Opening Statement: Kirschner

The Chief Lays Out His Case In Chief

Maria Allison, RPR, retired last week as an Official Court Reporter for the DC Superior Court.  We think we know why she packed it in.

Maria was at the keyboard on Monday, May 17, when US v. Price, Ward and Zaborsky was first gaveled into session and prosecutor AUSA Glenn Kirschner delivered his marathon opening statement

Trial observers clocked the Homicide Chief at an hour and fifteen minutes; forty-six pages pages worth.  That day, Maria earned whatever relaxation her retirement has in store for her.

There’s been much discussion during the first three weeks of the trial that Kirschner’s case in chief has been a string of disparate elements lacking a cohesive narrative.  Here, is that narrative.  Kirschner was nothing if not thorough, exceedingly thorough that day.  He hit all the key points: chimes, towel(s), knife/knives, delayed reporting, the implausibility of the intruder theory, needle puncture marks, Michael Price, and family, family, family.

“They considered themselves a family, a very tight cohesive unit.  And sadly, Robert Wone was not a member of their family on the night of August 2, 2006, there was a choice to be made.”

“I don’t think anybody in here needs to articulate that motive and murder don’t always go hand in hand.”

“He says that he (Price) sees Robert Wone, and he is clear about this over and over, with a knife lying on his chest.”

“And you could tell it was a danger zone for Mr. Zaborsky when he was talking to the police (about if he saw the knife) and all of a sudden — ‘I’m cloudy on that.  I don’t know.  I was hysterical, so I can’t be sure.'”

Maria’s transcript follows.  Tomorrow we post the opening statements from the defense team: Bernie Grimm, David Schertler and Tom Connolly.

-posted by Craig

 

 

215 comments for “Opening Statement: Kirschner

  1. Timeline
    06/11/2010 at 11:07 AM

    Just finished reading it. Wow, pretty compelling to actually have it all laid out like that with all the contextualization and made into a clear storyline from Kirschner. Will definitely be interested to read the defense’s opening.

    • Timeline
      06/11/2010 at 11:09 AM

      Also, that back and forth with the judge about “offering for truth” actually made sense to me! 😉

    • Timeline
      06/11/2010 at 11:24 AM

      Sorry to keep replying to myself, but reading through the opening statement reminded me that the ME stated in the autopsy that some of the puncture marks were pre-mortem. I would definitely be interested in hearing from Lawmed or others with expertise how those could be explained by the EMS/ER/trauma team. My understanding is that although the trauma team did make a fairly aggressive attempt at revival because of the timeline that had been represented, in fact Robert was dead at the scene in the house, so any puncture wounds made by emergency and medical personnel would have been post-mortem, not pre-mortem.

      How to explain the pre-mortem puncture wounds? (Or do I just not understand enough about what happened? I am definitely not a doctor!)

      • Bill Orange
        06/11/2010 at 3:51 PM

        I think this is outside of lawmed’s area of expertise. You need a pathologist for this, preferably one who does a lot of autopsies. I thought the ME’s testimony was a bit sketchy on the pre-mortem versus post-mortem issue. I’m not sure how hard the defense really hit her on this, either. There was nothing in the autopsy to indicate that some of the punctures were pre-mortem and some were post-mortem; it was just something that she brought up at trial.

  2. leo
    06/11/2010 at 11:29 AM

    Talk about not being sensitive or responsive to the Judge’s repeated requests for brevity! Had I been making this opening, I would have cut it short pretty quickly after the first time the Judge noted that I was already talking “45 minutes beyond…[her ability to listen?]” I think I am now seeing how the prosecutor intends to meet the various elements of his burdens of proof on the three charges per defendant. As we have been pointing out, debating and theorizing endlessly, the evidence that remained that night for the police to process just doesn’t leave any story that makes sense. Ergo, tampering and obstruction. Not a bad argument. Makes sense of what appears to be nonsense.

  3. des
    06/11/2010 at 12:31 PM

    does the judge get a copy of all the transcripts from the trial to go over when she is deliberating (with herself) about the case? or does she have to rely on her notes?

    • leo
      06/11/2010 at 12:38 PM

      Trial transcripts are provided, but she may also rely on notes of course.

  4. BenFranklin
    06/11/2010 at 12:33 PM

    The police & ME simply got everything wrong with malicious incompetence. Bad hunches chasing flawed evidence, echoed by ignorant, bigoted, unqualified case workers. This is the most pathetic, rambling, blathering, bullshit I have ever read. It’s sickening & embarrassing that the government would actually prosecute a case like this. So far they have not met their burden of proof on any of their own elements.

    • leo
      06/11/2010 at 12:40 PM

      “This is the most pathetic, rambling, blathering, bullshit I have ever read.”
      That is precisely my point as to the defendants’ statements to police and friends. That’s why the charges have merit.

    • leo
      06/11/2010 at 12:46 PM

      “The police & ME simply got everything wrong with malicious incompetence. Bad hunches chasing flawed evidence, echoed by ignorant, bigoted, unqualified case workers.”

      Although there were some mistakes by evidence techs and some ham-handed questioning by at least one of the detectives, there is absolutely no way EVERYBODY who investigated this case was incompetent and/or malicious. Such “conspiracy” theories are often presented, and never succeed.

      When it’s a case of “100 people are WRONG and I AM RIGHT,” that’s a pretty good indication of where the equities actually lie. Also, what do you cite in support of your rant against the ME? Her findings and testimony were pretty routine and simple. No big mysteries there. When she could not conclude something (ie, did a certain knife make the wounds, or could a certain knife not have made the wounds), she said so. You paint with far too broad a brush to be persuasive. Saying something multiple times, even saying it LOUDLY, does not make it true.

      • Carolina
        06/11/2010 at 12:50 PM

        Oh dear, have you just met Mr. F? Here, have some tea.

        • cinnamon
          06/11/2010 at 1:38 PM

          chuckle

        • Nora
          06/11/2010 at 1:40 PM

          +10!

          Hilarious!

        • Bill Orange
          06/11/2010 at 3:52 PM

          I like my tea with milk and sugar.

      • Bea
        06/11/2010 at 1:09 PM

        Leo, you’ll see that Ben shows up from time to time and rants about incompetence and homophobic cops who are framing the defendants. For a long time, he fingered Dylan as the sole killer (as a result of being rendered a ‘zombie’ from the sleep aid Lunesta) – and at that time the other two defendants were guilty of THESE charges. Since then, though, he’s decided none are guilty. Oh, and the reason Joe Price is innocent? Because like Ben, he’s a William & Mary grad.

        This is why you’ll see silly non sequiturs following each of his posts as a substitute for sticking one’s fingers in their ears – we old timers try not to stir up the animals at the zoo. We learned a long time ago that nothing good can come of it.

        • Bill Orange
          06/11/2010 at 2:18 PM

          Wait a sec. Ben’s a W&M alum? What class?

          • Bea
            06/11/2010 at 2:35 PM

            Ben, what class?

            • sg
              06/11/2010 at 3:13 PM

              Just a point of clarification…the assumption that a fellow W&M alum would be inclined to defend Joe and gang is misplaced. Robert was also a W&M grad — and many of us, myself included, are horrified that there is at best a witholding of critical information and, at worst, criminal tampering by his classmates. The Tribe would like to see justice done here.

            • Bob
              06/12/2010 at 10:57 AM

              Benjamin Franklin had very little formal education, although he discovered the principle of the conservation of electrical charge. It was his collaborator who was William and Mary, 1762.

          • Carolina
            06/11/2010 at 3:11 PM

            I believe he’s classless.

