Day 4: Wrap

DC Medical Examiner Lois Goslinoski’s Triple Cross

DC Deputy Medical Examiner, Dr. Lois Goslinoski

We went to cover a trial today, but an anatomy lesson broke out.

The morning kicked off where yesterday’s session ended, with Joe Price counsel Bernie Grimm’s cross examination of DC Deputy Medical Examiner and the validity of her autopsy report on Robert Wone’s murder.

Although strong in his questioning, Dr. Goslinoski took Grimm to school, anatomy school to be precise.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Grimm:  Would you agree that the heart is a pump?

Goslinoski:  Yes.

Grimm:  Would you agree that the aorta is a pumping unit?

Goslinoski:  No. That’s the job of the ventricles.

Following Grimm was his colleagues Thomas Connolly and David Schertler.  After the jump, how her testimony and findings fared.

Grimm pressed Goslinoski on the stab wounds’ paths (the organs and major vessels) in an effort to elicit her opinion on cadiac tamponade, the filling of the pericardial sac with blood.  The defense has experts lined up who are going to testify that a single stab would to Robert’s heart would’ve rendered him unconscious and unable to move within seconds, perhaps within a heartbeat.

Not so according to Dr. Goslinowski. Tamponade would’ve been a risk at some point but she did not believe that it was the case in this stabbing.  Grimm pressed her, “Do you agree that during tamponade, the pericardial sac constricts and stops the heart?”  “At some point,” Goslinoski repeated, underscoring her opinion that it is not immediate. “In a matter of seconds?” Grimm asked again.  Her reply again was no.

Previewing defense expert witnesses to come, Grimm asked if a cardiac surgeon or cardiologist could have a different opinion.  “Anyone can have a different opinion,” she said.  Under Grimm’s scenario, blood “gushed into the sac and the body cavities,  but Goslinoski differed again. She used the word “seep.”

Asked specifically about knowing the defense experts, among them Dr. Farzad Najam, Goslinoski said she met with him but did not share his opinion on Robert being immediately incapacitated and rendered immobile.  Goslinowski ruled out their experts’ opinions.

Grimm entered another stabbing victim’s autopsy report prepared by Goslinoski’s into the record to draw comparisons.  He didn’t get very far with it. “John Doe” was stabbed in the heart and went into surgery before dying. Goslinoski said she had to remove sutures from his heart and was not aware of any indication of tamponade.  She maintained there were too many differences between the two cases.

Victor Zaborsky counsel Thomas Connolly was next with his cross.  And here we were thinking Bernie was going to play the Bad Cop.  Connolly led with questions designed to take Goslinoski down a couple of doctor pegs:  Have you done peer-review work? Have you submitted any for peer-review? Do you teach? Are you on a faculty?  Are you board certified.  Goslinoski’s responses were all the same, no in each case.  Connolly asked if she had ever taken the certification test.  Twice, Goslinoski tells him, not passing either time.

Connolly next went into the “missing blood,” and asked if her calculations accounted for any volume that may have been in the resuscitative chest tubes, left on the stretcher or the body bag Robert was transported in.  Goslinoski said at most the tubes could’ve had 25ML.

Next he asked her about the reported blood stain on Robert’s index finger, was that an indication he was moving?  Doubtful, Goslinoski said, “That could’ve come from the hospital (where he was treated).”  The lack of movement was based on her wound observations: no defensive wounds, no irregularities, no drag marks.  That the three knife wounds also had the same orientation and were confined to a small area made her opinions even stronger.

Ward counsel David Schertler brought up the rear and was the last to cross.  He pressed her hard as to account for her conversations with AUSA Glenn Kirschner and the circumstances in which he brought a duplicate (missing carving set) knife to her office.   Did Kirschner ask Goslinoski if that knife was consistent with a knife used in Robert’s attack? “Yes,” she replied, but also showing that she was not pressured to say declaratively, she added, “I cannot identify a specific knife that caused the wounds.”  Could she state which of the two knives was more likely? No.

At this point Judge Lynn Leibovitz sensed the defense was trying to “make a case against the prosecutor,” and questioned the relevance.  That seemed to cause the defense to back off their suggestions of the  government strong-arming Goslinoski.

Schertler kept after her and asked if she’d ever witnessed a cardiac tamponade in progress or the severing of an aortic root, personally seeing its blood flow in progress.  Only once or twice in medical school she said.  It was then that without prompting, Goslinoski drew key distinctions between her work and that of a cardiac surgeon:

“It’s a different situation than the violent act of being stabbed.  It’s a controlled environment with controlled blood loss, alertness and motion.

The scenarios are nor really comparable.”

Schertler wrapped by asking her if an article she read two or three days ago on tamponade informed her opinion.  “No, it supports it,” she shot back.

Next, Judge Leibovitz questioned Goslinoski for about fifteen minutes.  As finder of fact, she wanted to make certain she had a firm grasp on the anatomy, the knife’s paths, and what it might take to render a stabbing victim unconscious, in seconds as the defense contends or minutes as Goslinoski does.

Leibovitz posed a hypothetical question: If the defense experts are correct and Robert was unconscious in a second, would he have responded to pain reflexively?  Yes, with the correct stimulus.  “They do this in hospital with unconscious patients.  If the neuro system was intact, they should respond, or if under the influence of a substance, that would not allow them to respond.”

Kirschner had a few minutes of redirect and used the time to rehabilitate his witness and that of his office, the somewhat veiled accusations from the defense that he pressured the Medical Examiner.  He asked her how many times she met with the defense team.  Once with all three, once with Grimm and Schertler and once separately with Grimm.  Was she feeling any pressure from them, the prosecutor asked.  “I was answering questions.  “If that’s pressure, then yes.”  Next he asked her if any prosecutor pressured her to say one thing or another, “I’ve answered questions,” was again her reply.

A last minute retro-objection from the defense team was raised in response to the Judge’s line of questioning.  “If you have questions of mine that you object to, you should object,” Leibovitz said, implying they should do it in real-time rather than after the fact.

That was it for the afternoon and week.  Glenn Kirschner was off to the US Attorneys Office to be “feted” as Leibovitz said this morning.  “Congratulations on whatever it is,” she told him.  We later learned that he is among several distinguished service award recipients that are being recognized later today.

240 comments for “Day 4: Wrap

  1. Cali
    05/21/2010 at 5:02 PM

    Your reporting is sooo on the money. Where can we send u a check?

    GREAT JOB!!

  2. Daphne
    05/21/2010 at 5:13 PM

    Which questions of Judge L. did the defense “retro-object” to?

    • CDinDC
      05/21/2010 at 5:41 PM

      Retro-object. I love that.

      Retro-overruled.

  3. Bea
    05/21/2010 at 5:17 PM

    Was it your sense that she held up well? – certainly it reads that way. Any comments on the manner/demeanor of the defendants?

  4. NYer
    05/21/2010 at 5:23 PM

    Great post, eds. I have a side legal question- perhaps you or one of the lawyers here may know the answer…I actually never knew that a judge could question the witness on the stand for the purpose of factfinding. Since as seen above, it is obviously permissible, what is the legal reasoning that prohibits a jury member from questioning witnesses on the stand?

    • Themis
      05/21/2010 at 5:49 PM

      In many jurisdictions, jurors may submit questions for the witness to the judge. I’ve had it happen in one of my cases.
      Even in jury trials, many jurisdictions allow the judge to ask questions of a witness. In either scenario, the attorneys then get to follow up.

      • NYer
        05/21/2010 at 5:55 PM

        Thanks Themis. I guess whenever I think of jurors submitting questions, they’re to the judge about whether they may view a document again, or regarding the weight they can give to some piece of evidence. I usually don’t think of them submitting questions for the actual witness.
        I suppose jurors passing their q’s for the witness through the judge certainly makes for a more orderly courtroom.

        • Meto
          05/21/2010 at 6:43 PM

          Nyer:

          In a bench trial, the judge serves two roles. In a jury trial it would be rare for a judge to ask this many questions. I am not surprised, and in fact predicted in my post last Saturday that in a bench trial and with this Judge we should expect to see her asking questions. But she will be even handed with the questions. She is genuinely acting precisely as she legally can and should.

          Respectfully,

          Meto

    • 05/21/2010 at 11:33 PM

      The basic problem with jurors asking questions of a witness directly is that jurors may ask questions that a lawyer could not ask. Some judges permit jurors to submit questions to the judge to ask on their behalf so the judge can put the question in proper legal form. Counsel may be more hesitant to object to a juror’s question (or a judge’s question) because they do not want to annoy the finder of fact. Many counsel do not like judge’s to ask questions because the counsel does not know the question or the answer in advance. The failure to object to a question posed by a judge or by counsel results in a waiver of the objection. A “retro-objection” is not permissible. I think a bench trial is a good idea in this case given the nature of the crime and the fact that the defendants are highly unlikely to take the stand as witnesses. A jury would be more likely to hold the defendants’ failure to testify against them than a judge. Also, it is important to note that the defendants are not charged with Mr. Wone’s murder, but instead are charged with obstruction of justice. There is no statute of limitations on murder.

  5. Daphne
    05/21/2010 at 5:28 PM

    Check out Harry Jaffe’s very different take on today’s testimony: http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/people/capitalcomment/15719.html

    • CDinDC
      05/21/2010 at 5:36 PM

      Interesating about the different take. I guess it depends on what people hone in on.

      I don’t see how her saying that she couldn’t identify which knife, would make the knife evidence weak. I imagine at one point the prosecution will call a forensics expert to discuss knife length. YOu can’t make a 4 inch would with a 5 inch knife if blood is all the way up the blade to the shank. That’s simple logic.

      It’s early in the the trial. And so far, I think we’ve heard some damning testimony from strong witnesses.

      • New Alias
        05/21/2010 at 8:57 PM

        I agree about calling in expert to address the knife issue. Just because the ME can’t give an expert opinion on it doesn’t mean no one can give an expert opinion.

        I attended most of today’s trial. I’m really surprised by Jaffe’s take. I took notes myself, which I’ll post at the bottom of this thread.

        • Bea
          05/21/2010 at 9:02 PM

          Excellent – please do! The Eds are busting their asses but another note-taker is much appreciated.

          Agree about Jaffe – other news sources don’t seem to agree. Maybe he assumes that is all the prosecution has to offer about the knife. It’s a very Perry Mason moment to disclose that Dylan’s set knife (Beethoven’s Fifth intro) is in Seattle but that doesn’t make a tampered-with knife any less tampered-with.

        • Bill Orange
          05/21/2010 at 9:05 PM

          Was Jaffe there all week, or just today? If it was just today, and all he really saw was the defense’s (actually, defenses’) triple cross-examination, it wouldn’t surprise me that he thought things were going well for the defense.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 5:37 PM

      Quite a different take on the case so far. Wonder why Jaffe is suggesting that the ME testified that Robert’s body could contain the ‘missing blood’ when the Eds. report something quite different. Would be great to get a transcript.

      It’s not a surprise to see accounts bashing the prosecution – I watched the Scott Peterson case get dissected by talking heads daily (including Bernie Grimm). Seems they forget that each day is but one step in a long an often arduous one.

      • CDinDC
        05/21/2010 at 5:39 PM

        Bea, I’d love to see the transcripts. I know the Eds are doing all they can to supply information, but no one can supply all the details.

        I’ve been relying on WMRW.com and the various news stories that come out during the day to glean as many details as I can from various sources.

        • Bea
          05/21/2010 at 5:56 PM

          Me too. I’m only able to watch the TV videos and read the papers online but it certainly helps. You get bits and pieces from each. Love this site and know the Eds are doing all they can.

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 6:20 PM

        The media outlets have different impressions, not surprisingly – here’s one saying that the ME stood her ground and remained firm.
        http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Government-pathologist-stands-firm-under-cross-in-Wone-trial-94618239.html

    • Joelle
      05/21/2010 at 6:17 PM

      That is incredibly depressing.

      • CDinDC
        05/21/2010 at 6:20 PM

        Ahh…don’t take it to heart, Joelle. Just one person’s opinion.

    • AnnaZed
      05/21/2010 at 6:45 PM

      Wow, that is a seriously divergent take. I am wondering if Harry is inferring things from reactions like facial expressions and just experiencing things differently from our Eds.

    • BadShoes
      05/22/2010 at 1:05 AM

      I think Mr. Jaffe has been spun.

      As my fellow commenters have pointed out, the prosecution’s knife theory has the following elements:

      1) According to the autopsy, Mr. Wone sustained wounds four inches deep; the knife by his side was five inches long. The prosecution contends that making a four-inch wound with a five inch knife would be difficult.

      2) The knife by the bedside had no blood on the handle, a smear of blood on the blade, and white cotton fibers. The prosecution contends that if had been used to stab Mr. Wone, there certainly would have been blood on the handle, and that the smear of blood was artificially placed there using the towel found by the bed.

      3) A knife set with a missing knife was found in Mr. Ward’s room. The prosecution obtained an identical knife set and determined that the missing knife had a five-inch blade. The prosecution contends that the missing knife was used to kill Mr. Wone. The defense asserts that the knife has been missing for many years, and could not have been used to kill Mr. Wone. I presume the defense will present testimony to this effect in due course.

