Day 12: Wrap

The Bicycle Thief  – Updated with crappy video

Today’s afternoon session was dedicated mostly to the cross examination of Bryan Waid, the MPD lead detective on the case.  Some of this was covered in a 3:40pm update, but we’ll expand upon it here.

Stormy Weather: WRC's Pat Collins and WJLA's Steve Tschida on the lookout for lightning, a deadly hazard for TV truck masts

Zaborsky counsel Tom Connolly kicked things off and it seemed that every minute there was another objection from AUSA Patrick Martin.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz sustained nearly all of them.  Martin was so much in the habit of leaping up today, one of his objections was a bit premature; Connolly didn’t even get his question out first.

Apparently there was another burglary at 1509 Swann, this one ocurring in August 2008.  A bicycle was stolen from the patio area.  And to prove how easy it was for someone to make it over the fence, Tom Connolly played a videotape.

The tape of Connolly and his lucky staffers vaulting over the back fence of 1509 was a sight to behold.  All got over the top, even the boss, but not without some small struggle.  Each of the mock burglars needed hand holds on the top rails and all used their feet on the fence trying to scale it.  We later learned from David Schertler that these tapes have been on the shelf for quite some time; they were shot in 2006.

Judge Leibovitz, seemingly always in a jovial mood asked if anyone tried to jump over the fence holding a pork loin.  Hearty laughter then filled room 310.  The laughs stopped there.

Connolly then went over Waid’s observations from when he first arrived at the crime scene and his interview with Zaborsky.  Connolly got Waid to admit that his client was cooperative, went to the VCB without protest and that his crying was “natural under the circumstances.”  Connolly underscored that Zaborsky was exhausted, operating on no sleep.  The distancing of Zaborsky from his fellow co-defendants continued; no one asked Zaborsky about other key holders, and there was no evidence that he let Michael Price into 1509 or was even aware of his presence that night.

We then learned about an attempted burglary at 1417 Swann Street two weeks after Robert’s murder.  A man climbed over the chain link fence from the alley and tried to work the doorknob to break in.  The home’s occupant wrestled with the doorknob from the inside of the house, foiling the robbery. The perp went back over the chain link fence and ran away.  More on this later.

Bernie Grimm’s cross of Waid began at 2:45pm.  He read the email chain (which began on July 29) between Robert and Price that led to the overnight stay.  Robert asked to “crash on the couch,” and he told Price to, “…feel free to say no.”  Grimm had other emails between the two, one including best wishes to Robert on scoring the RFA gig, “It’s a good fit for you,” Price wrote.

Grimm, too, was curious about the 2008 bike theft.  It was reported by the woman of the house (perhaps the same lady who chases us away every time we go in the alley to refresh ourselves on the layout). The woman saw the 5’8″ perp scale the fence, grab the bike, then rescale the fence in his getaway we were told.  Then it’s was back to the videotape.

Shortly after Robert’s murder, Sarah Morgan made a return trip to the VCB for questioning.  She sat in a similar drab and spartan interrogation room that her then housemates were in just a few days prior.  In the brief clip we heard her tell of:

Neighbor Chuck Wolf’s house being burglarized by way of a rear glass door; two guys she knew who were robbed at gunpoint in the alley, another gentleman was robbed at gunpoint on the 1500 block, Scott Hixson, and that her friend Jim’s car was broken into once, maybe twice. 

This was the second time we heard Hixson’s name mentioned today.  Earlier, Waid said, one of the occupants of a black BMW who were in the VCB parking lot waiting for Ward to emerge from his interviews was Hixson.  He was in the car with both Price and Zaborsky.

Grimm asked if Waid followed up with Wolf on his burglary.  No.  Did he canvas the Swann Street neighbors in the days after the murder?  Not thoroughly it appears.  Did he follow up with contractors or the maid service key holders?  Apparently not.  Would it not have been important to chase those leads?  Yes.

Grimm then asked Waid about a key list and drawing Price allegedly made for detectives at the VCB.  Waid saw neither.  Grimm then played a short portion of Price’s interview, in which the defendant responding to a question of how he found Robert on the sofabed, said, “Robert was laying on the bed as I drew it (for Detectives Wagner and Norris).”  Waid never followed up with his colleagues on either the phantom list or sketch.

A short afternoon break followed, then Grimm began the second part of his cross. He asked Waid if he checked the recovered latent prints from the guestroom against Michael Price’s file.  Waid said he did and there was no match.  Grimm then went to the saga of Robert’s Blackberry and the Secret Service’s failure to image the data.  Grimm asked Waid if he told “white lies” to Kathy Wone in an effort to play for time while the USSS dragged their feet on processing it.  There was a thunderous government objection and Grimm immediately withdrew the question.

A cell phone of Robert’s was also recovered from the scene but it was not sent to the USSS because Waid said he could retrieve phone company data for any calls, in or out.  Waid did try to access the phone about 4:00am on the morning of August 3.  Grimm wrapped by stressing that Price and his housemates cooperated on the night of the murder, took the meetings (with counsel present) as requested by authorities and voluntarily submitted fingerprints and DNA samples.  He got Waid to admit he was not a blood trace expert and not qualified to testify on any “cast off” of blood that may have been in the guestroom, or more accurately, not found.

Grimm punctuated his cross by playing the gay card again.  Price, apparently in an off-caera interview, said he was accused of trying to “gay Robert up,” by detectives Norris and Wagner.  That exchange did not appear on the videotape which led Grimm to speculate it happened before the tape rolled.  Asked if “gay up” was a common term used by the Homicide squad, Waid said it was not.

It was David Schertler’s turn to cross at 4:00pm.  He asked Waid about EMT Jeff Baker, “the character.” Waid interviewed Baker on August 26, 2006 in the back of a car parked at Washington Hospital Center.  Did Baker draw a sketch of how he found Robert?  No, Waid told him, the detective drew it himself.  Schertler had a number of questions regarding the fingerprint analysis done on the guestroom latents.  The prints were checked against five other known sets; those of Michael Price, Louis Hinton and three others who are in the database.

Schertler was curious about the attempted burglary of 1417 Swann on August 18, 2006.  Waid learned of it by way of emails from the witness.  The perp was never caught.  More on that later.

Regarding the undisturbed cobwebs Waid saw on the trees and fence at 1509, Scherlter asked if photos were taken of them.  Yes, said Waid.  Where are they now, Schertler wondered.  “Someone must have them,” the detective said.  Schertler then played another video of some unlucky paralegals climbing over the fence at 1509, but this time they used the top of the adjacent shed as an aide.  All got up and over but all seemed to need firm handholds and use of their feet to make the ascent. 

Schertler wrapped by bringing up a long forgotten name, Phelps Collins, Michael Price’s partner in the October 2006 burglary of 1509.  We learned that Michael gave Collins the key to him. 

At 4:30pm, Patrick Martin began his rushed redirect.  He got Waid to clarify some key points on the August 2006 attempted break-in at 1417 Swann and the August 2008 bike theft at 1509. 

As far as the 1417 Swann incident, Waid isn’t convinced it ever happened.  It appears MPD Gay Liaison Bret Parson took a call and he then called Waid thinking that it would be of interest in the Wone investigation.  Waid interviewed the partner of the person who reported it, and he told the detective he didn’t think it actually occurred; maybe his roommate wasn’t being square.  No police report was ever filed and the scene was never processed of dusted for prints.

As far as the bike theft, someone did indeed scale the 1509 fence and grabbed a bike, but rather than rescaling the fence for a getaway, the thief went out to the alley by way of the unlocked patio gate.  Martin ended the redirect by asking about the phantom list of 1509 key holders.  Waid said Price never gave him a list of names nor contact information for him to follow up with.

That was it for the day but Judge Leibovitz gave out homework assignments.  Next week is dark; after Friday’s session wraps, the trial resumes Monday, June 14.  The judge wants the defense to use the time to draft their motions for judgement for acquittal, and for the government to ready  their opposition.  Leibovitz was loud and clear what she wanted, in particular from the prosecution:

“I want a detailed, factual recitation on inferences that you believe a reasonable juror could make on the evidence at the trial; specific applications of those to elements of the crimes you charge and include your obstruction language.

I don’t want a recitation of the evidence, but specific inferences you’re asking me to draw, broken down by defendants.”

Everyone can sleep in tomorrow morning.  Friday’s session begins at 1:45pm.

From the Shakey-Cam: Zaborksy, Price and members of their legal team return to the courthouse after today’s lunch break.

192 comments for “Day 12: Wrap

  1. Sigmund Freud
    06/03/2010 at 8:28 PM

    To the lawyers: are motions for judgment for acquittal common in a bench criminal case? I’m thinking the prosecution has been better than expected and hope the writing assignment is not an indication that thoughtful Judge Leibovitz is not seeing much to the prosecution’s case.

    Thanks to the editors for a great job.

    • Bea
      06/03/2010 at 10:51 PM

      Hey Sigmund, I don’t know of any case in which the defense didn’t file this motion – criminal or its civil equivalent. If defense lawyers DON’T file it, it’s basically malpractice.

      That said, I think Judge Leibovitz is making clear that she wants to sit down in one good read (or five) and know exactly what both sides’ positions are with respect to the evidence as offered. She wants the prosecution to state in no uncertain terms how they’ve met each element of the burden with specific facts and the conclusions they want her (as a reasonable jury) to reach based on those facts and/or pieces of evidence (including testimonial evidence).

      At the same time, she’ll hold the defense counsel’s feet to the fire as well, making them prepare written reviews of just where the prosecution fell short and to elaborate on the perceived evidentiary failings as to the elements of each crime (and each defendant).

      I seriously doubt that she’ll grant the Motion based on what we’ve seen/heard so far and what is expected to come before the prosecution rests BUT she wants them all to do their work ahead of time so that she can do hers.