          • AnnaZed
            06/11/2010 at 3:44 PM

            Just to be clear, Ben asserts that he is a W&M graduate, there is no proof that this is the case. My own cursory analysis of his grammar, spelling and syntax (not to mention grasp of logic and analysis) would indicate that this is highly unlikely.

            I think Ben is just a crime fan, like http://tinyurl.com/Doreen-Ramirez

            • Josh
              06/11/2010 at 9:07 PM

              “This is the most pathetic, rambling, blathering, bullshit I have ever read.”
              This sentence is the definitive proof that Ben did not graduate from W&M or any other university. No one who has spent 4 years plowing through the required readings in any college I know of could possible utter this judgment about any of the docs in this cae.

            • AnnaZed
              06/11/2010 at 11:25 PM

              Look for Ben’s key word mantra “sudden, unexpected …forceful” with its creepily erotic zing. He usually signs off for awhile after he posts that, temporarily sated.

          • BenFranklin
            06/12/2010 at 12:10 AM

            I too am an Orangeman and can pass the true test of correctly pronouncing our Lord Baron’s surname.

        • BenFranklin
          06/11/2010 at 8:25 PM

          Bea,
          I’ve backed off a bit from the Lunesta® zombie theory basically because the murder weapon knife is very probably from the kitchen downstairs, not necessarily from Ward’s set. A zombie across the hall would not go down to the kitchen to get a knife. Irresponsible knife-switch-eroo speculation by the unqualified ME threw me initially.

          No blood in the drains, u-traps, shower, sinks, or anywhere else makes me think this was a random, gangbanger initiation execution. Some gangster punk could have invaded the home to kill one of the fags they knew lived there. He didn’t steal anything so the loot couldn’t be tracked back to the gang.

          I’ve seen this kind of seemingly motiveless inexplicable violence before. It was a sudden, unexpected, stabbing so stunningly forceful that it stopped Wone’s heart almost instantly & he bled out internally where he laid.

          • WhatACase
            06/11/2010 at 11:31 PM

            …and bled out in such a way that his W&M shirt was saturated with blood, but almost none of it transferred to the sheets of the bed. But no tampering there, eh? One other observation: it always amuses me when the folks who credit the police, ME, and prosecutors with absolute ineptitude, also want us to believe that a “no blood” finding in a drain MUST BE conclusive, though it was conducted by the inept cops. (and as I recall, the dogs actually registered a “positive” for blood on the drains in the house and in the backyard).

          • Zombie Fag Gangbangers
            06/12/2010 at 12:38 AM

            You’re getting close to the truth Ben

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/11/2010 at 1:42 PM

      And Joe Price’s statement is prose worthy an award.

      The Faulkner Award.

    • Pinky Tuscadero
      06/11/2010 at 5:10 PM

      Two things the government got absolutely right. Right Robert Wone was murdered and it was not a robbery. Unless there’s a new band of robbers out there who don’t steal things, but just stab people with knives and needles. If that were the case, Fox News would have reported it by now.

      Nice try Joe I mean Ben Franklin.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/12/2010 at 6:29 PM

        I like the part about the EMS footsteps being heard on the 911 phone call as he goes up the uncarpeted, hard wood floors.

  5. First Time Reader
    06/11/2010 at 12:41 PM

    I thought the opening statement made much better reading than anticipated. I guess it remains to be seen what reasonable inferences the judge draws from the evidence presented to date and that will be presented after the break. I think there is enough here to sustain the government’s case.

    I still am a little mystified about “for the truth.” Obviously, the defendants said what they said on videotape. That does not mean they did not lie (or omit relevant information) or tell different stories to different people. When a defendant tells different things to the police than he or she says to friends and others or omits relevant information (for example, that Michael Price had a key), an inference can be drawn regarding the defendant’s credibility, famously summed up by the question “Are you lying then or are you lying now?”

    • Ex-DC res
      06/11/2010 at 2:43 PM

      I’ve seen a bunch of posters wonder about the “for the truth” issue. It relates to the hearsay rule. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement that is “offered for the truth of the matter asserted.”

      As a general rule, hearsay is inadmissible as evidence. So, for example, Joe saying “I pulled the knife from Robert’s chest” cannot be introduced by the prosecution to prove that Joe actually pulled the knife from Robert’s chest (i.e., for the truth of the matter asserted). It can, however, be introduced for other reasons, for example, to show Joe knew or thought there was a knife at the scene, in which case that out-of-court statement would not be offered for the truth of the matter asserted (i.e., the removal of the knife from the victim).

      If this sounds a little confusing, it is (there are many exceptions to boot). Law students typically dread the inevitable exam question on the hearsay rule. The hearsay rule is intended to keep unreliable statements out of evidence. (Of course, Joe could make the same exact statement on the witness stand, and then it would be admissible evidence for the truth of the matter asserted, b/c that wouldn’t be an out-of-court statement. But that doesn’t seem likely here.)

      • First Time Reader
        06/11/2010 at 3:30 PM

        I guess my basic problem is that my law school education and criminal law experience date back to the days when Justice Scalia was still a law professor and not the Supreme Court Justice who wrote the Crawford decision.

        It still seems to me that many of the statements can come in under exceptions to the hearsay rule. The statements are not being offered really for the truth of what was said, but as evidence of what the defendant said to the police officer or the 911 operator or his friend. When these statements do not coincide with the evidence, it should be evidence of obstruction. In addition, characterization of the defendants as acting in concert seems strong, given their prior relationships and their apparent designation of Joe Price as their spokesperson at the scene.

        • Ex-DC res
          06/11/2010 at 4:01 PM

          FTR — I misunderstood your post. I was trying to give non-lawyers a quick rundown on hearsay, since it’s come up a number of times, but your questions are more complicated, and I frankly don’t know the answer. I don’t practice criminal law, and in any case, you’ve been practicing longer than I have. That said, it’s not immediately obvious to me how the prosecution could impeach Joe with prior inconsistent statements unless he takes the stand. But the other reasons you suggest (evidence of obstruction, evidence of acting in concert) seem like plausible exceptions to me.

          • First Time Reader
            06/11/2010 at 5:04 PM

            I thought your summary was good. I had not read the Crawford decision until now, but it does seem the judge is intensely aware of the potential problems that decision entails.

            Justice Scalia really mucked up the waters (in a way that may benefit these defendants).

      • Tribe97
        06/11/2010 at 4:16 PM

        So, I *hated* evidence and have therefore blocked much of it, but isn’t the statement about the knife either (1)not hearsay because its an admission of a party-opponent or, (2) at minimum, admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule as a statement against interest? Pulling the knife out of Robert’s chest seems to me to be something that any reasonably intelligent person, much less a lawyer, would know not to do. At best, its tampering with evidence, as in so doing he would have obliterated fingerprints, etc. At worst, its my understanding that removing a knife or other foreign body from someone who is still alive can either cause further damage or otherwise hasten death if, for example, the knife placement was containing blood flow, etc.

        • Tribe97
          06/11/2010 at 4:23 PM

          More questions as a new reader here:

          Is there any evidence that would indicate whether Robert was still alive when Joe Price pulled the knife out of his chest? I know the blood spatter evidence was ruined so they can’t look at that (which would have possibly shown if the heart was still pumping when the knife was removed), but it sure would be an interesting twist if there was some way to tie at least some level of culpability to the act of removing the knife beyond just destroying any evidence on the knife.

          Also, were there any prints on the knife that the Defendants claim was the one that killed Robert?

          • Bill Orange
            06/11/2010 at 4:32 PM

            There was NO blood spatter evidence at the crime scene. The crime scene was tainted by the application of Ashley’s reagent, which was (mistakenly) used to try to find evidence of blood that had been “cleaned up”. But there was no spatter found prior to this–everyone said there wasn’t any, and the evidence techs would’ve photographed it prior to any sort of chemical treatment.

