Day 9: Updates

5:00pm Update

Adjourned until Tuesday morning. The cross and redirect of trace evidence expert Doug Deedrick continued for most of the afternoon.

Things took a more interesting turn late in the day when we saw MPD Detective Gail Russell-Brown retake the stand.  But only for a minute before she was excused, for the second time this week.

What sent her packing?  Evidentiary questions about her testimony on Defendant Joe Price’s brother Michael and his behavior at Robert’s August 7 funeral.

AUSA Glenn Kirschner also laid out his expectations on upcoming witnesses and the length of his case in chief.  Hint: he may take a little longer than was once expected.

And for the legal beagles, plenty to come on Bruton, Crawford, Carpenter and Thomas.

Full wrap for the day hits around 7:00pm1:35pm Update

Ahead of the 1:00pm lunch break, Schertler’s cross of Doug Deedrick continued.  The defense attorney hammered the expert on the validity of his experiments and what, if any, cross contamination may have occurred with the physical evidence while in storage.
Earlier, Schertler got Deedrick to describe the black t-shirt he used for the pork loin test.  Apparently, this was a thrift-shop find of Deedrick’s and he could not state how old it was.   As far as comparing it to Robert’s actual t-shirt, the black shirt was thicker and Schertler inferred that would’ve yielded far more fibers, thus skewing Deedrick’s results.
Schertler drove his point home on the possible disparity and conditions of the two t-shirts by quoting Deedrick’s own words back at him.  Reading from an article Deedrick authored, Schertler said, “…the age of the fabric will affect the fiber transfer rates.”
The afternoon session gets underway at 2:00pm, perhaps with another government witness.  We don’t think the defense is done boxing Deedrick’s ears quite yet, but due to schedules, another witness may take the stand in his place.
Earlier updates from today follow after the jump
12:25pm Update

The day started with word that trace evidence expert Doug Deedrick did some homework last night. He’d sent the AUSA Rachel Carlson Lieber a number of articles on forensics by email.  Carlson Lieber asked Judge Leibovitz for permission to open and read them.  This brought an objection by Ward counsel David Schertler. He said they should be off limits.

Leibovitz ruled against Schertler and said, “I’m not going to insist that a witness not exist after they get off the stand…yes, (to Lieber) you may open it.”

The bulk of the morning session saw Schertler doing his best to discredit Deedrick’s work and his “rigged” testing.  He hammered the expert on the scientific method and his failure to repeat results, possible confirmation bias, the dissimilarities between pork loin and human tissue, and the temperature and viscosity of the equine blood.

Schertler was trying to hit Deedrick on the risks of cross contamination on the physical evidence, right before Leibovitz called for a break at 12:25.

9:30am Update – The Long Weekend

AUSA Lieber and Doug Deedrick - Courthouse sketch courtesy of William J. Hennessy, Jr.

The trial resumes at 11:00am this morning in room 310 of the Moultrie Courthouse.

Today’s session should wrap by 4:00pm.

It’s expected the session will see the continued cross examination of the government’s trace evidence expert, Douglas Deedrick.

Ward counsel David Schertler will pick up from where he left off yesterday and could be followed by his colleagues Robert Spagnoletti, Bernie Grimm or Tom Connolly.

Rhymes with Swann: All too often, one or more of the defense attorneys will mispronounce Robert’s name while questioning a witness or addressing Judge Leibovitz.  Four years into this ordeal, they should fully know how the Wone name is pronounced.

Memorial Day: A year ago today, on the eve of the long Memorial Day weekend, the former presiding judge, Frederick Weisberg, set the trial date.  That date was 50 weeks away, but it felt like a year.

130 comments for “Day 9: Updates

  1. Carolina
    05/28/2010 at 12:29 PM

    Let us hope the prosecution has their plan in order and “arrogant” Mr. Deedrick is ready to answer some of the defenses’ oddball questions.

    • ladyg
      05/28/2010 at 1:59 PM

      mr deerick, has to be good (an expert) at what he does, otherwise FBI (he does work for them,right)would get rid of him. to do an experiment such as this, to demonstrate to the judge, what a object(knife) can do to a human body (in this case a pork loin).

  2. ladyg
    05/28/2010 at 1:35 PM

    since FOX5, aired this story, i have been obsessed (then learning about this website)w this case. the book (nora: jd robb) i have been reading lies in wait. this is case, has consumed me. every day reading the updates (many thanks to the eds) on this trial, which i’m unable to attend, to participate daily w other bloggers. when all is said and done these guy will be exonerated or one/more will be going to the pokey.
    now that the hoilday, is almost upon us, i hope that the prosecuting team, work overtime and come back on tuesday morning in rare form (be on top of their game).

    • Dave
      05/28/2010 at 2:10 PM

      I agree — it’s consuming. I’ve even gone to the trial a couple of times to try to get an in-person “read” on the defendants. That doesn’t really help because at least two of the three seem very nice in their mannerisms. In fact, yesterday, when the prosecution’s witness said his throat was dry, Victor immediately (without missing a beat) starting reaching behind him to find a bottle of water to give the guy. Sure doesn’t look like a bad guy to me. He was also extremely warm and loving with folks who looked like his parents.

      • Flood
        05/28/2010 at 2:36 PM

        Ted Bundy also appeared to be a nice guy.

      • William
        05/28/2010 at 4:41 PM

        Would ANYONE drink water handed to them by one of the defendants? Ever?

        • Carolina
          05/28/2010 at 5:00 PM

          I suspect most of their future parties will be BYOB.

