Price’s cupcake. That’s an awful lot of worrying about pleasing the sub for a a dyed-in-the-wool dominant.

      Dylan may have been the dom, but Joe Price was the boss. Even his lawyer called him an “initiator” in his opening statements.

      • VA Librarian on 05/21/2010 at 8:11 AM

        Sounds like the Bossy Bottom scenario.

        • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 8:18 AM

          In the manner of the younger Bush, Culuket was “the decider.”

  17. srb on 05/20/2010 at 11:32 PM

    If Robert had been stabbed on the bed, wouldn’t the blood have seeped into the mattress? Pullout sofa beds have notoriously thin mattresses, in my experience, which would make it even more likely that the mattress would have been soaked. So, if it was just a matter of changing the sheets, the mattress should still have had a lot of blood on it. Was there?

    I’m not convinced by the theory that he was stabbed in the shower because I think that he would have had to been lying down at the time in order to inflict the wounds that are described as perfect knife slits, and most showers are not big enough to allow a 5′ 4″ to lie down in.

    Building on some of the theories that have been raised on here, could it be possible that the culprits had Robert on the floor, maybe on a blanket or tarp, ready for disposal, but then decided (or were compelled by interruption of their plan by a scream from a resident or for some other reason) to move him onto the bed? That would give enough time for the blood to soak into the back of the t-shirt but not into the sheets. And if an unceremonious disposal of the body in a manner suggestive of a street crime was the original plan, it is possible that Price was still in that mindframe when he mentioned the person who lives in the alley, the crack house across the street, etc. etc.

    • AnnaZed on 05/20/2010 at 11:36 PM

      In a word, yes.

      I also think that any well stocked BDSM inventory includes these things called playmats that are meant to keep all sort of fluids and things off of the carpets and are pretty much exactly what they sound like they are. There could well have been one used in the way that you describe on the floor then when Victor screamed they had no choice but to put Robert on the bed.

    • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 12:10 AM

      I think you’re getting warm.

      The first dose of dope was in Robert’s glass of water in the kitchen. The household later seemed strangely eager to draw specific attention to that “glass of water” they served Robert. As if taunting investigators to go check all of their glasses for drug traces. The household of course knowing full well that the offending glass was removed from the house along with the bloody knife, the bloody tarp, the bloody towels, the massage oil-covered and sexually stained bed sheets, the cleaning supplies, the cameras, the drugs, etc. that evening.

      The next doses to dope up Robert were on his guest room bed, as he was being massaged by Dylan and carefully injected by Joe. And at one point, chloroformed. And it was on that bed Robert was sexually abused and photographed while unconscious. And where his heart — at least in the minds of the household — seemed to have stopped beating.

      But Robert wasn’t stabbed on the bed. Likely on a tarp near the stairs. As the household concocted their new second plan of the evening to dispose of Robert’s body at some distant location with his death looking like the result of a violent robbery.

      “The scream” caused them to quickly create a third plan for the evening. Creating the Intruder Theory, returning Robert to his tidy remade-up bed, cleaning everything up, and getting the evidence out of the house.

      • dcce on 05/21/2010 at 10:46 AM

        It seems like there’s no reason to believe they all had a glass of water–this is just from the housemates’ statements, right? I’m not sure why they would tell the police about a glass of water that was drugged. It seems made up to add a slightly social component to the sleepover–it would be odd if Wone got there and they just said there’s the bed, so they invented a ceremonious glass of water in the kitchen.

        Has anyone thought the needle marks could be from extracting blood rather than injection? That this could be the reason the blood wasn’t found–because someone, perhaps a fledgling phlebotomist, carted it away?

        I may be repeating things that have already been pointed to, so apologies if that’s the case.

        • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 11:05 AM

          Actually, it’s been said that they planned on catching up in the morning over breakfast. Joe was going to discuss a business proposition with Robert (RFA IP work going to Arent Fox). Apparently, the RFA work was going to go elsewhere. (Did Joe get mad about that?)

          Personally, I think it’s completely reasonable to arrive at a friend’s house late (after a long day of travel/work), share a few moments and then off to bed. I’ve done it.

  18. Themis on 05/20/2010 at 11:55 PM

    I’m a defense attorney. I have no problem holding the prosecution to its burden of proof and sleep just fine at night. We have an adversarial system of justice, even in criminal cases. It only works if the accused has vigorous representation by counsel who leaves the issue of guilt to the factfinder. That’s defense counsel’s job. The prosecution’s job is to see that justice is done and obtained in a lawful manner.

    • ski on 05/23/2010 at 10:57 PM

      Have you ever mounted a defense for someone who you knew for a fact to be guilty of the crime he/she was charged with?
      If so, have you won such a case?
      If so, do you feel good about it?

      • levelhead on 05/25/2010 at 3:53 PM

        As someone who had a career as a federal investigator and who now works as a consultant to defense attorneys (and I am a Georgetown law grad as well), I can appreciate why you are skeptical of a defense attorney’s motives or morals in defending someone he knows to be guilty. However, as Themis and others have pointed out, there is no “justice system” without the vigorous representation of defendants, even those whose defense teams know them to be guilty (though “knowing” is itself a murky concept).

        The idea is not that the defense “tricks” the judge or jury into believing a guilty person innocent, or using legal sleight of hand to distract or deflect the jury’s attention; rather, the idea is that the defense has a duty to point out problems with the prosecution’s case so that the trier of fact can make an informed decision. As a former special agent, I feel especially strong about the defense’s duty to call the police to account for their activities, evidence handling, interviews, etc., and how thorough they were or were not.

        As much as I dislike criminals, I know I would hate the idea of a rigged and partial “justice system” even more. There is, in fact, a great degree of pride that goes along with working on a defense team with integrity and principle. It lifts up the entire system. And, usually, the guilty get convicted. I have a great deal of confidence in our system–not that the guilty always get convicted, and only the guilty….but that if a guilty person is convicted it was because the trier of fact believed beyone a reasonable doubt, and if a person is found innocent, it was because the trier of fact did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt in his guilt. That’s the way it is supposed to work.

  19. John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 12:31 AM

    From what we now know about Joe, his altcom posting, Culuket, etc., isn’t it remarkable that absolutely no drugs — only traces of drug — were found in his house?

    Clearly, some things — maybe a lot of things — were removed from their house before the police arrived that evening.

    • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 1:06 AM

      They found only a tab of Ecstasy – the dogs identified spots were drugs may have been kept, but only the Ecstasy remained to be found.

      While I am guessing the weapon and clean-up materials have long been disposed of, I imagine that the drugs were shuffled off to a new user. I just hope that all the camera equipment and footage were disposed of – unless it’s identified and given to authorities in time to make use of it.

      • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 1:21 AM

        Bea, I must have missed that. I thought they only found traces of drugs. But the discovery of just one lone solitary tab of E (after everything else was cleaned out) in that sex-partying household tells its own manipulative psychopath cover-up story.

