With the resumption of today’s session at 11am, the remainder of Price’s interview videotape was played, and then a large (:49 minute) portion of Dylan Ward’s statement was screened and put into the record.
Nothing new beyond what we’ve read before, but as mentioned earlier, a transcript can’t capture the full situation. Dylan appeared relatively comfortable on tape, gesturing frequently with open hands while communicating his confusion. In court, however, Ward sat motionless, eyes locked on the screen the entire time.
Questioning of Sgt. Wagner by Rachel Carson Leiber and Bernie Grimm’s cross followed. Grimm “…earned his billables today,” noted intern Sean. Using photos, statements and portions of video, Grimm picked Wagner apart on a number of issues. Did they fully investigate the dirt in the yard? wagner did not recall but did say he delegated members of the team to canvas the immediate area. Did Wagner follow up with any of those Price said had house keys? No.
Basic Detective 101 work may not have been undertaken. Grimm scored points characterizing the immediate investigation of the scene as less than thorough. Wagner did his best to hold his ground, “We made a close examination of the area and our conclusion was there was no intruder.”
Was Wagner pushing a theory that the Swann threesome wanted to sexually assault Robert – that he was going “…to come to Jesus…” after a little wine, or even that Robert was perhaps interested in “experimenting?”
Joe Price’s expression of offense to Sgt. Wagner was completely understandable. The trial resumes after the lunch break at 2:15pm.
Previous morning updates follow after the jump.
The day got underway at 9:10am, with the resumption of the videotaped interview between MPD detectives and Joe Price in the early morning, hours after the murder.
Ward and Zaborsky watched the screen, while Price didn’t look up at it once. Judge Leibovitz stirred her coffee while watching and appeared very engaged. We’ve read the transcripts before so won’t repeat what was said.
However, what is not conveyed in the text are the awkward pauses, the fidgeting, the emotional ups and downs and the obvious stress in the room.
And it was drama off the screen that caught ears this morning. At the 9:45am, in the hallway just outside room 310, defendant Dylan Ward was reported to have berated a reporter, incorrectly accusing them of dozing off during the videotape playback. (The reporter denies dozing off.) “If you’re going to cover this trial, you shouldn’t sleep in the courtroom…It’s offensive to me,” Ward said.
More to come
The trial resumes at 9:00 this morning, an earlier time to accommodate a 10:15-11:15 event on Judge Lynn Leibovitz’ calendar.
In yesterday’s testimony, DC evidence tech Curtis Lancaster told AUSA Glenn Kirschner that among the photos he took of the 1509 crime scene, there was one of the home’s second floor hallway showing a thermostat.
There was a digital readout which showed both the time and temperature when the shot was taken. Case watchers will recall that the murder occurred during a typical DC August heatwave and that the hot guest room was a topic of conversation during the brief chat Robert allegedly had with defendants Price and Ward before retiring for the evening.
Kirchner pointed out the thermostat display to Lancaster and may bring it up again. The 9-1-1 recording hears Zaborsky asking the dispatcher what time it was. Although not clear on the recording, it sounds like someone (Price?) may have prompted Zaborsky to ask. “23:54.. 11:54,” the dispatcher tells Zaborsky. Never mind that on other occasions later that evening, the defendants claim is was 11:43.
Maybe a small point but perhaps Kirschner wanted to make clear that anyone walking into the guestroom moments earlier as the defendants claim they did, would’ve clearly seen the exact time displayed on the wall right next to the door.
Lancaster’s photo also showed that the home’s temperature was 76 degrees. That however may be misleading. Lancaster arrived at close to 2:00am on the morning of August 3, and it’s possible that for the preceding two hours as the crime scene was being processed, the home’s windows and doors were open to accommodate the influx of law enforcement personnel and their processing of the scene.
The playback of Price’s MPD interviews starts the day and the next update will hit around 10:30am at Leibovitz’ first break.