          • ladyg
            05/28/2010 at 6:14 PM

            and if you have to go to the bathroom, hold it until you get home.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        05/28/2010 at 5:01 PM

        I imagine they all display positive personality traits (and probably do genuinely have some nice traits). But it seems to me most people are nice in public. It’s in private that people sling their….

        • Bill Orange
          05/28/2010 at 5:22 PM

          You did notice the “two of the three”, yes?

          • Deb
            05/28/2010 at 6:06 PM

            And I think we can guess which two.

            I know a while back the editors posted an essay by one of their friends about submissive/dominant (erotic) personalities. I’d like to read that again and am hoping one of you “pros” can point me in the right direction . . . there is so much “stuff” here!

            I recall that I agreed in part, but don’t want to post what my thoughts were and misquote the guy who wrote the very good article.

            I’m in no way trained to analyze personalities, I just think I have an alternate approach to consider. . . ah, but that’s me. I’m always the one to take up for both sides of the coin!

            If I see a penny and pick it up, I figure it’s good luck regardless of head’s or tail’s — I’m a penny richer for reaching down.

            So if someone could help me find that article of which I’m thinking, I will be thankful.

            • DonnaH
              05/28/2010 at 6:57 PM

              I believe I read some mention of a submissive dominant (as possibly Dylan) in posts on a page titled “Chinese Handcuffs.”

              • Deb
                05/28/2010 at 8:25 PM

                Thanks, Donna!

                • Craig
                  05/28/2010 at 9:18 PM

                  I think Chinese handcuffs is a post on the porn dvds recovered at 1509. NSFWish.

                  How far back is a while back?

    • Jay
      05/28/2010 at 4:31 PM

      The judge knows what happened. She has already tipped her hand. In the end the defense will rue the day that they chose a bench trial instead of 12 typical DC jurors.

      • cinnamon
        05/28/2010 at 4:47 PM

        “She has already tipped her hand.”

        How so?

      • Carolina
        05/28/2010 at 5:02 PM

        I don’t think any responsible judge would make a call before the defense has a chance to plead their case. I realize they’re just human, but most take their responsibilities seriously, especially when the lives and freedom of others is at stake.

        • Deb
          05/28/2010 at 8:26 PM

          I agree with Carolina on that one, but would add, “as do jurors, even DC jurors”.

  3. Bill
    05/28/2010 at 1:39 PM

    @ ladyg: “when all is said and done these guy will be exonerated or one/more will be going to the pokey.” Well, that pretty much covers all available alternatives, doesn’t it?

  4. Deb
    05/28/2010 at 1:41 PM

    I wonder why the prosecution opted to not present all of the variables on direct. Maybe in the interest of time? I’m assuming there must be some written report already admitted.

  5. KKinCA
    05/28/2010 at 2:15 PM

    I have a feeling I know what the prosecution attorneys will be doing all weekend!!!

  6. ladyg
    05/28/2010 at 2:16 PM

    i just want justice for mrs.wone & her family. my family went thru the same type of murder case (a knife was used). the pesron who killed my sister (he was the last pesron seen w her), had taken his bloody clothes along with her driver license place them in a bag and hide them in his girlfriend’s basement (in the rafters). if all cases would be this cut& dry. sorry, didn’t mean to go there, just some things are hard to forget & let go.

    • TT
      05/28/2010 at 2:24 PM

      Ladyg, I am sorry for your loss and the pain.

      • Kate
        05/28/2010 at 5:01 PM

        Yes, Ladyg – very sorry for your loss. I also lost a family member to murder. It’s always with you.

        Keep posting,

        • ladyg
          05/28/2010 at 6:25 PM

          THANKS KATE.

      • ladyg
        05/28/2010 at 5:25 PM

        TT: thanks. you hear about cases like this all the time. until it happens to you you look at the world alittle differently. what happen to robert, goes upon anything tha we can imagine. to all the EMTS, detectives,ets, i say thank you, because you all see (on a daily bases) things that we would have nightmares about. so if these dets,came on too aggressively so be it, when it’s you love one, you want them to do whatever it takes to get to the truth. you want them to do everything according to the (law) guideline.

        • HKG
          05/29/2010 at 7:59 AM

          definitely, well said. sorry for your loss, and please do keep posting. it’s sometimes too easy to think of this all from our own relative safety, and forget how violent and wrong Robert’s death was.

  7. superstadtkind
    05/28/2010 at 2:16 PM

    If Schertler’s methodologies were really so slack as are being described here, I don’t blame the defense for nailing him. Forget whether or not you find his area of expertise to be a valid form of forensic – his science appears to be far worse.

    • cinnamon
      05/28/2010 at 2:39 PM

      I think you mean Deedrick’s methodologies.

    • AkaZappa
      05/28/2010 at 2:40 PM

      Yes, the T-shirt from the thrift store looks very sloppy.

      • Lyn
        05/28/2010 at 3:21 PM

        Why? Wasn’t Wone’s shirt “used” as well?

        • AkaZappa
          05/28/2010 at 4:08 PM

          Good point.

          I guess it just looks kind of haphazard, going to the thrift store to buy the shirt. And in any case, if he had used a new T-shirt and it had STILL produced fibers, then the doubt would be about how many MORE fibers Wone’s shirt would have produced, not how many less (if the thrift store shirt were, in fact, older than Wone’s, which is entirely possible if not likely)

          • SavvyG
            05/28/2010 at 4:19 PM

            Why not find out how “old” Mr. Wone’s T-shirt was (his wife may have know whether it was somethign that was new, often in the laundry or hardly ever worn, and then get a new college T-shirt from the same vendor and wash it as many times as Mr. Wone’s had been? Thrift store T-shirt just feels cheap.