        • prtyboydc on 05/21/2010 at 1:29 AM

          How? Do you have any idea how many gay households you’d likely find ecstasy or other party drugs in? Even the sex/drug scenario is in no way a indication of psychopathic behavior. PNP is quite common in the gay community (Party and Play).

          • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 1:39 AM

            That’s exactly my point Party Boy. In how many gay households in Dupont with huge S&M toy inventories, altcom profiles, threeway relationships, Crew Club memberships, etc., would you expect to find just ONLY ONE lonely solitary tab of E?

            • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 1:41 AM

              Especially when your profile name ends with the letters “ket”

              • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 1:49 AM

                Joe liked ketchup? Kettles of fish? Or perhaps it was ketamine? Not sure which they’re all using for PNP in DC these days.

                • prtyboydc on 05/21/2010 at 1:57 AM

                  Ketamine is not a sexually stimulating drug. It is generally dried to a powder and inhaled. In order to render a subject unconscious it would need to be injected. But and OD of ketamine would also likely produce vomiting.

                  • whodoneit on 05/21/2010 at 10:55 AM

                    Is it likely to induce vomiting if injected rather than inhaled? Maybe there had been vomiting and that is another possible reason for why they felt the need to clean up the crime scene. What did the autopsy show about the contents of Robert’s stomach?

                    • James on 05/21/2010 at 6:13 PM

                      contents of his stomach showed food

            • prtyboydc on 05/21/2010 at 1:53 AM

              Well,sometimes it’s hard to find. Maybe supply was low in DC that week? In seriousness, while I think it wouldn’t have been surprising to find more, I don’t think it’s that unusual to only find one. Most partying gay men don’t keep large stashes of drugs on hand–they use them.

              • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 2:06 AM

                You might be right. The household might have completely exhausted their entire stock of K, E and whatever that evening.

                Save for one lonely solitary tab.

                • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 8:26 AM

                  And, they were too busy exercising and showering to care.

                • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 10:58 AM

                  alpahbet soup, as a drug counselor friend of mine used to say. if you go in a K-hole, you take E to get out.

                  • prtyboydc on 05/21/2010 at 2:34 PM

                    Uh, no you don’t. E is the last thing you’d take. A bump of meth or, even better, a spoonful of sugar get you out of a k-hole.

          • Bill 2 on 05/21/2010 at 10:03 AM

            PnP is quite common in some segments of the gay community but there are segments of the gay community where there are no drugs present. Please don’t paint us all with your brush. When I lived in DC, our household of four all worked where we could be called in for drug testing at any time. We were aware of many other gay households where there were no drugs. Dealing with DADT was bad enough without having to worry about drug testing.

            OTOH, it seems totally out of character for the Swann St. residents to have a household nearly free of any type of drugs.

            • Ana Falbeto on 05/21/2010 at 12:09 PM

              Regarding the theorized drug use by the defendants, did any of the EMTs or police officers on the scene make any mention or note of any of the defendants appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol that night?

              Did any of the detectives who interrogated them for hours afterward make any mention or note of any one of them seeming to be in an altered chemical state?

              If a police officer or a detective had reasonable drug use suspicions about one of the defendants (recently arrived from a murder scene), would the police have been able to get a warrant for a blood test? Or would they have had to charge one the defendants with something, thereby losing the right to interrogate them as witnesses instead of suspects? (It’s pretty clear to me from the interrogation transcripts that the police WERE focusing in on them as suspects.)

              Did the police have to make this decision–to lose potential evidence of drug use (contemporaneous to a murder)?

              Or is it that not one of the EMTs, police officers or detectives noticed anything about the defendants’ affect that suggested drug use, and all this talk about drug use is just internet speculation.

    • NM on 05/21/2010 at 9:55 AM

      Good point. The absence of drugs and the absence of photographic equipment go (or went) hand-in -hand.

      No need to imagine them scurrying around at the last minute, either, to rid the house of such items – they could have gotten rid of all but the “essentials” in anticipation of the crime.

  20. MDYD on 05/21/2010 at 12:36 AM

    Can someone shed some light on this fact (it may have been covered and I missed it)… in the autopsy, the ME described the stab wounds as being at 10 and 4 with the blunt side at 4 and the blade end at 10 o’clock. If you were facing a person, why would you turn the knife upside down to attack them? Has it been explained whether Robert was stabbed from behind (reaching across his shoulders)?

    • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 9:39 AM

      I also thought that the stab wounds appeared very straight and accurate. My thoughts are that if someone is going to be stabbed, all the knife wounds would not seem so deliberate. I’m thinking that RW had to be incapacitated completely for there to be no defensive wounds at all as well as three very consistent stab wounds.

  21. tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 12:40 AM

    The prosecution witnesses are too rehersed, and I’m sure the judge is familiar with how they are manipulated by prosecutors. In the past 4 years these witnesses have been “interviewed” for many hours each many times, convinced they are helping convict “bad” people, and practiced on what the exact words are they will say. With the unlimited resources federal prosecutors have this is why they say they can convict a ham sandwich and 90 something % are convicted. Guilt or innocence matters nada, just whether a person is a “target”.

    The testimony from the neighbor that the scream was not close to 11:35 the end of the newscast but in the middle is too contrived. The sudden 4 missing liters of blood is too precise. The “slight suffocation” indices are too bizarre as is the policeman’s sudden conviction that Price was trying to shut Ward up. Sometimes in making a case things can just be too practiced.

    Closing a case is all that matters to a prosecutor and once they were convinced early on that it was obvious any gay man would naturally want to rape any straight man that was the case that had to be made and searches for any other killer were stopped. They kept on Gary Conduit murdering Chandra Levy long after it was impossible and finally after years admitted it was the man who had murdered other women in the same spot. In the meantime killers walk the streets.

    • John Grisham on 05/21/2010 at 12:49 AM

      I don’t know if the prosecution’s witnesses are rehersed. I do know, however, most of the defense’s witnesses are royally paid.

      • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 1:02 AM

        Well said, John.

        Tasso, so the neighbors have what to gain by their “contrived” testimony that has held up for four years? And every one of the EMT personnel and cops – all are willing to say whatever the prosecutor wants? And what about that 4 liters of blood – are you suggesting cops or EMTs or medical personnel disposed of it or simply forgot to measure/drain some?

        Undoubtedly there are sometimes police abuses, but if you’ve read all the reports and the defendants’ interrogations, that would be one colossal undertaking to “frame” these guys – and because they’re gay? In DC where there is a thriving gay community and many favorable gay rights protections?

        I couldn’t figure out until today just why the high-powered defense counsel wanted a bench trial – sure seems to me it’s because Joe Price pointed a (racist) finger at the anonymous “black guy who lives in the alley” and a jury (of any race) wouldn’t warm up to that very well. He tried to make less of it during his interrogation but the undercurrent is still present. I think it’s interesting how you see these guys as “targets”.

        What do you think happened that night?