      The defense attorney asked Ms. Goslinowski if she could identify the specific knife used to kill Mr. Wone, and she said she could not. I believe that she is correct that it almost never possible to match specific knives to wounds, other than in the general sense of approximate depth and width. However, I believe that it is still true that the missing knife is of the correct general dimensions consistent with the wounds.

      So, the cross demolished a straw man–a contention the prosecution never made–that the wounds were specific to the particular missing knife.

      The rest of the prosecution’s knife case remains (AFAIK) intact, though the defense may be later be able to offer evidence showing that Mr. Ward’s missing knife had nothing to do with the crime.

      In Mr. Jaffe’s article, the demolished straw man got spun into a demolished knife theory, and the demolished knife theory was spun into the prospect of acquittal.

      The defense attorneys are good, and I expect that attempting to shape media coverage of the trial is part of what they do. As potential providers of exclusive information, they have a lot of leverage with reporters.

      • Kate
        05/22/2010 at 7:35 AM

        Excellent analysis, Bad Shoes. Mr. Jaffe is deeply invested in reporting this tragic story, both professionally and, quite possibly, personally. One only needs to read his in-depth May Washingtonian article to get a powerful sense of the sadness, respect and sympathy he feels for the Wone family.

        He also expresses frustration with the case, confusion with the illusiveness of the facts, incredulity at the senseless destruction of promising young lives and a strong desire for justice.

        Sentiments we have all shared here and certainly exists in the greater community beyond. Perhaps Mr. Jaffe was hoping for a slam-dunk, but our legal system is not swift. I hope it is fair and just.

  6. Tarfunk
    05/21/2010 at 5:33 PM

    Can someone explain why the defense would want to argue that a single stab to Robert’s heart would have rendered him unconscious within seconds, perhaps within a heartbeat? That would seem to contradict the statement Joe made in his second police interview describing what was happening during the 911 call. He says Victor gave him a towel to apply to the wound. Joe says “I put the towel on Robert. He actually moaned a little bit.” If Joe’s statement is true, then the defense argument is illogical.

    • Daphne
      05/21/2010 at 5:37 PM

      I think they are trying to shorten the time between Wone’s stabbing and the call to 911. It would also explain, in part, the absence of blood. Here’s what I don’t understand and perhaps it was addressed at today’s hearing: I thought ME’s could distinguish between pre- and post-mortem wounds. Can’t she tell if each of the wounds were pre- or post-mortem?

    • CDinDC
      05/21/2010 at 5:37 PM

      Good point, Tarfunk. Very good.

      Makes Joe’s statements a little bit…untrue, doesn’t it?

    • NYer
      05/21/2010 at 5:40 PM

      That’s a good point.I think that they’re trying to explain away the lack of defensive wounds, by maintaining death was instantaneous. But that would obviously contradict JPs statement.

    • MotherOfInvention
      05/21/2010 at 6:44 PM

      If he died in seconds, or immediately, I guess the lack of defensive wounds or signs of a struggle would be less damning, at least in the case of the second or third wounds.

    • Lyn
      05/21/2010 at 6:47 PM

      ” the defense argument is illogical ”

      that pretty much sums it up.

    • interestedobserver
      05/21/2010 at 10:51 PM

      What about Joe Price’s answer to the first paramedic: “I heard a scream”? How was the victim able to scream if he was rendered unconscious immediately according to the defense experts?

      • MotherOfInvention
        05/21/2010 at 10:53 PM

        Worse than that: both Joe and Victor claim to have heard MULTIPLE grunts/screams, which brought them downstairs.

        • Gama
          05/21/2010 at 10:55 PM

          It’s even better: Joe claimed in his police interview that Robert was moaning while he applied a towel to his chest.

          • MotherOfInvention
            05/21/2010 at 11:02 PM

            I believe he said he thought he heard him moan once.

            • Gama
              05/21/2010 at 11:40 PM

              2nd transcript, p. 10: “I put the towel on Robert. He actually moaned a little bit.”

              That’s Grimm’s client in his own words invalidating Grimm’s claims to the court.

              • MotherOfInvention
                05/21/2010 at 11:57 PM

                Ok, so he said it happened, not that he thought it happened. My mistake. But saying that Joe said “he was moaning while…”, which is what you first wrote, could be understood to mean Robert was moaning ongoing while Joe was attempting to staunch the blood. Price said he heard him moan once, which is why, I assume, they think they can get around it, since, according to Price, it was a discrete event. It is still contradicted by the proposition that Wone died instantaneously, but they may feel like it’s not insurmountable since it apparently happened only once (if Price were to testify, he could say “I may have been mistaken…”)

      • plumskiter
        05/22/2010 at 9:49 AM

        i think the grunts that joe referred to are the sounds that the person who stabbed robert made. i think the grunt sounds are the result of the effort involved in the act of stabbing. we should not assume that the sounds were necessarily made by the victim. if this theory is right, then there is this question, how/why did joe know that the stabbing motions (which he demonstrated so thoughtfully for kathy wone) were accompanied by the sound of effort?

  7. Paul
    05/21/2010 at 5:34 PM

    Even after the heart stops beating, there should still be enough oxygenated blood in the brain for 10 – 15 seconds of willful action.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power

    • mia
      05/21/2010 at 5:49 PM

      The problem is, they didn’t really encounter the alleged “intruder”, right? For how long it would take from them heard the noise and then Joe decided to come to downstairs to check the guest room and then grab a towel to stop the bleeding? You think 10~15 sec. was enough to finish all those?

  8. Bill Orange
    05/21/2010 at 5:38 PM

    I don’t understand the defense’s cardiac tamponade theory. First of all, I don’t think cardiac tamponade would incapacitate someone immediately. It would be fast, but I think it would take several seconds for someone to be completely incapacitated. Second, cardiac tamponade occurs because pressure from liquid–in this case, blood–within the pericardium basically squeezes the heart and prevents it from beating, in the same way that a boa constrictor squeezes its prey so tightly that it suffocates. But Goslinoski’s report makes it clear that the first stab wound punctured the pericardium. How can you build up pressure in the pericardial sac if there’s a big hole in it?

    • AnnaZed
      05/21/2010 at 10:04 PM

      That’s the way I understood a tamponade as well, so I don’t understand their point at all.

  9. mia
    05/21/2010 at 5:41 PM

    Can someone enlighten me about the heights and weights of the three defendants? I know Mr. Wone was 5’4″ and 150 pounds or so, it normally would not require too much of efforts to lift his body for three adult men in their 30~40s. Maybe this could explain a little bit of the time restraint.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 5:46 PM

      Dylan was roughly 5’6 or 5’7, 140 (though at least one blogger claims he’s much more buff than 140); Victor is about 5’8 or 5’9, average weight, and Joe is close to 6 feet, slightly heavy (at least now).

      • mia
        05/21/2010 at 5:57 PM

        Thanks Bea.

    • Nelly
      05/22/2010 at 8:49 AM

      For what it’s worth, the EMT guy said in passing that Robert weighed about 130-140 lbs. 152 lbs always sounded too heavy and like a typo to me.

  10. Joelle
    05/21/2010 at 5:43 PM

    Can one of the lawyers explain why the prosecution agreed to a bench trial when a jury would have been so much more advantageous to the government’s case?

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 5:50 PM

      Hi Joelle, I doubt the prosecution minds the bench trial. It takes a lot of speculation out of it, and though Joe’s comments about race may have put off a jury, the prosecution would have had a difficult time in not annoying the judge if they’d objected given that she specifically made sure it wasn’t an ‘end run’ to get separate trials. Someone posted the DC law on point, and as I recall the prosecution could have objected, but it’s a rarity and the judge would have pressed. They couldn’t have said “well, we’ll have an easier time with a jury because Price made racist comments.”

      • Joelle
        05/21/2010 at 6:07 PM

        I see. That makes sense. Thank you.

      • NYer
        05/22/2010 at 1:49 AM

        and generally speaking (as opposed to DC-specific, which I wouldn’t be familiar with) it’s phrased as the “defendant’s right to waive” a jury trial. That being said, it is their right to chose the bench trial.

    • 05/21/2010 at 11:16 PM

      The defendant in a criminal trial has a right to a jury trial under the Constitution; the prosecution does not.

      • MotherOfInvention
        05/22/2010 at 2:06 AM

        Other lawyers on the site have said that there are places where the People also have a right to a jury trial, and that DC is one of those places.

  11. Craig
    05/21/2010 at 5:43 PM

    We’ve got better things to do than police the comments section.

    • HKG
      05/21/2010 at 5:57 PM

      you have done an excellent job. and also kudos to the many long term participants here who have kept the discussion moving and focused on the task at hand.

      i’ve been very impressed that while there are a few minor flames here and there, as far as i can see, the site has been wide open for discussion by newbies, contrarians, and the old timers.

      • Kate
        05/21/2010 at 6:14 PM

        HKG – couldn’t agree more. Kudos to one and all and many thanks for your efforts.

    • Bill Orange
      05/21/2010 at 5:57 PM

      My curiosity is killing me. What were the other three screen names?

  12. Bill
    05/21/2010 at 5:46 PM

    Well her testimony did in the prosecution’s theory of an alternate knife.

    • Bill 2
      05/21/2010 at 5:52 PM

      But they still have Victor volunteering the info to the 911 operator that their knife was taken away by the person who stabbed Robert.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 5:53 PM

      How so? She testified she can’t identify a particular knife, as I understand it. Her report stated the kitchen knife was unlikely the weapon since the wounds were deeper than the blade.

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 6:30 PM

        Whoops – corrected below as to blade/wounds.

    • Hoya Loya
      05/21/2010 at 6:23 PM

      She was testifying as an expert. The ID of the knife was likely outside of her area of expertise, in which case she was correct not to specify. If she had, the defense would have been all over her for not having the appropriate expertise to make the judgment.

      I think the pork loin guy will testify as to the knife matching or not matching the wounds. Bea?

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 6:29 PM

        I think that’s right. The ME always said something to the effect that a 5 inch knife CAN make 4 inch wounds but usually the wounds would be 5 inches. I think there’s another prosecution expert on tap to do knife stuff. Of course the defense will have its own saying this was the murder knife. Logic would tend to give a nod to the prosecution based solely on my impressions in that knife HANDLES usually hit the wound entry thus the wound is usually the length of the blade, not less than the length of the blade – especially in 3 wounds.

        • Themis
          05/21/2010 at 6:46 PM

          Medical examiners routinely testify as to whether a given weapon could have caused certain wounds, whether you’re talking about knives or ammunition rounds where there’s a through and through.

          The two more likely reasons she declined to opine is because she felt that she simply could not do so given the state of the evidence or given her personal expertise. I would have thought that the defense would have explored those issues. But I only second guess trial counsel when I’m doing post-conviction work. And in any event, it could be argued that if she withheld her opinion when didn’t feel qualified to give it, her credibility on the issues on which she chose to offer an opinion is heightened.

          • Bea
            05/21/2010 at 7:00 PM

            Good point. I’m sure the Judge noted her unwillingness to “please” anyone.

            • Themis
              05/21/2010 at 7:10 PM

              That may or may not be the case. But it is at least one explanation for the defense not pushing her as to why she was unable to render an opinion. In the end, there’s no way for someone outside of the defense team to really know why the issue wasn’t explored.

    • Lyn
      05/21/2010 at 6:54 PM

      The knife in the room had white towel fibers, no grey t-shirt fibers, and had no blood on the sharp edge.

    • Carolina
      05/21/2010 at 7:20 PM

      Howso? I don’t see that at all.

  13. lurker
    05/21/2010 at 6:00 PM

    I am new to this site, and have been wading around in it–the amount of work put in by the editors and the regular discussion folks is overwhelming.

    Today for the first time began reading “third degree”, and have what may be a stupid question, that has no doubt been answered elsewhere before, so apologies in advance:

    On page 55 of the 85-page transcript of the first J. Price interview, when the detectives are talking about the potential results of DNA testing on the knife with him, he (Price) remarks that everyone’s DNA will be one it, including his own, and “Richard’s”.

    If the defendants are Joe, Victor and Dylan, Joe’s brother is Michael, the tenant downstairs is Sara, and the victim is Robert, who is Richard?

    • Daphne
      05/21/2010 at 6:16 PM

      Good question. Does anyone know who Richard is?

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 6:25 PM

        I reread it. My guess is that it’s a transcript error and he likely said “Victor” since it references who uses their kitchen knives in the kitchen (Richard sounds more like Victor than Dylan to me). Not so different from Victor being “Caborsky” throughout his. Court reports do this occasionally – certainly not unheard of. After depositions, lawyers go through them first to simply correct errors like these.

    • Bill
      05/21/2010 at 6:27 PM

      Yes, this is an outstanding question (don’t apologize for being new — what is needed are new eyes which you bring). Why would everyone’s DNA be on the knife? Did they pass it around? Wouldn’t people normally be freaked to even touch it? And, as you state, who is Richard? Did he mean Robert, the victim? Or is the meaning the we used the knives to regularly cook with and our DNA would naturally be on them? Aren’t most chefs meticulous about who touches their knives? Isn’t they why he had them in his room as opposed to the kitchen?