        • lil
          05/28/2010 at 7:46 PM

          One cannot use the evidence for an experiment

    • Clio
      05/28/2010 at 2:47 PM

      Do you mean Deedrick’s methodolgies?

      Pork loin, horse blood, a thrift store T-shirt, and, perhaps, an eye of newt — the appearance of Mr. Deedrick has been an unalloyed gift to the defense, but then again, J. Edgar’s FBI was even more “creative” in establishing guilt. Thank Zeus that Lynn, not a jury, is having to sit through this tedious, technical stuff about the “thingie”.

      • Carolina
        05/28/2010 at 5:09 PM

        Why are we assuming the defense isn’t blowing smoke? They could scoff and roll their eyes at a methodology and it seems everyone simply accepts their conclusions that it’s junk science– hilarious when you consider they’ve got Henry Lee.

        It reminds me of OJ standing their with his hand spread and stiff, trying to get the bloody glove to go on. Hell, I can’t put my own well worn gloves on with my hand in that state. If Marcia and Chris had handed him a brand new glove in the same size, it would have just made OJ look like even more of a murdering fake. Hopefully the prosecution will have the intelligence to back up their witness’s methods and get the Wone version of the new glove.

        • Clio
          05/28/2010 at 7:23 PM

          Thank, Hera, that the defense has both Dr. Lee and Dr. Baden, denizens of many high-profile legal showdowns, lined up and ready to go. I suggest that Lynn will come to prefer Deedrick’s awkward bumbling to their tired vaudeville acts in just a few days: fingers still crossed!

  8. ladyg
    05/28/2010 at 2:23 PM

    i have this gut feeling, that victor, is gulity of something…but it’s not murder.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      05/28/2010 at 2:30 PM

      I’ve never thought Victor had a hand in the death of Robert. Perhaps he’s truly unaware of the actual circumstances of that night. Perhaps he’s covering but doesn’t know what he’s covering. Tell them “(fill in the blank),” Victor.

      • rk
        05/28/2010 at 3:24 PM

        = why he hasn’t plead out

    • Dave
      05/28/2010 at 2:47 PM

      I agree. I think he wasn’t involved in the murder at all, and just got caught up in the whole horrible situation after he woke up. Once caught in the spider’s web, he couldn’t figure out how to get out.

      • Eagle
        05/28/2010 at 3:31 PM

        I would like to think Victor was caught up in this,too.
        However, he had a lawyer.
        When I consulted my lawyer regarding a disposition , she told me to tell the truth. How right she was.
        these guys are really good at being victims.

      • ladyg
        05/28/2010 at 6:21 PM

        see what happens when you bring in another playmate? “three is definitely a crowd.”

        • Clio
          05/28/2010 at 7:54 PM

          And, according to press reports, W-5 — across the street — could have been another friend with benefits for Culuket, who apparently needs/needed more than one man to be fulfilled.

          • ladyg
            05/29/2010 at 12:37 PM

            it seems that victor, where’s his heart on his sleeve. i mean you really don’t know people until you live w them…not even then. you hear story after story how people live w mass murderers.

  9. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    05/28/2010 at 2:27 PM

    I assume questioning of credentials, cross-contamination, validity of testing, methods of testing, etc, are probably pretty standard defense arguments? Are we seeing anything is this trial that is completely unique to this case yet? Or is this line of questioning pretty much status quo “gotta ask this or Im not doing my job kind of stuff”? (All legitimate and important things, of course.)

    • plumskiter
      05/28/2010 at 2:39 PM

      the topics being covered by the defense should be standard defense arguments. so, these arguments are certainly not unique.

      that said, however, it seems these defense attorneys have done a lot more homework and are doing a much more effective job in exploring these topics than you would see in many a criminal case.

      one advantage of having three sets of defense counsel in a case where the defendants are all asserting the same defense is that defense counsel can divide up the work – seems Schertler is the designated lead guy on the topic of fibers. presumably other defense counsel will take on other experts and areas.

      the defendants have a much larger legal team than the government does.

      • AkaZappa
        05/28/2010 at 2:44 PM

        Yeah quoting Deedrick’s article back to him to trip him up, and rather grievously — Schertler is earning his pay.

      • tassojunior
        05/28/2010 at 3:03 PM

        That’s only in the courtroom. I’d have to assume that with the hundreds of top-of-class attorneys and clerks in The DC US Attorney’s Office and evidence experts at DC and National HQ FBI the prosecutor has a much bigger team. How much the government has spent on this case as well as how much a decent criminal defense costs are things to consider. I think Harry Jaffe may.

        • rk
          05/28/2010 at 3:31 PM

          Not to mention that the prosecution gets to ride to the courthouse in black stealth helicopters….

          The idea that the US attorney’s office has unlimited resources and time is ridiculous. Just because this case is now getting media attention does not mean that the prosecution has always had hundreds of top of class attorneys working on it. More like 3 or 4 under the direction of the local US Attorney, and those 3 or 4 certainly have other cases pending or under investigation at the same time.

          Sometimes reality is more boring than the fantasy of a super-powerful US Attorney’s office w/ hundreds of top shelf attorneys ready to stand by and assist on this case. Ha!