      Keep in mind that even if she denies the Motion that she can still later rule in a way which has the same effect, so my money’s on her desire to hear what the defense has to offer (provided she sees no legal failings). Of course, if it is her belief that the prosecution’s case, standing alone, CANNOT lead her to find the defendants guilty (one or all), she can grant the motion to save judicial resources. In other words, she can’t wait to hear the defense’s case to ‘shore up’ any holes in the prosecution.

      That’s why she wants BOTH sides to essentially spoon feed her here.

      It does not show that she favors either side. And she should not at this point. It’s not like a sporting event where there is a scoreboard in her head about who is winning – at this stage it’s whether the prosecution has shown the bare minimum from a legal standpoint to prove elements of the crimes for which the defendants are charged. It’s possible, for example, that she might toss conspiracy and even dismiss (for example only) Dylan Ward, but go forward with tampering and obstruction against Price and Zaborsky.

      PLEASE understand that I don’t think this is what will happen, only that she has a fairly wide ambit of authority. She is ensuring that each side realizes that she wants them to fully brief (written legal arguments) the matter and not rely on making an oral argument.

      While admittedly not a great analogy, the stage is akin to whether someone has met all requirements to move on to the next phase – as in did Student X have the sufficient SAT score and grade point average (and turn in all the right forms, applications, transcripts) in order to be properly considered for admission.

      Sorry for the boring explanation.

      • Sigmund Freud
        06/04/2010 at 6:29 AM

        Bea: much thanks — great explanation for what I was asking.

      • Fascinating
        06/04/2010 at 7:42 AM

        Bea, thank you very much. Not boring. In fact, essential (at least to me understanding the legalese of what’s happening now.)

      • Kate
        06/04/2010 at 8:45 AM

        Once again, Bea – clear and concise explanation.

        Many thanks for your efforts,

        • Kim
          06/04/2010 at 1:06 PM

          I too suspect that the motion for judgment for acquittal at the end of the prosecution’s case in chief will be denied “as a whole.” However, I would not be surprised (although this is not a prediction) if the judge drops a charge against one, two or all of the defendants. In particular, I’m thinking about the conspiracy charge.

          Based on what I have seen reported in the press and in this blog about the prosecution’s case in chief THUS FAR (I realize the prosecution is not done yet), I have not seen evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendants intended to make an agreement to commit a criminal act and that they each had knowledge of the conspiracy and of what the conspiracy intended to do. And while an agreement to accomplish a criminal act may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances, including the defendant’s conduct, behavior, statements, etc.,

          I have not seen much evidence of this type that would support such a charge. The closest I have seen is that the defendants are considered themselves a family, a cohesive unit, and thus would have at least some motive for entering into a conspiracy to protect each other against criminal charges. But in my view (and I think the case law supports this), this alone, without clearly incriminating declarations, statements, overt acts or other such conduct, is not sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants entered into an agreement to commit a criminal act.

          Also, the defendants’ videotaped statements, even if considered for the truth of the matter asserted, do not reveal a clear intent to enter into an agreement to obstruct justice or tamper with the evidence. Sure, the videotapes may reveal some inconsistencies, but nothing that seems to rise to the level of the intent necessary for a criminal conspiracy.

          • Clio
            06/04/2010 at 1:23 PM

            Drat! Could Kim be actually telling the truth, here?

            Also, should common sense be damned because of bad police work?

            • Bea
              06/04/2010 at 1:36 PM

              I think the conspiracy evidence is present via the ‘concocted story’ element (“intruder” and 11:43 as a shortcut here).

              If pressed, I think there is less chance that a COUNT would be dropped than for the Judge to dismiss against Dylan Ward. Not much points to him (it’s not a crime to be a space cadet who upon seeing a murdered friend thinks it’s a good idea to sit on the sofa or go back in his room).

              Why I think she’ll keep him in is:
              he too uses the magic “intruder” wording and pat story; claims to be the ‘discoverer’ of the unlocked door even though Victor has already told this to the 911 operator; says “we heard the groans” before being shot down via stink eye from Joe (showing willingness to join the story and be ‘managed’ by Joe – recall that he didn’t hear the groans).

              Essentially the prosecution will break down each element with each defendant to show what evidence supports the claim. The evidence against Joe is strongest by good measure, especially ‘tampering’. So long as she finds them all to have conspired (meaning at this early ‘bare minimum’ state) then she’ll keep them all three in since conspirators are accountable for actions of their co-conspirators.

              Themis, you out there? Help this poor IP transactional attorney put this correctly in layman terms.

    • Ivan
      06/04/2010 at 8:27 AM

      Sigmund – did you mean to say “I’m thinking the defense has been better than expected….”

  2. Farmer Ginny
    06/03/2010 at 8:34 PM

    What will the judge be doing next week? Will she preside over other, shorter trials? Does she read over the testimony and review what’s happened so far?

    Is this kind of break usual? Or is it sort of a rebuke to the prosecution?

    • wonewatcher
      06/03/2010 at 8:45 PM

      I think she’s testing us to see whether we can go cold turkey for 10 days with no news on the case. I’ll be in rehab by Tuesday.

    • Quincy
      06/03/2010 at 9:52 PM

      Is the one-week hiatus related to the prosecution’s decision to admit all the defendants’ statements ‘for truth’? Is this to give the defense time to review trial transcripts and craft a response?

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 1:46 PM

        It was announced from Day 1. No connection the this trial at all, apparently.

  3. ABrown
    06/03/2010 at 8:47 PM

    Motions for judgment for acquittals are standard. Even when the evidence against a defendant is amazingly strong, the defense still asks for it as a matter of course.

  4. gina a.
    06/03/2010 at 8:52 PM

    I now ride my bike down 15th street past Swann street home from work and have been following this trial ever since it began. This blog is so well done, and I am amazed at the amount of information that the editors have pulled together-thank you for all your hard work. I have a question that I have not seen answered here yet, and it’s one that’s been bugging me since I started reading about this case: do we know for sure that Robert wrote the unsent emails that are on his blackberry? I too believe that he was drugged immediately upon entering the house and drinking the glass of water, and have wondered if Joe or Dylan or Michael, after realizing that he had died from the drugs didn’t quickly write a generic email (but not send it-why?) from his blackberry to give them more time to figure out what to do. And, since I live on Capitol Hill, I would be interested to know where exactly Joe and Victor lived in the neighborhood. I think I did see that their house was on Mass Ave, but not sure where. Any info?

    • AkaZappa
      06/03/2010 at 8:54 PM

      1509 Swann St.

      Cause of death in autopsy: stabbing, not drugs.

      • gina a.
        06/03/2010 at 9:08 PM

        Oh sorry, I meant where on Capitol Hill did they own their first home? Also, I should clarify, I realize that the official death was stabbing, but I think it’s quite clear that Robert was immobilized somehow to keep him from moving and fighting off the knife attack. Also, I should also note that the blackberry emails would have given them more of a shortened time frame so that they could say, “we had no time to plan or clean up”

        • New Alias
          06/04/2010 at 10:46 AM

          re: the BlackBerry – indeed, the messages may have given clarity (or further obfuscated) the timeline, depending on who actually wrote them and when… alas, we will never know because the records have been lost, the data has been scrubbed from the phone, and the phone itself reassigned by Robert’s employer to another employee.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/03/2010 at 9:09 PM

      The Capitol Hill house was on Constitution Avenue.

    • DonnaH
      06/03/2010 at 9:14 PM

      gina, it’s been speculated in posts here that someone other than Robert wrote the e-mails (one to his wife, and one to someone he planned on meeting the next day, as I recall), and then decided not to send them, perhaps in case someone responded requiring yet another e-mail, which could become problematic.

      • AkaZappa
        06/03/2010 at 9:17 PM

        Also, since the emails were not sent, the timestamps could be manipulated with no possible verification from a receiving server.

      • gina a.
        06/03/2010 at 9:17 PM

        Thanks CDinDC and Donna for your info!

  5. Bill Orange
    06/03/2010 at 9:07 PM

    What’s up with the questions about Zaborsky having an injury to his hand? Could you see Zaborsky’s hands during his interview? More importantly, could you see Price’s and Ward’s? I think the question was asked because it’s not unusual for people wielding knives to cut themselves while they’re stabbing someone. Team Zaborsky is telling us that Victor had no such wounds. What about Joe and Dylan?

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/03/2010 at 9:14 PM

      I was thinking the defense asked that because they were trying to accentuate a perceived lack of thoroughness by the MPD.

      • Carolina
        06/03/2010 at 10:46 PM

        Maybe they’re going to explain why Victor (or someone) had to wash that Prada shirt. Maybe they’re going to tell us he cut himself and that’s why we heard the scream. (I hope it’s the latter; I would love to see how he could simultaneously be upstairs and also screaming in the guest room.)

        • KKinCA
          06/03/2010 at 10:51 PM

          Carolina – how can they get that evidence in without Victor, Joe or Dylan testifying? I would love to see one or all of them on the stand!!

  6. superstadtkind
    06/03/2010 at 9:07 PM

    ABrown – is it usual for the judge to request this motion from the defense proactively and this early?

    • Bill Orange
      06/03/2010 at 9:10 PM

      Even if it’s not common practice, it would not surprise me from this particular judge. The prosecution has seemed unprepared at some points, and it doesn’t surprise me that this judge is giving them an early reminder to make sure they’re working on their final papers.

  7. dctitleguy
    06/03/2010 at 9:27 PM

    Victor & Joseph previously owned 1016 Constitution Avenue NE, as tenants in common which was sold at the time they acquired Swann Street. In April 2006 Joseph titled his unit at the 1727 R Street NW condo with Victor’s name as domestic partners, joint tenancy. They still own the condo unit.

    • Bill 2
      06/03/2010 at 9:33 PM

      I didn’t know they owned a condo in the city and thought they were all staying with Victor’s aunt.