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 6:35 PM

        Agree that we definitely NEED new eyes! In the transcript Joe seems to be saying that everyone uses that kitchen knife and IF just handling it will leave DNA on it, then ALL of them will have left DNA on it. The cop pushes back and says handling a knife WON’T but using it to stab someone like WILL. They are sparring – Joe knows he left PRINTS on it and claims he didn’t leave DNA. Of course if the prosecution is correct and this is NOT the murder weapon, then no DNA will be on it. None was, though Robert’s blood was wiped on it with a cloth/towel, all EXCEPT for the sharp edge of the blade.

        • lurker
          05/21/2010 at 7:45 PM

          Thanks all. I wondered if it was a typo, but the depth of the analysis and the possibilities explored in some of the discussion made me also wonder if there was a Richard somewhere in the realm of friends and associates, both fair and foul.

        • SJinNYC
          05/27/2010 at 11:56 AM

          I’m confused. Is the cop saying that ‘using’ a kitchen knife, i.e., to chop vegetables, for example, would not leave DNA on it? (but that using it to stab someone would?) I was under the impression we leave our DNA everywhere every time we hold something, brush up against something, or any time the oils on our hands or skin cells slough off onto the object. I could be wrong, but it seems to me like using a knife whether to stab someone or to cook would indeed most likely leave DNA evidence.

          • AnnaZed
            05/27/2010 at 12:06 PM

            I was a bit confused by this also. Maybe they are saying that when you use knives in the kitchen you wash them after you use them. My knives are so meticulously clean that there would probably be very little DNA on them if any of mine (on the handle), but maybe chicken DNA in the area where the blade meets the handle (or carrot DNA or whatever) ~ very hard to clean that part.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        05/22/2010 at 12:32 AM

        The reason why Mr. Price stated that everyone’s DNA would be found on the knife is because they DID pass it around.The stabbing 3x in the exact same manner,depth & angle,controlled & ritualized,smacks of a decision to bind all 3 of them together forever by agreeing to each stab Mr. Wone 1 time with Mr. Ward’s knife after Mr. Zaborsky screamed.I am referring to the stabbing that took place with the murder weapon,which is the missing knife.

        In staging the crime scene after the fact, Mr. Price may well have then suggested that Team Trouple all handle the substituted knife that was not the murder weapon for a more authentic feel,before wiping it down.In that Mr. Price the elder was a specialist in Intellectual Property Law,he probably had never actually staged a crime scene before.That is a topic full of pitfalls for the unwary.As this case demonstrates so aptly.

        I almost get the giggles when I read of the defense attorneys’ comments that the police failed to locate the owners of 4 unidentified fingerprints in the Swann Street residence.No matter how thoroughly anyone ever cleans their home under normal circumstances, alien DNA & foreign fingerprints lurk behind.Social callers, partygoers, overnight guests, workmen,& delivery people may all leave their marks.In addition,many cases present foreign DNA from benign sources,such as hairs on bedding deposited at the dry cleaners.

        That so few unidentified fingerprints languished after the frantic scrubdown was just another glaring rookie mistake by Team Trouple.If an unseen intruder broke into the Swann Street residence at night,somehow located a knife,made their way from the first floor to the upstairs guestroom where you have horrifyingly discovered your college friend stabbed & bleeding to death,after frantically performing CPR,calling 911,Lawyer Price should have made every effort to preserve the crime scene intact because surely he wanted the police to be able to discover the DNA of this dangerous homicidal maniac before he/she killed again.

        The bizarre cleanup of every possible surface area,leaving only 4 foreign fingerprints behind in the entire townhouse screams the opposite is true.The Trouple have never wanted the killer to be identified, located,or prosecuted.Like the EMTs,I cannot recall a bonafide late night crime scene,ever,where the occupants of the residence showered&changed into fresh bathrobes while awaiting the police.Doing laundry while washing down the patio?Never happens.The remaining victims are either too shocked to do anything at all,or just aren’t concerned about freshening up for company considering the circumstances.

        I doubt Mrs. Wone stopped to get her nails done on the way to the hospital.FWIW.

        • lurker
          05/22/2010 at 1:09 AM

          I was prepared to believe, as Bea says, that it could be a mistake in transcription–lord knows I couldn’t do what a professional steno/court reporter does–and have read here the theory a la Murder on the Orient Express where each defendant inflicts a wound as part of some kind of tontine or pact.

          What drove me to ask the question was some of the speculative discussion re the other life of J and D, its possible effects on the relationship between J and V, the sidebar of Michael, and the possibility of other individuals who had perhaps participated in play scenario(s) imagined as like the “planned event gone wrong” theory.

          It would be interesting to hear the audio from which the transcription was made.

          It might provide no clarity at all, which would support the logical conclusion that it was simply a mistake in the transcription–also bolstered by the fact that no one seemed to come back to it i.e. the detectives.

          But there is also discussion of mistakes made in the investigation.

          I may be reading too much into some of the discussion of what could have been going on with drug effects, etc.

          I guess what I was wondering is if J had perhpas made another slip, among many.

          • HKG
            05/22/2010 at 3:15 AM

            that would be very interesting if true (a revealing slip of the tongue i mean)

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            05/22/2010 at 6:33 AM

            Sorry I was not more clear.I was hoping to provide an answer to those who wonder why Mr. Zaborsky does not come forward with truth when I posited an explanation as to the significance of the remarkably consistent 3 stab wounds the truth.The clue lies in the scripted scenerio,it is a kind of an unconscious bleed of the truth that comes thru the lies.Lawyer Price instructed the rest of The Trouple to insist so adamantly(as he did himself)that Mr. Ward could not have been involved in the killing because Mr. Ward was in his 2nd floor bedroom the entire time.Instead of removing suspicion regarding Mr. Ward,that insistence only served to point the police right at Mr. Ward.

            To the extent that 1 of the most notable aspects of the statements to the police was the repeated assertion that while Mr. Zaborsky was in bed with Lawyer Price,both of them are sure that Mr. Ward was in his bedroom a floor below the entire time.Lawyer Price & Mr. Zaborsky could not have any actual knowledge of where Mr. Ward was or what he was doing,unless they are lying about being in bed together one floor up the entire time.

            This is where I am going,as Lurker suggests in mentioning the relationship dynamics,Lawyer Price was telling the truth when he stated that Mr. Jaborsky was in bed on the top floor. But Lawyer Price was not in bed upstairs himself with his registered domestic partner. Lawyer Price is on the second floor with Mr. Ward because that is where Mr. Ward has all the BDSM supplies necessary for a session.

            When Mr. Jaborsky does come down the stairs & sees Mr. Wone who is already dying at the hands of Mr. Ward & Mr. Price,he screams.The ritualistic conduct that the 3 stabbings present strongly suggest that Mr. Zaborsky was then convinced to protect Team Trouple & agree they stood as one. Mr. Zaborsky ultimately made the third stab wound with the murder weapon to seal the deal.That is why Mr. Zaborsky will not come forward, he agreed to become part of the killing symbolically, while participating fully as one of Team Trouple in the aftermath requiring the destruction of the evidence along with all aspects of the coverup.

            I would have asked Dr.G this question,how often has she encountered a fatal stabbing in which only 3 wounds are present & they are all of the exact same orientation as to angle & depth.Perhaps another witness will provide that information which is that in the mystery homicidal maniac sort of stabbing (referred to in the profiler use of the term “homosexual overkill),you expect to see a frenzied attack,with many stab wounds of varying depths &angles.The recent murder of ABC radio journalist George Weber,is more typical,Mr. Weber was stabbed 50 times.I have not seen that autopsy,but it is a sure thing that the wounds were not identical in depth & manner of insertion.

            Bea is absolutely correct in suggesting that listening to the transcript is a different experience than reading it.The person making the transcription was not there,&so the transcriber is forced to try to make out what they think is being said. There was probably a misunderstood word,mistakenly transcribed as Richard.
            Listening to a transcript from a recorded statement still leaves the listener without the benefit that the police had in observing the person’s demeanor,facial cues such as wincing,inappropriate smirking or smiling,body language such as closing of the eyes or placing hands over the mouth,etc.That is why great deference is given to rulings of a trial judge upon appeal,the judge at the initial skirmish has that opportunity to observe which the Appeal Court lacks.

            • Kate
              05/22/2010 at 8:38 AM

              Former Prosecutor,

              You present a compelling scenario, but the three stab wound ritual scenario is a difficult one for me to accept. It comes down to the physical evidence.

              The three stab wounds were extraordinarily similar in depth and direction, as recorded by the ME. Does this not point toward a single assailant swinging the knife in rapid succession? If the ritual scenario is to be acceptable, then three men of varying height, weight, arm length, range of motion, etc., in varying degrees of determination, hysteria or grogginess took a stab at Mr. Wone’s chest to make the strikingly similar wounds. That’s a lot of variables.

              In the film/book referenced here (and I think elsewhere in the site), Murder on the Orient Express, each of the wounds inflicted by the numerous assailants was markedly different in depth, direction, etc.

              Your experience and expertise is far beyond mine, and I hesitated to even respond, but I would be very grateful for your thoughts and insights on this post.

              Many thanks and respectfully,
              Kate

              • Former Crimnal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                05/22/2010 at 1:18 PM

                Kate,
                The physical evidence suggests strongly that Mr. Won was unable to move as he was stabbed.That removes a lot of the Orient Express type variables. That is also what then enables the party wielding the knife to take their time in deliberately making each of the 3 wounds in the same exact manner.A wild frenzied assault in rapid succession by a homicidal maniac intruder typically leaves a lot more than 3 wounds of varying depths & angles.It is possible that all 3 wounds were made by the same person,but that still does not negate the symbolic representation of all 3 of Team Trouple.

                Lawyer Price told the police that all of their DNA was on the knife.At the very least,that suggests that all 3 handled first the actual murder weapon & then the substituted one to represent their solidarity.The irony is that in the staging,the knife left as the faux weapon was wiped down too much,so that none of their DNA was found on it.

                If I were prosecuting the case,I would consult a forensic expert to determine if they could opine within a reasonable degree of certainty as to whether or not all 3 wounds were made by the same person.I don’t know if that step took place.The trial has just started.It is possible that 1 person did make those 3 remarkably identical stab wounds IN but that each of the three pulled the knife OUT,including Mr. Zaborsky, the screaming late comer. If Bea is right in her suggestion that the remark by Lawyer Price was that all of our DNA is on the knife, even Victor, (mistakenly transcribed as Richard),what else could he have possibly meant other than all three of us deliberately handled the knife?Team Trouple,all for one & one for all.

                The number & nature of the wounds is just too odd not to have significance.It will be interesting to see if expert witness testimony is offered as to whether or not all three stab wounds were definitely made by the same person.

                Hope that helps, it is very difficult to develop a theory of a case when I have not actually seen the evidence reports or consultations with expert witnesses.I was just trying to make 2 points from the known phyical evidence adding to that some logical inferences,a homicidal maniac intruder would stab wildly many many times,only 3 controlled identical wounds is just plain strange AND something very strong is in play that compels Mr. Zaborsky to remain in Team Trouple.

                • Bill Orange
                  05/22/2010 at 1:34 PM

                  This is a bit off-topic, but the victim in “Murder on the Orient Express” WAS incapacitated.

                  In any event, I have a hard time imagining Zaborsky being as forceful in his stabbing as Price or Ward, which is the main reason I don’t buy into an Orient Express-type scenario.

                  • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                    05/22/2010 at 3:01 PM

                    Bill,
                    I agree that it seems unlikely that Mr. Zaborsky would be an enthusiatic participant in the stabbing.He was clearly not into the violent degrading sexual torture of the BDSM lifestyle embraced by kindly “Uncle Dylan” who could never hurt anyone, why he would never so much as spank a child who was bad.

                    That is why I suggested the possibility of 1 party driving the knife IN, all 3 pull the knife OUT one time each.There is a treasure trove of evidence that has been described but not seen.What passages were highlighted in the “How To Sexually Torture Your Submissive” books found in Mr. Ward’s room?Exactly what was depicted in the treasured photos stored on Lawyer Price’s hard drive?To the extent that Lawyer Price appears to be the Alpha Male of the The Trouple,he is actually the submissive undergoing human toilet training, leashing, caging,cock &ball torture,etc.The very sharp knife belongs to Mr. Ward, who has undergone professional training in the use of it.

                    If I had to pick 1 person to insert the knife,Mr. Ward is the most likely 3x stabber.Mr. Wone is not his long time friend&LawyerPrice is not in charge of his Master Dominant.Until the roles switch because Mr. Zaborsky is screaming after Mr.Wone has been stabbed twice by Mr. Ward& a co-ordinated coverup must begin.

                    Does this work for you,the knife is then inserted 1 more time by Mr. Ward &Mr. Zaborsky must pull it out,as did Lawyer Price.Sealed in blood,all for one,one for all.

                    • Kate
                      05/22/2010 at 4:21 PM

                      Thank you Former Prosecutor and Bill for your thoughtful responses.

                    • Bill
                      05/22/2010 at 6:08 PM

                      As a gay man I hate the stereotypes presented by the S&M and B&D aspects of this trial. There was really no alternative for the defense but to go for a bench trial.

                  • Kate
                    05/22/2010 at 4:31 PM

                    Bill – tad off-topic response:

                    Richard Widmark was the baddie, who was drugged by Sir John Guilgood (sp?).

                    The drugging aspect is eerily similar, as are the conspiritorial wounds…

                    Very confounding.