          • plumskiter
            05/28/2010 at 3:34 PM

            rk is absolutely right, and i’ve been one of those attorneys. what you see in the courtroom is the talent that the government has brought to bear on this case, period.

      • jfh
        05/28/2010 at 3:04 PM

        the government’s team could be as big as the defense side if they wanted. all these players are very familiar with one another and know the quality of their work. all the more reason that the prosecution should be better prepared. i get a feeling that they may have temporarily lost their way bc listening to opening, kirshner laid out systematically and well stated arguments for their theory of the case so now it is time to put that evidence forth- i think it is just getting muddled right now.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        05/28/2010 at 3:34 PM

        Thanks Plums.

      • Kathleen
        05/28/2010 at 5:08 PM

        “the defendants have a much larger team than the government does.”

        That is so funny. The D.C. office can have as many hands on deck as they feel they need for trials like these. They have an overabundance of staff both legal and nonlegal in that office. They have incredible resources for experts, exhibits, etc. That is the reality of the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office. No defense team can match it for resources.

        Take a look at the Press Releases from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office when they win a case. (I’m sure they have their Wone Case Press Release all ready to fire off to the media) There is a cast of characters a mile long. They are backed up by all kinds of staff and logistical support including paralegals, interns and exhibit makers. I have drooled with envy over their resources often in the past and they do not want to look like fools when this case is over.

        Schertler was the highly respected head of homicide for quite a while and he knows all too well the machinations of that office. Quite frankly I have been amazed at the seeming lack of preparation by the prosecution. The fiber expert ( a dubious field of expertise to begin with but also one in which the FBI has been found wanting in the past ) was challenged in areas that should have been anticipated by both the government vouching for him as well as the expert himself.

        • Carolina
          05/28/2010 at 5:14 PM

          You speak as if this is the only criminal case of major concern in the District. Can you imagine the outcry if talent was pulled from other, lower profile cases, just because I white guy got knifed?

          • Kathleen
            05/28/2010 at 5:28 PM

            They don’t really need to pull anyone there is plenty of staff in the office. Lawyers can also easily be borrowed detailed for short periods of time for various issues. You know they have had over a year to prepare for trial.

            This has nothing to do with race. And, yes, the office does put more resources on high profile cases without an outcry from anyone except maybe once in a while a victim’s family. The prosecutor is not elected in D.C. The only outcry s/he has to worry about is DOJ or the White House.

            • plumskiter
              05/28/2010 at 9:39 PM

              kathleen, are you a defense attorney in d.c.?

  10. CC Biggs
    05/28/2010 at 2:27 PM

    Is this knife testimony really so important? Let’s say the prosecution’s expert fails miserably and the judge rejects the idea that the murder weapon was swapped. So what? There is still a massive amount of evidence in support of the obstruction/conspiracy charges.

    • rk
      05/28/2010 at 3:37 PM

      No – if the prosecution isn’t perfect at all times, the case is dismissed and the prosecution is incompetent! That’s the way it worked in the OJ Trial and how it works on Law and Order, right?

      From some of the comments here, you’d think the prosecution was comprised of 1st year law students studying at an on-line college accredited by the Croatian Law Association.

  11. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    05/28/2010 at 2:36 PM

    “Reading from an article Deedrick authored, Schertler said that, ‘The age of the fabric will affect the fiber transfer rates.'”

    So, can the defense prove how old Robert’s t-shirt is? Or how old the thrift store t-shirt is? I’m assuming Robert’s wasn’t brand new. Nor the thrift store shirt. Both had probably been washed multiple times. I can understand if the thrift store shirt was brand new, but by virtue of where it was purchased, it probably was not.

    • DCTim
      05/28/2010 at 2:55 PM

      Good grief, get Deedrick off the stand, and quick. He is not doing anything to help the prosecution’s case, and it seems like he’s already done more harm than good. And again, that appears to be Kirschner’s fault…they should’ve known what he was going to say, and anticipated the defense’s discrediting questions.

      CD in DC: Glad to see you back. Seems you, AnnaZ and a few of the other regulars have been uncharacteristically quiet since the trial began. You were the ones that kept the commentary going for months, and then…quiet.

      • AnnaZed
        05/28/2010 at 4:33 PM

        Sorry, I’m trying to work (!). Truth be told I had a few months of not much on the job here. Now the trial is interfering with some actual work that needs doing around here (inconveniently enough).

        That said, (and sorry if I’m the wrong place in the thread) but my exasperation isn’t with the t-shirt being old or used (which would make sense) but with it being not the same weight of fabric (think thread count in sheets) as Robert’s shirt, a thing that would have been easy to get right I think. As a Southern woman of the old school I am (of course) an accomplished seamstress (though not much of a practitioner anymore) and I can tell you without any forensic credentials that fabrics of different weights produce different types of debris when cut or torn. It’s not rocket science actually. Ergo, I am deeply and profoundly not impressed by what I am hearing of this witness.

        • Kate
          05/28/2010 at 5:16 PM

          Couldn’t agree more, Anna.

          I used to sew a bit myself.

          The Thrift Store tee shirt bit would be difficult to overcome in redirect. There’s an old saying where I come from:

          “Can’t buff that turd.”

          Glad to hear from you,

  12. plumskiter
    05/28/2010 at 2:42 PM

    does everybody understand why the asst us attorney had to ask the Court before she opened the communication (e-mail i’m thinking) from Deedrick?

    • jfh
      05/28/2010 at 3:05 PM

      i’m assuming for purposes of discovery. they all seem to have the same documentation for everything else.

