That Was The Wone Week…

…That Was

Four days of testimony and cross yielded plenty: first the opening statements on Monday then Kathy Wone’s powerful testimony on her husband’s last day was perhaps the most memorable.

DC Deputy M.E. Lois Goslinoski and Price Counsel Bernie Grimm - Courtesy William J. Hennessy, Jr.

The three witnesses who had the chain of custody on Robert that night, EMT Jeff Baker, ER Nurse Leah Lujan and Deputy M.E. Lois Goslinoski appeared to be key building blocks of the government’s charges. 

DC MPD Patrolman Gregory Alimein was there to provide the context of what the prosecution alleges was a very strange atmosphere inside 1509 Swann Street when the first responders arrived. 

Alimein was AUSA Glenn Kirschner’s first witness to build the case that defendant Joe Price took control of the scene and was the alleged conspiracy’s ring leader.

Getting out in front of Monday’s session, Washington Examiner’s Scott McCabe has this:

Prosecutors this week will play video of the police interrogations of three men accused of covering up the slaying of the promising young lawyer.

The video will help prove that the housemates concocted a bizarre tale that an intruder broke into their posh Dupont Circle town house and fatally stabbed their guest Robert Wone, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys have said that the videos will demonstrate that the accused trio never wavered from their truthful statements even under the withering accusations of veteran D.C. homicide detectives.

“If these men were not telling the truth, they would have broken that night,” said defense attorney David Schertler during his opening statement.

If Judge Leibovitz has already read the transcripts and seen the DVDs of them, why use precious trial time to run them?

The interrogations, the transcripts (referred to by some as the Anacostia Dialogues) of which were posted here several weeks ago, appear key to both sides.  Even though she has read those transcripts and viewed DVD of the interrogations, Leibovitz said on Friday that, “They should be played in open court.” 

We can’t help but wonder why this judge, so focused on keeping the trial going and witnesses to a minimum, would allow valuable trial time to be devoted to hours and hours of videotape that she has already screened.  What remains in question is what if any redacts the government will make to these tapes.

Who else can we expect on the witness stand this week? 

Would the government follow up DC Deputy Medical Examiner Lois Goslinoski’s testimony with another M.E.?  On AUSA Glenn Kirschner’s list of possible witnesses is Dr. David Fowler, Chief Medical Examiner of the State of Maryland. 

It’s expected that Fowler, who has the board certification that Goslinoski lacks, will back up the findings and opinions of her testimony, that Robert lived for some period of time after the stabbing, and that for some unexplained reason, he was unable to make the most simple of involuntary reflex movements, that are normally seen in knife attacks.

In the coming weeks, that testimony will be attacked by the defense witnesses, cardiologists Dr. Farzad Najam of GWU and Dr. Andrew Wechsler from Drexler University College of Medicine.  Both will testify that Robert was rendered immediately unconscious and immobile after the first knife strike, a key element of the defense strategy. 

Waiting in the wings may be another defense expert, Dr. Michael Baden.  Baden, who has attached himself to high profile cases (the House panel looking into the assassination of President Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Phil Spector. Claus von Bulow, John Belushi and Sid Vicious), had a front row seat during Friday’s session and he took in all of Dr. Goslinoski’s testimony and cross.

One question that went unasked last week about the stab wounds was the amount of force necessary to make them.  Of the three wounds, two went into soft tissue and organs, but one went through the sternum, which would require greater force.  How such different wounds could result in the same lack of irregularities (drag marks, fish-tailing, etc.) never came up in last week’s questioning.

The seating inside the crowded courtroom, on the business side of the bar, was consistent throughout the week, front to back: Tom Connolly associate Amy Richardson, Victor Zaborsky, Dylan Ward, Schertler associate Veronica Jennings, Joe Price and another associate, this one we believe, belongs to Bernie Grimm.

There appears to be some seating available for the public and if room 310 is at capacity, audio may be fed into the overflow room.

Monday’s session kicks off at 9:30am and we’re told by DC Courts Public Information Officer, Leah Gurowitz, to expect five straight days of testimony this week, with each day wrapping at 4:45pm.  It seems length of the day is determined by the court reporters;  they need to be up and out by 5:00pm.

93 comments for “That Was The Wone Week…

  1. CC Biggs
    05/23/2010 at 1:03 PM

    I think the reason for showing the actual video of the interviews rather than just the transcripts is because the judge will be able to see and evaluate the tone and demeanor of the housemates. That’s an important element in evaluating the truthfulness of any witness statement.

  2. Bill Orange
    05/23/2010 at 1:14 PM

    “We can’t help but wonder why this judge, so focused on keeping the trial going and witnesses to a minimum, would allow valuable trial time to be devoted to hours and hours of videotape that she has already screened.”

    Probably because that would be the fair thing to do.

    • KKinCA
      05/23/2010 at 1:19 PM

      I am wondering why the defense isn’t just agreeing to the admission of the videotapes without the videotapes being formally offered as evidence by the prosecution. It has been over 20 years since I took criminal law in law school, but I seem to recall that there is some evidence rule that provides for agreed admission of evidence if the parties agree to it. Hoya?

      • KKinCA
        05/23/2010 at 1:31 PM

        I forgot to add that I am assuming that agreed admission of the videotapes (which are agreed to be “authentic”) would prevent the tapes from being played in open court (since the judge has already viewed them). And I am assuming the defense believes the tapes to be damaging to the defendants, if only in the court of public opinion.

    • AnnaZed
      05/23/2010 at 1:46 PM

      Has she already screened them? if the government is introducing redactions wouldn’t the finder of fact be barred from seeing them until they are prepared? (lawyers? anyone?)