                    • Former Sex Offense Prosecutor
                      05/22/2010 at 5:56 PM

                      Kate&Bill,
                      Last Trip on The OrientExpress for me.Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel has been adapted for film & television many times.

                      Before the Richard Widmark version & after.There is no similarity of plotting in that the victim is a criminal,a very bad guy, all 12 of the wounds are obviously different from each other & the policeman,Hercule Poiret has no difficulty in getting to the truth.The killers are allowed to go free as the murder is deemed to have been an act of justice as opposed to a terrible crime.

                      The murder of the much loved Robert Wone was a savage,brutal&unprovokedattackperpetrated & then covered up by evil doers who deserve to be found guilty& face full punishment for their actions.

                • Eagle
                  05/22/2010 at 1:51 PM

                  This scenario of the three bonded somehow in the three carefully administered knife wounds has been my instinct right from the start more than 6 months ago as I have stated..
                  At first, I suggested also a ritualist ring to the outcome.
                  I have not yet ruled that out.

                  • Eagle
                    05/22/2010 at 1:53 PM

                    I also have not ruled out that whatever happened has happened before either in this or another location to a human or perhaps an animal.
                    I surely wish someone would come forward with the facts.

              • lurker
                05/24/2010 at 9:13 AM

                Something I have been wondering in the theory about each having some contribution to the wounds, and the remarkable similarity of the wounds: could it be explained by one heand guiding the hand of the others?

                Say one individual grasps the knife, and with their other hand holds the hand of another around the handle.

                One individual in control of all (very similar) wounds, with the hands of the others included per whatever insurance pact made/ordered?

            • AnnaZed
              05/22/2010 at 9:17 AM

              “…Lawyer Price instructed the rest of The Trouple to insist so adamantly(as he did himself)that Mr. Ward could not have been involved in the killing because Mr. Ward was in his 2nd floor bedroom the entire time.Instead of removing suspicion regarding Mr. Ward,that insistence only served to point the police right at Mr. Ward.”

              I think blaming everything on Dylan is Joe’s fall-back position and that he laid extensive ground-work in his interactions with the police to do just that. It may even be true to an extent.

            • plumskiter
              05/22/2010 at 9:58 AM

              i have always read the interview transcripts in the same way you have – thinking that joe and victor went way overboard to specifically exonerate dylan when, by their own words, they could not possibly have known what happened on floor 2.

            • Lisa
              05/22/2010 at 11:01 AM

              nicely written, former prosecutor. i feel confident, in my own mind, that dylan and price were playing their “game” (much like the anesthetized animals that have semen harvested) on Mr. Wone, but that Price stabbed him. Price had a momentary lapse of impulse control and a transient feeling that this was simply a fantasy and the rules don’t apply to him.

              i also have found that people will not go along with a cover up for an extended period of time unless they are afraid of something. joe has enough information and control on all of these people to keep them quiet. if dylan would have been the one who actually stabbed him, joe would have given him up already as disposable.

              it’s joe. and yes, joe and dylan had played this sex “game” before, but always short of homicide.

        • Carolina
          05/22/2010 at 10:02 AM

          Isn’t it true that there were no other fingerprints on the knife found at the scene? If we make the jump of logic that it was, in fact, the murder weapon, and assuming the killer wore gloves, wouldn’t the prints made previously be smeared? That would leave Joe’s prints as the only ones clearly on the knife, since he pulled it from Mr. Wone’s chest. One would assume that neither Victor nor Dylan would have jumped at the chance to handle the knife post-murder.

        • SJinNYC
          05/27/2010 at 12:06 PM

          Although I disagree that all 3 members of the trouple each stabbed Robert once (too “Hollywood” for me, and also I don’t think all three of them were sociopathic/coldhearted enough to actually wield the knife – I think Joe did it or Dylan did it under the instruction of Joe), I do agree that the crime scene was so badly staged it’s laughable.

          I’m not an attorney, I’m a librarian. I’ve never attended law school. Yet even I know I could not “switch” knives, even I know forensic scientists are able to determine what kind of knife made a particular stab wound. In addition, the lack of blood on the bed and surrounding areas, the obvious puncture marks on the body, etc would have made me throw up my hands and say “No one is going to believe this”.

          Then again, perhaps Joe did know how ridiculous the staging was, but figured with no witnesses and none of the trouple talking, they just might get away with it due to the impossibility of determining just which one(s) of them committed the murder. I wonder if he considered the the almost certainty of obstruction/tampering/conspiracy charges though. Probably not – he was most likely too focuses on the “MURDER CHARGE” flashing red light blinking on and off within his small, evil mind.

    • AnnaZed
      05/21/2010 at 9:22 PM

      I have two very (very) sharp knives in their cases in my room because I don’t let anyone else use them (ever). I also have that “Stiffs” book and had the copy of the New Yorker with Shakespeare’s death bed as imagined by Ralph Stedman.

      just sayin’

      • BadShoes
        05/22/2010 at 12:03 AM

        where were you on the night of August 2nd, 2006?

  14. emg
    05/21/2010 at 7:07 PM

    The knife used is immaterial. I have many knives in my kitchen. They are not all sets. Nor could I even tell you if one was missing. It could have been a totally different knife that was used and disposed of. If the case is conspiracy and obstruction, I don’t think the prosecution has to find the weapon. That was all part of the cover-up.

    • Carolina
      05/21/2010 at 7:24 PM

      Excellent point. However, when one of the inhabitants has a carving set in a case secreted in his bedroom and it’s missing a knife with a blade length more consistent with the wound, then it does go toward making a point. I’m wondering if they’re interested in getting it admitted here in preparation for a later case.

      • KKinCA
        05/22/2010 at 12:22 AM

        I am joining this conversation late, but look at what the editors wrote about the defenses’ opening statements in the Day One Wrap:

        “Defense Pushback on Knife. In their opening statements, all three defense counsels Bernie Grimm, David Schertler and Thomas Connolly addressed the question of the knife, with Schertler insisting – using a very large blow-up image – that the knife found on the scene was in fact the murder weapon AND the missing knife from Dylan Ward’s cutlery set “…was never even in DC. It was in Seattle Washington.”

        Although I am attorney, I have always been a commercial transactional attorney, so my knowledge of the rules of civil and criminal procedure in the court room are foreign to me (and I take the 5th re: my date of admittance to the CA Bar!).

        Would any of our legal experts care to comment on whether Schertler will have to introduce evidence during the defense case to support his opening statement, and if so who you think we provide the testimony (I suppose Dylan’s relatives in Seattle?), and what the scope will be for the prosecution’s cross exam? And what if this opening statement claim is never supported by defense witnesses? Is the only remedy for the prosecution to bring that to the Judge’s attention in the closing statement? Thank you.

        • plumskiter
          05/22/2010 at 10:00 AM

          only remedy for failure to produce evidence in support of claims in defense opening is for the govt to comment on it in closing. scope of cross is determined by scope of direct.

          • KKinCA
            05/22/2010 at 9:33 PM

            Plumskiter – Thank you.

        • Nelly
          05/22/2010 at 10:02 AM

          Schertler doesn’t have to, but it would certainly be a good idea to back up what you claim in opening. If Ward doesn’t testify, then my guess is that a relative who supposedly had the knife from his set would testify. Prosecutor could have a field day with the witness re: bias. If the opening statement claim isn’t backed up, that would have a negative effect in the minds of a jury and most likely in the judge’s mind too. However, nothing said in opening is to be used as evidence. As for your last question, yes.

          • KKinCA
            05/22/2010 at 9:35 PM

            And thank you, too, Nelly. I love all the expertise on this site!

    • MotherOfInvention
      05/21/2010 at 7:26 PM

      If there is a bloody knife on the scene that doesn’t match the wounds, how is that not evidence of conspiracy?

      • Anonymous Friend
        05/21/2010 at 8:14 PM

        Especially if Joe told people that he removed the (now missing) knife from Robert’s chest … still waiting for that testimony.

    • Bill
      05/21/2010 at 7:35 PM

      As I stated above, Ward was a professional chef. Cutlery sets are very personal and would be carefully guarded. That’s why he kept them in his bedroom. I am certain that you don’t keep your knives in your bedroom, correct? Nevertheless, I believe the ME destroyed the credibility of the knife issue.

      • TT
        05/21/2010 at 7:41 PM

        Agreed, I have a sister who is a chef. She carries a set of knives, in a case, when she teaches class. She does not use that set of knives anywhere else except while teaching a class. She has many knives in her kitchen. Which she always cautions in using. They are very sharp. Especially, the ones, she uses in class. That set of knives, very sharp, do not come out in her kitchen. Dylan’s, set of knives, tucked away, very sharp I imagine. We still don’t know why the defense is saying that particular knife is in Seattle. Unless, I missed something.

        • Meto
          05/21/2010 at 7:46 PM

          TT:

          The Washington Post (when it still cared to write a story earlier this week) reported that the Defense stated that the knife set originated in Washington (state) and has changed hands 3 times over 30 years and that the knife missing in D.C. has been missing in that set for many years – thus the knife is in with someone in Seattle.

          Respectfully,

          Meto

          • TT
            05/21/2010 at 7:55 PM

            Damn, Meto, thanks. I thought I have followed this site very carefully, can you send lend me the link? I respect you and everything you have posted here. Sending blessings..

            • Meto
              05/21/2010 at 8:21 PM

              TT:

              You did not miss it on this site.

              I don’t have a link, but I will look for it. The Post published a very long story in its Metro section on Tuesday, May 18. The part of about the knife was deep in the article. I had the hard copy and am old school enough that after I read that I moved on, although I think this was very important part of Defense Opening and obviously is important.

              Respectfully,

              Meto

              • Meto
                05/21/2010 at 8:46 PM

                TT:

                Here is a link. As I read it, actually The Defense says that the knife changed 3 times before Dylan got the set.

                http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/17/AR2010051702360_2.html?sid=ST2010051702372

                MotherOfInvention – I read discussion of the knife here and while I admit I don’t read everything, I don’t think I saw this precise discussion in this article.

                I know that our Editors have sought access to the full transcripts precisely because they acknowledge that they are not getting things word for word. It would be nice if critics would care to recognize that our Editors do the best they can.

                Respectfully,

                Meto

                • HKG
                  05/22/2010 at 12:21 AM

                  just shows how important it is to have more eyes seeing all this stuff – old and experienced as well as new and fresh eyes.

                  and agreed, very impressive work, considering that the Editors are doing this now in real time, and we have the luxury of digesting the results, and comparing older sources, at our own mental pace.

            • MotherOfInvention
              05/21/2010 at 8:25 PM

              I think it was on this site, because I saw it and haven’t looked at much else.

            • Clio
              05/21/2010 at 8:37 PM

              Yes, Meto and TT, someone must be sleepless in Seattle over having this “missing” item!

              • tassojunior
                05/21/2010 at 9:26 PM

                Obviously Ward had someone in Seattle steal and ship the knife to DC for the murder and then sent it back and had it secretly replaced. Plain as day.

                • Carolina
                  05/22/2010 at 11:25 AM

                  Hey Ham, it makes as much sense as Joe pulling/not pulling the knife from the dead man’s chest. And really, who gives a new chef a PARTIAL knife set? No one, that’s who.

          • Carolina
            05/22/2010 at 10:08 AM

            Still begs the question, who gives a *partial* knife set? “Here, you can have this now that you’ve chose (yet another) profession, but I’m very attached to this particular knife, so you can’t have it.”

            I’m sorry, this just doesn’t seem at all reasonable.

        • SJinNYC
          05/27/2010 at 12:47 PM

          In theory, could Needham Ward or a close, trusted friend of Needham Ward purchase another cutlery set identical to that found in Dylan’s bedroom, take the knife out of the set, make it look a bit used, and then appear with it and claim that he (Needham) or his wife found it ‘accidentally’ in Dylan’s old closet or under Dylan’s old bed? Is this crazy? Or would, theoretically, someone actually try to pull a stunt like this or something similar?

          • AnnaZed
            05/27/2010 at 12:54 PM

            That would be pretty hard I think. This is a “vintage” knife set that was made a long time ago. The new ones, if they are even still made in that configuration by that company, would possibly appear different from the other two in the box ~ age of the wood in the handle maybe ~ and any forensics would reveal if it had been in use for decades easily (I would think).

      • Lyn
        05/21/2010 at 7:44 PM

        How then does the defense explain a knife with blood wiped on it from a towel? A knife that has no fibers from the shirt through which it supposedly cut? A knife with no blood on the sharp edge?

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 7:55 PM

        Hey Bill, I think the knife issue is still in play. The ME didn’t say either way (see Themis’s post – may actually give her more credibility) and it could be because she felt it out of her expertise. There is a knife wound expert slated for later who will (very likely) say that the regular kitchen knife wasn’t the murder weapon. The defense will have its counter expert.

        But logic is tough for the defense here that a 5 inch blade usually makes more than a 4 inch wound – especially when used three times. You’d think one would have gone to the handle. The tampering stuff (wiped blood on all but the sharp edge) is likewise hard to explain away.

        If someone testifies that he had Dylan’s ‘middle’ knife in Seattle, then that’s a ding for sure. But it doesn’t erase that whatever WAS the murder weapon was taken away.