  13. Flood
    05/28/2010 at 2:48 PM

    Maybe they were not part of the joint record?

    • plumskiter
      05/28/2010 at 3:23 PM

      this is fun. i feel like alex trebek!

      good guesses jfh and flood, but i’m thinking you are wrong (i am in michigan, however, not in the courtroom).

      i assume that the reason is this: once a witness begins his/her testimony, no one (including the lawyers) may talk to the witness until his/her testimony is completed. Usually, when the court takes breaks or stops for the day, the judge admonishes the witness not to talk to anyone about his testimony.

      So, in this case, for example, despite how much they may have wanted to, the prosecutors could not pull Deedrick aside last night to say “stop the damn rocking back and forth in the chair, it makes you look evasive and unprofessional and is just generally annoying”.

      if i am right, for the ausa to read an email from Deedrick and received while he is in the midst of his testimony could be viewed as an impermissible communication. i would have done the same thing this ausa did – disclose the attempt to communicate and ask whether it was okay to read the content.

      • DonnaH
        05/28/2010 at 4:13 PM

        Thanks, plums, for asking and for your added insight.

      • Alice
        05/28/2010 at 5:06 PM

        Thanks, I was wondering what that was about.

      • Farmer Ginny
        05/28/2010 at 7:26 PM

        Ha! There was a Rumpole that pivoted on that very point! Rumpole was heard saying “Get it out!” very forcefully in the presence of his client during a break. He was actually talking to his dentist on the phone, but the QC who reported him for malfeasance didn’t see him, just heard the words and saw the client.

  14. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    05/28/2010 at 2:50 PM

    From the City Paper:

    “Schertler asked if the loin Deedrick used was juicy. “You get what you get when you go to Safeway,” replied Deedrick.”

    • Clio
      05/28/2010 at 3:37 PM

      Thanks, CD, for this quote, which confirms my worst fears about Deedrick’s testimony. Lynn probably will discount all of his mumbo-jumbo, but not before Schertler and company score more rhetorical, if not legal, points.

      Safeway pork loin, thrift store T-shirt, and horse blood — at least Doug D.’s not spendthrift!

    • DavidR
      05/29/2010 at 1:15 AM

      “Schertler asked if the loin Deedrick used was juicy. “You get what you get when you go to Safeway,” replied Deedrick.”

      OMG isn’t that the truth. I laughed so hard I was crying over this comment.

  15. whodoneit
    05/28/2010 at 3:08 PM

    Why is the knife that was found at the scene always described as a 5 inch knife. It is closer to 6 inches. If you got to the multimedia tab at the top and click on crime scene photos you can see photos of the knife up against a ruler. The blood on the knife extends to 148 millimeters, which translates to 5.82 inches.

  16. Flood
    05/28/2010 at 3:20 PM

    The short answer is that the average attorney is notoriously bad at math.

    • plumskiter
      05/28/2010 at 3:23 PM

      that’s why we went to law school and not med school!

  17. plumskiter
    05/28/2010 at 3:32 PM

    I have a couple of questions.

    Did the police seize a device that can be used to cause ejaculation by electric stimulation?

    If so, hasn’t the prosecution said it is not going to get into certain sexual topics or areas?

    If so, do you think the government plans to offer the device into evidence?

    and, on a completely different topic, to the Eds. – have the judge and the AUSA’s talked any more about identifying which defendant statements are being offered for the truth and which are not? Any updates on that topic?

    • DonnaH
      05/28/2010 at 4:27 PM

      Yes, the police did seize an “electrical current/shock device” from Ward’s room (per ‘original’ affidavit under Wone 101, above). Of course, we don’t know if that is the one that might have been used on Wone.

      • AkaZappa
        05/28/2010 at 7:20 PM

        In fact we don’t know that any such device was used on Wone.

      • Bill 2
        05/28/2010 at 7:24 PM

        And we don’t know if there was more than one device like that, with one being carried off into the night.

      • BadShoes
        05/28/2010 at 10:11 PM

        Does anyone know if it is necessary or customary to use that nasty conductive jelly that is normally used with EKG and EEG electrodes when using an, umm “electical current/shock device?”

        • DavidR
          05/29/2010 at 1:21 AM

          “necessary or customary to use that nasty conductive jelly”

          It just so happens there was an episode of Law and Order SVU on the other night and they showed this device and said it is becoming popular to be used to preserve semen of recently deceased(it is viable for up to 30 hours after death)and with people that are unable to have sex or whatever because of all kinds of disabling conditions.

          Anyway all that to say that the device they showed had a huge electrode or something on the end and well you just can’t gently use it.

          • Clio
            05/29/2010 at 12:58 PM

            So, a standard personal lubricrant (such as Wet or Astroglide) would not do — it would have to require a special “conductive jelly.” As it has been said before, this sounds like far too much work for a fleeting moment of pleasure (unless you cannot have that pleasure any other way.)

  18. Lyn
    05/28/2010 at 3:43 PM

    “shirt was thicker and Schertler inferred that would’ve yielded far MORE fibers”

    More fibers? I thought that no t-shirt fibers from Wone’s shirt were found on the knife. If that is correct, then any amount of fibers from the test t-shirt would have been “more” than the amount found from Wone’s t-shirt. Am I missing something?