            As far as the knife, I don’t think we’ve seen the fingerprint results. The FBI was doing DNA tests on the knife as recently as last month, and I don’t think we’ve seen those results, either.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/11/2010 at 5:59 PM

            The defendants themselves claim that Robert was still breathing. Contrary to the their own defense strategy that he died immediately from a knife wound to the heart.

            • des
              06/11/2010 at 6:39 PM

              this is totally off-topic (well sort of) but i keep thinking that wouldn’t it be great if all first responders to crimes, whether police or emts, had video cameras strapped to their heads or something somehow? it would be so wonderful to be able to see (for the court to see, not my curious self, eh hem…) what the scene actually looked like and what ACTUALLY happened once the first responders arrived. i know it would be expensive but think of how much it would help in a case like this.

              • ladyg
                06/11/2010 at 8:07 PM

                i was thinking the same thing. i got my idea, from watching the show “the CLOSER”. that way you would have footage(unstead of photos/not that they’re not useful), upon arrival. step by step (footages)

                • Lyn
                  06/12/2010 at 9:42 AM

                  The maker of Tasers now has added a camera to the Taser so that a video can be seen anytime a Taser is unholstered and used. Same idea.

              • Eagle
                06/11/2010 at 10:33 PM

                As technology makes videos smaller and more portable, perhaps this will be an everyday routine in crime investigations.
                Think now that police in patrol cars now videotape the scene from the patrol car even when the patrol police have left the car.
                Good idea. Why not find an inventor and develop one.
                Who knows, maybe the CIA already has one.

                • ladyg
                  06/12/2010 at 9:02 PM

                  maybe it’s just me but when you watch these cop chases they seem to use poorest quaility (tape/dvr) known to man, but yet they use the best technology (sending back pictures) for outer space. call me crazy. once again i hope that they (prosecutors) are using this time wisely to get someone to clean up (audio) on that 911 call. just had to throw that out there

        • Goose
          06/11/2010 at 7:49 PM

          Joe’s statement is an admission by a party opponent, so it is not hearsay. It can technically be used “for truth” against him. The reason the judge brought it up was because she wanted to know how she was supposed to consider specific evidence that the prosecution was presenting – whether she should be thinking about if Joe actually moved the knife or not (for truth) or whether the prosecution is just establishing a pattern of lies (not for truth).

          The prosecution, however, stated that because Joe had two different stories about the knife (and presumably because there was no other supporting evidence in favor of either story), it wasn’t offering the statement that Joe pulled the knife from Robert’s chest “for truth.” The government simply cannot prove what happened based solely on statements that are totally lacking in credibility. My impression is that if the prosecution were able to prove the truth of that statement, it would be thrilled to offer it for truth – since it could support tampering.

          The upside in this type of case is that the prosecution can use most everything said by the defendants to prove its case for obstruction since the statements are not important for truth, but rather for inconsistencies and credibility.

          • Ex-DC res
            06/11/2010 at 10:11 PM

            Goose — That’s helpful. Thanks. It didn’t occur to me before that removal of the knife could constitute tampering, thus making the statement a potential admission.

          • chilaw79
            06/11/2010 at 10:14 PM

            The hard part seems to be whether Joe’s statements can be used against either of the other two defendants. One possibility is that the defendants were co-conspirators. However, I would think the defense counsel for the other two defendants will argue that Joe’s statements cannot be used against them. Of course, different stories at different times do reflect on credibility.

            The 911 call may stand on a little different footing since both Victor and Joe are involved in the call, and there seem to be discrepancies between what was described to the 911 operator and the evidence at the crime scene.

  6. ladyg
    06/11/2010 at 2:09 PM

    how is it that dylan can afford his three lawyers, is the “family” footing the bill?

    • Bill 2
      06/11/2010 at 2:42 PM

      I believe it was stated here a week or more ago, that his father is footing the bill. His father is a doctor.

      • Eagle
        06/11/2010 at 2:53 PM

        So much for underpaid cardiologists.

        • Carolina
          06/11/2010 at 3:13 PM

          Pity he didn’t come from a long line of reputable teachers. We’d be finished by now.

      • ladyg
        06/11/2010 at 6:27 PM

        bill: pls forgive me …..i just came on board a couple of weeks ago (tyring my best to get all the characters in place), therefore i now know that there’s a lot of catching i must do. if i haven’t said it before i’ll do it now…thank you.

        • ladyg
          06/11/2010 at 6:56 PM

          meant to say: catching up i must do

  7. NYer
    06/11/2010 at 2:12 PM

    Kirschner describes Sarah Morgan as “young.” She was about 36 in 2006, and is about 40 now, so I wonder what the cutoff age is for being “young”…

    • Eagle
      06/11/2010 at 2:51 PM

      Nyer:How young one is-it’s all all in one’s spirit.
      Life lesson free of charge.
      If you are from NY, you should already have a sense of that!!
      Stay young!

  8. DCGuy
    06/11/2010 at 2:24 PM

    I am not sure what evidence the defense will bring but after reading through that opening statement it really does lay out a very convincing case for their guilt.

  9. Hoya Loya
    06/11/2010 at 3:08 PM

    It could have been tighter, but I think Kirschner also wanted to highlight as many of the odd circumstances as possible going in.

    What surprises me is how much of the statement still holds up after three weeks of trial.

    • NYer
      06/11/2010 at 4:14 PM

      Kirschner’s opening was a bit clunky and rambling, and, on the printed page, was not as good a read as the Affidavit to Arrest Ward.

      But he covered the bases and made the points to be made, and Leibowitz is familiar with the case as it is. I also think he did a good job of highlighting JPs role as a ringleader and their motivation as a family.

  10. Bill 2
    06/11/2010 at 3:24 PM

    WHAT ABOUT THE FAMILIES?

    It seems parents of Victor and Dylan have been in court and probably are hearing some things they never imagined about the everyday living arrangements of their sons. Has anyone noticed any reactions during the testimony?

    The parents heard Sarah Morgan say that Dylan hoped to replace Victor as Joe’s spouse. You have to wonder how that hits the older generation. Victor’s parents hear how Dylan wants their son to get dumped from a relationship with Joe. Dylan’s father, paying huge attorney fees, hears that his son wants to be the spouse of Joe Price. How does he feel about that? What is he saying to his son when they’re outside the courtroom?

    Are the trouple still spending nights together at the home of Victor’s aunt or are the sons staying with their visiting parents? If so, that would leave just Joe staying with Victor’s aunt.

    Don’t you wonder what the parents are saying to their offspring at the end of the day? Once this trial is over, is Victor’s father still going to foot the attorney bills for the Wone family’s lawsuit? What are the parents doing and thinking during this off-week? Visiting the Smithsonian?

    • First Time Reader
      06/11/2010 at 3:34 PM

      The parents of gay children love them. They want their children to be happy and not to have to go to prison, just like the parents of all children. Like other parents, they want their children to have strong, committed relationships with someone they love.

      • Bill Orange
        06/11/2010 at 3:59 PM

        I don’t think Bill 2 was zeroing in on the on the fact that Victor and Dylan are gay. I think he was zeroing in on the fact that they’ve both been accused of heinous crimes, and they appear to be competing for the affections of third individual who appears to be largely responsible for getting them into this mess in the first place. I don’t think any parent wants their child–gay or straight–to get into a relationship like that.

        • Bill 2
          06/11/2010 at 4:27 PM

          Exactly. I guess I didn’t make it clear. The parents are hearing about the trio being a family, yet they’re also hearing (probably for the first time) that there’s a conflict between their sons. And Dylan’s parents now see their son wanting to be the only spouse of a person who seems to be the “ringleader” of the coverup for a horrendous crime. While parents want happiness for their children, I can’t imagine that the Wards are too thrilled that their son feels so strongly for Joe Price.