      • plumskiter
        05/23/2010 at 5:48 PM

        two of the defendants challenged the admissibility of the statements given on the night/next morning of the murder. They cannot agree now to some form of admission without waiving their objections for appeal. I suppose they could try to agree to have the judge review them in camera, but two problems arise with that move: first, how does that look for them if they don’t want the public to see their supposedly exculpatory interviews?; and second, since the videos are going to be part of the record, a decision to review them in camera would likely prompt motions from the press for access to the videotapes, and would get everyone sidetracked onto freedom of the press issues. So, it makes sense to just play them in open court in the first place.

        When the finder of fact is a judge she is presumed to be able to separate the admissible from the redacted in her mind.

        • KKinCA
          05/23/2010 at 5:54 PM

          Plumskiter – Thank you! Very clear explanation.

        • AnnaZed
          05/23/2010 at 6:08 PM

          Thanks for that, that makes sense.

          • interestedobserver
            05/23/2010 at 10:40 PM

            AnnaZed: The judge has already viewed them. She said during pretrial that she had viewed them in their entirety in order to rule on the defendants’ motions to exclude them.

  3. Deb
    05/23/2010 at 1:26 PM

    I still have my lingering questions: Does it really matter, given the charges being tried, whether Mr. Wone was conscious prior to the stabbing? Secondly, if it somehow does matter whether he were conscious prior to the stabbing, I thought the general consensus was that it would be impossible to say in which order the stab wounds occurred. If that is, in fact, the consensus, then the testimony of the defense team’s cardiologists is really just a smokescreen. Whether the heart wound would have caused immediate lack of consciousness would only have bearing if one could definitively point to the heart wound as being the first wound suffered.

    So you see? I’m confused.

    • Bill Orange
      05/23/2010 at 1:38 PM

      I think that if the evidence is equivocal, you have to give the defendants the benefit of the doubt, so I suspect that the judge will let them argue that the wounds could have occurred in any particular order. The reason the defense wants to say that the wound to the aorta was first is because they’re trying to argue that the lack of defensive wounds or any indication of movement by the victim is because he was immediately incapacitated by the first wound, which caused a cardiac tamponade. If they can’t pull this off, then it’s going to look like Robert Wone was drugged at the time of the stabbing, which pretty much means the defendants are guilty.

      • VA Librarian
        05/23/2010 at 3:42 PM

        Even if the wound to the heart was first and death was almost instantaneous, that doesn’t explain why there was no indication of movement when *that* “first” wound happened. That in itself seems so improbable as to be almost impossible, aside from if the wound happened by something like getting shot by an arrow from a crossbow, which of course did not happen. Not to mention the complete lack of any and all other defensive wounds. Even in a (naturally) sleeping victim, one would expect more movement than that. Pin a sleeping person hard in the chest with your index finger and unless he/she is in a blackout, you see them squirm instinctively away.

        Damn those alley dwelling burglars carrying heavy sedation while they burgle houses and steal nothing!

        • Wildcat
          05/24/2010 at 5:23 PM

          …and know exactly which bedroom has the visitor.

  4. Clio
    05/23/2010 at 2:11 PM

    What expertise could Dr. Baden lend the defense? He does seem to pop up in the most controversial of cases. His speaking fees, accordingly, must approach those of Henry Lee. Pity!

    • AnnaZed
      05/23/2010 at 2:12 PM

      Well, he’s part of that Mercedes, Mercedes, Mercedes line-up of experts. Only the best for Joe.

  5. Bill Orange
    05/23/2010 at 3:21 PM

    Memo to eds: Someone just posted in the name of Doug Johnson over at Jaffe’s post, implying that they’re one of the editors of this site.

    • Doug
      05/23/2010 at 3:33 PM

      Thanks, Bill; good catch. It was an absurd comment from someone with no shame or art, and has been corrected.
      However, I am troubled that this person knows our intern’s habits during coverage. That majorly limits who it could be.
      -Doug, co-editor

      • Bill Orange
        05/23/2010 at 5:29 PM

        Um, you may want to check again. I would suggest not getting involved in it any further.

      • j. spicoli
        05/23/2010 at 6:25 PM

        dood, like, ya know, majoryly, dood…

        • Carolina
          05/23/2010 at 10:36 PM

          Speaks volumes for the Trouple’s supporters.

          • Bill Orange
            05/23/2010 at 10:57 PM

            To be honest, it sounds a lot like Joe to me.

            • Carolina
              05/23/2010 at 11:08 PM

              What gave him away? He only used “ya know” once!

  6. Bob
    05/23/2010 at 4:01 PM

    This comment is not directly related to this post. It has to do with xylene. Some poster had suggested that Robert could have been given the xylene in the glass of water. That is implausible. Xylene, like other hydrocarbons, does not mix with water. It is lighter than water and would have formed an oily film on the water with a benzene-like aroma. Any xylene would have been given by inhalation or injection, probably inhalation. It is possible that any of various drugs could have been in the water, but not xylene.

    Was the intruder actually a well-trained ninja equipped with xylene and drugs hired by the Chinese government to kill Robert?

    • AnnaZed
      05/23/2010 at 4:48 PM

      Maybe the evidence of smothering that was in Robert’s eyes is actually evidence of someone placing an inhalant over his mouth and nose?

      • Bob
        05/23/2010 at 6:30 PM

        I was implying that the xylene was inhaled, and that could result in evidence of smothering.

      • DonnaH
        05/23/2010 at 6:53 PM

        I have a related question: I haven’t read that there was any mention in court, as there is in the autopsy, of the two petechial hemorrhages which suggest some attempt at smothering as could occur with forcing an inhalant on Robert. Seems that this would be a piece of evidence that the prosecution would want to emphasize.

      • DonnaH
        05/23/2010 at 7:04 PM

        To be more explicit, my (two) questions are: Was the issue of petechia brought up during M.E. Goslinoski’s testimony (it’s not mentioned in coverage here)? –And if not, what possible conjectures are there as to why not?