    • curiousdc
      06/03/2010 at 10:10 PM

      Just out of curosity, given their legal bills, how on earth are they able to keep the condo?

      • Bill 2
        06/03/2010 at 10:22 PM

        And don’t forget they have a place in Florida. That’s their safe haven if the Wone family gets a huge judgement against the trio. Florida law protects your home against judgements like that. Ask O.J.

      • AnnaZed
        06/03/2010 at 10:22 PM

        I would imagine that it is rented.

    • NYer
      06/03/2010 at 10:14 PM

      and how are they paying the mortgage? Is Victor still working?

      • Carolina
        06/03/2010 at 10:48 PM

        Yes, he apparently recently went back to his job marketing Milk. There’s an audio on here of his secretary answering the phone.

        • AnnaZed
          06/03/2010 at 10:59 PM

          Something of a mistake on their part I would say. I for one will never look at those ads in quite the same way ever again.

  8. 06/03/2010 at 9:29 PM

    I think the judge’s “joke” was totally inappropriate and disgusting; I recognize many would say lighten up, but this trial is about a man’s life. It indicates to me tha the judge thinks little of the prosecution and lacks much depth.

    • Quincy
      06/03/2010 at 9:48 PM

      I wondered if her joke meant she didn’t take Deedrick’s testing very seriously.

      • Nelly
        06/03/2010 at 10:02 PM

        All of the joking going on in the courtroom, such as Bernie Grimm’s little quips, are inappropriate. It may seem like everyone in the room is laughing, but I’ll bet Robert’s wife, family, and friends are not.

        • Quincy
          06/03/2010 at 10:17 PM

          I understand your point. Personally, I think I’d have a hard time laughing in the courtroom at all knowing that family members were present. Also, I’m not sure I’d appreciate the judge’s moments of levity if I were one of the defendants either.

          On the other hand, the judge, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys are all doing a job. They’re going about an analysis of evidence and facts, and the interpretation and application of law. I can understand that they wouldn’t be able to maintain an air of graven solmenity 24/7, and that they have to be able to interact with one another at an interpersonal level, including humor.

        • interestedobserver
          06/03/2010 at 10:31 PM

          I completely agree. The defense counsel and the defendants are often smiling, as if the trial is a clever game or like they’re enjoying themselves. Look at Victor and the associate sitting next to him. Victor is often nodding, smiling, and laughing at whatever she’s telling him. What are they talking about – the latest episode of “Project Runway”?

          • interestedobserver
            06/03/2010 at 10:34 PM

            If your family members and friends had to sit through a criminal trial because you had been killed (by a defendant or someone the defendant was covering up for), would you want them to have to endure the defendants and defense counsel smiling and joking?

            • Clio
              06/03/2010 at 11:43 PM

              Does Dyl participate in this levity?

              • Ivan
                06/04/2010 at 1:40 PM

                Not from what I observed.

            • Passerby
              06/03/2010 at 11:50 PM

              While I agree that some of that behavior might be offputting and seem insensitive under the circumstances, still–the judge and all the other parties to the trial are human beings doing the best they can to carry out their duties (and by all accounts, everyone’s done a fairly professional job)… so I think trying to help ease tension with humor is actually fairly common in trials, even (especially?) of this nature?

              (Maybe we’re too used to seeing courtroom dramas playing out in movies and tv now… in reality, it’s not always such a melodramatic affair.)

      • DonnaH
        06/04/2010 at 12:02 AM

        I thought she was mocking what the defense presented as their little scientific attempt to “prove” the fence was scalable, much as they had attempted to cast aspersions on Deedrick’s experiment with the pork loin.

        • New Alias
          06/04/2010 at 10:55 AM

          I was not there but from what I’ve observed of the judge so far I’m betting you are right. Sending Connelly over the fence just to prove it can be scaled is excessive to the point of silliness – another example of a tactic that might have impressed a jury but insults the intelligence of the judge. Just like Defense arguing that pork loin is insufficiently meat-like to stand in for human flesh was silly (as the judge noted, you can’t expect an expert to recreate the crime using a live human being).

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 1:48 PM

            Now if he’d vaulted that fence without touching it, THAT would have been worth driving to Moultrie for.

    • Carolina
      06/03/2010 at 10:52 PM

      Try to understand that humor is how many people diffuse tension. I also think that it’s unlikely your insight into her thoughts is accurate. She knows the government has a hard road because their case is more about a lack of evidence than anything else. She’s taken her jabs at both sides.

      • Bea
        06/04/2010 at 2:03 PM

        I understand the concerns stated, and I appreciate that especially for Kathy Wone that some things may hurt. Still, day in and day out sitting in a courtroom, especially given that a lot of arguing/pontificating about arcane legal points gets really dry. And Kathy Wone is a lawyer – the pork loin comment was (apparently) well executed by the Judge and my guess is that even Kathy may have smiled. As someone says, it diffuses some of the tension and is used (sparingly) by court personnel, witnesses, etc. because nerves are on edge. Kind of like the heavy set EMT saying “I never RUN up stairs” – not meant as a slap to Robert’s memory but at the same time acknowledges that everyone there is a real person with regular experiences.

        Not trying to excuse all of the Bernie Grimm breakdance moves but want to explain that this is typical of a courtroom where a judge sees case after case, day after day, month after month – this is her job. I imagine that it’s true of any job (the Six Feet Under series comes to mind – a mortician understand the gravity of his/her job but has to have some levity and has to balance that with sensitivity around those in mourning – there you could keep comments AWAY from the deceased’s love ones); maybe there’s a greater need for levity for folks whose job it is to send people to prison. Realize too that the judge sees a lot of bad ass people and is fully aware of life’s strange terrain – an example would be for the judge to have watched Victor Zaborsky for months and sentence him to spend 30 years in prison while the gnat of uncertainty of ‘what if he hadn’t caught an earlier flight’ circles the psyche.

  9. christy love
    06/03/2010 at 9:58 PM

    Wouldn’t one taste something in one’s water? I mean it might be too late, but wouldn’t you taste it?

    • Nelly
      06/03/2010 at 10:03 PM

      Ask that of any one who has ingested a date rape drug.

      • christy love
        06/03/2010 at 10:19 PM

        I thought those are usually put in alcoholic beverages?

    • MDYD
      06/03/2010 at 10:32 PM

      Can someone clear this up for me… I remember reading that Robert’s own semen was found in his anus. Why hasn’t this been discussed at all in the trial? If it is not true, I feel weird about writing that. Thanks everyone and great work to the editors.

      • Bea
        06/03/2010 at 10:53 PM

        Hey MDYD, essentially the prosecution made a decision back when it was to be a jury trial that they’d likely either confuse the jury or look like a failure if the Judge ruled this stuff inadmissible. This case is for conspiracy/obstruction/tampering, not for what happened to Robert Wone that night.

      • Carolina
        06/03/2010 at 10:54 PM

        It is true, but the govt chose not to pursue sexual assault charges. Easier to narrow and refine the focus.

      • cc
        06/04/2010 at 1:08 AM

        i think it will come up again. i believe when wone was drugged and semi conscious he was fondled and ejaculated. his semen was then put in his anus through a dildo or a finger. ward had a lot of electric stimulation devices and i think he used it on wone. i know it sounds disturbing but that is my theory. this was a premeditaded murder by a disturbed and possibly jealous roomate.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/04/2010 at 1:34 AM

          Totally agree on this one. I think Wade was the perp. Somehow brought Price in after something went “horribly” wrong. Jealously, etc. This is the theory of the prosecution. The only semen found on Robert Wone’s body was his own. At first I found that confusing but delving into the case- with these electro-stimulate devices….. which frankly I am not familiar with and have to rely on this website for information….. is to be expected. There has been some frank discussion about what kind of fluids were on the body- and how they were induced…..

          I can only guess that the “state” has messed up all the evidence. But it seems like that would have been fairly conclusive.

          You would think this would be open and shut. Or that at least the prosecution would have an advantage. Wrong was clearly done. I can’t figure out why this is so hard to figure out.

        • Elizabeth
          06/04/2010 at 1:46 AM

          I just don’t see jealousy as the motive, although it is totally irrelevant given that this is not a murder trial. An earlier post offered up that Joe had a crush on Robert and that Dylan was helping him fulfill that. That resonates more with me.

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 8:01 AM

          One tiny problem. He had no drugs in his system and there is NO undetectable “date rape” or unconsciousness producing drug in existence.

          The lack of a struggle or blood trail/smear points to his being asleep when killed….but toxicology has shown he was not asleep because of ingesting a substance which produces sleep.

          • Elizabeth
            06/04/2010 at 8:25 AM

            Actually from the transcripts of the hearing on 4/24, one of the biggest problems was that there is no one test that will produce results for “any” date rape drug…you have to know what you are testing for – and they were running out of blood for said tests and the defense was arguing that they would need blood for their tests, as well.

            • Carolina
              06/04/2010 at 8:49 AM

              And let’s not forget they did find xylene.

              Lawmed, you should know, if your nick is accurate, that being stabbed in one’s sleep will also yield fishtailing.

            • lawmed
              06/04/2010 at 9:39 AM

              But there is NOT a big list of these drugs. Aside from the standard toxicology which covers barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opiates, qualudes, PCP, alcohol, and many more, the ‘extra’ test you have to specifically request would be for GHB…also, and since it was mentioned here but not likely because of availability, various paralytics such as vecuronium and succinycholine. Barring some exotic jungle concoction, a comprehensive toxicology can be obtained with very little blood. And it can ALSO be done using tissue such as the liver, which is a blood filled organ.

    • William
      06/03/2010 at 11:17 PM

      Why believe they drank water together when they are lying about everything else that happened that night. Repeating something doesn’t make it true.

      Also, why do we care whether or not Michael Price had a key? He wasn’t an intruder. They let him in the house. He didn’t need a key.

