Day 11: Wrap

06/02/2010
By Craig

Friends and Family     UPDATED 9:30

Tara Ragone, longtime William and Mary friend of both Robert and Joe Price, wrapped up her testimony and cross this afternoon.

She recalled a fond friendship between the three and that she was always warm and comfortable with Price even though they had not maintained very close contact after school, the occasional Christmas card or email sufficed.  “Robert was the glue that kept the crowd together,” she said.

Sketch courtesy of William J. Hennessy, Jr.

During AUSA Glenn Kirschner’s direct, she said, “I still care about Joe,” responding to a question whether she got emotional looking at him in the courtroom.

She met his brother Michael only once, at a New Year’s day brunch in either 1997 or 1998, but she was well aware of his troubles.  Joe shared with Ragone that he was helping his brother with medical treatment, career guidance, and financial support.

Joe confided to her the stress that caused, “Joe was a caring brother, dedicated and loyal, but he was frustrated that he had to support himself, pay off his student loans and also take care of Michael.”

Ragone only met Dylan Ward once, at Robert’s viewing.  Price introduced the two of them by simply saying, “This is Dylan.”   Judge Lynn Leibovitz cautioned Ragone, a “fast talker,”  about speaking too quickly for the court reporter to keep up. “You’re a lawyer, be responsive.  Avoid giving your impressions unless asked for.”

Ragone recalled her first phone call with Price after the murder, on the Sunday following.  She was surprised by the call and did not expect it in the wake of the tragedy.  She and Price talked a little about what happened that night.

Hesitiant to probe, she said:

“I was more of a listener and was touched by his call.  Joe walked through what he chose to share…I recall him saying Robert arrived after work, they spent some time in the kitchen, drank water and that is was late.”

Price shared details about the layout of 1509 and that he and Zaborsky were on the 3rd floor.  Ragone said Price told her he heard the chime and woke up thinking it was Sarah Morgan.  He then heard “low guttural moans” and went downstairs, thinking the sound may have been Sarah running into Robert downstairs.

It was at this point, she told Kirschner of an alarming statement she made to Price on the phone and which she later regretted.  ”Oh my God!  You must’ve been covered in Robert’s blood!”  Pressed by the prosecutor, Ragone’s recollections were cloudy and she could not say with certainty exactly what prompted that from her.  On the phone, she said she immediately apologized to Price and felt guilty for being so matter-of-fact.  “That’s OK,” he replied.

On the call, Price also shared his frustrations with the nascent MPD investigation.  He told Ragone he didn’t think the police were processing the crime scene properly: door knobs and glasses in the kitchen were being touched without gloves.  Price also thought that the stop at 7-11 on the way to the VCB was insensitive and that he was being ignored by the police.  [Ed. Note: Detective Jeffrey Folts maye have a different recollection of that ride].

Ragone’s next call with Price was almost two weeks later, on August 18; he had called her again.  She had been reading the news coverage of the murder with the early hints/leaks that the MPD thought the crime scene was tampered with.  She said to Price, “I hate that I have the questions I’m having.  If the scene was tampered with, I’d have a real problem, Joe.”  As mentioned earlier, Price’s response was, “There’s a big difference between tampering and wiping away some blood, freaking out about a crime scene.”  Kirschner was now done with his direct.

Bernie Grimm’s cross centered on email traffic she had with Price and other members of the W&M inner circle.  Grimm asked Ragone about “..hundreds of emails” between them.  Ragone said there were only 20 or so that were with Price directly, the others were part of larger email chains they were both cc’d on.  Asked if Ragone knew Price well, she replied, “That’s the Joe I knew.”

Quizzed about her reading habits on the murder, Grimm asked if she subscribed to google alerts, had read all the news articles written about the murder…and if she read “…the blog.”  She said she yes but had not read all of the news articles.  A number of Ragone’s emails found their way to the prosecution team.  She said she did not forward them at the government’s request.

Schertler’s cross focused on a particular email chain that originated on August 4. Included among the addressees was Michelle Kang, a friend and the woman who first told Ragone about the murder.  In that chain was a note from Ragone that mentioned that a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter had called to ask who the other occupants of the house were.

She forwarded that particular email to Price.  He responded back saying, “Thanks for the wishes, but we prefer not to be named in the press.”   Ragone’s response was heartfelt and lawyerly, “Please, please give them (Ward and Zaborsky) hugs for us.  When and if you want to talk (I’ll be here).  I’m glad you have attorneys, police with no leads can twist things.  Protect yourself.”

Connolly’s cross amounted to a single question. What was it Price said that made you respond to him with the remark about him being covered in Robert’s blood?  What led her to believe that Price had blood on him?  Maybe that he was staunching Robert’s wounds he offered.  She again fell back on cloudy recollections and could not say with any certainty.

It took Kirschner’s redirect to get Ragone to recall the “gist” of what Price said on that August 4 call, “he said he removed the knife from Robert’s chest,” she said.

Asked about her emails that were forwarded to the government, Ragone said they were sent at the request of Robert’s friend Jason Torchinsky and again in responding to a law enforcement questioning.  She told Kirchner that the government never asked her to be a plant, to try and get information from Price.  Kirschner wrapped by asking Ragone what else she read about the case and trial.  Ragone said she’s read motions, including one from the defense team that was sent to her by Lisa Goddard.  Ragone said nothing she has read has influenced her testimony in any way, “Absolutely not.”  She was excused from the stand and spent the remainder of the day in the audience taking in the arguments and testimony.

The next half hour was spent with Robert Spagnoletti pleading with Judge Leibovitz on the unfairness of the government’s change in course, which would allow 100% of the defendants’ statements to be admitted for the truth.  He and the judge went back and forth in a very spirited and highly technical discussion.  Spagnoletti said the change was unfair and the defendants were prejudiced by this move.  Leibovitz reminded Spagnoletti about his team’s mid-course correction, that of waiving the jury trial.  Spagnoletti complained that the government never said why they made the change and that they should do so for the record.

Leibovitz told Spagnoletti that the defense’s severance motions were based on the jury’s inability to sort out which statements came in for the truth and not.  “Why is it you’re prejudiced now?  (A jury trial is) ”….just not where we are…  the government based their decision on your move to waive.  I reject that argument.  Get another one.  In their opening statements, the government said they may do things differently.  The government has the right to ask that I reconsider rulings.”

Leibovitz pressed Spagnoletti on just exactly how the defendants were being prejudiced by the government’s strategic decisions:  severance, the jury waiver or on cross?  She gave in a little and said that at some point the government still must tell her what to credit and what not to.  She also allowed the defense time to go over the trial transcripts and that if it’s a question of needing a witness recall, “that’s a prejudice that can be cured.”  Expecting motions to aquit, Leibovitz warned both sides they have some writing assignments ahead of them.

Done with Spagnoletti, Leibovitz said, “I take serious the delay (this has caused)… I’ll carefully go through the evidence as I must, and I will distinguish.”  Grimm took a shot; the jury trial was waived based on their inability to cipher based on the government’s (previous) representation of how statements were coming in.  Leibovitz brushed him back saying that his client is “…getting a better trial (now)” and there’s no burden on a jury to balance truth or not.  “What he (Price) gave up (a jury trial) would’ve been completely confusing and unmanageable.  It’s best that the Court siphon.”   For the record, Tom Connolly rose to echo his colleagues’ concerns.

At 4:00pm, MPD Detetive Bryan Waid was sworn in.  His homicide unit was assigned to the case and AUSA Patrick Martin managed the direct.  The prosecutor began the familiar march through credentials, Waid’s arrival on the scene at 1:00am, and his observations of what he saw at 1509.  Told by police colleagues that this was a case of a reported burglar entering the back door and grabbing a kitchen knife as a murder weapon, Waid canvassed the house inside and out.  He found no signs of forced entry anywhere.  Nothing in the house appeared to be disturbed and that was the same for the patio and back yard.