          Victor’s parents may have been happy to have their son as part of a loving couple (with children), but now they are hearing testimony that one of the trouple wants to move into Victor’s position as spouse.

          • First Time Reader
            06/11/2010 at 5:00 PM

            I now understand and agree.

            Sadly, children do not always exercise the best judgment in their relationship choices.

            This whole situation must be agonizing for the parents.

            • Bill 2
              06/11/2010 at 5:18 PM

              You’re right about it being agonizing for the parents. Most parents don’t have leverage over a son of Dylan’s age, but in this case his father must be spending a small fortune on lawyers. I keep wondering if Dr. Ward is putting any kind of pressure on his son to take responsibility for his actions that night.

              Are Victor’s parents pleading, “Tell us what really happened that night.”

              I just can’t imagine parents sitting quietly by and not asking questions of their sons. Do these guys lie to their parents or do they give a hint that there’s more than they’re telling?

              • anoninny
                06/11/2010 at 5:29 PM

                or do some parents trust their children? got kids, billy boy numero dos? would you doubt them or trust them first? have some nuts: tell the truth!

                • Bob
                  06/11/2010 at 9:25 PM

                  Do you have a theory, or are you a troll?

          • Carolina
            06/11/2010 at 9:05 PM

            I would say Dylan’s parents are pleased with anything that will keep him east of the Mississippi.

      • Ivan
        06/11/2010 at 4:06 PM

        Well, I was in the courtroom twice the week after Memorial Day and I know Dylan’s father and his mother too were there. My first reaction to Dylan’s father was that he acted like the father of the bride at the wedding reception. But after a while I began to realize that he is probably trying to boost his own morale and hold himself up. I feel for Dylan because his “lifestyle” is out in public eye now. Although I think he knows a lot more than he’s saying I don’t think he was involved with the murder. Just my 2 cents.

        • anoninny
          06/11/2010 at 4:37 PM

          “…and I know…” wrong. wrong. wrong. are you really keith alexander? come on, don’t be shy? morons are people, too. or did you just dream that during a little nap? oh, sorry! I forgot! you were taken off the story due to gross incompetence. my bad!

          • Bill Orange
            06/11/2010 at 4:50 PM

            Shrug. Feel free to correct factual errors. If it wasn’t Dylan’s mother and father in the courtroom, who WAS it?

            • anoninny
              06/11/2010 at 5:01 PM

              billy, where the hell do i start? post 1? question: when these guys are acquitted, are you going to be one of the people with the c.o.jones to say you were wrong? or are you just going to ride b*tch on the lychophilic bandwagon and vociferously maintain that they merely “got off”?

              • Bea
                06/11/2010 at 5:34 PM

                Why the venom, anoninny? Post your thoughts – no need to be so nasty. And what the heck does ‘lychophilic’? mean?

                • Leo
                  06/11/2010 at 6:16 PM

                  Having to do with a werewolf?

                  • Bob
                    06/11/2010 at 7:20 PM

                    Probably.

                • Bob
                  06/11/2010 at 7:20 PM

                  Leo is probably right, depending on what word anoninny has misspelled. “Lyophilic” is a technical term referring to a strong attraction between the dispersed medium and the dispersal medium in a colloid. “Lipophilic” is a slightly more familiar technical term referring to a molecule that is attracted to fats rather than to water. “Lycophilic” is a rare term referring to being attracted either to wolves or to werewolves. If anoninny is terrified of or hates werewolves, then one possibility is that she may be a vampire. A vampire has already been mentioned in passing as a possible villain in this case, so maybe she is trying to draw attention away from herself.

                  • AnnaZed
                    06/11/2010 at 11:14 PM

                    Ha! That’s brilliant.

              • Bob
                06/11/2010 at 7:23 PM

                To address an adult male by a diminutive name when he does not use that form is insulting. Some of us try to be polite. Go to some other forum where that is not expected.

              • Bill Orange
                06/11/2010 at 10:41 PM

                I’ll probably say that they “got off”. The prosecution has the burden of proof here. An acquittal means that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants were guilty. It does NOT mean that the defense proved that the defendants were innocent.

                I’m far more interested in your answer to the reverse question: If the defendants are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charged crimes, what will YOU have to say?

        • Bill Orange
          06/11/2010 at 4:39 PM

          Intriguing. Someone else who went to the courtroom posted a while back that Dylan completely creeped them out. He’s the one person in this drama that I really don’t have a good “read” on. He could be anything from a socially-awkward misfit who so deeply yearns to be accepted that he’s willing to do all kinds of bizarre things to win people’s affection, to a totally amoral Jeffrey Dahmer clone. Some days, I’m convinced that he was the stabber. Other days, I’m sure he was in his room the whole time and just got mixed up with the wrong couple.

          • NYer
            06/11/2010 at 5:11 PM

            Just a guided tour of Dylan’s bedroom would be enough to scare the bejesus out of me. From the affidavit, we learn the guy sported restraints, racks, penis vices, an enema kit and some sort of device that apparently is designed to force the wearer to drink another’s urine(?!?).

            A few weeks ago the blog reported that the defense wanted evidence of two books in Dylan’s room excluded, and for good reason: the novel Being Dead, and STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Reading the negative Amazon reviews of Being Dead certainly was particularly creepy, knowing that this book was on Dylan’s reading list. http://www.amazon.com/Being-Dead-Novel-Jim-Crace/product-reviews/0312275420/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

            • ladyg
              06/11/2010 at 6:53 PM

              AMEN, BROTHER! (about being scared). to show you how this case has affected me, i went out a bought the movie (“CRUSING”/AL PACINO) just to get the sense(ok curiosity) of what’s going on here. well the first 15 mins. was enough for me. if this is spicing things up, well i want no parts of it (call me old fashion, if you must). tjmo.

              • NYer
                06/12/2010 at 7:46 AM

                Interesting, I hadn’t thought about that movie in years. I remember it being pretty non-uplifting indeed for a Pacino movie, and certainly cast that particular 70s scene in an ominous light. Thanks for reminding me.

                If you’re up for it ladyg, check out Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. That movie is truly disturbing, especially given that it’s based on an actual 1954 murder committed by two teenage girls in New Zealand. The film explored why two people might enter into an unhealthy relationship and do anything to maintain that relationship. But it’s not really a movie about homosexuality; the girls’ lesbianism (if indeed they were lesbians) is debatable, and Jackson certainly does not make a statement either way or dwell on that question; so, like the goverment’s case here, the movie is more about two girls’ unnatural and symbiotic relationship, rather than their sexuality. I had trouble sleeping foe a couple of days after watching it.

                • ladyg
                  06/12/2010 at 9:21 PM

                  NYer, thanks but no thanks. don’t want to have anymore nightmares and to think that people enjoy tormenting one another for pleasure. i bit off more than i could handle,so call me weak, it’s ok. therefore i got the glimpse of the dark side and i don’t like it. THAT’S WHAT I GET FOR BEING NOSEY

    • Mark M
      06/11/2010 at 6:26 PM

      Let’s not lose track of the fact that the trial is not about a somewhat avante garde lifestyle by three adults who appeared before this matter to have been successful productive individuals. If I were the parents I would be less concerned over public revelations of a rather unusual sort of gay relationship and much more concerned that the witnesses and the prosecution are saying – – that their sons either did nothing to prevent Robert Wone, a guest in their home, from dying or may have murdered him, and may have actively mislead the police investigators in trying to find out who murdered him, now THOSE are the sort of things a parent really should to be embarrassed about if they are true!