      • KKinCA
        06/03/2010 at 11:18 PM

        It’s important because during Joe’s interview he was asked by the police who had keys to the house, and he did not include Michael.

        • Kate
          06/04/2010 at 9:36 AM

          KK and William – and as of yesterday’s testimony, lead Detective Waid said he never saw such a list.

          I sure hope the prosecution can produce that list, but if they could, why didn’t they do so yesterday? If they could have, I believe they would have offered up that list, in Price’s own handwriting, no less.

          Sorry, I’m a tad frustrated with what appears to be the rather lax investigative procedures used by MPD in this particular case.


          • KKinCA
            06/04/2010 at 11:58 AM

            Thanks Kate. Good point. For some reason I thought that in his police interview on August 2nd Joe verbally told the detectives who had keys to the house, but I just reviewed the transcript again and found I was mistaken. I share in your frustration with the MPD.

            • Kate
              06/04/2010 at 12:22 PM

              Not to worry KK – it’s very difficult to keep everything straight, especially with this case.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 1:52 PM

        There was nothing else in Robert’s stomach to indicate he drank anything else.

        Why do we care about Michael and the key? Because if he had a key, he could have let himself in. Even if the back door had been unlocked, we still have the fence issue. Guess what key opens the back gate? That’s right, the one that opens every other lock in the home.

  10. david
    06/03/2010 at 10:13 PM

    Let me see if I get this straight. In the first year after the murder, the defendants, who had not even been indicted for a single crime relating to the murder of Joe Price’s very dear, very close friend from college, spent critical time asking their counsel to help prove the validity of the intruder theory instead of spending all their available resources, talents and time to actually look for the intruder, a person who they ALL claim broke into their home and murdered a dear and close friend. Even when they had intelligence that break-ins were occuring on their street as late as 2008, still before they were indicted for any crimes, they did not follow up by hiring a private investigator to look further into those leads. Instead they spent time trying to prove their intruder theory. It just seems to be a strategy that is so misplaced for what they were claimed actually happened to them. If a dear friend was murdered in my home would I spend my time doing everything I could to find the intruder or would I spend my precious resources on having my well-compensated counsel create experiments to prove I wasn’t lying?

    They came at Detective Waid for not following up on leads, but like the hair that fell off the knife, which neither side pursued further investigation, neither did the defense act on the stolen bike lead to see if it could lead to the intruder who broke into their home. Even if Waid said the crime didn’t really happen, they have nothing to lose pursuing every avenue to find justice for the murder of their friend who died in their home. It seems the minimum that should be expected.


    • Quincy
      06/03/2010 at 10:27 PM

      Are you condemning the defendants for not doing the police’s job? Really? They were supposed to hire a private investigator to follow up on neighborhood burgalries, turn any evidence foudn over to THIS police department and then…..what? A huge problem is that hte police believed (and still believe) that they have the best suspects. MPD was totally unmotivated to apply resources to any other theory. If I were a defendant, I’d be investing my money in defense counsel too.

      • interestedobserver
        06/03/2010 at 10:38 PM

        Quincy: I think that’s the whole point of David’s comment. If you don’t think the police is doing enough to find the “intruder” to support your “theory”, then you better be taking things into your own hand to (1) save yourself from being charged or found guilty and (2) finding out who killed your good friend so that person can be brought to justice.

        • KKinCA
          06/03/2010 at 11:08 PM

          Nicely put, IO. Or how about they cooperate with the police by actually cooperating and telling the TRUTH!

        • Quincy
          06/04/2010 at 12:41 AM

          Defendants should not be expected to prove themselves innocent by doing policework. If that’s the point, it’s a non-point.

          And the police should conduct a thorough investigation following any reasonable lead. Not the way it always works, perhaps not the way it worked in this case. But that SHOULD BE the norm.

          This point of view is just a way to mock the defendants, like asking why O.J. isn’t out finding Nicole’s killer. It’s a bit of a cheap shot.

          • KKinCA
            06/04/2010 at 3:24 AM

            Quincy – In my view there is much hypocrisy in the position taken by the defendants. They offer up the “intruder theory” to the authorities during the first seconds of Victor’s 911 call, continue to assert this theory during their police interviews, yet in such interviews at least two of the trouple admitted to the police (I am paraphrasing here) that the theory was somewhat unbelievable.

            Then Joe’s email to a friend contains what I believe is an admission that SOME actions were taken by members of the household to modify the crime scene while “freaking out”, although to Joe this did not amount to illegal tampering. The defendants can’t have it both ways – expecting the police to find a phantom intruder who left no absolutely NO evidence of being in the home, while all of the circumstantial evidence which as been discovered strongly suggests that even if none of the trouple committed the murder, one or more of the defendants tampered with and/or removed/destroyed any evidence that COULD have helped the police pursue and arrest the alleged intruder.

            I agree that there is no obligation for the defense to undertake police work, but these defendants are truly innocent, their actions immediately following the crime and up to this day are inconsistent with a claim of innocence. (Yes, like OJ) Their story just doesn’t add up.

          • Alice
            06/04/2010 at 10:23 AM

            OJ didn’t want anyone to find the killer because he was the killer.

            • New Alias
              06/04/2010 at 11:03 AM

              This brings up a CRITICAL question for Scott Hixson, close friend to the trouple who lived across the street, as well as for Sarah Morgan’s friends Tom and John, who live(d) ~5 blocks away.

              Ostensibly, there was a murderer running loose in the vicinity of Swann the morning of August the 3rd.

              Did Joe, Victor, and/or Dylan speak to Scott, Tom, and/or John about the danger they, as nearby residents, were in? Did they urge them to lock their doors, be careful in the alleys, use their alarm systems at night (if they had them)? Was the call to Scott strictly to ask him to pick them up, or did they inquire after his safety, tell him to check his locks, maybe spread the word to the neighbors?

              I’m guessing not.

              • KKinCA
                06/04/2010 at 12:05 PM

                And let’s not forget that when they first discovered Robert “bleeding” on the bed, neither Joe nor Victor checked on Dylan to make sure he had not been harmed by the intruder, they didn’t barricade themselves in a room in case the intruder was still in the house, and during the 911 call Victor asked only for an ambulance when the operator gave him the option of sending police to the house as well. I’m sorry but it just doesn’t add up.

              • Carolina
                06/04/2010 at 1:56 PM

                Scott Hixson was at VCB to pick up the boys, correct? Then went with them to Cosi (btw, who goes out to a group breakfast after a murder and interrogation? I guess I have the answer to that, nevermind) with the crew.

                And he lived across the street, you say? What a convenient drop off point, er, location!

      • Bill Orange
        06/04/2010 at 7:36 AM


        Yes, that is exactly what he’s saying. You are absolutely correct that it’s is not the defendants’ obligation to do the police’s job for them. However, this is a defense team with considerable resources, and they started working on their defense soon after the murder. If the defendants are innocent, the most effective way for them to convince a jury of this would be to find evidence of the actual killer. The reason the police stopped looking for an intruder is because they concluded very early in their investigation that there was never an intruder to begin with. The defense does not appear to have looked for an intruder at all. Why do you think that is?

        • Quincy
          06/04/2010 at 12:22 PM

          Suppose the defendants undertook an investigation and turned up several leads. They turn this information over to the police and the police do nothing, because the police believe the defendants are the prime suspects. What then? Should the defendants go on to arrest suspects and prosecute them as well? What is the benefit to the defendants of wasting resources on an investigation that the police are going to ignore?

          It is absurdly unfair to impute guilt because a defendant, who asserts innocence, doesn’t actively try to solve the crime, and instead tries to defend himself. That totally turns the legal system on its head. How many accused people (innocent or guilty) ever actually solve the crime of which they’re accused?

          Like I said–it’s an easy, cheap shot.

    • Bea
      06/03/2010 at 10:29 PM

      Well said, David. Makes you wonder.

      • James
        06/03/2010 at 11:24 PM

        Let’s remember OJ dedicated some resources to find the “real killer”…

        • KKinCA
          06/03/2010 at 11:27 PM

          Well, he didn’t find the killer at any of the Florida golf courses that he frequented before entering his latest residence in the Las Vegas jail . . .

          • James
            06/03/2010 at 11:30 PM

            Florida seems to be the residence of choice for these types!

            • Carolina
              06/04/2010 at 8:53 AM

              Because of their Homestead Law– you can’t take someone’s primary residence to satisfy a judgment. Well, that and “those types” seem to fit right in with the locals.

              • Bill 2
                06/04/2010 at 9:04 AM

                Thanks so much. We “locals” appreciate your viewpoint.

                • Carolina
                  06/04/2010 at 1:02 PM

                  By locals, I meant those who are avoiding property seizure elsewhere, have recently kidnapped, assaulted or killed a toddler, or have elected JEB Bush, Charlie Crist or god forbid, elects their current AG into a higher office.

                  Not that those constitute a majority, anymore than corrupt, power-seeking slimeballs make up the population of DC.

              • Vandy
                06/04/2010 at 9:41 AM

                Does that “Homestead Law” cover other assets, for example, bank accounts, savings, 401K, IRAs, china, persian rugs, diamond tiarras, jewels, crystal, etc., etc.?

                • Carolina
                  06/04/2010 at 1:03 PM

                  No, typically it’s about having a (usually very nice) roof over your head.

              • James
                06/04/2010 at 10:45 AM

                feel i should clarify…by “these types” i simply meant those accused of serious wrongdoing, a la OJ and our three defendents. Wasn’t suggesting anything else, i promise.

                • Carolina
                  06/04/2010 at 12:57 PM

                  Exactly. You can’t swing a cat without finding a local that, had they lived in any other state, would not be living their Intercoastal waterfront homes.