Responding to Martin about what he saw in the guestroom, Waid said he saw no evidence of a ‘cast-off’, the traces of blood normally found when a knife is pulled out of a wound.  None on the walls and none on the ceiling, two likely places Waid said.  Outside, neither the dirt or plants in the flower boxes looked like it was disturbed and he saw no scuffs or footprints on the fence.  The fence’s top rail was, “…flat with dirt and plant material on top.”  Cobwebs in the trees too, were also undisturbed.

That was it for the day and Judge Leibowitz called a recess until Thursday morning at 10:00am, when Martin’s direct of Waid will continue.

Sarah Morgan: The Testimony

If anyone thought the absence of Sarah Morgan from the Trouple’s lives was an indication of her belief that they were, at a minimum, not telling the full truth about what happened inside their home on the evening of August 2nd, or at worst, were in involved in his murder, will be disappointed.  Her severance from the day-to-day lives of the Trouple after the murder was on the order of her counsel not to speak to them because she was a witness in this case.  She teared up when she said this, and it is clear that she dearly values their friendship. From her day on the witness stand she firmly believes they are telling the truth.

This doesn’t mean, though, that her testimony was a boon to the defense.  While believing in their innocence she did have to answer several questions that might be harmful to the defense.  First, she did testify that each of the three men were fastidious in their cleaning habits.  This seems, though, to be at odds with her other testimony that the all three were rather lackadaisical about keeping the house locked.  They liked the house spotless, but didn’t mind if it was left open to be spotted by would be burglars and intruders.  This doesn’t add up.

Second, she said of the housemates, she was concerned about the safety of the home because of its location. Yet, when a burglary occurred in Chuck Wolf’s home at 1503 Swann Street, and she talked directly with Chuck about the break-in, she didn’t bother to tell any of the housemates.  For someone concerned about the safety of the home, this information sounds like it would be topic-A to share with the unconcerned Swann Street roommates to persuade them to her position.  The fact that she did not tell them about this robbery is inconsistent with the narrative that she was concerned about safety.

Third, she said that when an evening was over that all the lights on the first floor would be turned out.  If this is the case, then how could Dylan Ward see the the lock on the backdoor be in the unlocked position when first going downstairs to a darkened first floor.

Fourth, on the shed and over turned garbage can located in the carport behind the backyard, she said in a direct answer to Judge Liebowitz that Joe and Victor would clean the garbage cans and when they were done they would turn them over. The defense had previously floated the idea that overturned garbage can was an indication that an intruder used it as a launching pad to get over the fence.  Again, on direct cross examination from Judge Liebowitz, she said the shed was about “four or five feet away from the fence.”  If this is the case, and the intruder used the overturned garbage can and the shed to launch from, they had to go more than four feet in the air before getting to the fence and would have come in contact with the fence, or they were shot out of a canon so that they didn’t disturb any dirt on the top of the fence.

Finally, Judge Liebowitz zeroed in on Sarah Morgan’s role as a member of the Swann Street family when she asked, “You testified that you considered yourself to be a part of the family, in other words, the family made up of the three defendants at Swann Street and you. Is that correct?” Sarah first stumbled out a “yes” and said “our families are very close.”  The fact that Judge Liebowitz framed this question to elict a “yes” or “no” answer from Sarah Morgan may indicate that the Judge views Sarah Morgan as not an entirely objective witness, but rather one who might be biased in her answers to protect her “family.” — David

133 Responses to “ Day 11: Wrap ”

  1. Bea on 06/02/2010 at 7:55 PM

    No mention of the “Catch-22″ email that was highlighted in the Washingtonian? That’s very strange. And what did I miss about the possible whereabouts of the knife that was alluded to previously? Perhaps I read this too quickly. . .

    • Kate on 06/02/2010 at 8:05 PM

      Yes, Bea – I was wondering about the “Catch 22″ email, as well.

      As for “the knife that was alluded to previously,” are you thinking of one of the Editiors’ earlier updates – a wee “teaser” to stay tuned for more information on the knife? Perhaps that’s been covered by Det. Waid’s testimony that there was no cast off in the guest bedroom – as would be expected if a knife was pulled out of a wound. in this case pulled out of three separate wounds.

      Am I with you on this – or did I also read too quickly?
      Kate

      • Bea on 06/02/2010 at 8:34 PM

        Kate, yes, the teaser about where the knife went is the reference point.

        I am very curious about the Catch-22 email, though I’m pleased to see that she “finally” remembered that he’d told her he’d pulled the knife from his chest. That’s one. W-5 should be the second.

        • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 12:44 AM

          Yes, how on earth could the prosecution have failed to elicit testimony about Joe’s use of that evocative phrase “catch-22″ with reference to himself and his dialogs with the police via email (in writing!), how?

          I am starting to suspect that tasso may not be entirely off-base when he suggests that Kirschner is not the brightest lawyer in that court room.

  2. Liz on 06/02/2010 at 8:13 PM

    I cannot say I’m following the entire posts here, but it looks like Joe made phone calls to quite a lot of friends after the incident including Ragone for whom the occasional christmas card or email had suffied. Perhaps he was smart enough to think their mutual friends at W & M would be potential witnesses?

    • Agatha on 06/02/2010 at 8:57 PM

      Yes, it would appear as though Joe and Lisa were coaching their fellow William and Mary alumni.

      • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:16 AM

        I wouldn’t call what Lisa is doing “coaching”. She thinks they’re innocent, and she’s saying so to her friends.

    • AnnaZed on 06/02/2010 at 11:10 PM

      Somehow I’m thinking she’s been stricken from the Christmas card list for 2010.

    • Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 11:20 PM

      Think of the times you have really f**ed up. They say confession is good for the soul. Granted, I have never been involved in a murder case, but I know when you really blow it you “confess” to people close to you..you try to frame an argument that excuses or explains your behavior…you try to plant your seed of reasoning before they hear another side to the story…you try to inoculate your listeners…perhaps more than thinking mutual friends would be witnesses JP was trying to put his own “spin” on the events of the evening?

    • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:21 AM

      I think you all are reading too much into this. It’s a circle of friends, and one of them was found murdered in the home of another one. Everyone in the circle is going to call or e-mail Joe and ask what happened. Some people in the circle are going to accept what they’re told at face value. Others are going to say, “Wait a minute. What exactly do you need a lawyer for?” And so on. And then side conversations are going to develop among the people in the circle to see who believes what.

      • Clio on 06/03/2010 at 8:09 AM

        A cynical person might conclude that Culuket could have been already preparing his donor list, knowing that his escapades on August 2 were going to cost him dearly. Of course, Lisa G. provided much-needed credibility to Team Price in the immediate aftermath, but this is a circle of friends who are college-educated critical thinkers, as you have pointed out. Even Lisa herself, though, could not persuade most of them to stay completely loyal to the Price narrative by the time of the Holder news conference and then, later, the eye-opening indictments. Jaffe does a wonderful job in showing the ethical conflicts that some in this circle (including Tara!) went through.

        In his appeal letter of November 2008, Mr. Price seems to admit that he had not been in contact with some of his friends and family in quite a while. So, not everyone on the Xmas card list reciprocated. I wonder if the trustees of (or contributors to) his Legal Defense Fund ever regret jumping to his side. Is the Fund still in operation, or did it slowly disappear in the manner of eyecandy dvds?

  3. Clio on 06/02/2010 at 8:36 PM

    Hi Tara!

    Did Ms. Ragone just corroborate the expected testimony of W-5, or I am just dreaming?

    • Bea on 06/02/2010 at 8:45 PM

      She did indeed. And it reads as if she did so with considerable hesitation but that may be more valuable (as to her credibility) than not.

      • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:28 AM

        That was my take, too. Intriguing. My initial take on Joe Price’s comments to W-5 was that (WARNING: This is a very cynical theory, even for me.) he was embellishing the story in an attempt to get laid. The fact that he seems to have said the same thing to Ragone doesn’t make him look very good, but I don’t necessarily think it hurts him much. He was clear in his interview with the police that he really wasn’t sure if he pulled the knife out or if he just moved it, so saying he pulled the knife out isn’t inconsistent with his previous testimony.

        • Alice on 06/03/2010 at 10:12 AM

          Do you think it would hurt or help if Price got on the stand and said, “Hey, I just told those people I pulled the knife out of Robert’s chest so I could look like a bad ass and get laid”?