        • Bill Orange
          05/23/2010 at 7:10 PM

          I don’t think it was mentioned here, but I don’t know if it was mentioned at trial. The prosecution might not have bothered. Petechial hemorrhages can have a variety of causes, and they may have chosen to narrow their focus to the stab wounds.

    • John Grisham
      05/23/2010 at 5:07 PM

      For starters, your well-trained ninja would have attempted such an implausible assassination hours, not within minutes, after all of the lights when out in the house so as to be certain to avoid discovery. Nor would your ninja likely have the time to produce semen from Robert and insert it in his rectum. What are you going to suggest next? That a knife-wielding fairy or two suddenly appeared in Robert’s room?

      • Bob
        05/23/2010 at 6:37 PM

        No. I am not offering a mythical explanation, and fairies are mythical. You have pointed out two serious problems with the only remaining intruder explanation of which I am aware.

      • Wildcat
        05/24/2010 at 5:26 PM

        Speaking of producing semen…wouldn’t that only be able to happen in someone who had been drugged first, not killed instantly?

  7. Themis
    05/23/2010 at 8:08 PM

    There is a first amendment right of access to trials. Ordinarily testimonial evidence that will be considered by the factfinder should be proffered in open court.

    • Clio
      05/23/2010 at 10:02 PM

      Thanks, Themis. That is what I had thought, too. One cannot have too much transparency.

      I cannot wait to hear from our Editors and other observers about the quality and content of the videos. Fingers still crossed!

  8. srb
    05/23/2010 at 10:54 PM

    Question for the editors: did the public/audience get a look at any of the emails that were in the 2-inch stack given by Price to Mrs. Wone? Did they originiate from Price’s personal account or his work account?

    Does it seem strange to anyone else that Price would have retained that many emails from Wone? Most firms/companies have auto-delete settings on email to avoid overburdening their servers so emails typically get saved only 90 days unless the user manually archives the email. Two inches of emails are a lot to accumulate unless you are manually archiving, which brings to mind the question why would Price be saving all these emails. I can’t think of a single friend whose emails I would have kept enough to be able to produce two inches if he or she suddenly died tomorrow.

    It would be interesting to know what these emails were about.

    • AnnaZed
      05/23/2010 at 11:03 PM

      Sounds like an obsession to me, to retain all of those emails.

    • James
      05/23/2010 at 11:04 PM

      Not exactly. Price mentions the emails in his statement the night of the murder. So they would only have been days-old at that point. and from earlier posts, my understanding is that he emailed both Lisa Goddard and Price about the need to stay in the city that night and Price was the first to reply.

      • Bill Orange
        05/23/2010 at 11:07 PM

        Wait a minute. How do you know that Lisa Goddard was the other person he e-mailed about spending the night?

        • James
          05/23/2010 at 11:13 PM

          I’ll look it up but it was stated on here somewhere along the way.

      • AnnaZed
        05/23/2010 at 11:07 PM

        Not those email James, the two inch stack (If I were her I would have said, “what the hell!”) of email between Robert and himself going back who knows how long that Joe presented to Kathy.

    • Bill Orange
      05/23/2010 at 11:06 PM

      The fact that he had that many e-mails didn’t really surprise me. I archive just about all of my e-mail, and I could probably produce a two-inch stack for several of my friends. What has me curious is why he printed them out in the first place. Did Kathy Wone ask him for the e-mails? Or did Joe print them out on his own?

      • James
        05/23/2010 at 11:11 PM

        Not sure but it’s an easy thing to produce in an effort to suggest that Robert’s visit was unsolicited. Not that it really matters but I suppose could support help Price’s defense that he was a friend etc…

      • srb
        05/23/2010 at 11:26 PM

        But would you keep two inches of emails from a friend who was local and to whom you presumably spoke by phone? No offense, but I think keeping 2 inches of email, if the emails were the nature of making lunch plans or dinner plans, says something either (a) about Price’s personality; or (b) how he viewed the relationship with Wone. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know whether he archived all of his emails with his friends, or just Robert?

        P.S. One of the summaries of Kathy’s testimony this week said that Wone had emailed Price and a Lisa, not Goddard but another Lisa, about crashing at their place, and that Price was the first to respond.

        • James
          05/23/2010 at 11:32 PM

          Thanks for clarifying, srb….I knew it was a “Lisa” – sorry for the confusion on that. Also, didn’t he simply print the emails in an effort to support his story? I think he – like many of us – simply didn’t delete his emails and then, when under pressure, printed them out in an effort to support his innocence.

    • tassojunior
      05/23/2010 at 11:26 PM

      I have yahoo and my emails go back years, by default I think.

      • srb
        05/23/2010 at 11:40 PM

        My personal email account does that, too, but office does not. Which is why I wondered whether the emails Price gave her came from his work account or personal account. But even if there’s no auto-delete, why not delete mundane emails making lunch plans and that sort of thing? Anyway, it only makes sense if he’s keeping every one’s emails.

        • tassojunior
          05/23/2010 at 11:48 PM

          Too much trouble for me to delete or change default settings so if yahoo wants to store my emails for years back fine. It’s come in surprisingly useful when I’ve had to find very old emails I had never thought I’d need.

          • Bill Orange
            05/24/2010 at 8:19 AM

            Hmmm. I tend to agree with tassojunior on this. For starters, a lot of people don’t have separate personal and work accounts, and Joe seems like the type to flaunt his “Arent Fox” e-mail address. Also, he’s a lawyer, and I would guess that he’s in the habit of keeping all of his e-mails.

    • BadShoes
      05/24/2010 at 10:02 AM

      My guess (I don’t know) is that Arent Fox compiled Joe Price’s email correspondence with Mr. Wone on behalf of the police and Mr. Price’ counsel. If Arent Fox had a competent IT Department, there would have been back-ups, so it doesn’t matter whether Mr. Price kept the emails or deleted them: either way, old emails never die.