        • Hoya Loya on 05/21/2010 at 9:26 AM

          We have not ignored the possibility. It is an empty theory that doesn’t fit any known facts. We have examined it at length. There are no reports from anyone that Robert was on the DL and no evidence in his email or odd phonce calls re: arrangements being made. No evidence at all that he was anything less than honest and loyal with Kathy or anyone else. No indication that the trouple, who knew Kathy, would assist Robert in cheating on her. No indication, given Robert’s character, that he would secretly invite a random stranger into a home where he was a guest.

          There simply is no motive for the trouple to cover up for a random trick or protect Robert’s reputation in some misguided sense of anitquated chivalry rather then track down the killer of their friend, especially now that they are facing serious charges. It would have been tough on Kathy to find out, but even then she surely would prefer that the killer be brought to justice rather than go free.

          Your theory might shed doubt but none of it reasonable.

          • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 10:04 AM

            First, blame it on Dyl. Then, implicate the victim in his own murder. The trouble: no one “is buying” these feints, Joe.

            On tricks, I think that Mr. Price and Mr. Ward had great difficulties in procuring willing gentleman callers for their special kind of shenanigans — that is in part why Robert’s planned visit posed all kinds of possibilities for mischief. From most accounts, Price and Ward clearly were/are not choosy when it came to having encounters of an intimate kind, but they were probably frustrated by the lack of interest shown — a lack of interest that has only grown after the murder, probably.

          • whoa! on 05/21/2010 at 12:03 PM

            You have just described what it means to be on the down low. It is a secret lifestyle, so of course there isn’t any “evidence.” Guys who do engage in that type of behavior become expert at covering their tracks.

            As to the three defendants’ motive in cleaning up the crime scene, perhaps they helped arrange the trick and that explains their actions. Who knows.

            But as to the killing itself, no one has ever identified a possible motive on their part. Why would they kill their freind? If you know of an explanation, I would like to hear it.

            • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 2:18 PM

              Thrill for kill murders can happen, even in this zip code. Also, jealousy, rebuffed sexual attraction, drug-impaired judgments, and pure Bacchanalian pursuit of the impermissible may have been motivators for the “initiator” and his minion(s).

        • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 10:02 AM

          Whoa! I agree with you. Yes there is no evidence that RW was on the DL but history has shown that many people live very secret lives for many years without people finding out. The thing that really bothers me about RW being raped is that semen was found. I’m not a man but can a man ejaculate if being raped and would this event happen if someone was paralyzed? Either way, these men are responsible for his death no matter what happened before the stabbing. RW dies because of the knife wounds and I am 100% sure that the trouple attempted to conceal and confuse the police. This whole story is just so tragic and I am saddened that the most time these men will face is 38 years if found guilty. That is not justice to me.

          • Hoya Loya on 05/21/2010 at 1:09 PM

            When someone on the DL is murdered in connection with a trick, not only does the murder posthumously out them, but usually there will follow a flow of information from others who had encounters with the person, confirming that this was not a one-off.

            A famous case was the partner at Cravath who was murdered by a hustler in a Bronx motel. Afterwards, it was revealed that he had been a regular at a gay cinema (which he had been instrumental in closing once Cravath opted to move into the “Death Star” (Worldwide Plaza) next door). Another example was George Webber, the WABC radio newsman who was also murdered by a trick — more stories came out after the fact.

            The dearth of such information about Robert in the almost four years since his murder is notable. Surely someone would have come forward if it would aid the investigation.

            • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 3:55 PM

              I agree you make a good case. I really am on the fence about this whole thing. I guess that I am trying to do the impossible- try and understand why a good, rational human being would do this to another person? I can honestly say that had an intruder done this, that truth would be easier to accept than this horrifying tale.

              • Hoya Loya on 05/21/2010 at 4:26 PM

                I agree — it is why I find this case so compelling. I would be relieved to learn that it was all done by someone else.

        • Just Another Friend on 05/21/2010 at 10:09 AM

          Whoa,
          Why are the three defendants protecting the trick?

          • whoa! on 05/21/2010 at 12:06 PM

            Because they may have helped set it up and one or more may have participated in the play.

            • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 2:12 PM

              So, why risk it all for a stranger’s benefit? That makes even less sense than the Intruder Theory, whoa!

        • NM on 05/21/2010 at 10:25 AM

          Anti-LGBT sentiment did not murder Robert Wone. Nor is there any indication whatsoever that he would have asked a friend to set up a high-risk encounter (read: that he asked for it). Nor would Price be so committed to protecting Robert’s post-mortem reputation as a straight man that he’d be willing to create new reputations as murderers for the still-living Zaborsky and Ward, not to mention himself.

          What I find more plausible is the possibility that you are trying to integrate your own friendship or association with one or more of the defendants with your sense of yourself as a person who believes in justice. Good luck with that.

          • whoa! on 05/21/2010 at 12:13 PM

            NM,

            They are not accused of murder by the Government, only by the commenters on this website. And there may be anti-gay bias present. The fatc that no one here agrees doesn’t mean that it isn’t a factor.

            I don’t know any of the characters in this trial and am agnostic as to the outcome. I don’t care about justice. I only want an answer to the question posed by this website, which none of us may ever get.

            • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 2:23 PM

              “I don’t care about justice.” Yes, that is the
              sentiment was upon which Culuket was banking. Too bad, s/he never saw this freight train of a blog coming, launched and supported by “his own people.” Pity!

              • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 2:24 PM

                Oops, delete the first “was” in the second sentence above. Thanks!

    • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 1:39 AM

      What newscast ends at 11:35?

      And even 11:35 would put at least a ten minute delay in calling 911, which still grossly conflicts with the defendant’s confabulations.

    • Carolina on 05/21/2010 at 9:59 AM

      They didn’t find Chandra in Condit’s bedroom, for one. For another, the defense has more money and more time to practice their witness testimony.

      And don’t forget the ME saying that everyone wants her to state that a certain knife was used, and that she simply could not.

      As for motive, the fact remains that a man was stabbed and died. Motive for a stranger or motive for those who knew them– which seems more likely? Remember, it doesn’t need to be a GOOD motive. Many, many killings appear motiveless, and unless circumstances are exactly right, they’re never solved just for that reason.

      You don’t appear to be bringing anything to the table except a problem with those you see as authority figures, and a willful ignorance of defense strategies that are often no more than twisting truths to cast doubt. That’s their job, just as the prosecution has theirs.

    • BadShoes on 05/21/2010 at 10:25 AM

      IMHO, the prosecution’s case has nothing to do with sex. We don’t know what happened between 10:22pm, when Mr. Wone ‘phoned from RFA, and and 11:49pm, when EMTs found Mr. Wone stabbed to death. There is universal agreement, though, that Mr. Wone was murdered.

      The prosecution will contend that the physical evidence (above all the missing blood) is grossly inconsistent with the defendant’s account. They will further argue the physical evidence shows a deliberate attempt to alter the crime scene that could only have been undertaken by one or more of the defendants. I expect that the prosecution will further attempt to demonstrate that each defendant made one or more demonstrably false statements to the police in an attempt to mislead.

      The defense will attempt to show that the inconsistencies aren’t real, or are artifacts created by the authorities’ incompetence or malice. They will contend that any allegedly false statements are a) not false, or b) inadvertent; or c) not made with any intent to impede the investigation.