  4. susan on 06/02/2010 at 8:46 PM

    Liz,

    I had the same thought.

    Another thought that occurred to me as I was thinking about this case: How odd it was that Price asked Zaborsky to go upstairs to call 911 when R. Wone’s Blackberry was right there on the table. He already stated he touched the knife (either moved it from Mr. W’s body in one telling or pulled it out in another)so why not use the phone right there to call the police?! Wasn’t time of the absolute essence? It doesn’t add up.

    • Bea on 06/02/2010 at 8:49 PM

      Hey Susan, there was a LAND LINE phone in that bedroom as well. Joe’s excuse was that Victor was so hysterical that he sent him away with a task. But unless it took him 15 minutes to climb the stairs, it makes no sense.

      • susan on 06/02/2010 at 9:00 PM

        You’re right. That is absolutely incredible and unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. A land line and a cell phone and…no call to 911 right then and there. Says a lot.

        Of course, he could have just sent Z outside to get the neighbors. Or to get Dylan. But the guy’s hysterical so he doesn’t use the two phones available there but has the hysterical guy travel to make the call. And a hysterical guy. Not making sense.

      • Deb on 06/02/2010 at 10:32 PM

        I don’t know that it’s so odd that an hysterical person was given a “task” by a non-hysterical person.

        What’s odd is that hysterical Victor agreed to go up stairs alone, not knowing if the “intruder” were still in the house. Afterall, he was too frightened to go down stairs to let emergency services in.

        • Alice on 06/02/2010 at 10:46 PM

          Right! It’s also odd that no one checked on Dylan. If nothing else you’d think Victor would want Dylan around for safety.

          • DonnaH on 06/02/2010 at 11:23 PM

            Good point!–because for all Joe ostensibly knew, the murderer could even be lurking in Dylan’s room, having done who knows what to Dylan as well….

            • susan on 06/03/2010 at 5:12 AM

              Excellent point. After all, a purported “intruder” wss on the loose.

              • Phil on 06/03/2010 at 12:47 PM

                Sending Victor upstairs seems perfectly normal to me. 1) You’ve given the hysterical person a task, (while you check your friend, and try to do something).. and 2) You know upstaits is safe because you just came from there.

                I think people are making way too much of this. IMO, it tells us nothing.

    • galoon on 06/02/2010 at 10:59 PM

      There was a house phone in the room as well. Victor never entered the guest room when he first went down. Joe stopped him, took him by the shoulders and sent him upstairs (to call 911). When Victor came back down the stairs, he states Dylan was in the bedroom doorway. He backed away to let Victor in. But Dylan states when he came out of his room, Victor and Joe were both there, Joe in the room and Victor on the phone. So which is it? Maybe Dly is bs-ing and he was in Robert’s room all along. Victor wouldn’t know that, Joe stopped him from entering. Joe would know. And so would Dylan . But they’ll never tell. Whatever happened, I hope in the end justice is served.

    • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:32 AM

      I didn’t think this was all that odd, to be honest. Victor (allegedly) freaked out when he saw the body, so Joe sent him up upstairs to call 911. Yes, he could have called from that room, but sending him upstairs only took 10 seconds, and isolating someone who’s freaking out is one of the first things I would do in that kind of situation.

  5. Clio on 06/02/2010 at 8:54 PM

    On what bases did Joe think that the 7-11 stop was insensitive? That sure is Joe as misunderstood Uranian hero being hassled by the “pigs”: who, other than his bro, “bought” that detail?

    • Lyn on 06/02/2010 at 9:32 PM

      Who knows. Maybe 7-11 is too “down market” of a convenience store for him.

      I reread Folts’s notes about the drive. Not two hours after his close friend is brutally murdered by an “intruder,” Price is carefree and chit chatting about working out at Results and that he bought his house at the top of the housing bubble. Amazing!

  6. She did it on 06/02/2010 at 8:58 PM

    Craig,

    keep up the fabulous work! (and overdue love to you — you must be exhausted/exhillerated).

    As they say on the dear friend in my head Lat’s ATL blog: the ship be sinking. . .

    Though i have been a critic of some the lifestyle choices of the trouple (from 3 way SMBD exercises, watersports, electrostim devices), and my heart has been telling me that the trouple know more than they have let on, when reviewing the prosecution case to date (on this blog and in the MSM) I am reminded of the wonderful Wendy’s ad — where’s the beef?

    Is the Judge, who appears to be a sharp cookie, allowed to use common sense? Not meant to be rude, but can she say to her self, self, it cannot be anything other than one (or all) of these 3 knowing more and not disclosing it to the government? If she cannot draw such inferences, and must rely on the evidence/testimony presented, the gang will be in Florida by July 4 living happily ever after (having won a motion for non-suit or whatever it is called at the end of the prosecution case). If she rejects the intruder theory, that doesn’t mean she will find guilty (correct?)?

    many have asked the question; i have NOT seen the definitive answer: is michael price under subpoena to testify — will he be summoned? or has he been enjoying an all expense paid vacation for the last month compliments of the defense team and not available to be subpoened? perhaps he took a trip to miami shores? i suspect it would help the prosecuton a GREAT deal if he testifies and takes the 5th — judge would be like WTF?

    from my vantage point, ms. morgan did shine in her testimony; sorry for misplaced prior weight jokes — you are a lady.

    when is the government case over? and will we see the beef?

    • DCULater on 06/02/2010 at 10:42 PM

      Is it just me or does the narrative from “She did it” appear a possible plant for the defense? Or “ghost” writing from one of the defendants? sure provides good coaching and direction like the academy-award-winning talking points that Joe likely provided ala “intruder” cover-up.

      Reaching out to coach other potential witnesses such as W&M friends, whom he talked to infrequently, also seems odd unless he was making sure his cover-up story was well-circulated?

      • Craig on 06/02/2010 at 11:39 PM

        DCUL: SDI’s credentials as a critic of the defendants, an especially caustic one at that, are beyond reproach.

        • She did it on 06/03/2010 at 8:37 AM

          Craig,

          I knew there was a reason I always liked you.

          Any word on Michael Price — wherabouts, under subpoena, out of state?

          As a spectator, do you share any of my concerns over the prosecution?

          Keep on keeping on,

    • Bob on 06/03/2010 at 9:12 AM

      I think that She Did It has a more profound and subtle question than is obvious. The question is: Is the judge allowed to use common sense? More precisely, is the judge allowed to use common sense in finding facts that are inferred from the facts in evidence? I am not a lawyer. Can one of the lawyers answer? It is my understanding that a jury is expected to apply common sense to the facts in evidence. When a judge is the trier of fact, does she have the same right and duty to apply common sense to the facts in evidence?

      In particular, the facts in evidence include the delay of some amount of time in calling 911, the cause of death being bleeding, and the missing 4 liters of blood from the body, and the lack of blood at the crime scene. If she also infers or finds that there was no ninja, is she allowed to find as fact beyond a reasonable doubt that someone known to the defendants (a defendant, Michael Price, Phelps Collins?) stabbed Robert, and the crime scene was then cleaned up?

      I think that is what She Did It is asking: Is the judge, as trier of fact, expected to infer the actual facts from the facts in evidence? As She Did it wrote: “Self, it cannot be anything other than one (or all) of these 3 knowing more and not disclosing it to the government?” That is the question. Can a lawyer address it?

      Is a jury expected to apply common sense to the facts in evidence? Is a judge without a jury expected to apply common sense to the facts in evidence?

      • Anon34 on 06/03/2010 at 10:01 AM

        I agree that this is the crux of the whole trial. I posted essentially the same question yesterday– can the judge as the trier-of-fact overcome reasonable doubt on common sense and negative inference alone?

  7. lulu on 06/02/2010 at 9:07 PM

    Thanks for covering this story. I so think atleast one of them is guilty. I believe all three know the truth and are covering up. I think they deserve to go to prison, but am afraid they won’t.

    • Steven on 06/02/2010 at 10:57 PM

      As much as I “think” these guys are guilty, I don’t think the prosecution is PROVING it in court. Before you can send anyone away for 38 years, there has to be more evidence than what we’ve seen so far. Does anyone else feel the prosecution is blowing this?