    • AkaZappa
      05/28/2010 at 3:46 PM

      The used T-shirt that Deedrick used would have yielded more fiber’s than Wone’s actual T-shirt, goes the Defense’s argument. The more fibers that Deedrick suggests there should be, the stranger it looks for the defendants that there were none on the knife. If the defense can suggest that Deedrick’s results were inordinately large because of the choice of shirt, then it seems that much less implausible that no fibers were found.

      • DonnaH
        05/28/2010 at 5:02 PM

        Ideally for the defense, they would have wanted the black shirt to offer no fibers, or perhaps a very few at most. Since that didn’t happen, their next option is to claim that the T-shirts were in fact so different that no valid comparison can be made from Deedrick’s test, and they’re trying to spin the much greater number of fibers found as something in support of that difference. I think one of the critical factors supporting Deedrick’s argument is that he did seek out the same material, albeit of a thicker weave, which to my mind would lessen the likelihood of different results….I wonder if Deedrick would have been allowed to conduct his experiment using a different section of Robert’s shirt?

        • lil
          05/28/2010 at 8:02 PM

          No…he wouldn’t have been allowed. The evidence cannot be used to conduct experiments.

          I am confused as to what the defense is trying to do here…regardless of the difference in amount of transfer based on fabric and age of the fabric, some transfer was expected and there were zero fibers that matched the fibers from the shirt..which is very implausible.

  19. AnnaZed
    05/28/2010 at 3:57 PM

    “Earlier, Schertler got Deedrick to describe the black t-shirt he used for the pork loin test. Apparently, this was a thrift-shop find of Deedrick’s and he could not state how old it was. As far as comparing it to Robert’s actual t-shirt, the black shirt was thicker and Schertler inferred that would’ve yielded far more fibers, thus skewing Deedrick’s results.”

    Really, truly the mind reels. How hard would it have been to get a sample of the actual fabric from the manufacturer?

    • Bill Orange
      05/28/2010 at 4:22 PM

      That would’ve been criticized as using “new” fabric rather than “used” fabric.

  20. Leonard
    05/28/2010 at 4:14 PM

    The questions being asked of Deedrivk are obvious. I remember early in my career being advised by a senior partner, “now turn it around and look at its ass”. Basically sit down and ask the questions the prosecutor will ask to poke holes in your witnesses testimony.

  21. tassojunior
    05/28/2010 at 4:15 PM

    Complete layman at blood transfer here. (Never even seen CSI). But the photo of the blade atop last night’s story seems to rather clearly show an interwoven grid pattern. A pattern I’d expect from broadcloth or linen but not terry cloth. I haven’t seen the photo of the relevant towel so I don’t know if it’s a linen kitchen towel but the expert testified, I think, that the pattern was splotches like I’d expect from terrycloth. If I saw that pattern in that picture and knew it was an in-bed knifing I’d assume it was a bloody knife that had lain on the sheet. I have to assume either it’s a grid pattern super-imposed on the photo for location of splotches or the evidenced towel is a kitchen towel.

    • Alice
      05/28/2010 at 5:16 PM

      The pattern you see may be for measuring, the vertical lines appear to line up with the lines on the ruler. But I have no idea.

    • Deb
      05/28/2010 at 8:37 PM

      Can you define “kitchen towel” for me? Kitchen towel as in “hand towel” or kitchen towel as in “dish towel”?

  22. Bill Orange
    05/28/2010 at 4:28 PM

    What’s with all the talk about “cross contamination”? Is this guy just from the Barry Scheck School of Criminal Defense, or is that a serious concern here? In other words, is there some piece of evidence that the defense is really going to need to show has been “cross contaminated”? It’s Wone’s blood, and Joe Price has acknowledged that he touched the knife. There was supposedly a recent report from the FBI about DNA on the knife, and I’m assuming that this has to be bad for the defense, but I can’t really figure out why. Joe’s DNA on the knife wouldn’t be terribly surprising, and even if Victor’s or Dylan’s DNA was on the knife, that doesn’t really do them much harm. It was, after all, their knife. What’s going on here?

    • galoon
      05/28/2010 at 7:27 PM

      Bill, read pages 55 and 56 of Joe’s interview with police. I’m not sure if the cop is pulling Joe’s chain . He indicates that normal handling of a knife would not produce enough skin cells or oil to get dna results. However,the more pressure on the handle (say, if you’re stabbing someone), the more likely you’ll get dna off of it. I don’t know if that’s true but it makes sense. I don’t think dna can be produced from fingerprints alone.

    • AkaZappa
      05/28/2010 at 7:33 PM

      I know there has been some suggestion by the defense (at evidentiary hearings, I believe) of cross contamination in the evidence involving the semen or the seminal fluid or whatever, i.e. that the sample from in the rectum became contaminated by the external sample.

  23. TT
    05/28/2010 at 4:34 PM

    I have one question, where are you Bea?????

    • Kate
      05/28/2010 at 5:29 PM

      I’ve been wondering the same thing, TT.

      A second shout out to Bea!


      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        05/28/2010 at 5:50 PM

        Maybe Bea is vacationing. Seems to me she’s always working!

        • Deb
          05/28/2010 at 8:53 PM

          It IS a long weekend . . .

  24. Jay
    05/28/2010 at 4:34 PM

    The judge knows what happened. The defense will rue the day that the chose a bench trial over the typical 12 DC jurors.

    • DonnaH
      05/28/2010 at 5:07 PM

      Whatever she “knows,” and it appears she’s a smart judge, the prosecution still has to do a good job proving the case to avoid this being tied up for years in appeals.