  11. Clio
    06/03/2010 at 10:50 PM

    What was Tom wearing when he tried to jump the fence? I trust that he did not ruin one of his fine spring suits and that he did not faint this time from a hot flash. But then again, I cannot imagine my frenemy in the courtroom wearing the same outfit: how embarrassing!

    Thank you, Lynn, for giving Glenn more pointers. Every essay needs a thesis statement; every paragraph needs a thesis sentence. Didn’t Glenn learn this at Washington and Lee, or was he too preoccupied with football, beer, and broads?

    I am convinced (finally) that “Sarah, Plain and not Small” could NOT have been the bag man/woman behind carting all the really incriminating stuff away: if she had to take a bus to go five blocks, then she could not have moved fast enough that night to dump even one playmat. And, if she had those kinds of mobility problems and security concerns, why would Joe so readily think that she would leave Tom and John’s seemingly comfy nest at night to come home?

    Nevertheless, if she truly knew “everything” and was part of this (unorganized crime, perhaps?) Family, then why didn’t she know about Joe’s “Mr. Hyde” side? If she knew enough about Michael to be suspicious, why did she not have the same qualms about his older brother and Mr. Ward? She may have been big, but she certainly was not stupid (Art History major at Trinity). So, her testimony, however ladylike, is only telling part of the truth, the part that still puts her (former) boys in the best light.

    The bicycles (built for three?) were not Sarah’s in part because she had left Swann by that time. Whose bikes were they? And, if you were worried about intruders successfully jumping the fence, why would you tempt fate by placing them out of doors?

    • AnnaZed
      06/03/2010 at 10:56 PM

      Back on the topic of Sarah I read this in The Washington City Paper (

      “…Morgan was away the night of Wone’s murder. “I went to watch TV at a friend’s house and then was invited to spend the night while I was there,” she said…”

      Given that she said that she brought her toothbrush I find her convenient absence that night as described to be not credible. I think she was asked or knew to make herself scarce. I don’t think that she hauled any evidence, but I think she knew not to be there. I do not believe in coincidence.

      • NYer
        06/03/2010 at 11:06 PM

        An interesting theory, but I would think that if it had any validity, the prosecution would have totally gone after her on direct or redirect examination. Based on the Eds. accounts, this does not appear to be the case.

        Another thing- if Sarah were asked by 1509 to get lost that night, she’d have to ask her friends to stay over (not the other way around). And this could be easily verifiable, through an interview of her two friends.

        • Carolina
          06/04/2010 at 8:55 AM

          Assuming she told the truth when she said these late nights often turned into sleep-overs, I would say she had reasonable expectation of being asked, hence the toothbrush and telling Joe not to wait up.

      • christy love
        06/03/2010 at 11:09 PM

        “I do not believe in coincidence.”

        PREACH IT! I say this all the time and people think I am crazy.

        Let’s think about all the coincidences in this case. Another big one for me is MP missing class that night.

        • Quincy
          06/04/2010 at 12:30 PM

          Coincidence is the foundling of Random. I believe.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 8:56 AM

        I just thought of something– If all Sarah took was her toothbrush, what did she sleep in? What did she wear to work in the morning? The same thing she wore the day before? Or were these sleepovers so frequent that she had clothes at her friends’ home? If that’s the case, I bet there’s a lot more to that story, too.

        • Clio
          06/04/2010 at 9:47 AM

          Agreed, Carolina. At a minimum, I would have taken a hat box or at least a fresh slip, too.

        • Kate
          06/04/2010 at 9:48 AM

          Carolina – I was wondering the same thing. She probably came home from work, changed into comfy, lounging-around clothes for the evening and packed her toothbrush. From what we know, her visits to Tom and John were somewhat frequent and since they lived nearby, her routine was probably to return to 1509 Swann in the morning to get ready for work.

          What do you think?

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 1:04 PM

            Well, we sure know she didn’t go home to change that morning, yet she was able to go to work. Maybe she works in a basement where no one would notice she was in the same outfit.

          • AnnaZed
            06/04/2010 at 1:20 PM

            Well seriously, I want to know what she wore to Cosi that morning ~ the same underwear and the same sweaty clothes from the day before? Somehow, I think not, and I think that little sleep-over was planned. In short, I think she lied. Yup, that means perjury where I’m sitting. No wonder she lawyered up so fast. I’m stunned, but I can’t conclude anything else.

            • Carolina
              06/04/2010 at 1:59 PM

              I wish someone (I’m looking at you, Mr. & Ms. Prosecutor) had asked her what she wore the following day.

        • ladyg
          06/04/2010 at 10:30 AM

          i hear you, my husband is always getting on me for taking a suitcase (one never knows, what one may need) w us for an overnight stay. that’s just me.

        • Kate
          06/04/2010 at 12:33 PM

          On that note, I need to confess that I never go on an overnight without my essential lotions and potions.

          Even while camping in the great outdoors.

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 1:05 PM

            My idea of roughing it is when room service is late, so perish the thought that I’d leave without at least a fresh shirt and toiletries.

            • Clio
              06/04/2010 at 1:15 PM

              I would hope that Tom and John being a couple had the requisite lotions and potions sans any feminine hygiene products, but this circle of friends seemed a bit deficient in the hostess and housekeeping department.

              Also, recall Dyl’s testimony in his Anacostia Dialogue about Sarah’s penchant for morning walks. I guess that Joe’s call before 6 am precluded any hope for that constitutional that morning.

  12. Newbie
    06/03/2010 at 11:36 PM


    Thanks for this blog. Quick question. Does anyone here have a medical background? If one was paralyzed by a drug – would that paralysis also affect one’s vocal cords? I wondered how Robert Wone could have screamed if he was paralyzed. And if he couldn’t scream, just as he couldn’t move while being stabbed – then who did scream loud enough to disturb the neighbors?

    The evidence does seem to point to some kind of tampering/cover up. But I wonder if Zaborsky or any of the other 3 stumbled upon the murder or assault in progress? If one of them screamed, I would imagine that it was real shock.

    And I wondered if Michael Price was involved – did he use his lessons in phlebotomy to remove Robert Wone’s blood? There was so little blood left in him, and yet no blood to be found. I thought it was interesting that there were so many unexplained needle marks on him. Surely there wouldn’t need to be more than one prick for a drug to be administered. . .

    Newbie to the Blog

    • Bill Orange
      06/04/2010 at 7:46 AM

      “Does anyone here have a medical background?”


      “If one was paralyzed by a drug – would that paralysis also affect one’s vocal cords?”

      Typically, yes. But paralytics usually stop you from breathing, too. A powerful sedative, on the other hand, would make you less likely to scream, but not incapable of it.

      “But I wonder if Zaborsky or any of the other 3 stumbled upon the murder or assault in progress?”

      Possible, but not really relevant to the current charges. If one of them stumbled upon a crime in progress and screamed, it should have brought the other two running to the room. That’s not what any of them said happened. So if it IS what happened, then all three are guilty of the current charges.

      “Surely there wouldn’t need to be more than one prick for a drug to be administered. . .”

      Hitting a vein can sometimes be tough, even for experienced professionals. If you can’t do it on the first try, the usual thing to do is to try again in another location.

    • lawmed
      06/04/2010 at 9:28 AM

      Drugs which are paralytics are used during general anesthesia. They do not produce unconsciousness, but they do paralyze ALL smooth muscle in the body. No movement is possible, including breathing. Without mechanical ventilation you would be dead in 4 min. They are all detectable postmortum on a blood toxicology screen.

      Both the lack of blood in the body and the lack of significant blood loss at the scene are NOT SURPRISING. Stab wounds to the chest and abdomen which lacerate the pericardium, heart, vena cava and aorta (as in this case) bleed rapidly and tremendously into the chest and abdominal cavities. You can bleed to death internally from these wounds without spilling a drop of blood outside of the body.

      A victim with such wounds who was not moving during or after their creation may bleed very little externally before expiring…at which point bleeding stops.

      The ‘missing blood’ would have been drained from the body by the chest tubes. One on each side of the chest, these tubes were placed to drain the hemothorax (dangerous collection of blood) found in each side of the chest. The blood from the heart and vascular wounds fills the chest rapidly and compresses the lungs to the point that ventilation is impossible. Once placed these chest tubes could easily, and immediately, drained 3000-4000 cc’s of blood. The stab wound to the abdomen perforated the diaphragm (autopsy), which creates a pathway from the chest to the abdomen and vice versa, so blood from the chest can flow into the abdomen and vice versa. Because of this the chest tubes will also drain a portion of the blood which collects in the abdomen.

      The description of the needle marks are ALL ENTIRELY consistent with attempts for placement of intravenous lines during resuscitation of a trauma patient. Failed IV insertion attempts would not appear in the medical record as they are not generally charted in this type of patient. The needle mark on the chest is consistent with placement of a needle into the sac covering the heart (pericardium) to drain any collection of blood. This is a common procedure in a patient who has been stabbed in such a way as to suspect the heart was lacerated, and who is in cardiac arrest. Collection of blood in the pericardial sac prevents the heart from beating efficiently or at all. It is called pericardial tamponade and must be drained by pericardiocentesis (sticking a needle into the pericardium) and if the only injury is a minor knife wound to the heart withdrawing 30-50cc’s of blood can change a recently dead or dying patient into an alert and talking one.

      Having worked for many years in the largest and most recognized trauma center in the world resuscitating patients exactly like this, performing all of the procedures described, I can tell you that I see NO mystery surrounding blood loss, needle marks or administration of an incapacitating drug.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 9:39 AM

        I hope your testimony goes well for you.

        What part of “we didn’t try to start lines there” and “this is what was drained from the body” should we believe? Can we assume that it is typical for ME’s and ER personnel to fabricate such things?

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 9:54 AM

          I don’t know what you mean by ‘your testimony’. I certainly have nothing to do with this case.