      • AnnaZed on 06/02/2010 at 11:27 PM

        Ummm, nope.

      • Wendy S. on 06/03/2010 at 12:03 AM

        Yes.

      • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:41 AM

        Not really. The neighbor heard “the scream” at least 19 minutes before the 911 call. There are unexplained puncture wounds on the victim’s body. There’s almost no blood at the crime scene. The knife appears to have been wiped down. And there’s no evidence to support the “intruder” theory. I could definitely find reasonable doubt if there were just one of these things, and possibly if there were two. But all five? I’m sorry, but I can’t find reasonable doubt here right now.

        I think that the prosecution has had a dull week, but I don’t think they’re doing poorly just because every witness hasn’t dropped a bombshell.

        • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 12:57 AM

          I would call two witnesses in a row, both avowed good friends of Joe, showing him to be a complete liar pretty incendiary.

          • sigmund freud on 06/03/2010 at 8:46 AM

            Especially the testimony where Price said there is a difference between tampering and wiping a knife when freaking out!!!!!!

        • kiki on 06/03/2010 at 12:12 PM

          Bill,

          I concur with you and want to emphasize points raised in an earlier post regarding (i) 4 liters of missing blood, (ii) Joe preventing Victor from entering the room to make the 911 call with phones in Robert’s room, (iii) no immediate concern for Dylan when fear intruder is in house, and (iv) Joe tampering with the murder weapon.

          Kudos to the editors for the fantastic trial coverage.

  8. susan on 06/02/2010 at 9:29 PM

    From Ms. Morgan’s testimony we learn that J. Price lied to her about giving a key to brother, M. Price, just as he lied to the police about giving a key to M. Price.

    • She did it on 06/02/2010 at 9:35 PM

      not to be a smart ass, but is that it? i have followed this for a while and expected more (perhaps my own fault for expecting definitive answers in a whodunnit). is that enough (lying/mistating/not disclosing who had a key) — no price apologist here but that seems underwhelming to me.

      • Carolina on 06/02/2010 at 9:36 PM

        I think it may be framework for the govt position. At least one can hope.

      • susan on 06/02/2010 at 9:45 PM

        This isn’t a “whodunit” murder case, it’s an obstruction of justice case. But there are other facts other than the one I just posted. I just posted it because I noted it. According to the testimony Ms. Morgan said she did not want to move in if M. Price had a key. So J. Price lied to her. Everything else she writes about him appearing sincerely grieving, etc., seems questionable considering how convincingly he lied– convincingly enough that she uprooted herself from wherever she was and moved in with the trouple.

        • She did it on 06/02/2010 at 9:52 PM

          this will sound like a smart ass comment too, but not intended that way — price can lie to sarah morgan all he wants without legal consequence. he is no choir boy.

          you are correct i am in whodunnit mode – not obstruction mode – perhaps i need to review the jury charge on that theory to adjust/lower my expectations. still waiting for something more compelling that lying to the roommate.

          any info on m. price whereabouts?

          • Clio on 06/02/2010 at 9:57 PM

            Like you, SDI, I hope that Michael is not housesitting in Miami Shores, but even Aunt Marcia herself may have drawn the line on taking him in!

          • Deb on 06/02/2010 at 10:25 PM

            I think Michael was in court yesterday maybe? WMRW posted “shakey cam” video.

            • gertiestn on 06/02/2010 at 10:29 PM

              I’m pretty sure that video came from an earlier court appearance and not yesterday.

              • AnnaZed on 06/02/2010 at 11:27 PM

                That is correct.

      • DCULater on 06/02/2010 at 10:47 PM

        “no price apologist here”… really? are you sure? fairly consistent food for thought you’re posting.

    • Deb on 06/02/2010 at 10:44 PM

      Hi, Susan-

      I’m still wondering, does any one know if there are any statements or documents or notes to show that Michael had a house key prior to August 2, or even that he had a house key at the time Sarah moved in?

      We know he has a house key when he “breaks in” in Oct or Nov.

      Finally, is anyone familiar as to whether there is anything tangible to suggest that Joe actually GAVE a key to Michael?

      Thanks if you can help. Would love to read more about the key.

      Deb

      • Alice on 06/02/2010 at 10:53 PM

        I think the fact that Michael had security code is a good indication that Joe (or one of the trouple) gave Micahel the key.

        • Deb on 06/02/2010 at 10:57 PM

          Alice-

          Good point.

          I still wonder if there is anything to demonstrate when.

          Deb

          • Alice on 06/02/2010 at 11:14 PM

            I doubt it. Unless someone says the witnessed the key change hands, which does not seem likely.

      • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:46 AM

        We probably won’t hear exactly when he got the key.

        Here’s food for thought that’s entirely inadmissible in court: Michael was supposedly turning his life around, and then supposedly had a horrible relapse immediately after the murder and started using drugs again, which culminated in him robbing the house two months later. With that in mind, I think it’s extremely unlikely that he was given the key after the murder.

        • New Alias on 06/03/2010 at 9:43 AM

          In addition, the police had control of the house from the time they arrived at the scene through the time of the burglary (right?) – why give your brother a key and security code to a house that you yourself are barred from entering?

          Answer(s): 1) You didn’t. 2) You wanted him to break in.

          • New Alias on 06/03/2010 at 9:44 AM

            correction – I meant “from the time MPD arrived on the scene after the murder through the time when Michael committed the burglary.”

  9. Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 9:32 PM

    “Low guttural moans thinking it was Sarah running into Robert”?? What? Sarah testified she was part of the family, so she would have known Robert, or at least known of him. When do you make low guttural moans to greet someone you know in your own house?

    • Carolina on 06/02/2010 at 9:35 PM

      So Robert wasn’t there for a dl Craigslist hook-up, he was there for Sarah!

      Honestly, I nearly laughed aloud when I read that he thought the grunts were from Robert and Sarah. Doing what? The mind boggles.

      • Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 9:38 PM

        And Joe never mentioned in his interrogation that he thought the “grunts” (the word he uses in his interview with MPD) were Sarah running into Robert. He does say he thought the chime was Sarah coming home, but he never mentions thinking Robert and Sarah met.

        • Clio on 06/02/2010 at 10:08 PM

          Grunts as greetings! At the very least, this house on Swann really needed an Emily Post brush-up on how to host guests.

  10. Lyn on 06/02/2010 at 9:51 PM

    Price to Ragone: “There’s a big difference between tampering and wiping away some blood, freaking out about a crime scene.”

    If Price wiped away blood at the crime scene, where did those bloody towels/rags/cloths disappear to? And why did they disappear if the admitted “clean up” was done with no ill intent?

    And if this admitted clean up happened, it had to have happened before authorities arrived because authorities didn’t see Price cleaning up afer they arrived. And if this admitted clean up happened before authorities arrived, why did Price and Zaborsky both tell authorities that Price was holding a towel to Wone’s stab wounds the entire time until authorities arrived?

    Seems awfully stange to tell authorities you were applying pressure to stab wounds when in fact you were busting out the Spic & Span. And it seems even more strange that you’d prioritize your to do list as follows:

    1. Bust out the Spic & Span and clean up the awful mess.
    2. If time remains, apply pressure to “close friends” stab wounds.

    • Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 9:57 PM

      I think that’s a great point – I have never gotten past where the towels/paper towels or anything used to stop the bleeding went. Plus, when you listen to the 911 call, the operator says to apply pressure to the wounds, Victor says Joe is doing that, but the first responders testify that no one is touching the body when they arrive.

      • CC Biggs on 06/02/2010 at 10:10 PM

        I don’t think that comment from Price is very important. First, the comment was made in the context of Price DENYING that there was any tampering at the house. Second, the defense will say that Price was only making the obvious point that the crime scene of course would look a bit disturbed as a result of his heroic and selfless efforts to try to SAVE Wone’s life in a moment of horror and confusion.

        • Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 10:41 PM

          So where are the materials Price used in his selfless efforts to try to save Wone’s life in his moment of horror and confusion?