      • tucsonwriter
        06/12/2010 at 6:44 PM

        Exactly. WHO MURDERED ROBERT WONE? is the perfect name for this site. I do not see any evidence EVER of any of them being upset that Robert Wone is lying there dead. They seemed concerned about a “body” that they treat as an object that had blood in it.

        One of the TV news clips shows one of the editors saying that of all the highlights of the trial – he was struck by how Joe Price did not look at the towel when it was introduced to the court. Everyone else had their eyes on that towel. Joe Price did not look up from the folder he was staring at.

  11. dcbill
    06/11/2010 at 4:03 PM

    Hmm. This opening statement just wanders all over the place. The only strong evidence I have seen to date is the neighbors who helped establish the timeline and the blood missing from Robert’s body. The rest seems inconclusive. But maybe it’s enough to hang them.

    • anoninny
      06/11/2010 at 4:43 PM

      “…maybe it’s enough to hang them…” man, can you go read To Kill A Mockingbird and then jump off a bridge?

      • Carolina
        06/11/2010 at 9:12 PM

        I feel an IP check and a-bannin’ coming on.

        • Bob
          06/11/2010 at 9:31 PM

          No. Unfortunately, it will require a judgment call by the editors, just as the judge has a judgment call on truth. It isn’t obvious from the logs. I have read logs. Fortunately for justice, the judge actually will make a judgment call for justice.

          I agree that this poster is a troll, but I don’t think that it can be proved that she is a troll.

          • Carolina
            06/12/2010 at 9:55 AM

            We’ve had similar verbiage in the past, with multiple SNs for a single IP address. He sounds too familiar.

            • Bob
              06/12/2010 at 11:05 AM

              I assume that you have not seen the IP addresses, just as I have not. If there are multiple screen names from the same IP address, then they are sock-puppets. Multiple screen names from the same address block may be multiple users with the same ISP. I would like to see anoninny banned for being a troll (or a vampire), but only the editors know whether she is a sock-puppet.

      • Bob
        06/11/2010 at 9:28 PM

        Are you there on post also? Please provide us with evidence as to who did it, or go away, or admit that you are the vampire.

    • NYer
      06/11/2010 at 4:44 PM

      Agreed, DC (as per my response to Hoya above). But another thing about his opening that I was not fully aware of but which I thought was significant, was the pristine state of Robert’s towels with respect to the claim that he had showered before bed. It may have already been mentioned previously and I missed it, but it wasn’t really impressed upon me until now.

      • Mark M
        06/11/2010 at 5:57 PM

        How can anyone plausibly claim that they heard Robert Wone shower but yet could not hear someone coming up the steps or leaving the scene of the crime? Why would they say that Robert Wone showered, when, from the condition of the towels (folded and dry) he had not? Does someone know what this gains them?

        • Bea
          06/11/2010 at 6:02 PM

          Hi Mark,

          I suspect a shower is to have a bloody mess and to clean DNA off to boot.

        • Leo
          06/11/2010 at 6:09 PM

          Well, if you’ve ever lied, even of the white lie variety, you know that the more innocuous details you throw in, the more believable your story sounds. This works if (1) you keep your details straight, (2) your details don’t contradict themselves, and (3) your fellow-fabricators back you up. None of these apply in this case.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/12/2010 at 6:47 PM

        Also I liked the way they introduced how he folded up his clothes and how his clothes were found in a heap on the floor, not the way he would have left them.

        • chilaw79
          07/31/2010 at 3:01 PM

          This is an area that continues to bother me. Are there photos that show the conditions of Robert’s clothing in the room? I know Kathy Wone testified that Robert was very neat and folded his clothes. To me, if Robert’s clothes were in a heap, it would suggest he had not undressed himself.

  12. Nelly
    06/11/2010 at 5:33 PM

    So is the gov’t not going to bring up the alt.com ad and information about Joe and Dylan looking for a 3rd sex partner? It would be relevant toward motive but maybe it’s not essential? To me, it would be worth mentioning.

    • Leo
      06/11/2010 at 6:09 PM

      Not relevant, motive not an element of any crime.

    • DonnaH
      06/11/2010 at 6:17 PM

      The prosecution has already made clear that they are not going to discuss the sexual proclivities of the trouple. This case is not about murder, but about conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and evidence tampering, for which the defendants’ loyalties to each other constitute the more relevant motive.

      • CC Biggs
        06/11/2010 at 6:50 PM

        Not so fast. What if the cover up was motivated by the housemates’ desire to hide the fact that they were involved in a lot of bizzare sex practices? That would make the sex evidence very relevant to the motive for the crimes involved in the CURRENT trial.

        • Makes me wonder
          06/11/2010 at 6:56 PM

          CC great point!

          • Bea
            06/11/2010 at 7:07 PM

            Because it wasn’t mentioned in the opening statement, it seems clear the prosecution has decided not to pursue it. That said, I do see how it would have been relevant (if nothing else but what Victor was willing to tolerate!).

    • Carolina
      06/11/2010 at 9:13 PM

      What would make that relevant? We can be pretty sure Robert didn’t reply.

  13. ladyg
    06/11/2010 at 7:07 PM

    my goodness, something went terrible wrong after mr. wone went into that house. all he wanted was a hot shower and a good night sleep at his friend’s home. all parties (involved) just need to come clean and not drag their families (any further) into this nightware. after reading the above documents, says to me that mr.price, didn’t act as if mr.wone was a valued houseguest.

    • Carolina
      06/11/2010 at 9:15 PM

      Well, we can dream, can’t we?

  14. WhatACase
    06/11/2010 at 7:48 PM

    Didn’t realize until reading this opening statement that the back gate, which has a latch on the inside and a key slot on the outside, must be locked with the key to relock the gate once you exit into the alley. In other words, if someone scaled the gate to enter the backyard, they wouldn’t be able to simply walk thru the gate, utilizing the latch, on their exit, without leaving the gate unlocked (and the gate was locked when the police got there). So the intruder had to scale the fence to get in and get out. Now that’s a problem.

    • Bea
      06/11/2010 at 7:54 PM

      I think it’s much more curious for Joe to have assumed that the ‘intruder’ scaled OUT when he could have gone through the gate – why would he care if it locked or not? The police caught that ‘assumption’ too and asked him why he thought so (since he hadn’t gone back there). He fumbled around and said that because the door wouldn’t automatically close, and it wasn’t standing open, the intruder must not have gone through it on his way out. If he COULD see the gate (big question mark for me) then why is it weird for him to have shut the gate door than to have climbed over the danged thing? My guess is that he knew there wasn’t an intruder and that it was still locked. THAT the intruder couldn’t have done – unless he had a key.

      • HKG
        06/11/2010 at 9:08 PM

        Wow, thanks Case and Bea, now I finally think I understand this gate issue!

        • WhatACase
          06/11/2010 at 9:53 PM

          These boys are guilty as sin. The arrogance of hubris is amazing—Price really thought he could talk and over-think his way out of this. I hope the judge is as no-nonsense as her reputation suggests, and that she throws the book at them, especially ringleader Price.

          • WhatACase
            06/11/2010 at 9:53 PM

            and hubris

          • NYer
            06/12/2010 at 10:41 AM

            Re Hubris and Price- let’s discuss. I presume defense counsel advised the troupe not to delve into WMRW.com and certainly not to post here. But given what we know and have postulated about Joe — the arrogance, the gall, the *hubris* — does anyone think he has posted here? Is there any way for the editors to know for sure?

            • Bill Orange
              06/12/2010 at 9:25 PM

              I would say that it’s about 99% likely that he’s reading and 50% likely that he’s posting.