        • Carolina
          05/22/2010 at 10:09 AM

          Unless there is a dated picture of someone in Seattle carving a ham using that knife on August 1, I wouldn’t believe it if I were paid.

      • Carolina
        05/22/2010 at 10:10 AM

        I don’t think Dylan’s ever truly been much of a professional anything, except for an erotic massage therapist.

  15. dcbill
    05/21/2010 at 7:42 PM

    I have a question for the eds. or any of the legal eagles on here. When the judge renders her verdict, must she do so in writing? Is she required to give her legal reasoning or cite evidence presented for her findings of guilt or innocence? Thanks to whoever can shed light on this. This blog has become a terrific community.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 7:57 PM

      Hey dcbill. Someone with knowledge of DC law commented on this issue a few days ago and I can’t remember the exact answer. Most do render verdicts in writing with a finding of facts and legal citations. They don’t like being overturned on appeal so it’s a very carefully written document.

    • jfh
      05/21/2010 at 8:11 PM

      The Judge will give her verdict orally and not in writing from the bench. She will likely give her reasoning beforehand, and it will be quite lengthy for the record, esp bc case could be appealed, and then will state for these reasons…i find the defendants ________.

  16. Leonard
    05/21/2010 at 8:06 PM

    Am I correct in noting that the gray T shirt was ripped down the front? If the stabbing occured with Robert in the nude and perhaps in the shower or a bathtub elsewhere then it would be difficult / impossible to get holes in the shirt to match the stab wounds. The difference in depth of the wounds vs length of blade could be in the method. If the stabber gripped the knife beyond the handle their own fingers would act as a guard keeping the blade from penetrating fully – more likely with gripping using two hands I would think.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 8:48 PM

      Leonard, if you’re stabbing a man three times (meaning using considerable force) WHY would you grip the knife beyond the handle? Seems like that would definitely cut your hand – talk about some serious DNA on the knife! It’s never occurred to me to grip a knife by the blade.

      The t-shirt holes were stated to be generally in the vicinity of where the stab wounds would be – assume that it’s possible after you’ve redressed someone, though agree he was nude when stabbed or the shirt would have blood at least around the holes. The shirt was torn apparently for purposes of access (medical intervention). Joe claimed that there was a lot of blood but that seems contrary to other claims. I don’t have a clue as to why the back of the t-shirt was covered in blood.

    • Bill Orange
      05/21/2010 at 8:51 PM

      You’re assuming that the fabric would’ve been pulled taut, and that’s not typically the case. A T-shirt is likely to be bunched up in some places and stretched in others. So unless the holes in the shirt are WAY off with respect to the holes in the body, you could probably get the shirt to line up with the holes in the body.

      Your point about how the knife is held is intriguing. Does anyone know if there’s a typical way that a chef would hold a knife if they’re stabbing into something?

      • Lyn
        05/21/2010 at 9:41 PM

        What exactly would a real chef need to “stab” while working in a kitchen? Is this a new cutlerly technique I’ll see on the Food Network soon?

        • AnnaZed
          05/21/2010 at 9:48 PM

          Good point Lyn, I am a excellent chef and I have very few occasions where I feel the need to stab anything.

          • Carolina
            05/22/2010 at 10:12 AM

            A lobster behind the head before steaming. That’s about all I can think of.

        • Bill Orange
          05/21/2010 at 11:52 PM

          Dunno. I’m obviously not a chef.

  17. emg
    05/21/2010 at 8:54 PM

    I thought I read somewhere, thoughIi can not find it, that the knife wounds were upside down- serrated side on top and smooth edge at bottom. If that is the case, wouldn’t the attacker have been coming from behind over the shoulder if both were standing (in the kitchen as an example).
    The attacker would have had to be quite tall. (Joe) It would also give the attacker: 1-additional leverage which would result in a deeper wound relative to Robert; 2: the element of surprise might cause incapacitation, especially if the 3 wounds were in fast repetition.

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 8:59 PM

      Hey emg. You are correct that the blade was upward and each wound was at the same angle. But whether Robert was standing seems unlikely to me given that he had no defensive wounds – would imagine the paralytic or whatever would prevent him from being able to stand. I’m guessing lying down either in bed, shower or tub, etc.

      • emg
        05/21/2010 at 9:04 PM

        I just thought the element of surprise from behind in rapid succession might preclude a defensive response.

        • tucsonwriter
          05/22/2010 at 1:35 AM

          It’s not just that he had no defensive wounds. One of the key points in the ME’s evidence is that the stab wounds are extremely unusual. Imagine putting a knife cleanly into a brand new tub of butter and pulling it out. This is the nature of the stab wounds in this case. Human beings in a traumatic situation respond by fight, flight or freeze. Irregardless of anything our body acts to protect itself. It would be virtually impossible to stab someone and leave a wound like the ones the evidence is describing.

          The body would writhe or involuntarily twitch.

          This is a HUGE part of the evidence as is the loss of blood. Blood doesn’t just evaporate and disappear.

          • MotherOfInvention
            05/22/2010 at 1:47 AM

            Yes, great points.

            But forgive me, tusconwriter, if I point out that “irregardless” is not a word. 😉

            • tucsonwriter
              05/22/2010 at 2:55 AM

              It is now! Shakespeare invented words all the time.

          • Three Counts of Murder
            05/22/2010 at 2:06 AM

            “Blood doesn’t just evaporate and disappear.”

            Yes it does, if one or more vampires are living in the house.

            Do we know if there were any mirrors in their house? I suspect not.

            Was any photographic equipment found in their house? I suspect not.

            Did any of the defendants frequently eat Italian food, especially with garlic? I suspect rarely.

            Did they frequently roam around town at night? Yes they did.

            Were multiple puncture marks found on the victim’s skin? Yes there were.

            Did any of the household originate from Eastern Europe? Hello Count Zaborsky!

            • tucsonwriter
              05/22/2010 at 3:09 AM

              Isn’t this really OJ Simpson all over again. It doesn’t matter how guilty a person is – its just really about buying justice?

              I am not a cynical person but I am here,,,, in Tucson… reading a lot Charles Bowden – who used to cover a lot of murders for the Arizona Daily Star and is working a lot in Cuidad Juarez where as far as I can tell over 500 women to this day have died in
              Jack the Ripper type weirdness and the media has dropped the story…

              So I am trying to decide what is real. How deep is the level of corruption….. this is a personal thing for me right now.

              In terms of this particular case – I think this website is such a beautiful testimony to the power of TRUTH.

              • Clio
                05/22/2010 at 3:15 PM

                No, it’s not OJ all over again. And, I doubt that Mr. Price will get a future book contract for If I Did It, a novel, from ReganBooks, too. Hope that helps.

      • HKG
        05/22/2010 at 1:00 AM

        the details of the stab wounds are in the autopsy report that mention a 10 oclock to 4 oclock orientation, with the sharp edge of the blade at the 10 oclock position.

        as i commented overnight on “Day 4 Update”, does anyone have any opinions over whether the wounds could have been made by the same single person who had dragged Wone into the shower, with Wone seated at that person’s feet?

        in that way (a person standing and leaning over a seated Wone), i’d think it would make sense that the wounds would be in the higher chest region, and being toward the right side, perhaps indicating it was a right handed person who made the stabs. the prosecution could measure each defendents arms to see how the entry wounds would line up with persons situated like that.

        • John Grisham
          05/22/2010 at 1:37 AM

          That could be one possibility. Another is this. Assuming the perps decided to stab Robert as part of their cover-up plan after they inadvertently overdosed him. Which position of attack would be more likely if Robert was laying prone either on the guest bed or more likely on a tarp on the floor?

          The knife-wielder(s) sitting next to Robert’s hips and viewing his face while doing vile deed (which Joe so vividly described later to Kathy)? Or the knife-wielder(s) sitting behind Robert’s head in order not to view Robert’s face while stabbing him (the perps being stunned and even remorseful that their doping and sex play plans with their “friend” went catastrophic)?

          • MotherOfInvention
            05/22/2010 at 1:48 AM

            But then how does that square with Goslinoski saying Robert was alive when stabbed?

            • Three Counts of Murder
              05/22/2010 at 2:12 AM

              The perps believed Robert to be dead. Whether or not he was, that’s what determined their subsequent course of action.

          • HKG
            05/22/2010 at 3:20 AM

            not sure exactly how people bleed if they’ve been stabbed like this. but as the cleanup was so good, i find it hard to believe he could have stabbed him anywhere but the shower or the patio. if he was on the bed or floor, you’d think at least a drop of blood would be splattered or dropped somewhere..

            • John Grisham
              05/22/2010 at 3:25 AM

              Use of a tarp, play sheet, etc., common weekly equipment for someone with an S&M inventory like Dylan

              • John Grisham
                05/22/2010 at 3:32 AM

                As Culuket was admittedly into watersports and scat, this would have been standard household equipment for them.

                • Carolina
                  05/22/2010 at 10:16 AM

                  And yet, I don’t recall a single play sheet on the inventory. I wonder why.

            • MotherOfInvention
              05/22/2010 at 4:23 AM

              It may well have been. The tests for blood in the room were botched by the police by the premature application of something called Ashley’s Reagent. Initial tests suggested traces of blood, but the evidence was tainted before it could be conclusively tested.

      • MotherOfInvention
        05/22/2010 at 1:27 AM

        You are incorrect. Xylene is a paralytic agent, and it was found in his blood, eventually. Paralytics were not tested for initially, as no one suspected their use and it was not SOP, but eventually the small amount of Robert’s blood was tested and xylene was found.

      • tucsonwriter
        05/22/2010 at 1:37 AM

        He had multiple puncture wounds in around his ankles, etc. Its all on this site.

      • Carolina
        05/22/2010 at 10:16 AM

        You’re incorrect, but I’ll leave you to find the info for yourself.

    • Bill Orange
      05/21/2010 at 9:02 PM

      I suppose this is possible, but I think it’s more likely that the knife was being held in someone’s fist with the tip pointing downward and the edge pointing away from the holder. So the wounds would fit with Wone being stabbed by someone while he (Wone) was lying on his back, and the stabber was standing or kneeling on his left side. In my (admittedly inexpert) opinion, the wound pattern (unlike most everything else) fits with an intruder stabbing Robert as he was lying in bed.

      • Bea
        05/21/2010 at 9:05 PM

        If it’s an intruder and there was no incapacitation, what do you think about the no defensive wounds and that he didn’t even clutch his chest? Or do you think he was incapacitated?

        • emg
          05/21/2010 at 9:11 PM

          If Robert were in bed and an absolute stranger walked in to the bedroom, he would have reacted and there would be defensive wounds and a struggle. He was either drugged or he trusted and knew his attacker.

          • Carolina
            05/22/2010 at 10:18 AM

            It’s not just lack of defensive wounds. When one is stabbed, the torso typically jerks or twists, leaving ragged wounds. As someone else said, these were as clean and sharp as if one had plunged the blade into butter.

        • Bill Orange
          05/21/2010 at 9:12 PM

          Well, I don’t really think there was an intruder. I think the stab wounds fit with where an intruder would have stood, and I’m even willing to assume that Wone was stabbed so quickly that he never got his hands in front of the knife, but I can’t imagine that he didn’t at least grip his chest. Maybe the defense will argue that the stabbing was too quick for defensive wounds, and Wone’s superabsorbant T-shirt prevented him from getting any blood on his hands when he instinctively reached for his chest.

          • emg
            05/21/2010 at 9:22 PM

            This is another really dumb question. Do the police have his suit and dress shirt that he was wearing that day? If my theory is correct he never even made it upstairs which would mean he never had time to change his clothes. if they have them and they are in tact, then my theory is out the window.

            • Bea
              05/21/2010 at 9:24 PM

              I can only assume they have the suit and have double checked everything for clues – but with all the mistakes, who knows?

            • Bill Orange
              05/21/2010 at 9:25 PM

              I was wondering that, too. The defense is adamant that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon, so my little thought experiment was, “Let’s assume that’s the case.” That would be a weapon of opportunity, and if that were the case, it would suggest the stabbing occurred in or near the kitchen. Are all of Wone’s clothes accounted for?

              • Anonymous Friend
                05/21/2010 at 9:30 PM

                I’ve also wondered if they’ve inventoried the sheets, mops, etc. If they cleaned up, they should have found wet mops, etc. OR no mop. Ditto re the sheets and towels (although it’s far more common to have multiple towels/sheets than mops, no?). I’ve never heard any info about this … wonder if we will.

                • Bea
                  05/21/2010 at 9:38 PM

                  Good point. I’m hoping the prosecution will ask Sarah Morgan (who is testifying) whether she ever saw that the defendants owned:
                  1. a video camera
                  2. SLR cameras
                  3. Point and shoot camera
                  4. how many of each

                  and I’d add, upon review of the inventory, whether they owned a mop and whether any towels or bedding appears to be missing.

                  Finally, I’d ask if any knives appeared to be missing.

                • whodoneit
                  05/21/2010 at 10:46 PM

                  That’s why I believe he was killed by the patio drain and the blood was washed down the drain immediately with the hose. That’s why defendant(s) volunteered that there had been a grill fire that required using the hose on the patio. As to Robert’s clothes, I believe the arrest warrant for Dylan indicated they were neatly folded in a pile near the foot of the bed.