      It seems to me that the defendants sexual preferences and living arrangements are as irrelevant to the questions before the court as the defendants’ taste in decorative pottery.

      In fact, the question of who did what to whom and why, is, at most, a detail. There is absolutely nothing that Robert could possibly have done or not done that justified a knife in the chest. The wounds described by the medical examminer were no accident, no game gone wrong. Someone had to decide to kill Robert Wone, and exert strength, precision, and persistence in that effort.

      We humans hunger for stories. We try to understand people’s behavior in terms of narratives in which people’s character defines their actions, and their actions have consequences. When we hear about the murder of Robert Wone, we seek to understand that event in terms of a narrative that explains how and why he died. We try to construct narratives that fit the known facts and our understanding of the character of the participants.

      But real life is more bizarre, chaotic, and random than the narratives we like to construct. The metropolitan police department investigates senseless killings every week, with kids getting shot for a pair of runnning shoes. Solzhenitsyn wrote: “the line between good and evil cuts through every human heart.” We are all capable of doing more good and more evil than we imagine.

      Only a small number of people know exactly what happened to Robert Wone and why. Maybe only one person. Nobody is talking and probably no one will. We will probably never really know what happened or why.

      But that won’t stop Judge Liebowitz from reaching a verdict on conspiracy and obstruction, based on the evidence presented to her.

      • plumskiter on 05/21/2010 at 10:32 AM

        great, succinct analysis, and beautifully written to boot.

        • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 10:40 AM

          Bravo, BadShoes. Anyone who quotes Solzhenitsyn appropriately has the keys to my heart, both the good and evil sides of it.

  22. Bea on 05/21/2010 at 1:46 AM

    Several have mentioned that today’s testimony explains why the defendants chose the bench trial instead of a jury trial (and I’m one of them). In retrospect, I’m sure losing that Motion to keep Weisburg on the case was indeed considered a major loss – the defense counsel have long known about Joe’s statement which could/would likely be perceived as racist and would have been contemplating a bench trial for “at least a year” as Bernie said.

    Long-winded beginning to my question. With the testimony thus far, especially the blood volume and Joe’s stink eye to Dylan for blowing the ‘we heard a chime’ line – in addition to all the other things which we’ve long known don’t add up and would be hard to explain – am I alone in thinking that there is an increasingly good chance that the defendants will testify?

    If Judge Leibovitz is catching all this (and I’m sure she is), and unless the defense’s experts can do a bang-up job of discrediting, well, nearly everything quantifiable, we may be headed to the area where the only real chance is for the defendants to convince her that they’re “victims themselves” and that it was a terrible cluster F of coincidences?

    I realize I’m seeing most things through a prosecution viewpoint since we’ve only heard prosecution witnesses but the defense has only experts and possibly some character witnesses. Who can testify about what happened if not the defendants?

    Hoya and I have gone back and forth – one good point he’s made is that at least the interrogation transcripts provide for some notion of a plausible ’story’ – but if this continues, a plausible yet unconvincing string of ‘uh’ and ‘like’ and ‘I don’t knows’ really won’t have anyone shaking their head in agreement. Those transcripts are already called into question by inconsistencies (the 911 tape, what officers SAID they did/said). Would you ‘rest’ comfortably on them NOW?

    And will Joe be able to NOT take the stand? In all fairness to the defendants, even though it cannot be held against them for NOT testifying, if I am any of them and I DID NOT MURDER ROBERT and I DID NOT CONSPIRE/TAMPER, then I would WANT to testify whether Bernie told me not to or not. And as a lawyer, I’d know it’s against all advice except the very personal desire to set the record straight.

    With Kathy Wone’s testimony about Joe’s acting out the three stabbing motions with sound effects in mind, my mind is reeling, as I’m sure the defense counsel and defendants well understand that that was powerful. If the evidence comes in as expected, and there are no major gaffes/smoking guns pointing away from the defendants (realizing that gaffes may well occur, and in a major way given what has transpired with the investigation), what’s left? After Torchinsky says Joe called to discuss what Kathy told the cops even BEFORE the funeral, and presumably that Tara Ragone (from the Washingtonian article – old W&M pal) reads Joe’s email that the trio is in a Catch-22 because if they tell all they know someone might be arrested – what left of that story painted by their transcripts is still plausible?

    Will they testify? I am guessing yes, whether guilty of these charges or not. Here’s the kicker though – if one/more are guilty of murder, maybe that person(s) leave the testifying to the non-murderer?

    Sorry if I should have gone to bed BEFORE I typed this!

    • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 7:27 AM

      Great post, as always, Bea. From the court and other documents, to me, Culuket is and has been his own worst enemy: his east Texas roots showing with the casual racism, his control issues with the glare to little Dyl, and, of course, that dreadful email with the astonishing reference to Catch 22. His Confederate ancestors may have stood a better chance with a DC jury than he would have, but let’s hope that HE thinks he can hoodwink Lynn. After he testifies, it will be “that’s all, folks” for the defense.

    • Bill Orange on 05/21/2010 at 8:57 AM

      I suspect that Joe will insist on testifying. I think Dylan and Victor probably won’t. Their lawyers are going to say that, unless you can take the stand and tell a damn good story, you shouldn’t take the stand. Dylan and Victor will likely listen to their attorneys, and Joe will likely not.

      Of course, there’s always the chance that their lawyers may tell them that they’re pretty much toast already, so they might as well take the stand.

      In any case, I don’t see how Joe or Dylan would survive a cross-examination. The defense can keep the BDSM gear out if neither of them testify. But if they take the stand, then that stuff’s almost certainly going to come in. I think Victor could survive the general character questions, but he won’t be able to explain the gap in calling 911, which is really the key piece of evidence that implicates him right now.

      • Carolina on 05/21/2010 at 10:03 AM

        Absolutely agree on all points. Well put.

      • whodoneit on 05/21/2010 at 11:18 AM

        I don’t see how at least some of the BDSM gear stays out. Defendants claim Robert had a drink of water, took a shower, went to bed and then was murdered by an intruder in the guest bed. The fact that his own semen was found in his rectum and an implement that could stimulate ejaculation from an anesthetized person was found in Dylan’s room sure makes at least that implement highly probative. The defense tried to keep out the needle marks and the judge wasn’t buying it. I say the BDSM stuff all comes in. That to me is the primary reason they went with a bench trial; the blame it on the black guy in the alley is just minor compared to that.

    • Daphne on 05/21/2010 at 10:42 AM

      I’d be very surprised if any of the defendants take the stand, at least, if they listen to their lawyers.

  23. BlondeAnon on 05/21/2010 at 1:46 AM

    I haven’t posted in a while, but have been following the blog. Great job editors!

    I can only hope, as the evidence is piled on, that Victor will crack and finally take a deal. I was happy to hear he cried when they played his 911 call. I too think he was not involved in the murder, but has participated in the coverup. I think he has been blocking a lot of stuff out b/c of his love for Joe. Now that he is forced to sit there and listen and see all of the evidence, he may have a change of heart. Is he really willing to go to prison for Joe? We will see.