      I doubt that, as evidence, the emails did anything other than confirm the circumsances of Mr. Wone’s fatal visit to 1509. Mr. Price may have believed that, in toto, the emails conveyed a picture of an ordinary, garden-variety friendship. Mr. Price may have been trying to reassure Mrs. Wone about the nature of his relationship with Robert.

      • CDinDC
        05/24/2010 at 10:09 AM

        Or perhaps he was attempting to show Mrs. Wone that nothing was going on in his own mind by showing her innocent “garden-variety” emails.

    • Timeline
      05/24/2010 at 10:07 AM

      My work email (using Outlook, like many/most other enterprise systems) doesn’t auto-delete; it auto-archives, meaning it puts them all into an archive file that is stored on my local computer rather than the email server itself. It is a simple mouse click to change which mailbox I am looking at, and I can instantly have access to all my emails going back to 2002. Even email I’ve “deleted” isn’t actually gone — it sits in a trash can unless I intentionally go in and permanently delete it manually.

      So, it’s very easy for me to think producing a 2-inch thick stack of printed emails is completely normal and doesn’t indicate any kind of obsession or paranoia or whatever.

  9. James
    05/23/2010 at 11:39 PM

    Below from the Day 2 Wrap regarding Robert’s choice to stay there — the eds clearly state “not Goddard” but I must have skimmed past that…

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

  10. tassojunior
    05/23/2010 at 11:43 PM

    And not to beat this drum again but wouldn’t this case be a proper one to demand the thousands of homophobic and racist emails that Chief Ramsey supressed a few years back? The “I wish all f*gs were dead”, “i’d like to kill or jail all f*gs” etc stuff is pretty shocking. More important if police or detectives on this case wrote any of those emails wouldn’t objectivity be questioned at least? They were going to be held “for future possible prosecution” so they must still be there. And what of the medic from the neighborhood that was promoted after refusing to resucitate a man because he was gay? Is he involved or the EMT’s supervisor? These are both very sore festering points for the DC gay community and as disheartening as they may be, truth isn’t often pretty.

    I didn’t bring up emails first and realize this is an unsympathetic audience.

    • John Grisham
      05/23/2010 at 11:49 PM

      and your point was?

      • tassojunior
        05/24/2010 at 12:05 AM

        Uh, I assume emails from some of these police, especially witnesses involved, maybe saying they would do anything to kill or jail all f*gs might show prejudice perhaps. But maybe I wrongly assumed this site was impartial and not just pro-prosecution. Us weak folks can be naive.

        • AnnaZed
          05/24/2010 at 12:11 AM

          Just to be clear, none of us posting in these comment areas speak for “this site” which has its own editors who have identified themselves on the home page. I don’t speak for the site and neither do you, neither does John. If the defense revealed evidence of homophobic emails created by MPD members involved in this case then I am sure that the judge would take that very seriously indeed.

          You haven’t been here long so maybe you don’t realize that many of the posters on this site are themselves homosexual people or their supporters and friends.

          • tassojunior
            05/24/2010 at 1:12 AM

            But how exactly do those emails which you admit would be serious to this case ever get released unless an attorney subpeonas them in a case involving an allegation of police prejudice and a judge is brave enough to demand their release? For years every nonsense excuse has been given why they aren’t being released but any concerning these officers is relevant to this at least.

            In fact their non-disclosure is because their widespread extent and viciousness would create total distrust of MPD by gays AA’s and other decent people and while I can’t speak for AA’s, many gays would rather just not know the extent. It would be too disturbing. But at least as involving specific police in this case I would think their disclosure is imperative to this defense and there is no fair trial with their continued concealment.

            Truth isn’t always immediately comforting but it always leads to something better.

            • Lee
              05/24/2010 at 8:11 AM

              What’s your point here? If anyone on the defense team thought that police homophobia could help the accused, I’m sure they would have gone after the purported emails.

              Or are you saying that no gay can get justice in D.C.?

              • Carolina
                05/24/2010 at 9:14 AM

                This is the problem with Tasso’s posts. It isn’t that he can’t bring up important points, it’s that his paranoia and lack of familiarity with the evidence that derails him.

                He has no more idea what was in those emails than in The Colonel’s secret seasonings, but he proceeds as if he does.

                Didn’t Kathy testify that the emails he handed her were between Joe and Robert? I doubt he was discussing police bias with Robert before his murder, and afterward would have been a trifle one-sided.

                • CDinDC
                  05/24/2010 at 9:24 AM

                  Exactly, Carolina. He presents his beliefs and feelings and suppositions and inklings and ideas as though they are fact. It’s a bit dishonest to present his “case” in that manner. I’m all for differing opinions, but I have little tolerance for people that shout “I’m right and you’re wrong” without the facts and proof to support it.

                  He blathers on about skylights and rooftop breakins, but wouldn’t that mean the “intruder” would have had to have gone through the 3rd floor to get downstairs? Or enter a window to Joe or Dylan’s room? Unlikely. But yet he insists everyone else is wrong. I have no patience for that.

                  • tassojunior
                    05/24/2010 at 1:43 PM

                    Not that facts seem to matter to you but there is a deck in the rear of the 3rd floor with a doorway that opens to the stairs down to the guest bedroom. It doesn’t go through the master bedroom. Sorry if that’s an inconvenient fact for a lynch mob but it’s not an opinion.

                    • AnnaZed
                      05/24/2010 at 2:08 PM

                      Tasso, I told YOU that the stairs from the 3rd floor lead directly to the door of Robert’s room and pointed out TO YOU that the diagram showed that the egress from the 3rd floor deck went past Victor and Joe’s room. That was at about this time yesterday and you are still huffing and puffing and calling all of the posters here ugly names.

                      This will be my final civil communication with you. I am assuming that you are home-bound and maybe disabled with a lot of time on your hands. I hope the defense is compensating you for the long hours put in tossing gorilla dust.