                  • Bill Orange
                    05/21/2010 at 11:43 PM

                    He’d just finished a VERY long workday at the end of summer. He’s described as “fastidious”. I would assume he wasn’t planning on wearing the same clothes the next day that he arrived in–at a minimum, I’d expect at least two shirts, two pairs of socks, and two pairs of underwear. Are all of them accounted for?

              • Nelly
                05/22/2010 at 9:34 AM

                I think so. Photos depicted his clothing on the floor and on the table near the sofabed.

            • Carolina
              05/22/2010 at 10:19 AM

              If he were incapacitated first, I doubt they would have killed him in his suit. Easy enough to strip him down.

          • Carolina
            05/22/2010 at 10:21 AM

            As I just posted above, the defensive wounds are the least of it. If Robert were no incapacitated, the torso would have jerked and twisted, leaving tearing evidence where the knife was thrust into the body. These wounds were clean. Straight in, straight out, three times.

  18. Bill Orange
    05/21/2010 at 8:56 PM

    Does anyone know if the shirt has been formally introduced into evidence yet? I’m curious as to where exactly it came from–the house, the ambulance, or the hospital. Thanks!

    • Bea
      05/21/2010 at 9:00 PM

      I don’t. Good point, too, as to where in the chain it may have been torn.

      • Bill Orange
        05/21/2010 at 9:22 PM

        Didn’t they do an EKG in the house? If so, they would have cut his shirt up the front beforehand. I think that EMTs will usually only cut off as little as they need to in order to do their jobs, so they may not have cut through the sleeves, and the shirt could’ve still been on him when he got to the ER.

        • Kate
          05/21/2010 at 11:14 PM

          I believe it was reported earlier from Nurse Lujan’s testimony that Robert’s shirt was cut up the center-front in the ER, as standard ER protocol.

          I could be wrong … it’s getting late.

          • Carolina
            05/22/2010 at 10:22 AM

            I believe she said the opposite, actually.

            • Kate
              05/22/2010 at 4:47 PM

              Oops, sorry. Thanks for the proper info Carolina.

              I think I may have gleaned my info from a broadcast report, whilst attempting to cook a healthy meal for a family that would rather have pizza on Friday night! Needless to say, I was hearing strong objections …. all overruled.

  19. srb
    05/21/2010 at 10:21 PM

    I’m basing my opinions on what I’ve read on here and in other news reports, but I don’t agree with Jaffe’s assessment regarding the knife evidence. Unless the ME said something different in the autopsy or the prosecution stated in its opening that the ME would say that the knife doesn’t match, her equivocal testimony on this issue is immaterial. As I read things, she was offered to establish that Robert did not die instantaneously and she didn’t budge on that point even on cross. Frankly, the prosecution would have been foolish to rely on her establish this point because I doubt that in her experience with stabbing cases (which I understand is 45 cases), she’s had very few if any others where she was asked to investigate whether the knife matched the wounds. And in my experience, experts who stick to what they know, don’t try to “win” the case for the side calling them, and who yield ground when there’s room to be yielded get big points on credibility with a finder of fact.

    I assume that the prosecution has a forensics expert who will be opining on whether the knife at the scene matches the wound, and once that expert has testified, we can assess whether the knife-tampering theory was established.

    If the defense’s theory is that Robert died instantaneously, how are they going to explain Price’s statements in the police interview that he heard grunting/low yelling? Or Zaborsky’s statement to the 911 operator that Robert was still breathing? And if the experts’ theory is that he died instantly, which is why there was hardly any blood at the scene, how can they reconcile that with Price’s own statements that there was a lot of blood on the bed? Or the presence of a lot of blood on the back of the t-shirt but not on the sheets?

    • sister sledgehammer
      05/22/2010 at 1:09 AM

      “I assume that the prosecution has a forensics expert who will be opining on whether the knife at the scene matches the wound, and once that expert has testified, we can assess whether the knife-tampering theory was established.”

      Let’s hope somebody can testify to that, srb. If not, Jaffe is right and the Gov’t knife tampering theory is lost.

      Commenter banned for violating the most simple of rules.

  20. Tarfunk
    05/21/2010 at 10:36 PM

    Does anyone recall when it was discovered that Robert was wearing his tooth guard? I.e., Was his mouth open so the defendants could see that, or did that fact only arise later at the hospital or during the autopsy? In describing Robert’s position on the bed, Joe says “You know, everything looked fine, except there’s this guy there with a bloody shirt, laying there, you know, with his head at an extreme — you know, way back like he must’ve raised his head like (indiscernible) thing on his teeth.” Sure sounds like Joe is saying his head was in the position it would be when one was inserting a tooth guard.

    • Bill Orange
      05/21/2010 at 11:49 PM

      The guard was still in place at the autopsy. I doubt either the EMTs or the ER staff would have taken it out and then put it back in. What I think probably happened is that the EMT who did the intubation saw it when they started to intubate, realized they could get the tube in even though there was a guard in place, and just left it there. Assuming the tube never had to be adjusted, it’s possible that the ER staff never even knew it was there.

  21. Bill Orange
    05/21/2010 at 11:56 PM

    Question for the eds: Didn’t Kathy Wone say she “repacked” Robert’s overnight bag? Did she say exactly what was in it? I’d been assuming that the clothes on the floor were the clothes he’d been wearing, and his change-of-clothes for the next day was still in his overnight bag. But all the talk about his habits and the way he dressed made me wonder if he’s the type who always hangs up tomorrow’s shirt the night before he’s going to wear it. And if tomorrow’s shirt was even still in the room. Do we have an inventory of his things that were recovered from the room?

  22. CC Biggs
    05/22/2010 at 12:02 AM

    The allegation that Wone’s chest/abdomen appeared to have been wiped down doesn’t strike me as a particularly bad piece of evidence against the defendants. The 911 operator specifically instructed them to put a towel on the wounds and press firmly. The defendants could simply say that any apparent wipe marks resulted from their efforts to stop the bleeding. What am I missing?

    • tucsonwriter
      05/22/2010 at 1:55 AM

      Have you read all the evidence on this website? When the EMS arrived, Price – who according to the 911 operators was instructed to apply pressure to the stab wounds, was just sitting next to the body. The towel he was supposed to be using to apply the pressure is consistent with and I think the fibers from the knife show that that towel was used to put blood on the knife that was on the bedside table.

      As I recall the towel was elsewhere in the room. He was not applying any pressure or touching the towel.

      If you had a college friend die as a guest in your home, what would be your concern? Getting help or wiping the blood off their chest? None of their story hangs together or is credible. It’s totally bizarre. I looked at the pictures on this site of the murder home and it is immaculate. A neat freak would wipe the chest off. They wouldn’t be able to help themselves. Hmmm anyone read a recent definition of narcissist? No ability to feel empathy, concern with how things look, superficial….

      • John Grisham
        05/22/2010 at 4:16 AM

        That’s right tusconwriter.

        Few of the household’s behaviors can be described as being “help us save Robert” motivated.

        Nor can the household’s behaviors be described as “help protect us quickly, there’s a thief in our house” motivated.

        Rather, most of their communication seems to be about establishing particular common details in their eventful evening.

        • DGC
          05/24/2010 at 12:47 PM

          In the 911 recording Zaborsky repeated a couple times that he was afraid to go downstairs to let the paramedics in because he didn’t know who may be down there.

        • DGC
          05/24/2010 at 12:47 PM

          In the 911 recording Zaborsky repeated a couple times that he was afraid to go downstairs to let the paramedics in because he didn’t know who may be down there.

  23. BadShoes
    05/22/2010 at 12:12 AM

    The prosecution contends that the only towel that was found wasn’t used for compression, but was used to wipe the knife.

    Mr. Ward said that he never saw Mr. Price make any first aid efforts. Mr. Zaborsky said that when he came downstairs he brought Mr. Price a towel, and pressed it to the wound. I believe that Mr. Zaborsky also said, at another point, that Mr. Price was already applying compression when he came downstairs and gave him another towel. So, depending on the story, there were zero, one, or two towels used for compression by Joe Price. The prosecution contends that the actual number was zero.

    If you accept the prosecution’s contention, then the wipe marks didn’t result from any effort to stop the bleeding, and what happened to the towel doing the wiping?

    • emg
      05/22/2010 at 8:52 AM

      Although Joe was clearly instructed by the 911 dispatcher through Victor to apply pressure until Emts arrived, and NOT to stop, when EMT arrived Joe was NOT. He was sitting on bed with his back to the door. Why did he not follow instructions? Was he afraid Robert might survive?

      • DGC
        05/24/2010 at 12:51 PM

        or did he realize that applying pressure was pointless and that Robert was already beyond saving?

  24. John
    05/22/2010 at 12:28 AM

    Has anyone discussed the possible drugs that could have been given to Robert that might have been administered via a needle? And could these drugs have caused the fatality?

    • MotherOfInvention
      05/22/2010 at 12:37 AM

      Yes, it’s been discussed, and the paralytic xylene was actually found in the very small sample of his blood that was tested for it, but not in great enough concentrations to be admissible. People have also speculated about ketamine (the party drug special K)(Culuket being Joe Price’s profile name) and various inhalants.

      I don’t really know what is injectable and what isn’t. Dr. Goslinoski says the cause of death was the bleeding from the wounds, IIRC. It’s possible that the defendants thought they had killed Robert, or that he came to while they were in flagrante, so they decided to kill him.

      • John
        05/22/2010 at 12:48 AM

        MotherOfInvention- thanks for the detailed answers.

        • MotherOfInvention
          05/22/2010 at 12:50 AM

          You are most welcome.

          Also of interest is the fact that Michael Price, Joe Price’s recovering meth addict brother, was taking a phlebotomy (blood-drawing) class and the night of the murder was the only night he missed the class. And then his mega-relapse, the burglary, etc.

      • tucsonwriter
        05/22/2010 at 3:13 AM

        Where did the blood go if he died from his wounds?

        • MotherOfInvention
          05/22/2010 at 4:25 AM

          That’s why it seems there was a cleanup. There are 4 liters of blood that seem to have disappeared.

          • Bob
            05/23/2010 at 4:10 PM

            The ninja had blood-vacuuming apparatus provided by the Chinese government. It only took a few minutes to suck Robert’s blood out, and the ninja ran out the back before the body was discovered.

    • tucsonwriter
      05/22/2010 at 2:50 AM

      WHAT IS KETAMINE?

      Ketamine hydrochloride (“Special K” or “K”) was originally created for use as a human anaesthetic, and is still used as a general anaesthetic for children, persons of poor health, and in veterinary medicine.
      Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs called “dissociative anaesthetics,” which separate perception from sensation. Other drugs in this category include PCP, DXM and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

      Ketamine usually comes as a liquid in small pharmaceutical bottles, and is most often cooked into a white powder for snorting.
      WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?

      At lower doses it has a mild, dreamy feeling similar to nitrous oxide. Users report feeling floaty and slightly outside their body. Numbness in the extremities is also common.
      Higher doses produce a hallucinogenic (trippy) effect, and may cause the user to feel very far away from their body.
      This experience is often referred to as entering a “K-hole” and has been compared to a near death experience with sensations of rising above one’s body. Many users find the experience spiritually significant , while others find it frightening.
      While in a K-hole it is very difficult to move. People usually remain seated or lying down during the experience.
      WHAT IS THE DOSAGE?

      Most people snort small lines or “bumps” for a mild, dreamy effect. The effect comes on within about 5 to 10 minutes.
      100mg is usually enough to enter a K-hole.
      If liquid is injected into the muscle, less is needed to enter a K-hole. Effects can be felt within four minutes. (Ketamine is never injected into the vein).

      If swallowed, the effects come on in 10 – 20 minutes.
      Some people become nauseous after taking ketamine.
      Occasionally ketamine has been sold in a capsule as “Ecstasy,” although it is nothing like MDMA (real ecstasy). An ecstasy testing kit can be used to screen against fake ecstasy tablets.
      BE CAREFUL.

      While low doses of Ketamine can increase heart-rate, at higher doses it depresses consciousness and breathing and is extremely dangerous to combine with downers like alcohol, Valium or GHB.
      Frequent use can cause disruptions in consciousness and lead to neuroses or other mental disorders.
      Ketamine can cause a tremendous psychological dependence. The dissociation from one’s consciousness experienced with ketamine can be highly seductive to some people, and there are many cases of ketamine addiction.
      Ketamine is illegal and possession can result in long prison terms.

      • Carolina
        05/22/2010 at 10:27 AM

        Yes, and as it was not tested for immediately and has a short half-life, it couldn’t be tested for once it because a subject for discussion. A major screw up.

  25. kappapej
    05/22/2010 at 5:46 AM

    Unless I’m misunderstanding something, I think the defense’s testimony is moot for entirely different reasons–

    Didn’t the ME (or someone) testify that only 2 liters of blood remained IN Robert? As in, they measured the quantity of blood left in his body, presumably at the autopsy?

    The defense’s argument is that the nature of the stab wound caused Robert to bleed out internally. Even if that were the case, wouldn’t that blood be present when the blood was weighed at autopsy?

    Meaning, even if the defense’s argument provides a justification for the lack of defensive wounds and the lack of blood at the scene, it does nothing to mitigate the lack of blood found within the body. Sure, tamponade could have happen, but the internal evidence (as opposed to the scene evidence) proves that it didn’t.