          The body goes to the medical examiner with the chest tubes clamped off and no longer attached to the suction canisters containing the drained blood. So she has no idea how much blood was drained by them. Any contention that it is unusual for patients with these wounds to arrive at the ME drained of most of their blood is absurd.

          Unless you have every member of the trauma team in court and they can remember that specific patient and everything they did exactly, each and every needle mark IS in a PRECISE area which is used for IV access. The ‘peripheral’ marks (antecubital and ankle) would be common failed IV sites in a patient who has bleed to death internally and whose peripheral blood vessels have no volume in them. They are ‘quicker’ access than the subclavian and femoral lines which were placed, and multiple persons attempt IV access at the same time during a trauma team.

          The charge nurse, or head nurse, whatever she was, that testified the needle marks were not consistent with their resuscitation of the victim was 100% wrong and even if she believed them out of the ordinary for their clinical practice, she could NOT say with certainty that they were not caused by their resucitation. They simply are not suspicious for the aggressive trauma team resucitation of this type patient.

          • Bill Orange
            06/04/2010 at 12:23 PM

            I agree that the ER nurse’s testimony seemed odd–IV attempts in the feet and neck seem pretty routine to me for this type of trauma–but the bottom line is that that’s what she testified to. If she was mistaken, the defense shouldn’t have too much trouble finding someone else from that ER who will testify that they saw someone try to put an IV in one of those sites, or at least that it’s something that is occasionally done at that ER during a trauma.

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 1:08 PM

            I’m so sorry, I apologize. I misread part of your post in my pre-coffee haze. I misunderstood you to be the trauma/cardiac surgeon testifying for the defense.

            • lawmed
              06/04/2010 at 2:00 PM

              YIKES! He would be in deep doo doo with a few people if he commented on here!

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 2:01 PM

            The man came in cold, clammy, pale, and by all accounts, dead. She said they didn’t attempt to start lines at those locations. Is she lying, and why?

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/04/2010 at 9:42 AM

        lawmed says: “No movement is possible, including breathing.”

        This is not so for ketamine. Ketamine does not depress the respiratory system.

        Ketamine is also widely used as a recreational drug.

        Feel free to read up about K here:

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 9:58 AM

          Quite true since ketamine is not a paralytic, but a dissociative anesthetic. It certainly is a drug to be added to the tox screen however.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/04/2010 at 10:16 AM

            Indeed, lawmed.

            It also seems that MEs and legal authorities across the nation need to take continuing education courses to be updated on the current recreational drugs hitting the streets.

            • lawmed
              06/04/2010 at 10:20 AM

              I agree…and good catch on the ketamine. I had not thought of it even though I am well aware it is popular in its powder reduced form on the dance floor and at home!

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 9:42 AM

        I would suggest going back and reading the details of tox screening regarding this particular case.

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 10:08 AM

          Have read them…and? GHB was included and negative, and your other common reference ‘date rape’ drug Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), also known as ‘roofies’ is a benzodiazepine, which were also negative.

          I do like the ketamine theory however, and it should have been tested for.

          • AnnaZed
            06/04/2010 at 10:47 AM

            What in your opinion is the significance of the xylene trace found in Robert’s blood?

          • Bill Orange
            06/04/2010 at 12:44 PM

            Here’s a really sick thought. The test for GHB was a urine study. There were a number of instruments in Dylan’s trunk that are typically inserted into urethras. There is an outside chance (and I admit that this is a VERY far-fetched idea) that the urine used in the tox screen wasn’t actually from the victim.

            • Carolina
              06/04/2010 at 2:03 PM

              Had they more time, this would not surprise me. Wasn’t there also discussion that the tox screen occurred after the typical detection half life of the drug?

          • Carolina
            06/04/2010 at 1:10 PM

            What about xylene, which was found in trace amounts? Or that GBH was not tested for before its halflife would have expired?

      • First Time Reader
        06/04/2010 at 10:02 AM

        Would it be common for the trauma facility to retain the fluids drained from the chest cavity, particularly in the event of a death that was an apparent homicide?

        How would you explain the apparent lack of movement by Mr. Wone while being stabbed if Mr. Wone was not drugged?

        Does the fact that Mr. Wone was lying down make it easier to believe that the blood remained in the body?

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 10:16 AM

          No, the chest tube collection containers are thrown away immediately after the chest tubes are disconnected from them, regardless of the cause of death. There should be a entry in the medical record however of the amount of blood they collected. The containers are such that you merely have to look at the fill lines marked on the and the corresponding amount in cc’s. In other words as the blood fills the container there are lines on it which also say 50cc, 100cc, 150cc………..2000cc, etc. and as the blood rises in the container you instantly know how much is there.

          Simply laying on top of him and stabbing him in the aorta and the heart would give him a minute…maybe two..where he could offer any struggle before blood loss rendered him helpless.

          yes…precisely…his laying on his back with these stab wounds, dying quickly, would result in very little blood loss externally.

          • Kate
            06/04/2010 at 10:27 AM

            LawMed – thank you for your professional insights. I’ve read over them three times … I’ve got a lot more thinking and studying to do.

            More uncertain than ever, here –

            • lawmed
              06/04/2010 at 10:45 AM

              Know that i have no dog in this hunt either. While I had heard of the case I have not been following closely until I came across this blog a few days ago. Today is the first day I have posted anything. The issues I addressed jumped right out at me since it is what i do for a living. Whether my views are pro one side or the other doesn’t matter to me. Truth and facts are what they are.

              And to summarize: the medical facts show a victim stabbed while lying on his back, most probably sleeping, in multiple locations two of which were likely to be fatal and one which was certain to be. He could have struggled briefly for a minute or so but would quickly have lost consciousness. External bleeding expected to be minimal. ‘Missing blood’ is 100% certain to have drained from chest tubes based on wounds. Needle marks all consistent with resucitation. Possibility of having been drugged still exists. Ketamine has been suggested which is far more likely than a paralytic (no access to these drugs). One does wonder if the intruder story is false, why was the scene not then staged to show clear evidence of an intruder…lawyer was present (Price)..should have thought it all through instantly.

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                06/04/2010 at 10:51 AM

                law med says: “most probably sleeping”

                Perhaps from a medical standpoint, this may appear to the most logical scenario; however, from a forensics standpoint, it doesn’t appear to be so.

                You must take in to account the myriad details involved in this case.

                Postition of body. Trajectory of wounds. Position of wounds. Blood spatter analysis (or lack thereof).

                It’s just not that simple.

                • Goose
                  06/04/2010 at 11:13 AM

                  Not to mention the fact that the ME stated that there was absolutely no movement by Wone when he was stabbed. Even someone who was sleeping would flinch in response to being stabbed. This was the only case she had ever seen where there was absolutely no movement from the victim. I think this strongly suggests he was incapacitated in some way.

                • lawmed
                  06/04/2010 at 2:11 PM

                  You are right and I should alter my statement to note that a victim stabbed while lying on his back, causing the great vessel and heart injuries present, and who for whatever reason did not move while being stabbed or after being stabbed, could easily present with almost no external blood loss, yet be dead from internal bleeding.

              • Bill Orange
                06/04/2010 at 12:39 PM

                My issue with this is that the victim would have woken up at the first stab wound, and there should have been signs of movement during the second and third stab wounds.

                Also, it’s difficult to lie on top of someone and stab them at the same time. My reading of the autopsy is that there were most likely three stab wounds in rapid succession. I’m assuming that Robert would have woken up if someone jumped on top of him, so that means the stab wounds would’ve had to come first, then someone was lying on top of him (or at least holding him down until he bled out internally, or was at least unconscious), yes?

                I really can’t fit that together with the crime scene and the defendants’ stories. You’ve got three stab wounds with no signs of movement and no cast-off from the knife. Your scenario requires the murderer to restrain Wone after he’d been stabbed. But Price and Zaborsky were awake and coming down the stairs almost immediately, and they didn’t see anyone or hear anyone run down the stairs. It just doesn’t fit.

              • Carolina
                06/04/2010 at 1:17 PM

                I think if you read more, you’ll see the “why not” on most of those points you’ve brought up.

                Can you explain a soaked shirt, yet only two small spots of blood on the sheet beneath him? Have you looked at the bed? What would you make of the delicate way the knife was placed so as to avoid staining the table? Or that blood does not appear to extend to the honed edge?

          • First Time Reader
            06/04/2010 at 10:57 AM

            Are the medical reports from the trauma facility where Mr. Wone was taken a part of the record and, if so, do they report the amount of fluid drained from his body?

            Are there other potential explanations if those medical reports do now show blood loss consistent with the blood being retained in the body and then drained at the trauma facility. Given the lack of an eye witness to the murder, one potential explanation (that seems consistent with the testimony) is that Mr. Wone was murdered in the shower (where he bled out), redressed, and placed in the bed.

            Is this a possible explanation in your mind if the fluid collection at the trauma facility is not as large as the apparent blood loss? Can you come up with any other potential explanation?

            • Carolina
              06/04/2010 at 1:18 PM

              Yes, you can find that in the testimony from the ER nurse responsible for recording the procedures.

      • Ivan
        06/04/2010 at 12:39 PM

        And what is the name of this “largest and most recognized trauma center in the world”?

        • Carolina
          06/04/2010 at 1:21 PM

          Sounds like someone at Johns Hopkins speaking 🙂

  13. susan
    06/03/2010 at 11:53 PM

    J. Price testimony: “Someone came in the back of our house . . . looking for something to sell or whatever, came upstairs, stumbled on to a surprise, and, you know, stabbed the guy and took off. . . . I mean, that’s my theory.”

    That’s a pretty detailed theory for someone who allegedly had nothing to do with the events that night. It doesn’t start out as a “theory” either. It doesn’t start out with “I guess that” or “I don’t know WTF happened, but…” It starts out as a categorical statement.