            • CDinDC
              05/24/2010 at 9:32 AM

              Tasso, stop speaking for “gays” like you are the elected mouthpiece. I’M gay and don’t agree one iota with any of your BS.

              And by the way, I’ve lost a loved-one to violent crime. My elderly aunt was beaten to death with a pipe by a juvenile for less than $10 during a convenience store robbery. The little prick was acquitted. But I STILL trust the police department and judicial system.

        • Bea
          05/24/2010 at 12:48 AM

          Tasso, I personally don’t find it odd that Joe had so many emails with Robert even if it was his work account. Like you, I just tend to keep emails with friends. Why he wanted to give them to Kathy is a bit of a head-scratcher unless he gave her ones from Robert which talked about him falling in love with her. In other words, so long as the emails related to something she would appreciate, I think it’s fine. If it was just random communications between Joe and Robert then I do think it’s strange to give them to her (but not to have kept them).

          As for police and homophobic emails, I guess that I doubt that they exist, and in any event, without specifics about the officers that night, it would appear to be quite a fishing expedition one shouldn’t promote. Do you review emails from detectives/officers for misogyny when the victim is a woman? WAY too much and for very little purpose – my guess is that misogynistic back-and-forth, complete with jokes and the like, would be far more commonplace.

          I don’t know why you think homophobia is at play here. The Gay Liasion Department (or whatever the official name is) was involved early on so as to keep an eye on this – if ever it was an issue.

          While I don’t condone the interrogation which suggested that no straight man would stay the night with gay friends, or that the men ‘must’ have had designs on Robert – at least I don’t condone the underlying sentiments – frankly, I think the cops had to do this to do an effective job. Before anyone gets up in arms, you have to consider that interrogating officers are TRYING to rattle cages. They have to try to get at hidden truths and even if the question itself is offensive, the purpose may be quite intentional.

          I assume that getting under the skin of any suspect during interrogation is widely accepted – even if the questions posed may be of a nature which would seem misogynistic, racist, homophobic or any other thing which accomplishes the purpose of shaking the person being interrogated. Even in the case of rape, where the woman is clearly a victim and is reporting the crime, cops have to inquire as to whether there was a perception of consent on behalf of the defendant – and not in such nice language, I’m sure.

          Some cops are homophobic, indeed, and it galls me as much as it galls any gay/lesbian person. I have to say, though, my experience living in DC was that homophobia in the police department was far less than other places I’ve lived. Doesn’t make it okay, ever, but I think that night the cops had to try to find out why Robert was there AND they had to needle the defendants to gage reactions. And in reading the transcripts it seems apparent that the cops didn’t push Dylan or Victor in the same way or nearly to the same extent that they did Joe Price. My guess is the reason is that Joe was cocky and a blowhard where Dylan and Victor appeared to have attempted answering questions in a much more straightforward manner.

          My two cents.

          • tassojunior
            05/24/2010 at 1:42 AM

            I appreciate that but Bea they do most definitely exist and the ones that surfaced were not just homophobic banter. They were extremely vicious and indications of arrests and MPD attacks for homophobic and racist reasons and were said to be mild in comparison to the thousands that were withheld for “possible prosecution”.

            I understand the “getting under the skin” excuse in interrogations like the “Come to Jesus” one of Price but over the years I’ve had hundreds of conversations with police, often high ranking, who appeared fair in public but once in private and assuming my being straight would disclose the most horrible viscous hatred of AA’s and gays and assure me they were “being taken care of”. Gay victims of muggings and targets of police actions have given me chills from their stories and videos I’ve seen.

            Training them to “clean up their language” (they often say “non-hetrosexuals” now) and appointing a “gay liasion” is not a cure, just good PR.

            At least in this case as concerns any such emails participating police made I really think it’s an element of fair trial. It won’t happen and therefore I personally can’t have any confidence in the system.

            • Bea
              05/24/2010 at 2:28 AM

              We just have different viewpoints. If the cops tampered with evidence, Price would be having a veritable field day. The defendants’ interrogation transcripts were videotaped. Me, I always assume that the female cops are lesbians. The editors have spoken about the primary officers being well respected. If you know that these particular officers were involved in the scandal, maybe there is reason to be concerned, but even so, what about the facts here are at issue with respect to homophobic cops?

              The Ashley’s Reagent debacle ruined evidence that the scene was blood-covered so the fact that can’t be introduced only helps the defendants. Do you think the cops poked needle holes in Robert Wone? I am not intending this to be snarky – I just am not seeing a concern worthy of time as it relates to these particular cops and the facts of this case. If you could be more specific about why you think THESE cops are homophobic to the extent that they acted upon it in a very short time, and what exactly you think they may have done, I will think it through. I just don’t see it.

              • tassojunior
                05/24/2010 at 3:00 AM

                Because of the fear that this case was made as soon as the sexual orientations were discovered out of prejudice and all other possibilities were excluded I don’t think it’s unwarranted to want to know that the MPD is not among the concealed emails concealing any that show extreme homophobia of any of the involved police. Since this is not only the defense but also a fear in the community I don’t think that’s a stretch. In this particular case and as regards immediately involved police I think it’s a basic right of fair trial.

                • KKinCA
                  05/24/2010 at 4:01 AM

                  Joining this late – sorry. I want to make sure I understand your argument, Tasso, so please bear with me.
                  1. Which cops do you mean? The ones first on the scene? The cops conducting the interviews right after the murders? The forensic people who were first at the crime scene? The EMTs? The coroner? The detectives working the investigation? I could go on, but hopefully you get my point.