    Am I misinterpreting things, or is this correct?

    (First comment, looooong time lurker.)

    • Kate
      05/22/2010 at 9:09 AM

      Kappapej – I agree and have been wondering the same thing. I hope someone can explain, if we’re missing something.

      Many thanks,
      Kate

  26. emg
    05/22/2010 at 9:11 AM

    I have serious concerns about the initial police investigation that night.
    1-Officer Durham left V,J & D in the living room unattended because she went to the hospital with Robert. How long were they alone before the next officer arrived?
    2- She was told by Joe that Robert was stabbed outside on the patio, they let him in and brought him upstairs. Did she communicate this to the next officer that night? Otherwise the next officers were focusing on the upstairs, not the kitchen.
    3-During that night, were officers always with V,J and D while they were examing the bedroom, or were they allowed to be alone downstairs?
    3-Were V,J,&D allowed to go back to the house the next morning or was the entire house cordoned off? They would have had time to get rid of evidence in the kitchen area if the police continued to focus on the upstairs.
    4-Were photos of the bedroom shown to Robert’s wife to determine if that is how Robert would have laid his clothes out, and if everything she packed was accounted for?
    5-During all of the interviews in the early hours no one EVER mentioned Joe’s initally saying Robert was found downstairs which leads me to believe Officer Durham did not communicate this to anyone at the time. Joe was NEVER asked about this discrepency which is a huge screw up on the part of the police. They would have been able to nail him right then. They would have focused more attention on the kitchen area far earlier.

  27. David R
    05/22/2010 at 1:00 PM

    I am just reading up on this and I wonder why the hospital took any lifesaving measures at all considering the paramedics found no pulse no respitory function and the eyes were dialated. and the EKG was a flat line.

    If you are clearly dead when you arrive at the hospital are they going to shove tubes into you and attempt to revive you? I don’t understand why that happened to start with.

    • Bill Orange
      05/22/2010 at 1:31 PM

      Well, the story was that he had been stabbed immediately prior to the 911 call, so they would’ve been working on the assumption that this was a healthy young man who was stabbed less than half-an-hour ago. I think that the ER staff knew that they were very unlikely to revive him, but I think that they were correct to make the effort.

  28. Very New Eyes
    05/22/2010 at 2:13 PM

    What if the attacker (lg tall man) came up behind the victim (sm short man) and used his arm to choke hold (restrain/overpower) the victim, then victim is going to be first of all busy using his hands to try to get free from the arm choking his neck, (therefore hands not in the vicinity of the knife coming at him) and hence, the attacker from behind makes 3 quick stab wounds while holding the victim around the neck?

    Early on misread cues could have caused sexual proposition/advances to victim, which were promptly & adamantly refused, but humiliated, insulted, and angered the egotistical Joe, I can see this result happening right in the kitchen. Then was quickly undressed and dragged to patio & washed off. I would think victim had already changed into street clothes upon arrival.

  29. Very New Eyes
    05/22/2010 at 2:20 PM

    Oops! Meant to say “changed from dress clothes to casual clothes” upon arrival.

  30. srb
    05/22/2010 at 2:57 PM

    To the theory that Robert was drugged and stabbed only after he was thought to be already dead by the person(s) who had drugged him, I noticed that Joe said in his interview that he checked Robert for a pulse, that he checked both wrists. I wonder if that’s another one of those partially-true bits of his story, that he did check Robert for a pulse, only it was BEFORE Robert was stabbed not after. There was nothing on the 911 tape to suggest that he was checking Robert for a pulse. And if Robert was still breathing as Victor said on the call, then there would have been no need to check him for a pulse.

    Incidentally, Joe also told the interviewing officers that he was yelling for them to send an ambulance, but I didn’t hear any such thing on the tape.

    To the theory that the evidence was disposed by somebody who went out the back gate, I noticed that the officers said that the dirt behind the gate was not disturbed at all. Is it possible that the evidence was hidden somewhere in the house and shuttled out later?

    • AnnaZed
      05/22/2010 at 3:06 PM

      Good points srb, particularly that detail about not hearing Joe doing any such thing as calling for help on that 911 call, cagily asking the time maybe to get it entered on the tape is more like what he was doing (though that ended up being a mistake which may well come back to haunt him in a big way since he misheard or misremembered what was said and got the other two to repeat the wrong time-stamp).

      As to the idea that someone took evidence out the back (or even the front, maybe in a suitcase) I for one did not imagine this co-conspirator going over the wall but through the gate or door in the conventional way. The police said that the dirt and pollen was not disturbed on the top of the wall (indicating that no one had climbed over it) not that no one could have entered or left via the back gate recently.

      • AnnaZed
        05/22/2010 at 3:11 PM

        …particularly someone who had the … ahem … keys.

        just sayin’

        • srb
          05/22/2010 at 3:44 PM

          Good point. I didn’t realize that the police were talking about the dirt on top of the gate.

          The contrast between how Joe describes himself as having been during the 911 call (hysterical, yelling, scared, etc.) and how he actually sounds on the tape is impossible to ignore. If Robert had been moaning and dying right before his eyes, someone in that house, at least one of Robert’s oldest and best friends, calling Robert’s name, encouraging him to hang on, telling him help was on the way. But no one on the tape can be heard talking to Robert at all.

          And if the timeline is as the defense contends, then how did Joe go from hysteria to aloofness in the less than 10 minutes? People usually remain shaken up much longer than that even after something as minor as a fender bender accident.

  31. Bill
    05/22/2010 at 5:50 PM

    This is getting addictive which is scary given my propensity toward addiction (I’m in recovery for 10 yrs).

    I read in great detail the Affidavit in Support of the Arrest of Dylan Ward. It is very incriminating. I realize that it is written to support his arrest but it provides a mosaic of 1,000 interrelated pieces that will be nearly insurmountable.

    This doesn’t look good, and frankly has the defendants themselves stating that the idea of an intruder killing Robert was implausible. Here is the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/11824221/Affidavit-in-Support-of-an-Arrest-Warrant-Dylan-Ward

    • Former Sex Offense Prosecutor
      05/22/2010 at 7:44 PM

      Mother of Invention & Bill,
      Thank you for alerting me to the fact that I am not the only one who cannot find a reply button for Bill’s recent comment regarding his fears of stereotyping the gay community because of the extreme forms of BDSM involved in this case. Bill & to anyone reading this, in 10 years as a Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor, every really gruesome BDSM case I can recall in my jurisdiction involved heterosexuals. Nothing in the gay community, all heterosexuals.

      The most bizarre was a woman who wanted to be sexually tortured to death & solicited for a Male Dominant to actually complete the assignment for some time until she found a taker. Many people came forward after the fact to say that they had attempted to intervene after reading her postings. That is part of the puzzling lack of response from the BDSM community in the murder of Robert Wone. From the information contained in the Alt.com ad, Submissive Lawyer Price particularly enjoyed “caging”, among other things, which suggests to me that his Dominant Master, kindly “Uncle Dylan” had access to a dungeon. To those who say other partners are fearful of coming forward after a gruesome murder, why is this viewed as a gay vs. heterosexual issue? Extreme practioners of BDSM alt lifestyles are not primarily gay & anyone familiar with the criminal investigations that take place after a death occurs
      knows this.

      I think that many people have been equally disturbed by the undertone present in some remarks that Robert Wone was somehow complicit & secretly looking forward to the events that resulted in his death. That is really horrible is it not? Why do you think people feel the need to question Robert Wone’s sexuality? If there was any truth to the idea that Robert Wone was interested in exploring a different lifestyle, there is no way that a significant trail of computer searches & communications would not exist such as in the pages of correspondence that Lawyer Price gave to Kathy Wone. Obviously, I have not read those emails, but it is a certainty that nothing is contained therein that suggests that Robert Wone had the vaguest idea that his long time friend from college was also involved as a submissive in a secret violent & degrading BDSM relationship with a man that Robert Wone was led to believe was merely a tenant in the Swann Street residence.

      I was under the impression that the creators of this site, (& I salute you all!)took the action that they did because they wanted to say as gay men who are a part of this community, murder is not acceptable to us, & we are not going to let anyone hide behind the fact that this case involves the murder of a straight man by people who he viewed as friends who happened to be gay. In the case of 2 of them, the evidence has demonstrated that they were secretly engaged in an extreme form of a BDSM relationship & actively seeking others to join them.

      Bill, please don’t let the fact that Lawyer Price & Kindly Uncle Dylan were hiding a disturbing secret dark side fuel your fears about stereotyping the gay community. Phillip Markoff, the good looking blonde male about to be married medical student with a gambling problem, the so called Craig’s List killer, put up some really interesting ads looking to be abused via gay BDSM in much the same manner as Lawyer Price. No one thinks less of the gay community when a heterosexual acts this way. If anyone does have any information that is relevant to the murder of Robert Wone, please don’t let your fears about stereotyping prevent you from doing something brave & heroic. Every murder victim is entitled to justice, regardless of their sexual orientation & lifestyle.

      • MotherOfInvention
        05/22/2010 at 8:11 PM

        I appreciate the impassioned plea for anyone who knows anything to come forward. However, I don’t think we know there was anything dark or disturbing about Joe and Dylan’s BDSM activities prior to this episode. If BDSM is practiced in a safe, sane and consensual manner, it is not only not disturbing, but a healthy expressiion of sexuality.

        For most BDSM practitioners, consensuality is a sine qua non, and I think that is not widely understood. Most BDSM “sadists” don’t enjoy real torture, they enjoy torturing people who crave being tortured. That may be a difficult distinction if you are not a practitioner, but an essential one. The pleasurable element is indispenable for both sides, normally, altough since pain is in the foreground, that can be hard to see.

        I wouldn’t presume that previous partners of Price and Ward would have anything to add, as there is no evidence at the moment that their previous activities were anything but consensual. Anyone who had beeen drugged or otherwise preyed upon by them would obviously be a different matter.

        • Forme Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          05/23/2010 at 7:09 AM

          Mother of Invention,
          I think that anyone one who provided a dungeon for the use of Culuket & Master Dom aka “Kindly Uncle Ward” may have significant information about the sexual dynamic between the two as well as their specific interests,including drug use.

          Also, anyone who responded to the alt.com ad may also have some relevant information regarding the limits, or lack thereof pertaining to the Master Submissive relationship between Kindly Uncle Dylan the Master Dominant & his submisive, Lawyer Price. The world of BDSM is only safe & sane until someone turns up dead. There are people out there who know more that they are willing to admit. The murder of Robert Wone cries out for justice.

          Not banal descriptions/propaganda atttesting to your personal belief that everyone involved in BDSM is engaged in a healthy, sane, expression of their sexuality. Seriously, do you actually believe that the case I investigated regarding a woman who desired to be sexually tortured until she died was expressing a “healthy, sane” approach to exploring her sexuality via BDSM?

      • Bill
        05/23/2010 at 11:07 AM

        @Former Sex Offense Prosecutor: Thank you so very much for your very kind and thoughtful comments.

    • KKinCA
      05/22/2010 at 9:55 PM

      Congrats on 10 years! I am a Friend of Bill, as well, for 9 years! I am sliding towards my addiction to this site as well. I am trying to set time limits, but so far that isn’t going well. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Sorry that this is off-subject – the Eds may block.

  32. MotherOfInvention
    05/22/2010 at 6:23 PM

    Some new comments on this thread are showing up without a Reply button, such as Bill’s recent comment.

    In reply to that I wanted to say: I think the BDSM had been excluded at the evidentiary hearings, at least I know the presence of the restraints were. I think Joe Price telling a police officer about a black man that lived in the alley out back would have been very unsympathetic to the jury, and in general the effete, educated gay men would not have been sympathetic to the likely jurors in a visceral way.

    • Bill
      05/22/2010 at 6:44 PM

      Agreed about the statement regarding a “black man.” Who is the reference to the “effete, education gay men?”

      • Bill
        05/22/2010 at 6:45 PM

        Sorry – meant “effete, educated” gay men.

      • MotherOfInvention
        05/22/2010 at 6:54 PM

        The defendants.

        • Bill
          05/22/2010 at 7:12 PM

          You may not mean it, but unless you have had personal contact with each defendant and observed that their mannerisms are feminine (which I am assuming that you haven’t), to refer to the defendants are “effete” is considered by the gay and lesbian community as an insulting stereotype. Certainly, you don’t mean it in that manner and you know that most gay men do not act “effete?”

          • MotherOfInvention
            05/22/2010 at 7:16 PM

            Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. It was probably not the best choice of words. Other than hearing Victor on the 911 tape, I have not observed the men directly. I meant that they are affluent, sophiticated (from what I have seen of the decor at Swann St), extremely educated, sucessful, etc. not that they were effeminate. Sorry to have suggested that. And I am a gay man, FWIW.

            • Bill
              05/22/2010 at 7:24 PM

              Totally okay! Of course, you understand my concern over perpetrating the stereotype of the gay male as a swishie little queen who can’t get it together and is only concerned about superficial and self-indulgent activities

              Yes, the 911 operator frequently referenced Victor was female — I would imagine it was because of the hysteria in his voice. But who knows how any of us would sound between crying, breathing and trying to talk.

              • Clio
                05/22/2010 at 8:54 PM

                The “queen who could not get it together” was much more Dyl than Victor, the angel/mother of the house.