    Re the knife “missing” from the kitchen. Are we really to believe that some individual broke into the house (flying over the fence, etc.), went through the kitchen, upstairs, etc., but came to the house UNARMED? That’s really a lot on the alleged “intruder’s” to-do list and a short time to get it all done. He (or alleged intruder “she”) gives her/himself the herculean task of breaking into a fully occupied home through a locked gated area with a high fence, makes a stopover to the kitchen to get armed. Searches the ground floor, goes up a flight to one of the closed doors (rule was doors must be closed-J. Price) and on and on? Really?

    • Elizabeth
      06/04/2010 at 12:34 AM

      I am bothered by Price’s repeated use of the word “theory.” As posted above, and also in his conversation/email with Ragone (?) to the effect that the police were not even investigating the intruder “theory.”

      • AnnaZed
        06/04/2010 at 12:39 AM

        Yes Elizabeth, oh yes. That term is just so odd (to use a teen expression, so “wrong”). If something like what Joe wants us to believe had happened had actually happened, he would say “Officer someone came in our house, they murdered my friend.” It would seem like a fact to the speaker (Joe) not a “theory.” theory wouldn’t even enter into it.

        • Elizabeth
          06/04/2010 at 12:48 AM

          Exactly. If you did not do it, you KNOW you did not do it…It’s not your theory.

    • Elizabeth
      06/04/2010 at 12:36 AM

      I also agree that it is just plain strange that if indeed an intruder came into that house he/she(?!) was unarmed. Those who burgle and those who murder are criminals of a different kind, not of degree. If someone came in that house to kill someone they brought their weapon with them.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 9:00 AM

        On the other hand, they’d have a reasonable expectation of finding a weapon in the kitchen, should they forget to BYOK (Bring Your Own Knife).

        • ladyg
          06/04/2010 at 10:40 AM

          that’s just too funny. the more you read his (joe) his statement/theory, it’s read like something out of a bad movie.

          • KKinCA
            06/04/2010 at 12:23 PM

            ladyg – funny you should say that. I just re-read Joe’s interview transcript and a couple times he said something to the effect that “this is just like television”!

  14. AnnaZed
    06/04/2010 at 12:05 AM

    Bea ~ I am wondering to what degree the judge can seperate one defendant off from the others and actually find one of them not culpable. I am thinking specifically of little Dyl. If she can’t surmise or assume or conclude from lack of evidence that all persons were cleaning up and thinks that it is possible that Dylan was spaced out from his pill and came out of his room only after he thought he heard Mom and Dad fighting then kind of drifted around, maybe absorbed a script or version of events as told to him by Joe and reapeated it not knowing any better but nothing more; can she find him innocent of these charges?

    Things look very bad indeed for Underwear Man, and Victor is stuck with the faulty time-line and the role of having been first speaker of the most significant lies, but Dylan could be characterized as a non participant under some interpretations of the facts as presented by the prosecution, couldn’t he?

    • Bill Orange
      06/04/2010 at 7:51 AM

      I would actually be fine with Price and Zaborsky being convicted of obstruction and Ward not. I think the evidence of the current charges is stronger against Price and Zaborsky than against Ward. I also don’t think there’s any way in hell that they’d go to jail while Dylan stayed free.

      • Clio
        06/04/2010 at 9:42 AM

        If Dyl did the dirtiest deed of murder, then it would be ironic that only Culuket and Ma’am would go to jail for covering it up. It is no wonder, then, that Needham is in such a jovial mood.

        The Michael card has yet to be played fully, however, and how that affects Dyl’s chances of freedom is still up in the air. If Dyl, like the others, lied to protect both Price brothers, then they are all going to the pokey for a long time. Sarah, as a member of the Family, can still write to them all, however.

  15. susan
    06/04/2010 at 12:08 AM

    Read the HS report on Phelps Collins. What a sick, disturbed creature. Interesting company M. Price keeps. And his brother gave him a key?

    • Jo
      06/04/2010 at 3:07 AM

      Does anyone know if fingerprints found at the crime scene were compared with Phelps Collins’? They were not a match to Michael Price but how about Phelps Collins? Part of me believe that any tell-tale fingerprints would have been wiped off since none were found on the patio door which the defendants used to go in and out of all evening.

      • Bill Orange
        06/04/2010 at 7:52 AM

        I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine that the defense would have brought this up by now.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 9:02 AM

        The latents had no hits in the system. One could only assume Phelps would have his on file.

        • Clio
          06/04/2010 at 9:56 AM

          I wonder if Phelps and Michael ever hosted pnp affairs at Swann when the residents were not there: when the cats are away, the mice will play!

          Since someone in the house was a fellow user, Michael and Phelps may have had that info on them to prevent any censure.

          • Kate
            06/04/2010 at 12:44 PM

            Clio – if Phelps were coming over, you’d definitely want the CATS to be away.

            • Clio
              06/04/2010 at 1:08 PM

              Zing! LOL! That’s so true, Kate.

  16. cc
    06/04/2010 at 12:23 AM

    Has the prosecution asked zaborsky why he did not correct the 911 dispatcher who referred to him as maam on several occasions during the “phone call”. In my opinion this is another form of deception. He should have corrected her so she could give a complete 100 percent description of what to expect at the crime scene. This first deception has led to many more. He wanted to cause confusion and deception to throw the police off.

    • Elizabeth
      06/04/2010 at 12:30 AM

      I thought that was weird, too, but I don’t think it is a form of deception necessarily. However, I have listened to that repeatedly and there are multiple times during the call he could have corrected her. Just one more weird thing.

      • cc
        06/04/2010 at 12:56 AM

        hopefully the prosecution will address this to the judge and see if it sticks. I think when you have someone who was just murdered in your house you want everything to be crystal clear on what to expect at the crime scene. There was obviosly a lot of covering up after the murder and while zaborsky was on the phone. In his staged 911 call he was probably going along with being called maaa am so it throw things off. He was looking for an escape of some sort. I truly believe he did not commit the murder but he knows ward did.

        • lawmed
          06/04/2010 at 7:56 AM

          You think that “when you have someone who was just murdered in your house you want everything to be crystal clear on what to expect at the crime scene” when speaking with 911?

          Heard many 911 tapes?

          No 911 call for a murder just occurring in your home is anything close to crystal clear…..unless you committed the murder with some premeditation. A hysterical caller to report a home invasion murder fails to correct the operator when she calls him maam is acting suspiciously..REALLY?…in the midst of reporting a freaking murder in your house? And just what sort of ‘confusion’ could this possibly cause? He used his cell phone, there was no way he could ever have expected not be be identified as the caller.

          • KKinCA
            06/04/2010 at 12:28 PM

            Victor actually used the home’s landline on the 3rd floor to make the call. But I assume that even a “blocked” landline can be identified by the authorities.
            Having never called 911 for any reason myself (thank God!), I certainly defer to your expertise and experience in this area. Thanks for all of the information you are sharing with us. It’s great to get fresh eyes, especially from an ER doctor!

    • KWade
      06/04/2010 at 8:53 AM

      I don’t find it too odd or deceptive. Think about it. VZ either truly found a dead man in his house or he found a dead man in his house and is part of the cover up, either way a very stressful time. He was on the phone with 911 and knowing that authorities would be there in minutes and still watching pressure allegedly being applied to Mr. Wone’s wounds. He is realizing that this is the final minutes of the cover up or this man’s life. IMO being called maam would probably be the last thing on his mind. But with this case, anything is possible.

    • Carolina
      06/04/2010 at 9:05 AM

      I think this is a non-starter. My partner is often mistaken for a woman on the phone and only corrects the person if he feels it absolutely necessary. He says it embarrasses them and makes the conversation uncomfortable. In this case, the call was hardly about Victor’s masculinity.

  17. Elizabeth
    06/04/2010 at 12:55 AM

    Sorry, can’t find the post to leave this in the appropriate reply area, but somewhere, someone talked about M. Price being in the house the night of the murder. (Either in the updates or the wrap from today.) Has that actually been established?

    Also, I found it interesting that J.P. describes Sarah as a tenant to the police. Then we find out later that she is a member of the “family.” Did that bother anyone else?

    • sda
      06/04/2010 at 7:49 AM

      I don’t believe it was ever established that M.Price was in the house that night.

      I was also bothered by J.P.’s describing Sarah as a tenant but on the stand she says she was part of the “family”???!! I got that they were friendly, maybe even socialized in the same circles, but a member of the family?? She was never included when the three described their own relationship.

  18. gertiestn
    06/04/2010 at 12:58 AM

    As it happens, I am often called “sir” on the telephone, and a sir I am not. Sometimes I correct the person I’m talking to, and sometimes I don’t. I can understand Victor’s just letting it go in this instance, because it didn’t matter. I mean, he had bigger concerns before him than his relationship with the emergency operator.

  19. Turtle
    06/04/2010 at 1:18 AM

    I want to second an earlier poster who expressed doubts about Sarah Morgan’s testimony. Something about Ms. Morgan’s testimony has not been sitting right with me for a few days, so I decided to comment and then discovered that someone else agreed.

    I am the same age as Sarah Morgan, graduated from a similar college, and am also a somewhat overweight woman whose circle of friends includes numerous gay men. To me, Sarah Morgan’s expkanation for her absence the night of the murder does not make sense. I don’t know any woman who would stay over at a house 5-6 blocks from her own residence because she had been watching TV. Here are the reasons women crash At another house shirt notice a) hooking up, b) don’t want to drink and drive c). Long distance from home. None of the above apply for Ms. Morgan.

    In addition, her testimony exaggerates the crime risk of the neighborhood. Everywhere around Dupont is known for petty crime, but not violent crime. I spent a lot of time at Swann St 2001-2002 and lived at Dupont circle nearby when Robert was murdered; it was not the kind of area where even a single woman was afraid to walk the streets.
    I suspect Sarah Morgan was away the night of the murder by design, not coincidence. She may have been in the dark on details, but was possibly clued in to scram. I suspect she knows more than she is telling. My loyalty to my gay friends is extreme (because they have suffered all their lives) and maybe hers is too.