                  2. Assuming for argument’s sake that one of the cops conducting the interview with Joe had sent a private email showing his homophobic belief, and this was discovered by defense counsel and introduced at trial, what would be the line of questioning in the defense’s cross examination of the cop? The interview transcripts show that the cops tried to get information from Joe et al that supported the intruder theory. I agree with the post above regarding putting the screws to witnesses present at a home where a murder occurred. I believe the interviewing officers backed away from the “Come to Jesus”/sexual inquiries line of questioning in the interviews, and spent quite some time asking about the intruder possibility. Given that the officers at the house did dust for finger prints, looked at the back door, gate and patio shows they didn’t immediately reject the possibility of a third party “intruder” being involved.

                  I guess my point is that I don’t see the cause/effect relationship here, even if it can be proven that 99% of the cops involved were/are homophobic. Like Bea stated above, the mistakes made by the cops at the scene, by the forensic team in failing to collect whatever evidence remained at the scene [after the scene was cleaned by the intruder] (Ashley Reagent issue), the failure to keep the mouthguard, the loss of the information on Mr. Wone’s blackberry, as well as the aggressive questioning by the cops during the interviews of the three occupants of the house – assuming a the performance of ALL of these actions were motivated by homophobia on the part of the cops, I just don’t see how these things resulted in framing the defendants simply because the defendants are gay. I hear your argument that the cops may have not pursued an investigation regarding the intruder theory – do you have proof that such an investigation did not occur?
                  It is getting late, even in CA, and I am becoming less able to express myself in a coherent manner, so let me ask you if you could explain the effect of the “cause” (homophobic cops) on this case. For example, in the OJ Simpson case (which I think you or another poster has brought up in this thread), the defense was able to prove the racism of Mark Furhman, one of the detectives, who was then accused of planting the bloody glove at Simpson’s house. Yes, he was racist, but no evidence proved that he planted the glove (but obviously the jury bought it and found that it had raised reasonable doubt). But any reasonable person who followed the trial (I did as I was home with my newborn daughter) was convinced of OJ’s guilt, based on much other evidence that had nothing to do with Mark Furhman.
                  Ok, I have babbled long enough – hopefully you understand my question despite my language being pretty articulate at this hour. Thx.

                  • tassojunior
                    05/24/2010 at 8:12 AM

                    It not only goes to the theory being concrete so rapidly but also to the “intuition” testimony on some police witnesses, to whether facts stated are true (dust, footprints, fingerprints, etc) and possibily evidence planting or tampering. Not so sure about the alternative lines- Price’s brother, rooftop arrestee- were they even vigourously pursued?

                    • KKinCA
                      05/24/2010 at 9:18 AM

                      Thanks. Time will tell if the defense will raise this issue.

    • BadShoes
      05/24/2010 at 10:29 AM

      The defendants are represented by highly competent counsel. If there was a bigoted cop email angle, we would be hearing it. (Since the defense hasn’t presented, we may yet hear it.) The best indication of the non-viability of this approach is that defense chose a bench trial. The most the defense can do under this heading is spread FUD.

      Further, even if the EMT (Mr. Baker) actually lived in Idaho and was a founder-member of the Aryan Nation, whatever whatever he saw, heard or did occurred in the presence of the defendants, his partner, the police, and an open mike to the 911 operator. If he is lying, there are plenty of folks around who could contradict him.

      It would be dangerous and pointless for Mr. Baker to lie, and anyway, on August 2nd, he would have no idea who these people were, what actually happened, or even how to go about strengthening the case the prosecution brought years later.

      (Just for the record, I have no knowledge or information about Mr. Baker other than a short account of his testimony: I have absolutely no reason to believe that he is or was actually a member of the Aryan Nation or any other group of any description whatsoever, up to and including The Elks.)

      • BadShoes
        05/24/2010 at 11:26 AM

        Oh, yeah. and I have no reason to think Mr. Baker actually lives in Idaho, and, even if he did and commuted, Idaho is a great place, or at least they grow great potatoes there.

        BTW, If one is looking for a conspiracy theory in this case, the evidence better supports the idea of a secret hand at work destroying evidence against the housemates than a secret hand trying to convict them.

        While secret cabals occasionally exist, ordinary muddle and incompetence are about a hundred times more common. Each of us sees incompetence every day in our own workplaces, yet somehow when we think of the FBI or MPD, we imagine secret yet malign efficiency. Not only do those guys put on their trousers one leg at a time, some days they can’t even find the leg….

        • tassojunior
          05/24/2010 at 11:38 AM

          I don’t understand the theory that destroying fingerprint evidence helps the defendants unless one is 100% certain those fingerprints were the defendants’.

        • plumskiter
          05/24/2010 at 1:57 PM

          to BadShoes – I wish I had written your last paragraph! No truer words were ever spoken. Thanks.

  11. Jo
    05/24/2010 at 4:38 AM

    I am relatively new to this site and have a couple of questions after reading some of the comments on the site.

    Is it a confirmed fact or just hearsay that Joe Price emailed a friend and said he could not tell everything about that fateful night or else someone would get arrested? It was late at night when I read that comment and I can’t find it now. It seemed unbelievable for a lawyer to be making such an incriminating statement against himself in writing. If he did make that statement, can’t it be used as evidence by the prosecution? This did not seem to have come up in the trial.

    Is there a picture of Robert on the sofa bed before EMT took him away by ambulance? I doubt EMT took pictures. Wasn’t Robert found lying on top of the bedcover, with the comforter and sheet turned downed at 45 degree at the foot of the bed? This makes the intruder story even more incredible. If Robert was attacked in his sleep (for the lack of defensive wounds), who sleeps on top of a bedcover on a neatly turned down bed? What intruder could kill a person in bed without disturbing the bedding or, even more bizarre, remake the bed after he killed someone on it? Did Kathy Wone’s testimony about Robert’s sleep habits contradict the way his body was found lying on the bed?

    The probability for all these unbelievable events that had to occur in order for the intruder story to stick seems next to impossible. So this leaves a more plausible explanation: someone cleaned up or altered the crime scene to detroy DNA evidence and to throw detectives off.