  24. tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:01 AM

    The hospital witness said Wone was “unzipped” from a bag but he wasn’t transported by the coroner but in an ambulance to emergency. Whatever amount of blood was “missing” could surely have come out in the ambulance or emergency before the autopsy. The “missing blood” is too contrived.

    In the very first interrogation of Price the detective said it was Wone’s “Come to Jesus” moment- give up sex or else and that’s been the basic theory all along.

    No gay defendant would ever survive a jury trial in DC and that’s common knowledge.

    I’ll guarantee the witnesses were shown the sexual toys found and Price’s web presence to evoke disgust. That’s the normal procedure to motivate a prosecution witness.

    Gays may be moving into DC but the detectives and police don’t live here, especially not in gay neighborhoods. Most live in extremely right wing areas and as with Mark Forman many are Aryan Brotherhood and extremely right wing types. US Attorneys are seldom from even this area and most are Bush holdovers who were often chosen because of their graduation from right wing religious schools.

    The Innocence Project has proven that about 65% of inmates in the most serious crimes were innocent. That’s appalling.

    Either you accept that gay men all uncontrollably want sex with straight men as an given assumption or the whole theory/motive falls apart.

    If someone else murdered Wone (and I think that’s the case) we’ll unfortunately probably never know because the police and prosecutors from the first day have made this case the one they have to prove.

    • Nelly N. Drew on 05/21/2010 at 3:50 AM

      tassojunior, I seriously think you are the first person I have ever encountered who has a working familiarity with this case and who also thinks that someone other than the trio (with the possible exception of Michael Price working with them) murdered Wone.

      And I think you are dead wrong.

      • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 8:45 AM

        Hi Nelly. I don’t think it sounds like tassojunior has any “working familiarity” with the case. Sounds like conjecture on tassoj’s part about the body bag.

    • Mush on 05/21/2010 at 5:24 AM

      Even if the Innocence Project has found 65% of their cases to be innocent, there’s a selection bias there– they only take on the most compelling cases. In addition, they usually take on cases with poor people who have had miscarriages of justice due to an incompetent defense. I suspect that miscarriages of justice occur the opposite way with well-funded defenses.

      Screaming “bias!” is a great way to deflect from the facts. Do you think that all the posters here, many of whom are gay, believe your premise? No way, but they still think they’re guilty.

      • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 8:16 AM

        I can safely predict that the Innocence Project was not formed with making the comfortable world of Culuket more comfortable in mind.

        Tasso, openly gay men live everywhere now, no longer restricted to gentrified ghettoes in the inner city. In this century, the detectives and police probably know and respect openly gay men as colleagues, neighbors, etc. And I do not see Lynn speaking at Regent or Liberty University in the near future. Thus, homophobic bias, while always present, is mere background noise compared to the chimes, 911 call, and the defendants’ own voices in their Anacostia dialogues.

        • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 9:07 AM

          Hi Whoa, thanks for your thoughtful critique, but I do know all too well about the effects of homophobic bias, living in human form as an openly gay man in a Virginian city. In this case and I meant in this case, homophobic bias is background noise compared to the much more salient pieces of evidence, both visual and auditory, pointing to the guilt of one or more of the defendants. Hope that helps. XO, Clio.

        • Ivan on 05/21/2010 at 9:19 AM

          What is “Culuket”?

          • Clio on 05/21/2010 at 9:32 AM

            The Editors early on derived its probable meaning, but, to me, Culuket may be equated with the modern-day Mr. Hyde of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personas presented by Mr. Price to the world. Just google it, and you’ll find alt dot com ad, among other interesting tidbits. Enjoy!!

          • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 4:12 PM

            Joe Price’s profile name on alt.com.

            Culo = ass
            Ket= ketamine

          • Bill 2 on 05/21/2010 at 4:53 PM

            Using Culuket and ma’am lets the newbies know an “insider” is posting a message. I guess we need a special page for insider translations so new folks can get a clear view of who’s who. And don’t forget to add that our buddy the Judge, is “Lynn.”

            • AnnaZed on 05/21/2010 at 4:58 PM

              Point taken Bill, I am most definitely guilty of calling Victor “Ma’am.” (You think that’s still too clubby even after the 911 call being played?) and will (seriously) try to make comments that would make sense to new readers of the blog. Oh, and for the record, I would never dream of calling Judge Leibovitz “Lynn.”

    • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 8:48 AM

      Tasso says: “Whatever amount of blood was “missing” could surely have come out in the ambulance or emergency before the autopsy.”

      Robert was no longer alive when he was transported to the hospital. Not likely there was blood spillage. Besides, it would certainly have been recalled by the EMTs if 4 liters of blood had spilled in the vehicle. 4 liters of blood is A LOT of blood.

      As Bea pointed out….have you ever spilled a cup of liquid on the floor? Knocked over your drink? Imagine a gallon of blood on the floor of an ambulance. They would have been wading in blood.

    • cinnamon on 05/21/2010 at 9:23 AM

      You say “If someone else murdered Wone (and I think that’s the case) we’ll unfortunately probably never know”

      Someone else may have murdered Robert but this isn’t a murder case, it’s a conspiracy case. I’m not sure how anyone could reasonably conclude after looking at all of the evidence that the defendants don’t know more than they are telling.

    • interestedobserver on 05/21/2010 at 9:57 AM

      tassojunior: You know nothing and cite nothing to support your baseless propositions. You claim that the “detectives and police don’t live here.” Where do they live? Do you even know? If you don’t, then shut up.
      You claim that “most live in extremely right wing areas … many are Aryan Brotherhood.” Which “right wing areas” of the DC metropolitan area are you referring to? Do you even know? Which police officer involved in this case is a member of the “Aryan Brotherhood.” Identify them? If not, stop making your ridiculous generalizations.
      You claim that US Attorneys are “Bush holdovers” and graudated from “right wing religious schools.”
      Who are you referring to? Do you even know. The US Attorney for DC is Ronald Machen. The USA is an Obama appointee and he’s a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School. These are not “right wing religious schools.”
      You have no credibility at all.

    • Carolina on 05/21/2010 at 10:08 AM

      You’re seeing extremes and that’s ridiculous. You know as well as I that being gay doesn’t mean you’re lusting after straight men 24 hours a day and would drug them to get what you want.

      It also doesn’t mean that an individual gay man is not capable of doing exactly that.

      As I asked earlier, why would a stranger do this? Just a random, off the street guy decides to find an unlocked door, go upstairs, choose a room quickly and at random, and stab the inhabitant with a knife from the kitchen, then soundlessly make a retreat? Really? You buy that?

    • Clemypooh on 05/21/2010 at 10:23 AM

      How can you seriously say that the blood spilled out in the ambulance and would have been missed by the paramedics? The autopsy proved that RW was alive when he was stabbed and that the blood that leaked into his stomach started to get digested which means that he did not die instantly. Those wounds next to his artery would have pumped the blood out. The bed, floor, bath tub, whatever would have been soaked and covered. There would have been no way to miss that huge mess. 4 Liters is a huge amount of blood. The only explanation is a clean-up.