          • Ohio on 06/03/2010 at 10:38 AM

            I guess that question would have to be asked of the emergency responders and the police that were there. Do we know if it was addressed? Should have been already. All of the above have already testified.

        • Lyn on 06/03/2010 at 9:28 AM

          Huh? He is admitting they cleaned up blood. Why did he do this rather than try to save his friend? And where are the materials he used to clean up the house (let alone the materials he used to staunch Wone’s bleeding)?

  11. CC Biggs on 06/02/2010 at 9:53 PM

    Ragone testified that Price told her that he removed the knife from Wone’s chest. Is that consistent with what Price told the police in his interview?

  12. anon on 06/02/2010 at 10:18 PM

    Didn’t Price make the point in his statements to the police that Sarah is “very heavy” and never comes upstairs? I think he even went so far as to say that he did NOT think that Sarah would come home and run into Robert; though, if my memory serves, he trailed off and the relevant statement is not picked up in its entirety in the transcript. This seems completely contradictory to what he told Tara not long after.

  13. Dr20854 on 06/02/2010 at 10:45 PM

    Has anyone noticed how the defendants always raise the fact that they “drank water” with Robert? I’ve heard or read it about 5 times today. Has there been discussion of the possibility that there may have been something in the water?

    • CC Biggs on 06/03/2010 at 12:22 AM

      If you drugged someone by spiking his water, would you (1) repeatedly draw attention to the fact that you gave the victim water before he died, or (2) keep your mouth shut tight about it?

      The question answers itself!

      • mia on 06/03/2010 at 1:58 AM

        But it might suggest the statement has been transcribed. Normally people tell things slightly different each time.

        • Ivan on 06/03/2010 at 8:13 AM

          I think they want to drive home the point that no one was drunk at the time.

          • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 11:06 AM

            Good point.

    • Lyn on 06/03/2010 at 9:33 AM

      Very odd indeed. It’s like the trouple is going out of their way to make sure everyone knows they supposedly drank water together.

      Sorta like:

      “Robert came by at 10:30 and we drank water with him in the kitchen. We chatted about this, that, and the other. We drank water. It was getting late, so we showed him to his room and he said he wanted to take a shower. Did I mention that we drank water in the kitchen we Robert arrived? Anyway, then we showed Robert the shower and I went upstairs to watch the UFC on Spike. Oh, by the way, Robert drank water with me and Ward prior to going to bed. Just want to make sure you knew that.”

  14. Steven on 06/02/2010 at 10:52 PM

    OK, what are these people adding to the prosecution’s case? The basement tenant revealed nothing, and the W&M friend revealed nothing. The prosecution better get to something much more substantive, or their case is kaput. I’m getting nervous that this is going nowhere and that these guys are going to walk free.

    • susan on 06/03/2010 at 4:52 AM

      L. Ragone testified that J. Price told her he pulled a knife out of Mr. Wone. That is hardly “nothing.” He also told her he “wiped away” blood. With what? What happened to the evidence?

  15. cc on 06/02/2010 at 11:07 PM

    I believe Ward is the one who either murdered Wone or knows who did it because he supposedly sleeping near Wones room. He also was avoiding police at the house. If a friend is murdered at your house you would want to help not hurt the investigation. This so called intruder must have been some kind of stealth ninja warrior for him to break in without a sound and kill a man who was sleeping at the house for the first time.

    • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 12:49 AM

      He also wouldn’t get out of the car the next morning, right after he took a lie detector test.

      • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 12:54 AM

        Well, frankly I’m not holding it against him that he didn’t want to hold court in Cosi that morning. Not that I don’t think he’s probably guilty of obstruction, tampering, conspiracy and possibly an accessory to a murder; it’s just that I wouldn’t call that rude under the circumstances.

        just sayin’

        • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 1:26 AM

          I’m not holding against him. I just think it’s a “tell”. He was the only one of the three who took a lie detector test. I think Joe tore into him in the car on the way to Cosi, because it was a big mistake. And the only way it would’ve been a big mistake is if he totally blew it.

          • Lyn on 06/03/2010 at 9:35 AM

            interesting possibility regarding Joe tearing into him upon finding out he took a lie detector test.

  16. Danali on 06/02/2010 at 11:23 PM

    Re: Dr20864

    The “we drank water” factoid is one of the most repeated anecdotal details from the three testimonies and does draw attention to itself.

    Speculation abounds here and elsewhere about possible chemical agents in that water being used to quickly render Robert immobile, unconscious, or otherwise in an altered / more “pliable” state for one or more of the parties.

    But the subject of his possible incapacitation is tied to the matter of his murder – and this is not a murder trial.

  17. DCULater on 06/02/2010 at 11:33 PM

    In answer to the earlier post begging “where’s the beef?” in prosecution’s case.

    I ask: “where’s the blood?”

    Is not the blood the best “beef” for the prosecution’s case?

    Missing blood from the victim’s body. Missing blood splatter in the house. On the bed. On the walls. In the halls.

    Where’d the blood go?

    Did the intruder pre-order the merry maids for stand-by service to clean up after said “intruder” departed? Pre-order for post-clean of random murder?

    Or did the lovers three tamper and eliminate the blood? Body moved to shower. Body stabbed. Blood drained.

    Yes, agree: panic set in, boys were concerned that they’d be responsible for death of friend by way of drugs found in the body of dear dead friend. So a quick-thinking boy engineers stabbing to divert attention from real cause of death, to eliminate the drugs in blood stream by sending blood down the drain.

    Where’s the blood? Was it drained in the shower after the victim was moved to the shower then stabbed thrice in the shower? After party-boys were unable to revive their non-responsive dear friend during in-bed play?

    This case is about tampering, obstructing. And several liters of blood went missing that night. How? Where? Who?

    Most random stabbings by intruders leave in their aftermath a great deal of blood splattered. But there’s no blood to be found?

    The blood is the beef.

    • cc on 06/02/2010 at 11:41 PM

      i totally agree with your statement. DO you think wone went over that night for sex? It seems odd for a straight rich guy who could afford to stay at a hilton or marriot would want to sleep with three gay guys. I think he was there to explore and it got out of control somehow.

      • Elizabeth on 06/02/2010 at 11:52 PM

        What makes you say he was rich? DC is an expensive place to live, and he was a young lawyer. I would bet he had student loans to pay back and a mortgage, etc. I don’t think he wanted to sleep with three gay guys. I think he crashed at a friends house.

        • superstadtkind on 06/03/2010 at 12:09 AM

          Hear ye. Hear ye.

      • Wulfila on 06/03/2010 at 12:12 AM

        Robert was not rich, nor was he gay. Why can’t people seem to get it in their heads that Robert and Joe were good friends since college, and Joe’s being gay had nothing to do with it? He stayed there because it was convenient, not because he all-of-a-sudden wanted to get it on with his close friend and/or the latter’s partners. That’s just bizarre. I did not know Robert personally, but my partner was a friend, and we have literally dozens of friends who were friends with him. Not a single one believes for a second that Robert was gay or bi. He simply was not. If anything sexual happened, it was forced on him, it was not with Robert’s consent. End of story.

        • DCULater on 06/03/2010 at 12:28 AM

          Amen. I agree. The case is in the spotless crime scene. The missing blood.

          Why in the world would Joe clean up a crime scene? And greatly over-achieve at such a cleaning? Way over-compensating.

          Great testimony today for the prosecution I think from Ragone when she stated that Joe told her by phone, “There’s a big difference between tampering and wiping away some blood, freaking out about a crime scene.”

          Is this not his admission that he tampered with evidence at the scene of the crime that he participated in?

          It seems that Joe was floating a trial baloon to a fellow attorney, or wanting to be known by telling this. Was certainly an admission of some kind.

          Great testimony for prosecution.

          And again, it’s about the blood. The clean-up that Joe himself admits to a friend he’d participated in.

          • Ivan on 06/03/2010 at 8:19 AM

            I agree. I was in court yesterday afternoon and was startled by Ragone’s comment and it appeared the defendants were as well (Price). The beef is in the blood my dears. The ME stated that Robert’s body was short about 3 litres of blood so where is it? And if Joe was simply concerned with “tidying” up the room why not just state it. Missing blood, missing towels and no sign of forced entry. Hmmm.