            • Bill 2
              06/12/2010 at 9:56 PM

              Several years ago, it seemed that at least one of the trouple was posting his bull in the threads at DataLounge. That was before the trio was charged. Then about two years ago, it increased and we were attacked as “Nelly Nancy Drews.” I figure that was a sign that we were really bugging them. Good! The current DL thread “DC Murder Mystery” is mostly highlights and updates pointing to this website but there are still a few inputs every once in awhile that could be coming from one of the trio. When this is all over, I hope that we Nelly Nancy Drews have cause to drink a toast to justice being served.

              • WhatACase
                06/12/2010 at 10:01 PM

                If so, I’ll buy the first round.

  15. Leonard
    06/11/2010 at 8:18 PM

    It would be interesting to see a very detailed timeline of the moments leading up to the murder through the 911 call. In particular I’d like to know timing of when Dylan arrived on the scene. As I remember it from the transcripts Joe and Victor came downstairs together when they heard the scream. Dylan heard the commotion and came out to investigate a few minutes later.

    If Dylan came out 30 seconds later, Joe and Victor wouldn’t have had much time to absorb the situation and begin to act. But after a minute or so, knowing a close friend has just been murdered on the same floor as your partners bedroom, wouldn’t the first reaction be, “Oh my God, where’s Dylan, is he okay?”. Odd how neither Victor or Joe thought of that. Either Dylan was incorrect about the timing in his interview or Joe and Victor heartlessly ignored the possibility that a close family member might have been in danger or worse.

    • BadShoes
      06/11/2010 at 8:41 PM

      Well, there is a very approximate way of figuring out the moment when Mr. Ward emerged. Mr. Ward said, if I recall correctly, that he heard a commotion, eventually got up, put on his robe, and emerged to see Messrs. Zaborsky and Price.

      Mr. Zaborsky said that he went upstairs to make the 911 call, and when he came downstairs with the towel, Mr. Ward was already present. So, there is an inconsistency in their stories–did Mr. Ward emerge before or after Mr. Zaborsky came downstairs.

      Our esteemed editor Craig, in his invaluable analysis of Mr. Zaborsky’s 911 call, notes that Mr. Zaborsky was apparently upstairs for the first 2 minutes of the call, but was definitely downstairs by 2:45 into the call, or circa 11:52-53pm.

      So, Mr. Price, by his account, had whatever time elapsed between the great descent, Mr. Zaborsky’s reascension, plus 2-3 minutes of 911 call to notice that Mr. Ward wasn’t accounted for.

      Note also that Mr. Price said that when he heard the first chime, he thought it was Sarah Morgan returning. So, it could also of occurred to Mr. Price that Sarah Morgan was also unaccounted for. Instead, his account requires him to have decided instantly that no, Sarah Morgan had never returned, and that the first chime was due to an intruder.

      How Mr. Zaborsky got to the intruder theory by 11:49pm, based on (according to his account) nothing more than the sight of Mr. Wone and the knife, remains a puzzle.

      • Bea
        06/11/2010 at 8:47 PM

        Good point, BadShoes – we’ve gone round and round about the oddity that no one thought to check on the late-to-emerge Mr. Ward, but did it ever cross their minds to check on Sarah? Since she could have been coming home late, might she not have been attacked and that was how the “intruder” got in? Just another head-scratcher.

      • Mark M
        06/11/2010 at 9:16 PM

        And how does he hear the chime but not hear someone walk past his room on the way in to the study, and again hear the foot steps walk past again when the alleged intruder was escaping? those old houses always have very creaky steps and floors.

  16. Nate
    06/11/2010 at 8:36 PM

    I really don’t think the prosecution has any case here whatsoever. The investigation was so badly botched that none of the potential scenarios is remotely plausible.

    The intruder theory, admittedly, makes no sense based on the evidence. But neither does the sexual murder/coverup theory, which requires us to believe all of the following **completely implausible** scenarios:

    1) We’re supposed to believe that almost immediately after Robert’s arrival, one or more of these three highly intelligent and worldly men – none of whom was apparently under the influence of drugs, and one of whom was an experienced lawyer – suddenly decided that they would horrifically assault and rape a heterosexual friend.

    2) We’re supposed to believe that somehow they expected to get away with the assault and rape. How could they do this without killing Robert afterward? If they did intend all along to kill Robert, why not come up with a better coverup? If this was a rape or sexual thrill killing, why not choose a victim they didn’t know, whose rape/murder could not be traced to them?

    3) We’re supposed to believe that within the course of barely an hour, the men managed to do all of the following things:
    a) either overpower Robert (despite no evidence of a struggle) or drug him (despite no toxicology evidence),
    b) engage in elaborate sexual practices involving needles, electric shock, and Robert’s own semen in his rectum,
    c) kill him,
    d) clean up the scene,
    e) hide the evidence,
    f) discuss a cover story,
    g) agree on the cover story,
    h) make sure they all understood the cover story,
    i) call 911.

    4) We’re supposed to believe that amid the terror and hysteria of the murder’s immediate aftermath, none of the three men revealed the murderer (either deliberately or accidentally).

    5) We’re supposed to believe that over the course of four years, none of the three men – despite the obvious tensions and rivalries in their three-way relationship, not to mention all the strain and pressure they have been under since then – decided to save himself by turning state’s evidence against the others.

    6) We’re supposed to believe that Joe Price, a successful and experienced lawyer with a good reputation and a record of social responsibility, either:
    a) decided to rape and kill an old college friend just for fun, under circumstances that would clearly implicate him in the murder
    or,
    b) decided it was worth sacrificing his entire life, career, wealth, and status to protect someone else (Ward or Zaborsky) who had just murdered his old friend.

    The entire thing – the scenario that almost everyone on this site seems to have bought into – just makes no sense.

    The police investigation of the crime scene and treatment of the physical evidence were so clearly bungled (not a surprise for anyone who has had an encounter with the DC cops or knows about their dismal record on murder investigations) that it’s highly unclear at this point which, if any, of the pieces of evidence can be believed. Puncture marks? Fibers on the knife? Semen in the rectum? Pollen on the fence? Who even knows which to believe at this point, and which to dismiss? And who knows what critical evidence the investigators missed?

    Moreover, remember that we’re not dealing with just one defendant, but three. They each have to be determined guilty or innocent *individually* – not collectively. There’s just no evidence as to which of the three of them knew what, or did what.

    Kirschner’s opening statement is clearly that of a prosecutor with no case, throwing circumstantial evidence around the courtroom like fistfuls of mud and hoping that enough of it will stick. Enough of it, that is, to get at least one conviction out of this complete fiasco.

    I can see absolutely no way that a responsible judge can rule any of these three men guilty of anything.

    • Bea
      06/11/2010 at 8:44 PM

      Welcome, Nate. You do realize that the charges here are obstruction of justice, tampering, and conspiracy, right? There are several instances where the defendants have been caught dead-to-nuts in lies which have no Earthly purpose but to send the cops in the wrong direction. I realize you agreed that the “intruder” theory “makes no sense” but it’s not the prosecution’s job here to disprove that theory, or to prove who murdered Robert Wone. As to these charges, it’s pretty clear to me that at a minimum Joe Price is convicted of all three charges, though Victor and Dylan are less clear – my guess would be obstruction and conspiracy as to both but not tampering.

      • Bea
        06/11/2010 at 8:52 PM

        Addendum as to the reason for my conclusion – and a nod to the fact that not all evidence has come in yet. The good Judge will likely find that the conspiracy existed as to obstructing justice – and possibly she’ll find that the conspiracy included tampering (in addition to one/more enumerated uncharged conduct allegations). But even though conspirators are guilty for actions of the others, perhaps the Judge will conclude that the knife tampering and blood-wiping was Joe’s acts alone before the conspiracy arose. Highly unlikely that he acted alone, but we only have evidence of him laying claim to wiping blood (and directly lying about it) and to having been the last one to touch the planted knife (and since he claims to have pulled it from Robert’s chest, no one else could have had the access to wipe it after he last touched it).