    • plumskiter on 05/21/2010 at 10:25 AM

      tasso, what is the source of your information about how prosecutors prepare witnesses?

    • Jo on 05/21/2010 at 4:25 PM

      Wone had no pulse and had stopped bleeding (based on the fact that there’s little blood on his body and at the scene) when EMT arrived. Unless EMT and hospital staff purposefully drained blood from his body, there was no way he could have lost all that blood in the ambulance or in the ER.

      Given the unusual crime scene and the unbelievable story of an intruder, it’s reasonable for detectives to suspect the three defendants from the start whether they were gay or not.

      No one is saying that “gay men ALL uncontrollably want sex with straight men”. Please don’t automatically assume that when gay men are charged with a crime like this, they must be framed by the cops and witnesses. Just look at all of the evidence and try to be objective and rational.

  25. CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 8:40 AM

    I gleaned this little tidbit from a FoxNews report. The quotes are from our own Editor Craig…

    “In court, there was a clear reaction from partners Zaborsky and Price. Zaborsky turned away several times from the autopsy pictures.

    ‘I noticed he would put his eyes down. He would not take a look at them. Price on the other hand craned his neck. He was veering to see the photos,’ said Brownstein.”

  26. Sam on 05/21/2010 at 9:39 AM

    The amount of blood missing from Robert is truly horrific. And consider that Michael was training to be a phlebotomist? Also, there were three needle marks on Robert’s neck — the carotid artery, a major artery of the body, is in the neck. And then there were also needle marks on the foot and ankle. When my child was a baby, nurses would sometimes draw blood from his foot if it was too hard to get any other way. This is so creepy, but there are people with blood fetishes…

  27. srb on 05/21/2010 at 9:41 AM

    Has the defense witness list been posted on this website? I’d be interested to see how many fact witnesses, as opposed to expert witnesses, they have identified.

    • plumskiter on 05/21/2010 at 10:28 AM

      the parties do not have to supply or file witness lists and i do not think that either side has done so voluntarily.

  28. Cecily on 05/21/2010 at 10:15 AM

    Can someone tell me what time Robert emailed Joe to ask if he could stay the night? I could have sworn I saw this in testimony on the Day 1 wrap up but I can’t find it now.

    • Nelly on 05/21/2010 at 1:20 PM

      A couple of weeks before his stay. He had also asked another friend about spending the night, but Joe responded first.

  29. Clio on 05/21/2010 at 10:18 AM

    If Mr. Baker at 270 lbs. could have walked up the stairs of the sardine can, then certainly Miss Morgan could have done so. Who then weighs in at 213 lbs., the odd number used by the expert?

  30. Kate on 05/21/2010 at 11:30 AM

    Although I have been following this horrific and tragic case since August of 2006, I am new to this site, having first read of it in the Washington Post story of Monday, May 17. Many, many thanks to the Editors, dedicated contributors and friends of the Wone family.

    I’ve spent a good part of the week reading the important documents, transcripts, etc., provided here, including the links to broadcast reports. I have noticed variation in the pronunciation of the Wone name, often within the same report.

    Although it is a simple matter, it would be appropriate, and respectful, to know the preferred pronunciation. Does the family prefer “W-one” as in Stone, or “W-one” as in Gone?

    Many thanks to one and all here for your great work and warm welcome to us “newbies.” I would like to participate in the ongoing discussions, but feel I need to read everything before doing so. Your guidance on the pronunciation question, or anything else, is greatly appreciated.

    • Rox on 05/21/2010 at 11:56 AM

      Wone is pronounced like “wahn” (the “a” pronounced like the “a” in “father”).

      • Kate on 05/21/2010 at 1:29 PM

        Many thanks, Rox

  31. Cali on 05/21/2010 at 11:47 AM

    I think the answer is no, but I’ll ask it anyway. Did any of the defendants have their blood tested the night/morning of the murder?
    I believe “someone” was under the influence. imo

    Your reporting/website are fantastic. Reminds me of Courttv in the good ole days.

    Thank you very much.

  32. tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 12:54 PM

    interestedobserver- your rudeness is uncalled for. I’ll guarantee I have much more experience with local police and prosecutors as a neighbor, a lawyer, and a former member of the community police liaison than you would ever dream of. For years gay men in the neighborhood who were robbed have been immediately accused of probably “trying to hit” on their robbers. My own lover was murdered in a robbery in front of my house and for months I had to endure questioning as to whether he could have been “hitting” on the murderer. A gay CIA agent was murdered close by in front of many witnesses and no one was ever charged. When I asked the homocide detective for the area if it was because he was gay the response was “we never proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a homosexual”. From hundreds of conversations with police who did not know I was gay it became apparent over the years that homosexuality is viewed by them as a much greater crime than murder. The “white shirts” are notorious in MPD for their self-perpetuating promotions and most live in Woodbridge or Manassas in Virginia or in southern Maryland. They would never dream of living in liberal gay and AA infested areas. Machen may be the new US attorney but most of the attorneys are hold overs.

    The “come to Jesus” gay murderer theory was put forth by the interrogating detective immediately and no deviation from that theory has ever been considered. To put this square peg into a round hole this bizarre story that Wone was sexually assaulted after being sedated by needles then murdered with a knife, showered & re-clothed, and then blood was removed and a substitute knife placed has evolved. We’ve had plenty of home-intruder murders in the area that remain unsolved because they are too difficult to work. And prosecutors aren’t interested in simple murder cases but get their reputation from “proving” bizarre theories (convicting ham sandwiches).

    The resentment that gay men could sell and borrow everything they have to get a halfway decent defense team is just mean. The US Attorney’s office has hundreds of lawyers, has been working this case full time for four years to convict these men of anything they can, and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on this prosecution. What happens to the average person, especially ones with only court-appointed lawyers? We can’t call such an imbalance “justice”. And what happens to the community when hardened murderers roam the streets free?

    Personally I don’t think any of these three are hardened enough to swat a fly without being timid, much less stab a person to death. I can’t imagine that either Wone or the murderer didn’t make the scream the neighbor heard though the wall adjoining his sofabed. I’m very concerned that Wone’s cellphone could mysteriously “disappear” in prosecution custody. I doubt the whole needle-marks thing, if true, has any relation to the murder. I don’t see any point to replacing the weapon knife. And I think there was plenty of reasons Wone’s blood level was down to 2 liters before autopsy other than 4 liters being hidden. The FBI even tore the floorboards up in the house and finally backed down on claims they found any anywhere in the area or any traces of cleaning agents. The discernable timeline from Wone’s arrival to the police call is too tight for all this sexuality, sedation, murder and cover-up. The “timing” of the “scream” is a red herring that is too nebulous no matter how many years the prosecutor practiced and encouraged this testimony.

    I think that at the end of the prosecution’s case there will be a motion to dismiss and we’ll get an idea whether the judge thinks there may be any case under any stretch of the imagination. Another motion to dismiss will come later after the defense case starts.