                There is nothing wrong with being effeminate or effete
                (I embrace those labels myself!), except if you are in alliance with bossy bottom Culuket. That Triple Alliance, according to most sources, is one toxic soup of personalities!

                Effete also implies an acute appreciation of high culture and the arts as well as the provision of hospitality; I do not think that that applied to 1509 Swann. We could only wish that it did!

                • Bill
                  05/23/2010 at 4:05 PM

                  Of course there is nothing “wrong” to be whatever you choose to be. But you know what I am referring to – the tired stereotype of the vapid, empty queen. You provide a very different definition that certainly can work for you — however, I don’t think that your definition is the instinctive inclination of how the term “effete” would be understood in the dominant community.

          • MotherOfInvention
            05/22/2010 at 7:19 PM

            Also the whole “we grill several times a week” or whatever it was, the wine with dinner, Mercedes, Mercedes, Merceds, etc.

            • Bill
              05/22/2010 at 7:31 PM

              I have seen the “Mercedes, Mercedes, Mercedes” in the blog, but never understood what it meant. I assume that since Price was a partner at a prestigious DC law firm practicing intellectual law, he was making an enormous salary.

              • MotherOfInvention
                05/22/2010 at 7:33 PM

                No, Price was characterizing the neighborhood (specifically the makes of the cars parked in it) to the police, saying why they didn’t always have the burglar alarm on, IIRC. See the interview transcripts.

                • Bill
                  05/22/2010 at 7:36 PM

                  Thanks!

  33. tassojunior
    05/22/2010 at 10:15 PM

    “The medical examiner said authorities found no defensive wounds and concluded that Wone was drugged and sexually assaulted before he was stabbed three times”.

    Is she still sticking to this?

    • AnnaZed
      05/22/2010 at 10:22 PM

      It’s hard to know Tasso, because the prosecutors decided subsequent to her findings to not pursue the drugging aspect because they were unable to find evidence of Robert being drugged beyond traces of a substance called xylene in the blood samples or the sexual assault aspect, and I am not sure why they abandoned that. I don’t think that she delved into those conclusions on the witness stand. She only said that in her opinion he was incapacitated and was unable to fight for his life or even react when he was assaulted.

      Anyone who was actually at the trail should correct me if I have that wrong.

      • tassojunior
        05/22/2010 at 10:29 PM

        I’ve never used xylene but seen it in gallon cans at Home Depot I think. Isn’t it a solvent? Would that ever be a sedative? Sounds more like a “huffing” stimulate like glue.

        • AnnaZed
          05/22/2010 at 10:32 PM

          That is exactly what it is. It is found in stuff like Axe deodorant spray cans that teenagers huff. I don’t known where else.

  34. New Alias
    05/23/2010 at 4:56 PM

    I observed much of the hearing on Friday. I missed Grimm entirely but was there for the rest. I took some notes (I have a touch of ADD, always need to be doing something with my hands) which I’ve summarized below. Nothing really new here – but perhaps it will be of interest.

    [Please know that I have no legal or medical expertise, and if any of my observations contradict those of the editors of WMRW, I defer to them. Also, I’m not familiar enough with the faces of the defense attorneys to reliably report who said what, so to avoid mucking things up I refer to Connelly and Shertler generically as the “Defense.”]

    One thing I do have expertise in is communications strategy, and from that perspective I believe the Defense isn’t doing well. Their strategy for handling the ME would have been fine if their target audience was 12 assorted nudniks; it was not appropriate for a target audience consisting of one whip-smart judge. This leads me to believe they haven’t fully adjusted to the move from jury to bench trial.

    Defense got well into the weeds on details of cardiac anatomy and mechanics, mostly related to tamponade (a condition in which fluid accumulates in the pericardial sac thereby compressing the heart to the degree that it stops pumping). It seemed like Defense was headed to two places:

    1. Discredit the ME’s finding that the victim was restrained. The ME based that finding at least in part on the absence of defensive wounds on the victim. Defense appeared to be arguing that the lack of defensive wounds could have been the result of an immediate loss of consciousness due to a lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain caused by tamponade; the sleeping victim could have been rendered insensate by the first stab without ever waking up. In other words, he didn’t react because he was killed in his sleep. The ME emphatically said that near-instantaneous loss of consciousness (or death) could not occur solely as a result of wound #1. She was then asked if a person could lose consciousness within a few seconds of receiving wound #2. Again she said no. And after wound #3? No. Defense asked the ME if she agreed or disagreed with the assertion that stab wounds to the heart “are rapidly fatal,” which he read aloud from an authoritative text on forensic pathology. The ME responded that taken all by itself, where there are no other injuries, she disagreed.

    Personally, I don’t see how establishing that the victim was not necessarily restrained has anything to do with a charge of obstruction of justice. I guess establishing that restraints were not necessary takes away one criticism of the ‘random intruder’ theory (how and why would a random intruder immobilize the victim *and * kill him? Or perhaps Defense was just creating opportunities for the ME to make statements that their experts can later refute, to undermine her credibility and call the whole autopsy report into question. What I find odd is that the roundabout, repetitive questioning seemed designed to create the impression for a (rather simple-minded) jury that the ME was confused and lacked expertise. A judge, or at least this judge, doesn’t need this kind of long-winded, dumbed-down production. For example, Defense asked the ME “what cardiac surgeons do on a daily basis” (the answer was “operate on hearts”) and whether cardiac surgeons “open up a patient’s chest” to get at the heart (the answer was “yes” but it should have been “duh”). Eventually this turned into an assertion that cardiac surgeons have expertise that the ME lacks – something that is perfectly obvious, since she is not a cardiac surgeon. Later Defense asked the ME if she had read an article on a particular cardiac issue within the last few days (she had). Defense then rephrased the question to give the impression that that was the only article the ME had ever read on the subject, and she did so years after she wrote her report. While that kind of messaging might work on a jury, the judge saw right through it (and it gave the ME the opportunity to say she was familiar with a number of articles on the subject).

    2. Contradict the ME’s finding that the volume of blood found in the victim’s body cavity indicated the victim was alive for up to 10-12 minutes after he was stabbed. The ME contends that 1/3 of the victim’s blood had entered the body cavity – specifically, it had saturated the connective tissue around the duodenum and progressed a significant distance down the small intestine – which would could only have happened if the heart was still pumping after the stabbing. Defense attempted to get the ME to say that CPR, which was administered once by the EMTs and again at the hospital, produces the equivalent effect of a beating heart and thus could have pushed the already-dead victim’s blood into the body cavity. The ME stood firm, reiterating several times that 3 liters of blood could not have flowed through the precise slits made by the knife in the amount of time it took for each CPR intervention.

    Prosecution argues that the victim lived for several minutes after the attack but died by the time the EMT’s arrived, which establishes a gap of at least 5-10 minutes between “discovery” of the body and the call to 911… time enough to tamper with evidence and conspire to obstruct justice. Defense would like to undermine this claim by saying that (1) the ME overestimated the amount of blood in the body cavity, and (2) overestimated how much time it might take for blood to make its way down the small intestine.

    Defense established that the ME did not have the requisite expertise to say definitively whether a particular knife was responsible for the stab wounds on the victim. This will have no bearing on the case if Prosecution later brings forward a qualified expert who will rule out the knife found with the victim.

    Defense established that the 3 liters of blood found in the victim’s body cavity was not the sum total of blood in the victim. The victim still had blood in the rest of his body (arms, legs, head – where it normally is). This begged the question of how much blood in total the victim retained (and how much “disappeared.” I don’t know if this question can be answered.

    The judge asked a few questions of her own, some of which were clarifications on points of cardiac anatomy and function and the precise path of the knife. Crucially, she asked the ME if, hypothetically, a person were to lose consciousnesses within a few seconds of being stabbed in the heart in the manner they had discussed, would that person still have an autonomic response to the pain of the second and third stabs? The ME seemed a bit hesitant to answer a question better suited to a neurologist, but she offered that unconscious patients are sometimes given minor pain stimuli to test the responsiveness of their nervous system (which suggests that autonomic responses are anticipated in the absence of neurological dysfunction). When asked how one could deactivate autonomic response – thereby inhibiting all pain response, voluntary and involuntary – the ME stated that there are drugs that could have that effect.

    Other points that came up: the mouth guard was not retained as evidence. The ME reaffirmed her assertion that the needle marks could not all be the result of medical intervention (even though she apparently coded them as such in her autopsy report).

    My overall impression is that the defense lawyers who questioned the ME today had not fully revamped their strategies in light of the move to a bench trial. Chunks of time were taken up with questions that might have swayed unsophisticated members of jury, but were pointless and annoying to a smart judge like Leibowitz. In my opinion they spent too much time establishing points that a smart person could grasp after just a few sentences: ME is not a cardiac surgeon; ME is not board certified; ME is not expert in whatever skill set is needed to conclusively match knives to knife wounds; ME has not been published = ME is fallible. The cardiac anatomy lesson did more to bolster the ME’s credibility than diminish it simply because she was able to intelligently answer a very confusing and lengthy barrage of technical questions. Anyone (and my “anyone” I mean myself) who had assumed the ME knows nothing would have to come away from this with the impression that she at least knows some things.

    Legal merits aside, Defense’s approach exemplified poor message strategy. Defense’s repetitive barrage of technical questions may well have conveyed to a jury the impression that the ME couldn’t give a straight answer or was fuzzy on the details — but the target audience is not a jury, it is a highly intelligent, very alert judge. At one point, Defense asked the ME about the duodenum in a manner suggesting he was unfamiliar with the pronunciation the word. Ridiculous – surely the man has heard and said the word many times before over the many months he’s represented his client. The reason to feign discomfort pronouncing a big, fancy medical term like ‘duodenum’ (not) would be to convey to the jury that Defense was delving into territory so obscure that even a high-priced attorney (and a non-board certified ME) could lose his way. But there is no jury, only a judge who most likely learned about the duodenum is high school science – and knows the attorney in question did as well. The judge may well have interpreted his feigned ignorance as a cheap ploy. I know I did.

    • Bill
      05/23/2010 at 6:14 PM

      Great comments! Well, the trial is barely out of the gate so it’s hard to tell. I am certain that the prosecution have much more to present, but let’s remember that the defendants have paid for and will present a first-class case. Also, we have only heard what the defense has (albeit appearing quite implicating), we have yet to hear the other side.

    • plumskiter
      05/23/2010 at 6:26 PM

      wowza, New Alias! Great recap. Hope you can attend more of the trial and hope you will share your observations with us. thanks much!

    • Bill Orange
      05/23/2010 at 6:31 PM

      I haven’t been all that impressed with the defense, to be honest. I’m not sure if it’s just the lack of a full court transcript of if they’re genuinely missing things. Their medical consultants don’t seem to be doing them much good, either, but they may be holding back until they present their formal defense. I don’t think that’s good strategy here. They really want to win this in summary judgement without ever having to present a case, and I don’t think they’re going to be able to do it.

      • plumskiter
        05/23/2010 at 6:40 PM

        bill o. – just a point of terminology. in a criminal case, the defendants move for a judgment of acquittal (not summary judgment, as in a civil case). Typically they do so at the end of the government’s case, and again at the end of all the evidence. The motion should be granted if the court concludes that no reasonable trier of fact could find the defendants guilty as charged on the basis of the evidence presented up to that point.

        • Bill Orange
          05/23/2010 at 6:48 PM

          Ah, thank you for the correction!

      • Clio
        05/23/2010 at 6:50 PM

        Thanks so much, New Alias. Your eyewitness account confirms my amateur analysis (based upon secondary sources) that the first week was a win for the government. All Dr. G. had to do was stay in there, and she did just that. The Thomases remain unrefuted, and Kathy ruled the day. The videos next week will probably continue to eat away at the intruder theory, as the defense experts will be upstaged by the defendants’ own performances in their “Anacostia Dialogues.”

      • New Alias
        05/23/2010 at 7:45 PM

        Bill, or anyone, if there’s something specific you’d like to ask about from Friday, go ahead – I can’t promise I’ll know the answer but I can promise I’ll be honest about *not* knowing unless I feel absolutely certain.

  35. Bill Orange
    05/23/2010 at 8:02 PM

    Well, for starters, did anyone ask the neighbors if they heard anything next door AFTER the initial scream? I thought they were going to say that they heard a bunch of commotion when the EMTs and the police got there, but that doesn’t seem to have come up. Victor sounded hysterical all through the 911 tape. Did they hear that? If not, doesn’t that cast doubt on their testimony?

    My impression of the defense team is that they know their clients are guilty, and they’re simply trying to throw as much mud at the prosecution team as they can. They aren’t acting like a team that thinks their clients are innocent, and they’re not trying to show how the available evidence can be interpreted as being consistent with their story. I understand that a lot of this is just basic legal strategy, but as a non-lawyer, I’ve seen little to indicate that the defense thinks they’re clients didn’t do it. Trying to get the statements to the police thrown out was a BIG red flag for me.

    • Bill
      05/24/2010 at 12:07 AM

      I would be hesitant to draw final conclusions. What we read here is very one dimensional. We don’t see the inflection or assess body language of the witnesses. Also, we don’t have a sense of how the judge may be responding. I am not at all sure that this is in the bag for the prosecution.

Comments are closed.