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 8:56 PM

        Of course I know what the charges are, Bea. But inconsistencies are not the same as “lies.” In the aftermath of a murder – especially the horrific stabbing of a close friend in their own home – people would naturally be hysterical and confused. It would be more surprising to me if they did *not*, over the course of their repeated statements in various conversations and interrogations, contradict themselves and/or each other on some of the details. Have you ever witnessed a serious crime? Shock and mental fog are part of the experience.

        I am not saying the men are innocent. If I were a betting man, I’d probably bet that one or more is guilty. But that’s not enough – thank God! – to convict someone in an American court of law.

        What *is* required is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” And I have seen no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that any of them, individually, was deliberately obstructing, tampering, or conspiring.

        • Carolina
          06/11/2010 at 9:24 PM

          What would you call the delay in calling 911? What of there being absolutely no evidence of anyone coming over the fence? Zero defensive wounds? A shirt soaked in blood, but only two small stains on the sheets?

          • Nate
            06/11/2010 at 9:29 PM

            The fence pollen and lack of defensive wounds are immaterial to the conspiracy charges. The clean sheets are suspicious, but not enough to convict.

            • Leo
              06/11/2010 at 10:30 PM

              Not so, since all three proclaimed that “an intruder” must have done it, entering through the unlocked patio door. Conspiracy to obstruct justice, right there. The lack of defensive wounds also undercuts the intruder-murderer theory.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/12/2010 at 7:06 PM

          Nate – All of the things you enumerate are the reasons why so many people are interested in this case. It makes NO reasonable sense. The fact of the matter is: Robert Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street sometime after 10:30 pm and before 11:45 pm or so as the EMT found him dead at 11:54pm.

          There is no plausible way for an intruder to have committed the crime. There is no plausible reason for an intruder to have committed the crime.

          There IS evidence that the crime scene was tampered with. A large amount of blood was missing from the body. 2/3 the amount that should be in the body was missing. There was very little blood at the scene of the crime. There was no blood on the body, no blood on the sheets except for under the body. The body was staged on the bed. The wounds were at a 10 ragged, 4 solid position which means the stabber had to walk around the bed and inflict the stabs from over Robert Wone’s right side shoulder – which would have been hard to do with him lying in the middle of the sofa bed. The back gate which the intruder supposedly fled through was locked and couldn’t be locked through the outside. There were no sounds reported of footsteps on the hardwood floor but other sounds were reported – the beep beep of the chime and Robert Wone’s shower. But all the evidence points to a divergence between how Robert Wone would have put his clothes away (neatly folded) and the way his clothes were left piled on the floor.

          The problem is Robert Wone was not spending the night in just any old friend from college’s home. He was spending the night in the home of a set of couples- what has been called a trouple. Triangles are notorious for being unstable. Open any psychology book plus everyone know’s the adage – Two’s company, threes a crowd. He obviously stumbled in on something as he ended up murdered. It’s a fact that he was murdered and his body was found in the guest bedroom. The government is saying they can’t prove what happened from 10:30 onwards because the people who lived in that house made it impossible for the police, etc to figure out what happened beyond the moment Robert Wone swiped his card to let himself out of the radio station.

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 9:05 PM

        Moreover, regarding what you say about the knife: It’s just as plausible that Joe Price did that without thinking clearly, amid the shock of suddenly finding his old friend with a knife in his chest.

        Which is to say: It’s no less plausible than the other far-fetched things the prosecution is asking us (or the judge) to believe.

        • Bea
          06/11/2010 at 9:23 PM

          Nate, we simply disagree. I am curious, however, about your take on why it took the defendants 14-44 minutes to call 911. I will assume you think Robert Wone bled internally and the plant knife was both the murder weapon and was not wiped with blood. And that there was no ‘concocted’ story.

          But anyone would know with certainty if they pulled a knife out of a friend’s chest. I see no plausible explanation for telling two different stories.

          • Nate
            06/11/2010 at 9:34 PM

            Again: all of this is suspicious, but not enough to prove any of the charges. The prosecution has *no* direct (as opposed to circumstantial) evidence of tampering, obstruction, or conspiracy in this case.

            • WhatACase
              06/11/2010 at 10:02 PM

              Nate — I don’t know you from Adam, but your approach reminds me of a holdout juror on a DC jury that I served with several years ago. The circumstantial evidence against the defendant was overwhelming, but she insisted that, in the absence of a video, she just couldn’t be absolutely sure what had happened. The crime occurred in a private home—the possibility of a video was ridiculous.

              • Nate
                06/11/2010 at 10:08 PM

                I agree, as I have said, that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence pointing to one or more of the three men.

                But we live in America, where – fortunately – the standards of evidence in a courtroom are different from those of anonymous posters on a website.

                • WhatACase
                  06/11/2010 at 10:29 PM

                  Are you seriously suggesting that overwhelming circumstantial evidence should never be a basis for a conviction?? Really??

                  • Liam
                    06/11/2010 at 10:44 PM

                    Yes. Circumstantial evidence often results in conviction. In fact, there have been cases where no body was ever found yet the accused was convicted based on circumstantial evidence.

                    I think these three men are guilty as can be, yet I don’t think the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard has been met YET.

                    Perhaps as the trial unfolds my tune will change.

                • Leo
                  06/11/2010 at 10:34 PM

                  Nate, your “standards of evidence” are ridiculous! Circumstantial evidence IS evidence, and sufficient to persuade a reasonable person beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not need a videotape, or a confession, or all the physical evidence that is missing in this case, to conclude that one or all of the defendants conspired, tampered, and obstructed. Circumstantial evidence is plenty of evidence!

                  • Nate
                    06/11/2010 at 10:38 PM

                    Of course circumstantial evidence counts.

                    But the key phrase in your comment is “one or all.” Which one/s? The judge can’t find “one or all” guilty.

                • Liam
                  06/11/2010 at 10:38 PM

                  By the way, is there anyone who thinks these guys won’t lose in the civil case?

                  To me, the civil case is a slam dunk. They lose without question. Preponderance of the evidence. Whose story is more likely to be true.

                  To me, beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high standard to meet. When I watch these shows like Dateline and 20/20 where they follow a murder trial and they interview the jurors afterwards, I often feel the jury that convicted got it wrong. The jurors standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” often seems to be “well it seemed that the prosecution’s story made more sense than the defense’s story”. That’s not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

                  • WhatACase
                    06/11/2010 at 10:44 PM

                    which is precisely why price insisted on a bench trial, at the last minute, after exclusions were litigated. A smart legal move by a guilty man.

                    • Nate
                      06/11/2010 at 10:51 PM

                      Not wanting a jury trial is not evidence of guilt. Wow, I’d like to see *you* facing the business end of an indictment sometime.

                    • chilaw79
                      06/11/2010 at 11:00 PM

                      I don’t think waiving a jury trial is evidence of guilt. There are many reasons to request waiver of a jury trial, particularly if the defendants felt that being gay might be held against them by one or more jurors, or simply to require a conscientious analysis of the elements of each of the crimes alleged. Also, I think a judge might be more willing than a jury to separate the defendants when viewing the evidence.

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

                      A smart move because the defense probably felt a judge would more likely recognize reasonable doubt than a jury.

                      Not necessarilythe act of a guiltyman, though I repeat, I believe that theseguys are guilty, as is my right as a card carrying citizen of the US of A.

                    • DavidR
                      06/12/2010 at 11:27 AM

                      I wonder why the other two went along with the bench vs. jury. because Joe said so I imagine.

            • BadShoes
              06/12/2010 at 10:49 PM

              “The judge can’t find “one or all” guilty.”