    • Bill Orange
      05/24/2010 at 8:28 AM

      I think the “Catch-22” e-mail you referenced was in the “Washingtonian” article.

    • plumskiter
      05/24/2010 at 8:43 AM

      and the trial is only one week old. there is a lot more evidence to be presented.

  12. Hoya Loya
    05/24/2010 at 8:28 AM


    Joe sent the email to to Tara Ragone, a W&M alum and mutual friend of Joe and Robert. It is quoted in Harry Jaffe’s article in the May issue of Washingtonian (see the post “Wild About Harry.” For it to be introduced, Tara would need to testify — don’t know if she’s scheduled.

    • Jo
      05/24/2010 at 1:31 PM

      Thanks. I still can’t find the article or post you referenced above by using the search function on this site or by going to the Press page. I did see the impersonator comments on Harry Jaffe’s latest article though. Pathetic.

      Anyway I sure hope this Tara lady will testify. It’s the only right thing to do even if she is not a friend of the victim or the accused. If this alleged email exists and is presented in court, I wonder what outlandish explanation the defense will come up with then.

  13. Bill Orange
    05/24/2010 at 8:29 AM

    New thread up top.

  14. New Alias
    05/24/2010 at 10:39 AM

    This comment regards Tasso’s observations of the rear side of 1509 and the possibility of a break in through the third floor, and in particular his comments about the prosecution misrepresenting the difficulty of breaking in from an upper floor.

    I went back and had another look after reading his comments. The back fence is solid – no space between slats – and roughly 6 feet tall. This is relatively new fence – professionally installed circa 2004 when the house was renovated from a burnt-out, heavily water damaged shell. Atop the fence is a thin lattice top section that extends another ~ 1 foot up. There is a wooden gate in the middle of the fence, and there are small gaps between the slats of the gate. Those gaps are wide enough to peep through. Its a door-sized gate (as opposed to a driveway-sized gate). The side fences on the east and west sides are the same as the back fence (solid, openings, with lattice).

    While the fence is as solid as any Long Fence type installation, the lattice is thin and decorative. I wonder if it would even withstand a full-sized person hoisting himself up over it. Pure conjecture on my part, of course.

    The back wall is two stories tall and is completely flat – you’d need a ladder to climb it. The first floor rear room is the kitchen and above that is the room that was formerly DW’s. This section of the house stops there – it is only two stories – and there is no deck on that roof. I could not see a door that would allow easy access from that roof into the third floor of the house, only a pair of windows. There is no external staircase or ladder from the lower roof to the upper roof (of the main, three story part of the house) (the roof *above* the third floor). I don’t know whether the internal stairway from the third floor (JP and VZ’s master suite) is closed off or part of the open plan layout.

    I hope this better informs the discussion of whether someone could have entered the house from an upper floor. In all likelihood breaking in through the roof would have meant creeping through JP and VZ’s suite – mere minutes after they went to bed – without being detected, without attacking them, and without removing any valuables.

    In my opinion, there is no reason for a burglar sophisticated enough to enter and exit in this manner (via the doorway accessing the upper roof deck) virtually undetected to take this kind of risk when he could just case the house in the morning and wait till the occupants left for work. Daytime is the MO of every burglary I’ve ever heard of around here (including the burglary of my own home).

    I note that it appears that the defendants never even considered the possibility of a break in through an upper floor. If it didn’t seem plausible to them, I don’t know why it would seem plausible to people with exponentially less knowledge of the logistics.

    • CDinDC
      05/24/2010 at 11:01 AM

      Great post, New Alias. I agree 100% with the belief that coming through a skylight/roof access would have probably made the “intruder” pass through JP and VZ’s bedroom while it was occupied.

      By the way, NA, the summary you provided this weekend of the trial was excellent. I throughly enjoyed your analysis.

      Please keep it coming!

  15. tassojunior
    05/24/2010 at 11:26 AM

    New- From the WaPo diagram it seems what looks like two windows on that 3rd floor deck is in fact a window and a door. That door opens to the staircase going down to the guest room door, it doesn’t go through the master bedroom. And WaPo also shows the obvious- that there is a deck on the roof over Ward’s room on the 2nd floor. It’s referred to as a “roof deck”. The roof deck on top of the 3rd story is not shown and how access to it is made is still unknown.

    The spaces between the wood slats on the are about 1 inch and from the alley 15 feet back I had clear view of the rear door of the house and the brick patio. Even the photo on this site shows that there are wide spaces between the fence slats. I suspect that was for security so that someone in the house could see their parked car area and so they could see see if anyone was on the other side before they opened the gate. But it also allows anyone in the alley to see the rear house door. Certainly the only time I’ve ever seen something like that.

    The question is if the roll up gate was there then. When I mentioned it several people corrected me that it was not, it does appear new, and I don’t remember it from the past.

    The channel 8 story someone mentioned said there had been 8 rooftop entries on Swann in a week (the story was 2008). In fact there were dozens over the years in the area and it was a big concern that everyone knew about for a long time.

    • Bill 2
      05/24/2010 at 11:51 AM

      Your creativity seems endless, tassojunior. Are you now attempting to claim that an intruder could look through the openings in the slats to determine that the door was unlocked? If not, why bother to explain spaces between the fence slats? Do you think an anorexic intruder could get between the slats? You keep going on and on about superfluous things that have no relevance to this trial and never need to enter this particular trial which is dealing with obstruction and conspiracy.

      • tassojunior
        05/24/2010 at 12:22 PM

        Bill it was others who kept saying that any intruder could not have seen through the back gate to know the rear door was open, evidently when they kept repeating that pro-prosecution statement you had no question as to it’s relevance.

        When I looked and pointed out it is in fact a see-thru gate all of a sudden you question it’s relevance.