    Hopefully after the prosecution’s bizarre conduct in the Chandra Levy debacle, another case will force scrutiny of why so many murders here are unsolved because of these far-fetched conspiracy theories, especially when gays or single women are involved.

    • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 1:29 PM

      “And I think there was plenty of reasons Wone’s blood level was down to 2 liters before autopsy other than 4 liters being hidden.”

      Well, where DID the blood go?

      • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:04 PM

        Where did the cellphone go? Where did the cleaning detergents go? Where did the drugs injected to sedate him go? Blood is a liquid that flows out and by the time an autopsy was done there were plenty of places it could have gone out at including the ambulance and the ER.

        Why weren’t there more fingerprints searched for? The lack of a through fingerprint search tells me the conclusion was drawn as soon as the house was entered and after four years that same theory is still being pushed.

        I understand medics are more used to grimy crime scenes but they seem to have been startled at how clean the entire house was. Obviously not seen “My Private Idaho” or they’d understand the clean compulsion some have (not me unfortunately). They also were shocked that Price was in his underwear in the room. The occupants in underwear and robes just makes me think this was not a thought-out coverup or that much time had elapsed.

        • Bill 2 on 05/21/2010 at 3:10 PM

          The occupants in underwear and robes just makes me think their blood-spattered clothes had been carried off with photo equipment, bloody towels, and bloody sheets just before the arrival of the ambulance.

      • Jo on 05/21/2010 at 5:26 PM

        The blood went down the drain would be my guess. That’s probably why the cadaver dog alerted to the smell of human blood at the patio drain (as well as the dryer’s lint trap).

        I think Robert was stabbed either in the bathtub or outside near the patio drain for easy cleanup. It would not be too difficult for two or more individuals to move an incapacitated person of relatively small built.

    • whodoneit on 05/21/2010 at 1:44 PM

      tassojr
      how do you explain that Robert’s own semen was found in his rectum?

      • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 3:20 PM

        How do you explain that no one else’s DNA was found?

        Whatever Wone’s personal hygiene and underwear was after a long day I can think of ways someone’s own DNA can travel a couple inches. If this was recovered then it shows that the body was not cleansed.

        And who puts a mouth guard back into a body?

        • cinnamon on 05/21/2010 at 3:48 PM

          “who puts a mouth guard back into a body?”

          someone who is trying to cover up a crime and make it look like the victim was in bed sleeping.

          They could have washed him and then opened his over night bag to dress him in the clothes that he brought to sleep in. They could have seen the mouthguard in the bag and put that in his mouth to further their claim that they all went to sleep. Not that hard to imagine, actually.

    • Hoya Loya on 05/21/2010 at 1:45 PM

      Tasso:

      The defendants were investigated because their friend was found stabbed to death in their home. They say they could not possibly have murdered their friend and that an intruder must have done the deed.

      Unfortunately, there was no evidence beyond the dead body, a few stray prints that may not be Victor’s and a door that was possibly left open to support the intruder story. The statements they gave to police, true or not, are (Joe admits) hard to believe. Thus the investigation focused on the defendants. Since the defendants are gay and the victim was a male, the gay angle had to be investigated. Whether it was investigated sensitively or properly is another question, as is whether their ultimate theory of the case is correct.

      At the trial, however, the question is whether the prosecution can prove the cover-up portion of the theory beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendants have some of the best defense lawyers in D.C. They can maintain there was an intruder to cast such doubt without having to offer any evidence of same so long as it is not too inconsistent with the facts in evidence (in fact, I think even I craft a fair summation for the defense on that basis). In addition, the idea that they will unfairly targeted to the exclusion of other possibilities is indeed being presented by the defense.

      The prosecution opted not to introduce any evidence of sexual assault or paralytics and the judge excluded S&M restraints. Everyone seems to agree that this judge is fair enough to make a just decision (including the defendants who opted for her over a jury) and the defendants will have the opportunity to appeal if they think she hasn’t. Whatever the merit of the charges, they are getting a fair shake at trial, as everyone deserves.

      • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:19 PM

        The sex toys were excluded from evidence but I’ll guarantee they were shown to potential witnesses to provoke disgust and reinforce witness motivation. That’s standard procedure.

        There’s no way I believe that any of the three wouldn’t turn over for a free pass when facing 38 years during the four years. I doubt either of them has a credible story on the others.

        Just as in the Chandra Levy case the federal prosecutors are determined to get something, anything, on their initial targets. What makes it even worse is the maximum sentence for actual murder in DC is 30 years while any minor “obstruction” here can get 38 years. This “obstruction” and “conspiracy” stuff is replacing real crime charges in America way too much. It effectively shifts the burden to proving innocence to the defendant, which is what this has become.

        • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 2:54 PM

          Unless you’re Gary Condit and have a reason for that particular obsession, let it go. And OJ was convicted because Mark Fuhrman was a racist who framed him – whoops, nope. Let’s see, Scott Peterson was framed because he had a mistress, and the Menendez Brothers were framed for – being Latino? Being rich?

          Funny how the card gets played. But it’s “my” card too yet I don’t want it tossed down to protect any guilty gay people.

          • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 3:15 PM

            The Chandra Levy murder was in the same neighborhood and the same US attorney’s office refused to believe anyone but but Conduit could have done it for years even when the evidence of true guilt was overwhelming. That and unsolved home intrusion murders in the neighborhood are a track record of this team.

    • anon on 05/21/2010 at 1:45 PM

      Tasso -

      I’m sorry you have had to endure such discrimination. But I think your past experiences have tainted your view of this case.

      Let’s put to the side the evidence of cleaning, loss of blood, sexual toys, etc. Let’s just focus on the intruder story for the moment. Apparently there is a 7 foot fence in the back and the dirt/pollen was untouched on top of the fence. So the intruder had to get in without scaling the fence. I think I saw someone mention that perhaps the intruder was crossing rooftops of the townhomes and broke in that way. So let’s say the intruder was doing that – saw the unlocked door and went in. The intruder then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and went into the room where Robert was staying (which was not the one facing the top of the stairs), stabbed him (which incapacitated him immediately so that he did not even move) and then ran away without taking anything. (I guess he went back on the rooftop since he could not have scaled the fence to leave).

      Now can you see why the police focused on the residents of the house? It could have been the Mother Theresa living there and I would have been suspicious of her. The story is so incredible – it makes the theories about sexual assault, sedation, etc. seem plausible – which is pretty amazing.

      • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:33 PM

        Since we won’t know whether Wone was in contact with anyone or even if he was truly alone we’ll never know. As for the unlocked door even after my experiences I routinely forget to lock doors because of the lull of apparent security in the neighborhood. Do we even know the back fence gate was locked? Being from Virginia Wone may very well have not locked the front door and someone may have followed him. Maybe he somehow slighted someone on the sidewalk. There are too many maybes.

        The “missing” blood just re-enforces my conclusion that the site examination was sloppy. Even if it had been mopped up it would have been in some cleaning utensil or rag. For many months the FBI tore the house up and I doubt they would have missed something containing a lot of blood.

        • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 2:45 PM

          Tasso says: “Being from Virginia Wone may very well have not locked the front door and someone may have followed him. Maybe he somehow slighted someone on the sidewalk. There are too many maybes.”

          So that means the defendants are guilty of the charges at hand. Correct?

          Considering the defendants said they let him in the house, showed him his room, and had a glass of water with the defendants. Which means if we go with your theory, the defendants are lying. That is obstruction of justice and conspiracy, at least.

          Why wouldn’t the defendants tell on this “trick?”

          • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:58 PM

            The defendants clearly talked to police too much. As a lawyer Price would have known this was a terrible mistake if he thought he had anything to hide or could in any way be suspected. That just re-enforces my thinking that until the “come to Jesus” interrogation he assumed reasonableness, which we all want to assume on a daily basis in our lives for personal comfort. Unfortunately the truth is not comforting.

            • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 3:00 PM

              How on earth do you conclude that they are telling the truth? Please, some facts about the night. . .

            • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 3:15 PM

              So, Tasso, they lied about having a glass of water with Robert? They lied about letting him in?

              That would mean they are guilty of the charges, correct?

              • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 3:28 PM

                By talking to police and admitting they let him in they clearly made an admission against their interest which is not the mark of anyone guilty. If they wanted to cover something they would have said Wone came in on his own and the front door was unlocked. Excluding this obvious possibility by admission is a mistake a guilty person of this intelligence would never make under any circumstance.

                • CDinDC on 05/21/2010 at 3:34 PM

                  Give it rest. I’m done with you.

                • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 3:50 PM

                  Okay, Tasso. Educate us about how they all three used the word “intruder”, why they all referenced “11:43″, why Victor told 911 that the door was unlocked even tho they all later agreed Dylan first noticed this when the cops had him sit on the sofa, why the knife doesn’t match the wounds, why Robert had no defensive wounds and didn’t even clutch his chest, why there was so little blood on/near his body, why Joe said there “was blood everywhere”, why the trio delayed 15-30 minutes to call 911, why Dylan upon seeing Robert’s body decided it was as good a time as any to sit down and later go into his room rather than help EMTs, why Joe told two people he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest, why the intruder cleaned the scene, how the knife found got “towel tracings” of blood on it, why Robert’s body appeared clean yet wiped leaving a trace of blood, how the ‘chime’ could be heard but no telltale clomping away from the scene was heard, why Joe raised the prospect of the ‘black man in the alley’, why Joe wanted Kathy to waive her atty-client privilege the day after the murder to match stories, why Joe emailed a friend that he couldn’t tell the cops ‘everything’ for fear of arrest . . . kind of hard to stop the list because there are SO many things.

                  I’m guessing that it was all the cops and EMTs and GW ER people and the ME in cahoots? The knife was tampered with by the EMT?

                  Seriously, why not use your intelligence to address facts (other than to call them ’speculation’ or ‘tampering’). Are there none in the list that just don’t sit right?

                  • TT on 05/21/2010 at 3:55 PM

                    Perfect

                  • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 4:55 PM

                    For every inconsistancy in the defendants’ case there’s many more in the prosecution’s. Sometimes you try and fit pieces of a puzzle together and halfway through realize it’s not your picture but just a mess. A sane person starts over and tries to make a clear picture. This demanding to make the puzzle fit in spite of the bizarre picture it’s making is counterproductive hard headedness. When all that matters is winning a case at any cost we all lose.

                    • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 5:05 PM

                      I don’t want the defendants convicted if not guilty. No way. But I don’t buy the intruder thing and because the defendants are now tight lipped, we have nothing to consider that would otherwise explain thing. Perhaps if they take the stand.

                      I’ve always said I’d love to be wrong. I hate the black eye the gay community will get IF the defendants murdered Robert.

        • MotherOfInvention on 05/21/2010 at 3:27 PM

          You forget to lock the doors because of the apparent security in the neighborhood, even though you claim there are all of these murderers roaming the streets that the negligent, myopic, homophobic US Att’s office have failed to prosecute?

          Please.

          • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 3:41 PM

            Yes even I forget to lock all my doors all the time as impossible as that may be to believe. In fact I lock my doors much more than my neighbors.

  33. Ohio on 05/21/2010 at 1:00 PM

    Maybe Michael has the missing blood?

    • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 1:20 PM

      Too many vampire movies/tv shows.

  34. Clio on 05/21/2010 at 1:49 PM

    Tasso, your experiences have soured your view of the justice system, and you have every right to be bitter. You express the hate that hate produces. Mistakes have been made in this case, but they have been made much more out of stupidity and incompetence rather of prejudice. And, they do not outweigh the actions and statements of the defendants: yes, Virginia, there are murderers, liars, and rapists who happen to be educated and openly gay men!

    Who though did have the requisite “hardening” experiences, Tasso, before entering the rareified drawing rooms of the federal capital — could it be the Brothers Price?

    • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:46 PM

      Prejudice would have become public had the homophobic and racist police emails been made public a few years ago. There were thousands that expressed the most sinister hatred of gays and AA’s but they were not disclosed because “someone may be prosecuted someday”. No one was ever prosecuted or demoted but they have never been disclosed because they clearly show the utter contempt for gays and racism that is prevalent and most of the officers who wrote them have been promoted. The medic who refused resuscitation to a gay man was promoted.

      It’s comforting to think that police and prosecutors are fair and unbiased and we all want to believe that. Unfortunately the truth is far from that and would deeply disturb most decent people.

  35. Patty on 05/21/2010 at 2:12 PM

    Why didn’t forensics do a luminall throughout the house to see if they cleaned every inch of the house.
    They could have just sprayed a little in each room to try and figure out where it happened.

    It makes no sense as to why they didn’t do that.

    • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 2:21 PM

      Because they already had their theory soon after they entered the house.

      • Bea on 05/21/2010 at 2:49 PM

        Wrong, Tasso. They sprayed it with Ashley’s Reagent and bungled things using it instead of Luminol. But I’m guessing you’ll decide that that wasn’t a stupid mistake but instead part of the grand conspiracy.

        • tassojunior on 05/21/2010 at 3:04 PM

          The grand conspiracy theory is the prosecution’s.

          The trouble with jumping to an immediate conclusion as in this case is that you get sloppy or intentionally don’t go after evidence to the contrary. That may help win a case but doesn’t solve crime.

  36. Kelli on 05/24/2010 at 2:24 PM

    What about the DNA, blood abnd bhair samples they took from the three room mates? Any matches on Robert’s body?

    Don’t forget that when Victor called 9-1-1 he suddenly asked the 9-1-1 caller “What time is it”? How strage that you are supposedly calling 9-1-1 b/c you came across a frient that was stabbed and you are asking the 9-1-1 caller for the time???

  37. Kelli on 05/24/2010 at 2:27 PM

    sorry typing fast!

  38. Kelli on 05/24/2010 at 2:27 PM

    sorry typing fast!

Leave a Reply

Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

RSSTwitter

  • Could not connect to Twitter