  25. AnnaZed
    05/28/2010 at 5:13 PM

    “…Things took a more interesting turn late in the day when we saw MPD Detective Gail Russell-Brown retake the stand. But only for a minute before she was excused, for the second time this week.
    What sent her packing? Evidentiary questions about her testimony on Defendant Joe Price’s brother Michael and his behavior at Robert’s August 7 funeral…”
    This I really, really want to hear more about.
    Interesting that these detectives are maybe not the ham-fisted (tasso fisted?) rubes that they have been made out to be and that they had the suss early on to keep an eye on some of our second tier players.

    • ladyg
      05/28/2010 at 7:46 PM

      whatever det. gail russell-brown has to say, i have a feeling that the defense table, wants to shut her down. afraid she’s going to put the “mojo” on mr.joe.

  26. Bill Orange
    05/28/2010 at 5:49 PM

    Okay, I’m starting to have more and more questions about Michael Price. Why did he come to the police station the day after the murder? Why was he at the funeral? Why did he have keys to the house? Why did he break in and clean the house out several weeks later?

    Here’s a scenario that’s been brought up before: What if Michael Price was the one who stabbed Robert? The motive would be garden-variety jealousy–Michael was furious that Joe treated Robert like an equal and that he referred to him as the brother I never had. Maybe it started as a drugging by Joe, Dylan, and Michael with plans for some sort of a sexual assault. Joe made some comment about feeling wrong about it, because Robert was like a brother to him. Michael lost it and stabbed Robert to death. Joe and Dylan felt obligated to clean up the mess, since there’s no way they could testify against Michael and not get jail time themselves (“We were just planning on raping him!”). Victor gets involved after the stabbing (but is still guilty of obstruction). Michael drove away with a car full of incriminating evidence. When he got home, he told his boyfriend that he needed an alibi, which he provided. (I’ll cut the boyfriend some slack here, since Michael could have said something like, “I was buying drugs, and I saw the cops and split. If anybody asks, say I was here all night.”) Joe was furious with Michael over this and made Michael come to the funeral, just to show him how much harm he’d done. Michael later robbed the house with impunity, since he knew Joe couldn’t have him charged, because Michael’s so unstable that he’d confess to murder to retaliate against Joe.

    Have at it, folks. What evidence is out there that DOESN’T fit with this?

    • AnnaZed
      05/28/2010 at 6:09 PM

      That’s pretty much what I think may have occurred without the baroque details of motivation, but something like that.

      • Susan
        05/29/2010 at 12:09 AM

        There are any number of scenarios related to their drug use, torture items, etc. that might come into play.

        Perhaps they were using Wone as a “test” object for some activity Price and Ward planned to use together at another time. Perhaps murder was the ultimate “turn-on” for them, since it involved “torture” and “pain” etc., which Price lists as interests in his online “dating” profile.

        Who knows. But it seems pretty clear the three defendants haven’t been using their money & resources to find the “real” murderers. And it seems fairly clear that they are bound by too many secrets that come from living together as a “family.”

    • Deb
      05/28/2010 at 6:18 PM

      I still think it was Joe, start to finish. I think, like Victor said in his statement, that when he went upstairs to bed, Dylan was also either in bed or going to bed. (Later, he “was told” Dylan had actually been downstairs.)

      Michael is a wild-card, I grant you. His cat tormenting buddy is another but clearly never could have pulled this off so “cleanly”, nor would anyone have been very likely to cover for him at such peril.

      But I just can’t get over that out of 4 people in that house, Joe is the only one who was never alone, given the statements, except while he was in a stairwell to go get alibi’d by the next guy.


      • ladyg
        05/28/2010 at 6:52 PM

        i just had to listen to the 911 call again… (this too may have been mention, more than once) but when victor was on the phone w the 911 operator, the voices in the background are so calm, never do you hear victor, say dylan dylan robert’s hurt or dylan (banging on the bedroom) are you ok (oh btw, there’s an intruder,in the house)? i hope that the prosecutor, hires the best audio tech, that money can buy.

        didn’t i read somewhere that joe (before robert arrived)went back into the house..something about water running. now i may be way off track here..but in maryland we have to pay utility for the water usages
        i’m wondering, if they checked to see how much was used that night. hey it’s worth the try

        • Deb
          05/28/2010 at 9:02 PM

          Joe went back upstairs to check if he could “get it to leak again” or something to that effect.

          I would really love to know what that whole issue was just because I’m nosy!

          At a minimum.

          True enough about the calm, but I guess I’m personally ok with that because I’m calmer THROUGH the storm than I am after it — always.

          My thing with the 911 vs. the statements, what is it about 10:43???????

          If the prosecution fails to address that issue in this trial on these charges . . they will walk.

          TIME was of the essence.

          • Clio
            05/28/2010 at 10:25 PM

            Do you mean 11:43, sweetie? Time is/was of the essence!

    • AkaZappa
      05/28/2010 at 6:26 PM

      Well, I suppose it’s possible.

      Why do you think this is more likely than that they somehow thought they had killed Robert and stabbed him as part of the cover-up? I guess the pristine, uniform knife wounds don’t really scream jealous rage to me.

      • Clio
        05/28/2010 at 7:14 PM

        Michael seems to be a not-so-hot mess, who can go “from mild to wild” as per his Manhunt personal ad. And, according to diarist Mr. Hinton, the butcher-turned-retail clerk did have his worst relapse in the days right after the murder. Nevertheless, charges were dropped against him in the “burglary”, and the younger Price has managed to stay out of trouble since 2006.