    • Carolina
      06/04/2010 at 9:14 AM

      I have no problem with Sarah staying. It was hot, late, they’d probably had drinks, and it was easier to crash than to right oneself and make the trek home by foot, as buses would be scarce.

      HOWEVER! As I posted above, I do doubt it was a spur of the moment thing. What did she sleep in? What clothes did she wear to work? Surely she did not wear The Outfit of Shame– the same clothes she wore the day before.

  20. Jo
    06/04/2010 at 3:31 AM

    Is it just me? Did the “attempted burglary” at 1417 Swann Street two weeks after Robert’s murder sound like a hoax orchestrated by someone eager to sell the intruder story? To be wrestling with the burglar over the doornob would have been such a terrifying experience. Why called the MPD Gay Liaison? Where’s the frantic 911 call? Why did the partner of the person who reported it thought it didn’t occur? There must be a reason a police report was not filed.

    I agree with Defense that MPD did not adequately investigate this incident. Had they done so, maybe they would have found another piece of evidence to support the obstruction charges.

    “We then learned about an attempted burglary at 1417 Swann Street two weeks after Robert’s murder. A man climbed over the chain link fence from the alley and tried to work the doorknob to break in. The home’s occupant wrestled with the doorknob from the inside of the house, foiling the robbery. The perp went back over the chain link fence and ran away.”

    “As far as the 1417 Swann incident, (Detective) Waid isn’t convinced it ever happened. It appears MPD Gay Liaison Bret Parson took a call and he then called Waid thinking that it would be of interest in the Wone investigation. Waid interviewed the partner of the person who reported it, and he told the detective he didn’t think it actually occurred; maybe his roommate wasn’t being square. No police report was ever filed and the scene was never processed of dusted for prints.”

    1. To be wrestling with the burglar over the doornob would have been such a terrifying experience. Why called the MPD Gay Liaison? Where’s the frantic 911 call?

    • Jo
      06/04/2010 at 3:33 AM

      Strike out 1. and 2. at the end. It’s getting late even on the west coast.

    • Bill Orange
      06/04/2010 at 7:56 AM

      That was a big red flag for me, too. I wonder if this was a friend of the defendants. Someone tries to break into your house two weeks after a brutal murder one block away, and you don’t call the police right away? It just doesn’t make any sense.

      • Makes me wonder
        06/04/2010 at 8:30 AM

        AGREE 100% — Completely unbelievable!!!

      • cinnamon
        06/04/2010 at 9:00 AM

        My thoughts exactly. Highly suspicious.

        • Clio
          06/04/2010 at 9:32 AM

          I too wondered about that the attempted assault upon 1417 Swann Street: Editors, could you profile both the present house there and the 2006 gay male occupants?

          Why would anyone make something like that up, unless they were on Culuket’s Xmas card list?

      • Kate
        06/04/2010 at 10:10 AM

        Concur with one and all. That particular “dog don’t hunt.”

    • Alice
      06/04/2010 at 11:01 AM

      If it did occur, I’m not surprised the police did not write a report. Police around here have a reputation for not writing reports unless absolutely necessary, like there’s a dead body. Attempted burglary would not be on the list of absolutely necessary. I’ve known people who had to practically force the police to write a report for actual burglaries.

    • Jo
      06/04/2010 at 1:05 PM

      I think all of these neighborhood crimes brought up by the defense were just smoke. No neighborhoods are crime-proof. No matter how safe a neighborhood is, there are bound to be occasional burglaries and theft. The Defense could NOT cite one single incident indicating there was a violent burglar looming in the neighborhood who attacked occupants with knifes and cleaned up the scene afterward without stealing a thing.

      It’s also interesting that both incidents cited by Defense (attempted burglary at 1417 Swann Street and bike theft at 1509 Swann Street) occurred AFTER Robert’s murder, just like the burglary by Michael Price and his partner. Why couldn’t they find any notable cases BEFORE the murder? If someone tried to cover up the murder by staging the crime scene, that person(s) or their supporters could very likely continue to create “evidence” for the intruder story by staging subsequent “burglaries” or thefts AFTER the murder.

      Sarah’s testimony about crimes in the neighborhood was also irrelevant. Neighbor’s house was burglarized before the murder but no one was attacked with a knife and I’m sure the burglar took valuables from the house. The other two crimes’ perps used a gun. No one was stabbed in any of these crimes.

    • Quincy
      06/04/2010 at 1:18 PM

      Waid interviewed the partner but didn’t interview the actual person who made the call? Huh?

      Any possibility that the person who might’ve experienced the attempted break-in would be leery of making contact with the police directly? Outstanding warrants? Immigration status maybe? Domestic violence angle? Possible drug use?

      Incredible that a detective would blow off a seemingly relevant (possibly related) incident without actually talking to the complainant, and verifying the account. (Unless he thought he had easier suspects already. )

      I’m not willing to take a police detective’s word that the event never happened.
      And one need go no further than yesterday’s NYTimes for an investigative report about police failing to properly handle sexual assault complaints (failing to file reports, improperly dismissing victim’s complaints, improperly classifying assaults as misdemeanor ‘unwanted touching’ complaints, etc.) to know that what an officer on the street doesn’t report, doesn’t get investigated. And it certainly doesn’t get prosecuted.

      • Carolina
        06/04/2010 at 1:27 PM

        Do you suppose that if it had happened, the person reporting it would have followed up?

  21. Ivan
    06/04/2010 at 8:22 AM

    No it’s not just you. I’d like to know who lived at 1417 Swann and his /her relationship to the trouple.

  22. Bob
    06/04/2010 at 8:22 AM

    There is a question that has been raised a few days ago, which is basic to how Judge Leibovitz can rule in this case. When the judge is the trier of fact, can she use common sense in inferring facts not in evidence from the facts in evidence, or is she limited to the facts in evidence? Can a lawyer comment? It is my understanding, but I am not a lawyer, that a jury is expected to use common sense. Is a judge acting as jury also expected to use common sense, and therefore can she infer facts not in evidence from the facts in evidence?

    In this case, in particular, the facts in evidence are contradictory. The cause of death was blood loss, and 4 liters of blood were missing from Robert’s body, but there was very little blood at the crime scene. Can the judge infer from the contradictory evidence that the crime scene was cleaned up?

    More generally, can the judge use common sense in finding as fact what actually happened from the facts in evidence?

    • First Time Reader
      06/04/2010 at 9:50 AM

      The judge can draw reasonable inferences from the facts. For example, it would seem to be a reasonable inference that Mr. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street (as opposed to somewhere else). The inference that Mr. Wone was murdered is based upon the autopsy report stating that Mr. Wone died from multiple stab wounds. Mr. Wone was present at 1509 Swann Street before his murder (based upon the interviews with the trouple) and his body was found at 1509 Swann Street.

      Although it is not established as a fact that there is an eye witness to Mr. Wone’s death, I believe the judge could reasonably infer from the facts established thus far that Mr. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street.

      I agree with you that the evidence regarding the blood evidence is contradictory, but I do think it is a reasonable inference at this point that the crime scene was cleaned up. Where’s the blood? At this point, it is an open question and one I assume the defense will attack.

      I think it would be an interesting project for the blog to develop the reasonable inferences the judge might draw from the evidence thus far.

  23. curiousdc
    06/04/2010 at 9:03 AM

    Just a quick question for the legal experts on this site. If the Wone family prevails, how does the court go about getting the $20 million settlement from the defendants?

    • Carolina
      06/04/2010 at 9:08 AM

      In much the same way one goes about getting blood from a stone.

  24. Ohio
    06/04/2010 at 9:54 AM

    A great big thanks to all of you for your dedication to this sight. I truly appreciate the first hand information and all the great analyzing from everyone.

  25. Clio
    06/04/2010 at 10:20 AM

    Is Chuck Wolf a member of the Family? Was Scott Hixson (or this Jim person) members of Culuket’s and/or Sarah’s circle of bright, “young” things? Inquiring minds want to know!

  26. Lurker
    06/04/2010 at 1:00 PM

    To all of those people who cannot imagine an intruder not being heard on hard wood floors, I would like to tell you a story. Many years before this event happened, I was living in Cleveland Park (about a mile north on Connecticut Ave.) It was a hot summer day and we had the back door open to the screened porch.

    While I watched TV on the first floor, and my son played video games in his bedroom on the second floor, an intruder came in and went through the first floor and up the stairs to the second floor and back down again without ever being heard. At one point (no, actually 2 points) he would have been no more than 3 feet away from me. I understand that there are other issues to explore regarding this case, but, I have NO DOUBT that an intruder was a real possibility in this case.

    • KKinCA
      06/04/2010 at 1:05 PM

      How frightening! I am glad that no harm came to you or your son. But I have some questions: 1. How did you know an intruder was there? I assume something was stolen. 2. Did you have hard wood floors/stairs? 3. How loud were the tv and video games? 4. Did you live on a busy street?

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/04/2010 at 1:08 PM

      certainly an intruder could have come into the home without being heard, but the problem with “the intruder theory” is there is absolutely no evidence what-so-ever that an intruder entered the home.

      Perhaps the door WAS open, but in order to get to the back door, the intruder would have had to scale the back fence, and no evidence of that happening has been found. The dust on the back fence was completely undisturbed, etc.

      If the defendants had said “we left the front door open” well, I might have my doubts, but as it stands (backdoor), I’m not buying it.

    • Carolina
      06/04/2010 at 1:43 PM

      That must have been terrifying. What did they take? I agree, acoustics can be tricky, but in this case, it was quiet in the house, all in bed, and they reportedn that you could hear pretty much anything that went on not only in their house, but the homes next door.

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