            • Lyn on 06/03/2010 at 9:41 AM

              And that’s a lot of “tidying” to do within the supposed five minute time span between “discovering” Wone’s body, immediately calling 911 and the EMTs arriving.

              This adds to my belief that there was significant delays in calling 911.

            • Anonymous Friend on 06/03/2010 at 11:38 PM

              Could you explain further your observation that “it appeared the defendants were as well (Price).” What exactly did you observe? Thank you.

      • SJinNYC on 06/06/2010 at 7:43 PM

        Yawn.

    • Wendy S. on 06/03/2010 at 12:00 AM

      No blood, no beef.

      • DCULater on 06/03/2010 at 12:07 AM

        *Missing* blood is the beef. The vansihing blood.

        Unless blood was tampered with, blood evidence would have been readily identified.

        no intruder. no way.

        • Wendy S. on 06/03/2010 at 1:42 AM

          So anywhere there isn’t blood is a crime scene. Got it.

          • Emmie on 06/03/2010 at 6:47 AM

            It’s the fact that the house is clearly a crime scene (come on, someone was murdered there!), and there’s no blood that makes it “the beef”. Not that anywhere without blood is a crime scene.

  18. DCULater on 06/03/2010 at 12:01 AM

    CC:

    Yes, entirely possible that robert was a willing participant in some play-time, or that he was drugged by the boys via the much-taked-about-water-drinking in the kitchen. (odd that is a frequently mentioned by defendants.)

    but whatever happened, it’s my opinion that it got way out of control and unexpectedly so: robert not accustomed to paralytic drugs, breathing ceased, panic set it, boys took robert’s body to water source to revive robert.

    when boys discovered robert was non-responsive/dead, sociopathic thinking quickly emerged: what now? what else can we do? so a kitchen knife became the murder weapon, stabbing was done in shower. blood drained. boys do a remarkable clean up. truly award-winning cleaning. and for three tidy titans, seems fitting that it could be accomplished. plus, the blood all went down the drain so clean up was expedited.

    quick criminal law thinking put into action: ring leader boy wonder felt he and his follower(s) had a better chance of not being convicted of murder or manslaughter if an “intruder” did it vs an admission of reality that inflicting a drug-overdose on an overnight guest/friend resulted in his death.

    just my opinion. seems entirely plausable. and a very realistic/reasonable yet tragic and unfortunate outcome.

    • Bea on 06/03/2010 at 5:05 AM

      DCULater,

      Your theory reads ‘right’ yet the notion that ‘things got out of hand so they decided an intruder murdering him seemed the best option’ hits a very rocky spot when it’s broken down. I’d really like your feedback on this.

      My opinion is that Robert was NOT a willing participant in drugs or sex, but let’s put that aside for now. And let’s assume that no one began the evening intending to murder Robert Wone. In other words, put the events of the evening in the light most favorable to the defendants (other than believing that the unknown intruder did it and time stood still for 19-49 minutes).

      We know from the autopsy that he didn’t die of a drug overdose but died from the stab wounds. Perhaps they thought for a short time that he might be dead from an overdose, but one of these intelligent men would realize he was alive (pulse, heartbeat, breath, pupils). I suspect they had some working knowledge of the drugs they were using, too, and wouldn’t rush to judgment.

      It doesn’t wash that they’d stab him to death on a whim that he ‘might’ be dead. If he was simply in the middle of a drug overdose, a call to 911 would likely have pulled him out of any trouble (and he may have ‘come to’ without intervention within a short time).

      So in your opinion were they concerned what he would say once he regained consciousness? That’s my guess – the repercussions over a drug overdose might be ‘messy’ for a short while, but ‘messy’ for Robert (if the drug-ingestion was his decision). I can’t get my mind around the idea that the best course of action was to stab him to death.

      I am very curious about your opinion. My guess is that at least one of the individuals had done something to Robert that they did not want to be held accountable for in the event Robert survived – and one or more decided to kill him. And the one/more who didn’t kill him were willing to conspire to cover that up.

      I realize Robert may have been nonresponsive and initially ‘appeared’ dead AND that the perpetrator(s) may have been VERY high. But can one be that high and that wrong about something so important yet make the calculated decision to stab him (with precision) AND meticulously clean the scene AND keep their ‘cool’ through hours of police interrogation? Why stab him unless they were covering up sexual assault (or some other criminal act)? What could be “worse” than having it appear that he was stabbed to death?

      Thoughts?

      I am struck by Joe’s comment to Tara Ragone that she shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that ‘freaking out’ and ‘wiping up blood’ when confronted by a crime scene isn’t necessarily “tampering”. I understand the notion of a ‘freak out’ when faced with the visuals of seeing one’s friend having been stabbed to death, but there’s more under the surface of that comment. Grabbing the friend and pulling him close or trying desperately to close the wounds, yes, but wiping up blood? From what? Even if he’d had a ‘crazy’ moment and tried to wipe Robert free of the blood (and not the floor, knife, etc.) why then did he have no blood on him (except that ‘fleck’ on one finger)?

      As Tara Ragone said: if Joe had pulled the knife from Robert’s chest, he must’ve been covered in Robert’s blood.

      Surely no one would freak out to the point of wiping up blood or being covered with blood and then deciding to shower or clean themselves before the ambulance arrives. And if one DID these things, why would he lie to the police if the only objective is to help them find your friend’s murderer.

      What am I missing?

  19. Wulfila on 06/03/2010 at 12:04 AM

    I think the so-called smoking gun in the trial is the lack of blood splatter, and blood in general, whether on the bed, floor, walls, towels, ceiling, etc. A stabbing, bleeding out, and initial first aid simply do not happen without blood being in many places, and as Ragone assumed, all over Joe and anyone else who went to Robert’s aid. It surely doesn’t make sense that there would be any clean up *whatsoever*, even in freak-out mode (or especially in freak-out mode). I mean, Price is a lawyer for Pete’s sake (regardless of the type of law he practiced, he would know not only not to disturb a crime scene, but certainly not to clean it up). And is cleaning yourself up before paramedics arrive a common thing to do? I think it’s unlikely, yet there is no other explanation. I personally feel this is damning enough evidence that the scene was tampered with. I am anxious to hear how the defense will explain the fairly antiseptic crime scene. I can’t really imagine…

  20. cc on 06/03/2010 at 12:04 AM

    i dont mean he was a millionare but he could easily afford a hotel plus the sleepover was arranged which is odd for a married man. I think he was murdered by ward while having sex with or without his consent. he was possibly drugged and was not meant to die. when he stopped breathing i think ward stabbed him three times. ward should get life and price and zaborsky shoul get lesser sentences.

    • Elizabeth on 06/03/2010 at 12:25 AM

      No, it’s not odd that the “sleepover” was arranged. Would you show up at a friend’s house unannounced to spend the night? I think not. You would arrange that in advance.

    • New Alias on 06/03/2010 at 9:47 AM

      cc – “having sex… without his consent” is called rape. It is not “having sex” if one party did not consent.

    • commonsensewillprevailihope on 06/03/2010 at 3:32 PM

      Your conjecture is repulsive, absent any evidence, and THERE IS ZERO, of any sexual ambivalence by Robert Wone.

      • commonsensewillprevailihope on 06/03/2010 at 3:34 PM

        Wone was BY ALL ACCOUNTS a mature, secure STRAIGHT guy who happened to feel comfortable around gays. Big deal. That he wouldn’t frivolously get a hotel on an average weekday night is totally understandable.

        Have some respect for the this married man’s family. Being gay is fine; saying someone who isn’t gay is on purely speculative basis, is offensive.

  21. Danali on 06/03/2010 at 12:05 AM

    The first (currently only) user comment posted at Washingtoncitypaper.com concerning “the blog” is so self-righteously snarky and curiously particular in it’s stated aggrievements that it merits a reading by regular contributors here:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2010/06/02/witness-joe-price-told-me-theres-a-difference-between-tampering-and-wiping-up-blood/

    • Elizabeth on 06/03/2010 at 12:19 AM

      That comment was extraordinarily snarky. From that article:

      “Price had noted, in particular, that a glass on the kitchen counter had been overlooked entirely, she said.”