        The absence from class that fateful evening is intriguing, however, and perhaps the events of August 2 mingled academic, social, and sexual interests for Michael. So, Victor and Dyl could be telling the truth as they had been told by Culuket, to whom his brother posed the greatest “Catch 22” worthy of Shakespeare.

        Living on Okinawa (just after its return to Japan) as a boy had to have been easier for Michael than seeing Joe (the bullied sissy of yore) become his patron and master, but why would he attack Robert to get at Joe?

        • AkaZappa
          05/28/2010 at 7:30 PM

          Yes, I think it’s highly plausible, not to mention likely, that Michael was involved. I just wonder why Bill thinks the unappreciated brother scenario is more likely than a drugging-for-sexploitation gone wrong through an apparent OD?

        • Deb
          05/28/2010 at 9:07 PM

          Perhaps it was not a crime of passion.

          PS: Shakespeare didn’t write Catch 22

    • ramknts
      05/29/2010 at 1:15 PM

      The answer to your above questions, Bill Orange, could be as simple as “they’re brothers”. Maybe Michael went to the police station and funeral in support. Maybe he has keys just for the hell of it. Maybe he stole electronic equipment for drug money. He did sell the stuff to a pawn shop. I’m invoking Occam’s razor.

      I’ve never really favored the Michael-related theories, but it seems it’s just as plausible that Michael wasn’t part of the actual murder but was called to remove evidence.

      Personally, it’s super hard to believe Victor would cover for Michael when he faces many years in prison, regardless of the power dynamics in the relationships. Plus, getting charged for intent to rape someone seems a much better deal in the end for Joe and Dylan than potentially being charged with murder…

  27. tassojunior
    05/28/2010 at 6:05 PM

    “But Schirtler was able to get Deedrick to admit white cotton fibers are so common they can have little value as evidence. Deedrick told the court “in most cases yes.”

    myfoxdc has their pretty good daily summary up now:

    • Clio
      05/28/2010 at 7:36 PM

      Thanks, Tasso, for that quote and link. We can both agree that the defense did effectively challenge the testimony of Mr. Deedrick on several fronts.

      “But it’s not over till it’s over!”

  28. Leonard
    05/28/2010 at 6:46 PM

    I’m still not sure it isn’t the knife used in the murder. But, let’s say it’s not. Why switch knives?

    • tassojunior
      05/28/2010 at 6:50 PM

      and replace with your own knife?

    • Bill Orange
      05/28/2010 at 9:22 PM

      Well, the “missing” knife from Dylan’s room would’ve pointed straight to Dylan. Alternatively, if there was another knife that was used, it might point toward some other suspect.

  29. josephina
    05/28/2010 at 7:42 PM

    OK, totally random out of left field comment here, but I was thinking last night–if I had a house guest who was killed by an intruder, I would be sooo outta that house. When I lived in a kind of let’s say, low rent section of Brooklyn and my nieghbors (drug dealers) were robbed, I like, barricaded the door at night and if I could have financially I would never have spent time there again. These are people of means–I just can’t see them just sitting calmly in this house of doom, unless they knew that there really was no intruder. I mean, their friend was KILLED in that house. It’s not like they couldn’t afford to move. I would be like the housemate–out of there without looking back.

    • ladyg
      05/28/2010 at 7:54 PM

      i hear ya. once that 911 call (he/victor, was in a cordless phone) was made, why didn’t they go out the front door and wait for the EMT to arrive? sorry, i’m not staying in the house w an intruder lurching somewhere within.

      • Bill
        05/28/2010 at 7:59 PM

        Remember he said on the phone to the 911 operator that he was afraid to go downstairs. But I do agree that if that happened to me I would have moved out of that place so quickly. I was mugged in DC near my house and moved out within three month (and that involved buying a house in VA).

    • tassojunior
      05/28/2010 at 8:12 PM

      That’s perfectly valid. Our neighborhood is a mixed-income one like parts of Brooklyn. Maybe half the residents within two blocks of the house live in low income housing and break-ins are pretty frequent. People like these move in because of convenience to downtown and real estate agents’ assurances. They don’t get iron bars but rely on ADT which they stop turning on because of it’s nuisance. Their cars get broken into a couple times and then their house gets broken into and a fair number soon move to close-in suburbs and commute.

      • Eagle
        05/28/2010 at 8:43 PM

        You are by far and away the sterotype champion of modern times.

  30. ladyg
    05/28/2010 at 8:12 PM

    here’s another question, when the intruder went into robert’s room (were the lights on or off…. only the killer would know) i wonder did he hear him (robert) snorting/or some kind of movement, startle, and at that moment decided the had to kill this person.

    here’s my other question, when joe came down the stairs (once again w the lights)he said that he saw robert on (lights on or off or lights from the hallway) the sofa/bed facing the door when you come down the steps. or do you enter the room and the sofa against the wall when you enter?

    • tassojunior
      05/28/2010 at 8:28 PM

      That’s the “trapped intruder” issue. Police always warn residents to never under any circumstances confront an intruder and immediately exit if one’s suspected. Most are on crack, pcp or jonesing for dope and not rational.

      OTOH, here the suspects would have been expected to immediately exit also but Price said he was certain the intruder fled over the rear fence.

  31. ladyg
    05/28/2010 at 8:13 PM

    i guess we’re going to have to wait and see the crime scene photos.

  32. ramknts
    05/29/2010 at 1:24 PM

    From this graphic, it appears you could see someone laying on the bed from the bottom of the stairs (if there was appropriate lighting).

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