        As the many posters said while saying it is opaque, the issue is whether an intruder could have noticed this house’s backdoor open as opposed to other potential houses to enter.

        • AnnaZed
          05/24/2010 at 1:12 PM

          Nobody, not even Joe, claimed that the door was “open” and you know that. No person can tell from looking through a gate slat if a door is unlocked and you know that as well.

          I am forced to conclude from (1.) this absurd 10 post long diversion about gate slats and (2.) your failure to mention after your curiously fast reconnoiter of the alley that the roll-top gate now in place at Swann St was fully 20 feet away from the fence and slat gate and emphatically (nearly hysterically) stating that a person could “easily” scale this roll-up gate and gain access to the house until confronted with photographic evidence to the contrary and (3.) this never ending nonsense about roof or deck break-ins and (4.) the long and irrelevant diversion about emails that may or may not have been sent by people who may or may not be related to this case that your purpose on this site is specifically to create diversion and manufacture (literally) hundreds of posts to obscure the matter that is actually at hand. I am afraid that I can no longer accommodate you in this endeavor.

          • plumskiter
            05/24/2010 at 2:00 PM

            i’m with you, AnnaZed. i think we need to stop following tasso’s red herrings.

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

      Tasso – Thanks for your input re: the WaPo graphic of the 1509 Swann house. It appears to me that the illustrators focused on the details of the first and second floors (inside and out) as they were exploring the possibility that an intruder entered by the back door of the first floor patio and made his way up the the guest room on the second floor (as asserted by J, V and D). Perhaps the illustrators didn’t add the details regarding the third floor, third floor deck and roof deck as the boys did not mention their suspicion that an intruder could have entered the house in those areas, nor did they hear footsteps before/after the chime (Joe)/scream (Victor). But I am just speculating, of course.

    • New Alias
      05/24/2010 at 1:58 PM

      Tasso – honestly, i think you may have the wrong house, or the wrong block or something. While there are spaces between the slats of the gate – which i learned today way metal, by the way, not wood (my bad) – there aren’t spaces between the wooden boards of the fence.
      tasso – my comments are in brackets –

      New- From the WaPo diagram it seems what looks like two windows on that 3rd floor deck [What 3rd floor deck?] is in fact a window and a door. That door opens to the staircase going down to the guest room door, [Are you saying there is a staircase from the deck on the roof of the main part of the house -an al fresco fourth floor, if you will – that goes directly down to what was DW’s door on the 2nd floor?] it doesn’t go through the master bedroom. And WaPo also shows the obvious- that there is a deck on the roof over Ward’s room on the 2nd floor. [There is no deck now. It is more likely that the Post got it wrong – which is their typical MO – than that a new deck was removed entirely by the new owner]. It’s referred to as a “roof deck”. The roof deck on top of the 3rd story is not shown and how access to it is made is still unknown [I have no idea what you’re talking about now].

      It sounds like you are trying to say that an intruder could have entered the house through a door connecting the interior third floor to the (arguable) deck on the roof of the second floor (above DW’s former room). The thing is, I don’t see a door up there and I doubt you can either unless you standing in the yard or on the back steps of one of the houses across the alley, on T. Or maybe you are just really really tall. All I see is the top section of what looks like a window to me.

      And how pray tell would an intruder get in that door, if it did exist? There was no sign of a forced entry anywhere in the house.

      As for the back fence, there is not enough space between the boards to see jack sh–. The only space is between the slats of the gate itself, which is, incidentally, not shorter to than the fence as i believe you stated earlier. You can see through the slats of the gate, but not the fence.

      The roll up gate was not there at the time; there is no question about this.

      Since the defendants themselves haven’t suggested that an intruder might have entered via either roof, I think this is a non-starter.

  16. tassojunior
    05/24/2010 at 11:50 AM

    excuse me I meant wide space between the gate’s slats, not the fence slats.

  17. AJ
    05/24/2010 at 11:52 AM

    What we learned last week is that prosecution’s case if far from a slam dunk.

    – The murder weapon is a big question mark. Prosecution needs to move on.
    – The amount of blood produced from the wounds will questioned more.
    – The odd behavior reported by the EMT’s is interesting – but I wouldn’t want hang my case on it.
    – The evidence on Wone being drugged seems like it’s not going to play a role.
    – Defense will likely call into question the stab wounds, even more.
    – Needle marks are interesting – but how far will the judge let the prosecution go down this path?
    – The couple next door hearing the scream & the timeline are important – but the prosecution needs much, much more.
    – The widow’s testimony was emotional but didn’t produce much in terms of evidence. OK, the way her husband folded the bed covers and kept his clothes. I’m intrigued by the ‘stabbed in the back’ comment by Price on the phone – a Freudian confessional perhaps?

    So far slight advantage defense.

    The forensics of the case are not going great for Kirschner. Prosecution’s entire case probably hinges on the ‘clean-up’ of the crime scene evidence and testimony.

    • Jo
      05/24/2010 at 2:31 PM

      I feel differently. It’s Defense’ job to poke holes at each piece of evidence Prosecution presents. If one tries hard enough, one can always come up with an alternative explanation for everything. It’s the Judge’s job to assess how believable each alternative explanation is individually and as a whole. The odds of multiple events with low probability to occur at the same place in one night is even lower. Not to mention all of the evidence that has been disallowed or that supports the uncharged allegations, e.g., the semen, the cadaver dog alerts, etc.

  18. New Alias
    05/24/2010 at 2:00 PM

    You know one thing that’s a slam dunk for the prosecution? Giving the police a list of names of people who had a key or had access to a key at one time, and conveniently omitting your brother.

    Remember this case is about obstruction, not proving the identity of a murderer.

    • AnnaZed
      05/24/2010 at 3:17 PM

      Good point, you would think that if there had been an “intruder” that Joe’s mind would immediately have turned to old Mike.

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