      So now the ninja intruder stopped to have a drink? Of tap water for God’s sake??

      • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 12:25 AM

        I wonder if Michael’s fingerprints were on the glass that Joe was so frustrated that the cops overlooked entirely and Joe was hoping that the cops would find them there and (since we can assume that they have Michael’s fingerprints on file) then the cops could bust Michael but Joe could tell himself that he didn’t turn his brother in, but the cops foiled his plan!

        • David on 06/03/2010 at 7:58 AM

          AnnaZed,

          A latent finger print was found on the drinking glass, but, as you surmize, if they already have Michael’s fingerprints, they would have checked against them. But who knows, maybe they don’t have Michael’s fingerprints, or they never checked against Michael’s on file. As we have seen in this case, for example, when the knife came out of the evidence bag, hairs fell out and neither the prosecution nor the defense tested them.

          David, co-ed.

        • cinnamon on 06/03/2010 at 10:01 AM

          I wondered about this as well. I think perhaps Joe was hoping that the police would find evidence that pointed to Michael without Joe having to turn him in. I also think that may be why Joe made those comments about Michael in his interrogation.

  22. DCULater on 06/03/2010 at 12:32 AM

    AnnaZed,
    Makes sense in explaining the much-mentioned water glass.

  23. Bea on 06/03/2010 at 1:02 AM

    After leaving the site for a while (and resuming regular life for a few hours) what resonates for me are:

    1. Tara Ragone’s statement (and without WANTING to say so) that Joe claimed to pull the knife from Robert’s chest (thus why he must have been covered with blood). If the Judge believes that someone wiped blood on that weapon, Joe is done. No one touched the knife after he pulled it from Robert’s chest. Assuming W-5 testifies as expected, and because during interrogation he claims that he ‘may’ have said so, there is no way to get away from the conclusion that he (at a minimum) tampered with evidence in a very serious way. The only option would be for Joe to take the stand and say that he was ‘bragging’ to look the hero. I’ve thought a long time that he likely wants to take the stand (and what a field day the prosecution will have!) – now Grimm may have to agree.

    2. Tara’s statement that Joe ‘argued’ that freaking out and wiping blood isn’t ‘tampering’ when she directly asked if the crime scene was tampered with according to news reports. Some of the posts above don’t weigh the import of her having asked him to comment on the possibility of crime scene tampering. This was not an offhand comment by Joe but an answer to a question in which she apologizes for asking. I don’t see how anyone could think ‘wiping blood’ jibes with his lengthy interrogation that he never touched blood except to get a ‘tiny’ speck on one finger that he might have gotten while raising Robert’s shirt or checking for a pulse. Huge difference and quite telling of having ‘tampered’ in a meaningful way.

    3. Even despite Sarah Morgan’s clear allegiance to the defendants, her testimony was unequivocal that she made clear to Joe Price that she was not comfortable with Michael Price having a key. While it’s possible Joe gave Michael a key AFTER the question was asked and answered, it’s unlikely – very likely he gave him the key before the crime since the defendants MOVED OUT of the house after the crime, and it would be very strange for Joe to give Michael a key then (while cops were still investigating). Sarah did NOT say that Joe was at all offended – impliedly he understood and agreed with her concern that Michael was not trustworthy yet, for some reason, he thought it was advisable to do so. FYI, I have many relatives I enjoy immensely but I would not give them a key to my home.

    I think Tara Ragone’s testimony is quite powerful evidence. I still don’t know why the Catch-22 email wasn’t discussed, though it apparently was admitted to evidence (emails discussed in Grimm’s cross) so the Judge can read it for herself. I wonder if the prosecution did NOT make a big deal of it because they didn’t want the defense to hammer on her ‘love of the press’ (and this blog!) during cross. The Judge will read it.

    • Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 1:23 AM

      I think that Joe Price’s entire defense team would resign before they let him take the stand.

      • DonnaH on 06/03/2010 at 4:11 AM

        Oh, that did make me laugh, Thanks!

    • DonnaH on 06/03/2010 at 4:36 AM

      And thanks so much, Bea, for your clarifying perspective that throws alot into relief. What you describe is invigorating, and increases my hope that the prosecution’s case can prevail.

  24. Bill Orange on 06/03/2010 at 1:20 AM

    “If anyone thought the absence of Sarah Morgan from the Trouple’s lives was an indication of her belief that they were, at a minimum, not telling the full truth about what happened inside their home on the evening of August 2nd, or at worst, were in involved in his murder, will be disappointed. Her severance from the day-to-day lives of the Trouple after the murder was on the order of her counsel not to speak to them because she was a witness in this case.”

    This statement just strikes me as odd. Would a lawyer really tell someone to stop talking to three of her best friends for FOUR YEARS because she might be called to testify at their trial? I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. By the time she was interviewed by the police, they had probably already found Dylan’s porta-dungeon, and they might have already gotten a look at Joe Price’s work computer. I suspect that the police were able to show Sarah Morgan some things that she really wasn’t expecting to see. I think she concluded very early on that her housemates were not the people she thought they were, and the decision to break off contact was as much hers as it was her lawyer’s.

    • David on 06/03/2010 at 8:00 AM

      BillO,

      You may be correct, and Sarah is hiding behind that reason much in the same way that Joe Price is hiding behind his counsel in not allowing him to talk directly to Kathy early in the investigation. But, either way, from what I say on the stand, she holds them in high regard, and does not believe they were involved. That was my take away from her testimony, her emotions, and her body language.

      David, co-ed.

      • Clio on 06/03/2010 at 8:36 AM

        Sarah probably knew more about the trouple’s private proclivities for drugs and kinky sex than she would ever let on, but she stayed there because of Victor. And, going to Italy was fun, too: who else would go with her? Didn’t she also coin the term: trouple?

        Once her own safety and reputation were on the line after the murder, however, she wisely washed her hands of them. She had a lot of other gay male couples and trouples with whom to watch TV. In the abstract, Sarah may still feel that her former boys could not have done it, but she is not out trying to find the real killers, either.

  25. susan on 06/03/2010 at 5:23 AM

    Catch-22

    220;It’s a true Catch-22. The police get to accuse us of not saying all we know, but we are not allowed to fully respond for fear that they will retaliate by arresting one of us. Based on what we know of the investigation, it seems they were just so sure from the get go that one of us did it, they never bothered to EVER investigate the possibility of an intruder.”

    “we are not allowed to fully respond for fear that they will retaliate.” Isn’t that an admission of not fully cooperating with police, of obstruction of justice? Whose not “allowing” them? Their fear of retaliation, that’s who. So, they were holding back. They were engaging and continue to engage in obstructionist behavior.

    And the “freaking out” part in the other email. How else did they “freak” out? I didn’t read an account of that to police. Price doesn’t describe how they “freaked out” to police and what that might have entailed.

    • Bea on 06/03/2010 at 5:40 AM

      Susan – love the point of the ‘who’ in ‘who is not allowing’ them is their own fear of retaliation. Well done.

      • susan on 06/03/2010 at 8:04 AM

        Thanks, Bea.

      • Kate on 06/03/2010 at 8:54 AM

        Well done, indeed.

        I’m heading back to where we started this thread:

        Why, oh, why, wasn’t that “Catch 22″ email addressed in court? I understand that the email has been admitted in evidence and that the judge will eventually read it, but wouldn’t she wonder why it wasn’t addressed in court, as well.

        There must be something we don’t know that caused the prosecution to back off what appears to be a very damning written admission from Joe Price.

        That’s the only logical conclusion I can come up with. Then again, so much of this case appears to defy logic.

        • Kate on 06/03/2010 at 9:02 AM

          Never mind my little opine here. The marvelous Editors have addressed this question in this morning’s updates.

          Many, many thanks Editors for all your efforts,
          Kate

  26. abc on 06/03/2010 at 1:49 PM

    My read on the writings about Joe Price (Harry Jaffe’s and others who thought they knew him) I find that Joe is a very calculative person with a Type A personality. Since his being calculative and having a type A personality, it is no doubt he is the ring leader. Does Kirschner have to prove that Joe P. is the ring leader to this mess that his calculative way resulted in his old school time friend’s death? It would be interesting to find out. So far there have been details on how both, Robert and Joe, have the similar mindset as in helping the unfortunate, being lawyer, but there was one statement made from Tara Ragone in something like you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Joe. I have a hunch that Robert and Joe have some differences about Joe’s believe may be Robert challenged Joe on some Gay right’s issue and by that Robert deemed not to sit well with Joe. Tara Ragone also indicated that it was Robert to keep everyone in touch. I would say that Robert was a very friendly, charming guy who liked to make friends and just like to keep in touch because it was him. So when he kept in touch with old school mates, old school mates respectively responded. I mean Joe may have some friendship with Robert but it was Robert who geniunely took to his heart that he had good friends. So to get back with Robert may have had some issues that Joe strongly believed in, things grow sour between friends eventhough you think you still have a friend like in this case. Robert was a very naive soul and not very street smart. He was only smart in an intellectual way but not street street smart. A couple of years ago, there was a gruesome murder happened either in Maryland or Virginia, the incident involved 3 high school male class mates- 2 white and 1 hispanic (please please I am not being stereotyping anything here or discriminate any race). The 1 white male got mad at the Hispanic male class mate and wanted to get even with the Hispanic boy. What lead the white boy to wanted to get even was the Hispanic boy said something that would discredit the white boy’s male image infront of the white boy’s girl friend. The case did not discuss about what the discredit may be. After the remark made by the Hispanic boy, the white boy was in rage and wanted to get even. So he team up with another white boy class mate and asked the Hispanic to meet with them at a place one afternoon. The Hispanic boy did not pay attention to the remark that he made which he didn’t know that the remark could have embarrassed the white boy infront of his girl friend, the Hispanic boy did not think of anything but ok I will meet with you guys. The end result was, the Hispanic boy got butchered up and burnt. The police investigation some how found a receipt that lead to a Home Depot store that one of the white boys was there purchase the incriminating saw that was used to cut up the Hispanic boy. The father of the white boy who did the killing worked for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office then seek for immunity for the horrid son of his since the father has dual citizenship with US/Israel. His father somehow got the son to jail in Israel rather in the U.S. Anyway, there is a possibility that a similarity went on here between Joe and Robert. So now Joe wanted to get even by orchestrating to involve all of the necessary players to completely do away with Robert, you know, to even up. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. So now you got the brother, Michael, who has access to the hospital, Dyland who is a massouse, and Joe an old school mate. Robert must not have paid attention to however he made Joe to be scorned but because his office is nearby, why not pay a visit to a friend’s house and the next morning he thought he could be to work faster. Humm, I always think nothing is free and good and always watch out about convienience being in your favor. Remember Dyland said in the affidavit that when Robert came, Joe and Dyland and Robert had a glass of water, then Joe suddenly walked toward the back door to take a look at a spider web and there was something about the light that he wanted to check. Well, wouldn’t it ring the bell here that in Joe’s mind he knew that the alarm is disengaged he is there to check for the final time without Robert knowing that his fate is coming. Then, Robert is here as proposed. So when Joe came to the door to inspect the light as Dyland said in the affidavit, Joe’s finger print must be on the door. How come the police didn’t indicate that. Then they all went upstairs to go to sleep and do whatever. The affidavit did not have Dyland admit that he is a massouse. What I am saying is there could have been a conversation about Dyland could give Robert of stress relieve session but no body asked if there was any discussion over the glass of water. And what is odd is if the guy is a massouse he would have materials in his room related to the massage career meaning, book, massouse table, ect. instead full of sexual entice items. I still believe that, and since the prosecution team must have over looked or not publicly reveal every thing for the ordinary viewers to read, Dyland has a way without using paralytic drug Robert to get Robert to lie there motionless for the killing to occur. When Robert arrived at 10:30 lets just say, the three dive into drinking a glass of water right away because it was a hot night and Robert may have been thirsty, take a sip, talk nonsense, then say 10:40 Joe indicated, since this is planned so the plan must be timely done becasue Michael is scheduled to do his stuff later, they all should retire for the night in their own bedroom. Say Robert did not take a shower, he was in the bedroom by 10:45pm. Then Dyland could have persuaded Robert to get a massouse due to the day’s stress of work and went to attend a seminar, and then took the Metro and walk and dealt with the heat. Let’s just say the naive, trusting Robert, since he met Dyland before, agree to get a stress free relieve session. When an administrator is good, the client can be knocked out in 5 minutes. What I am about to say here and because I am familiar with accupuncture, and due to the affidavit from the coroner that there are unexplained tiny puncture marks with a little of blood at the finger, marks at the neck, chest, 2 on the upper foot, and 1 on the back of the hand. These marks are mark of tiny needles used for accupuncture. Dyland may have some training to use accupuncture but not legally licensed, he may have tried to Robert and knowing Dyland is a smart guy ( I am not in any way deem that he is a respectable person for what he is involved) Dyland could find the actual accupressure points where he could put Robert under less than 5 minutes. This to to explain why Lois Golinsky scratched her head how could Robert did not struggle and lied motionless for the killing to occur and that Robert was not drugged. Robert must have agreed to a accupuncture session. I had accupuncture done on me for stree related. A board certified physician and insurance approved physician put many needles throughout my body to achieve my need and I was out like a light within minutes. He was good, he found my accupressure points and stuck those needles in. A few in the back of my hands, at the foot like the area between the big toe and the second toe. Anyway, I remained conscious but I was in a “freezing” state I could not move my arms up not that because I was told to lie still for the meridian is not disturbed. I was conscious and could hear something outside of my room like the secretary talking or the doctor talking but I could not understand not that because I was in the room the door was left ajar. Something about accupuncture that allowed my system to go to “sleep”. So that could be the reason how Robert could not move and there are various small needle marks. No injection was done I assure readers here because fluid could not go through that type of needles and for fluid to go through a good vein not through neck, foot, back of hand. Anyway, now it would have been around 10:55 pm. Robert is knocked out and could not move. Dyland would go into his closet to get the knife which would be the nearest knife rather than going downstairs again. And stabbed him. So that is when a low grunt moan that Joe heard aroudn 11 pm or even just so Dyland allowed Robert to go deep into the sedated mode from accupuncture, that why the next door neighbor heard a scream around 11 or 11:10 when Maureen Buyan was on. The afffadavit said there were 2 scream right? That makes it 2 stabs. Then Michael showed up as Joe said he heard a chime, So Michael helped doing the clean up and dump all the evidence at the hospital. Did the hospital have the camera on? I guess this is the closes theory I could put together based on everything available on here and the affidavit. Joe was the one to created all this and got Dyland and Michael to do the dirty job but promised to keep lips sealed. So now left a dead body of any old school mate and let the rest be whatever may be. I hope Kathy could sue the DC police for messed up the investigation and get the three found guilty and she could go do a movie on this horrible crime done on her very trusting husband.

    • AnnaZed on 06/03/2010 at 2:19 PM

      consider using paragraph breaks and get back to us

  27. otterman on 06/03/2010 at 4:03 PM

    Could someone tell me what the ‘Catch-22′ email is?

  28. DCULater on 06/03/2010 at 5:56 PM

    maybe abc should get a job writing for the post.

  29. hg on 06/05/2010 at 11:44 PM

    Acupuncture is, on face, an interesting theory. It incorporates, I believe, some background history of Dylan Ward (and the needle marks), his propensity for sexual bondage and torture, and motivation for killing Wone subsequently. Assuming the above, it leads to the inference that the circumstances were premeditated by Ward, that Price was involved and conspired (at least in the initial aspects). If I’m not mistaken, it is Ward who has the culinary background (and missing knife from the toolkit of a chef?)

    • SJinNYC on 06/06/2010 at 9:03 PM

      If I remember correctly, it was determined that the puncture marks on Robert were definitely made by hypodermic needles, not by acupuncture needles (which do not leave marks). Therefore, the acupuncture theory, though fitting on the surface, has been disproved.

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Purpose of this Site

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

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

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

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

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

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