              (I’m backing up to get some width)

              Actually, she sort of can. I don’t much care for the conspiracy statutes, but I believe the defendants have been charged with conspiracy. If the judge finds that a criminal conspiracy existed, and she finds that a particular defendant participated in that conspiracy, then the she can find that defendant guilty of the crime of conspiracy AND any criminal acts that were a product of the conspiracy.

              Lawyers, did I get that right?

        • Josh
          06/11/2010 at 9:34 PM

          Here’s a chellenge, Nate. Can you invent for us a scenario that rises to reasonable plausibility (or whatever is the inverse of reasonable doubt) that explains how this crime could have occurred, include all its known details, in which all three defendants could have no knowledge of what actually happened.

          • Nate
            06/11/2010 at 9:40 PM

            Of course not. But no one here has invented a scenario that rises to reasonable probability implicating the three defendants in the crime.

            • WhatACase
              06/11/2010 at 10:04 PM

              have you read all of the scenarios that have been posted over the last 6 months? Some of them are incredibly reasonable. Reprehensible? Sure. But sadly reasonable.

              • Nate
                06/11/2010 at 10:12 PM

                If there’s any specific scenario that does *not* involve the improbabilities that I listed above, I hope you will point me to it.

            • Josh
              06/11/2010 at 10:12 PM

              Nate, I said reasonable PLAUSIBILITY. I’m not picking nits. I think you are mixing up two levels of analysis. Obviously, whoever did it, this crime is bizarro, and makes no sense to any normal person.
              I am saying there is no conceivable scenario in which an “intruder” did this (except if that “intruder” was M Price). But that a burglar bounded into the house, traipsed through it, murdered Robt in his sleep for no reason, and bounded out, meanwhile forgetting to steal anything, even with valuables in plain view, is completely implausible.
              That one or more of the trouple and/or M Price did it is hard to grasp in terms of understanding their motives–and would have come from feelings somewhere in their psyches that you and I don’t share, but it is not implausible or difficult to square with the evidence that we know.

              • Nate
                06/11/2010 at 10:16 PM

                Josh: our law upholds the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” rather than that of “reasonably plausible.”

                I am sure you will be grateful for this if you ever find yourself accused of a crime.

                • Josh
                  06/12/2010 at 6:11 PM

                  Nate,
                  I’m afraid I’ve lost you in the inverses. I apologize for not being clearer. The prosecution is trying to prove, in effect, that the trouple is lying about what it knows about the crime. To establish this beyond a reasonable doubt means that there is no reasonably believable (i.e., plausible) scenario that accounts for the crime, with all the details that have been established, and that comports with the version they have given.
                  I repeat my challenge: paint such a scenario.

            • Bob
              06/12/2010 at 11:12 AM

              I tried to invent a scenario that would plausibly be consistent with the innocence of the defendants. That was that Robert was murdered by a ninja hired by the People’s Republic of China or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Other posters pointed out that a professional ninja-assassin would have waited until the middle of the night rather than entering at 11:43.

              All of the other scenarios that I have seen propounded in this forum implicate one, two, or three of the defendants, not necessarily in murder, but at least in conspiracy to obstruct justice, which is what is charged.

              • Josh
                06/12/2010 at 6:14 PM

                Ah, but Bob, if they had just been parachuted in from the PRC or DPRK they might have gotten the time zone wrong.

                • Bob
                  06/12/2010 at 7:05 PM

                  That is possible. That actually was an issue before the Tokyo War Crimes trial. The United States and Japan were negotiating to avoid war on 7 December 1941. Then two things happened. The Japanese diplomats said that negotiations could not continue, and were broken off. The Japanese also bombed Pearl Harbor. Due to time-zone confusion, the bombing happened before the breaking of negotiations, so that the attack was a violation of the laws of war, that said that you could not fight and negotiate at the same time.

                  Time-zone issues do make the difference between life and death. When the ninja is captured, there is already a precedent, of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, that time-zone confusion is no defense.

                  Can someone help both Ms. Wone and the defendants to find the ninja? It would be better to use deadly force to kill the ninja for resisting arrest.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/12/2010 at 7:11 PM

              A ninja. Who can go over fences without touching them both in and out, who can walk without being heard, who can suck 2/3 of the blood out of the body, who can stab without the person moving even unconsciously, etc

              • ladyg
                06/12/2010 at 9:36 PM

                i think i saw that ninji on “OCEAN ELEVEN”. sorry, had to go there even though this is not a laughing matter

          • WhatACase
            06/11/2010 at 10:59 PM

            Nate —- I’m sure I’m not the only one who has grown weary of your erection of straw men. If you want to pose a theory, or a question, or challenge an assumption, go for it. but your twisting of what is stated by others is overtly apparent, and boring.

            • Nate
              06/11/2010 at 11:05 PM

              WhatACase, I have been posing questions and challenging assumptions ever since my first post, which I suggest you reread.

              As for theories, my entire point is that the evidence at this point is too flawed to permit a reasonable theory.

              Since you have obviously spent much more time on this website than I have, please briefly present the scenario you find most plausible. I am curious to hear it.

    • Mark M
      06/11/2010 at 9:28 PM

      Nate makes some good points but as to point one…. seemingly fine upstanding people murder other people sometimes in our society. John Wayne Gacy had his picture taken at Democratic Party Fundraisers next to Mrs. Carter, the BTK killer in Kansas City was an upstanding city health inspector as I recall. The headmistress of an exclusive girls school in Northern Virginia shot and killed her diet doctor lover after having an eight hour car ride to his house to think over her act, we wont even talk about OJ Simpson. Leopold and Loeb came from fine wealthy families killed their relative and then sent a ransom note to the victims parents. I don’t think that we can necessarily say these guys were too upstanding and worldly to have been capable of doing this act. The fact remains that they had a dead man in their house by the end of the evening.

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 9:38 PM

        It’s not a question of whether fine upstanding people (or people who seem that way) murder others sometimes. That clearly happens. It’s a question of piling one improbability upon another to construct a teetering house of cards.

        In all the other famous cases you mention, there was also substantial direct evidence tying the killers to the crimes. Not this one.

        • Mark M
          06/11/2010 at 11:26 PM

          But Nate you are the one raising the claim that one of the exculpating factors is is improbable for intelligent worldly people such as these to have committed crimes, I am just giving you some good examples of people who fit your description that killed people, and they too could have said, I am a high status person who has too much to lose if I get caught. By the way, I have not made up my mind on this case yet. And I appreciate your raising your points. I just think that one of the arguments you raise may be weaker than you think.

        • Bob
          06/12/2010 at 11:15 AM

          In all of the other cases that are mentioned, where there was direct evidence tying the killer to the crime, the defendant was charged with murder. These defendants are not charged with murder, precisely because the direct evidence is missing. These defendants are charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice, and there is overwhelming indirect evidence tying them to obstruction of justice. It isn’t necessary to tie the defendants to the murder to tie them to obstruction of justice.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/12/2010 at 7:13 PM

            Thank you. This is not a murder trial.

    • Liam
      06/11/2010 at 9:38 PM

      I agree with you that the case against them seems less that what is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe that these guys will be found not guilty.

      I agree with you on the COMPLETE bungling of the handling of the evidence and the testing at the crime scene.

      However, let’s restate a part of your thesis and substitute the word “intruder”.

      “3) We’re supposed to believe that within the course of barely an hour, the [intruder] managed to do all of the following things:

      a) either overpower Robert (despite no evidence of a struggle) or drug him (despite no toxicology evidence),

      b) engage in elaborate sexual practices involving needles, electric shock, and Robert’s own semen in his rectum,

      c) kill him,

      d) clean up the scene,

      [e) enter and leave without a trace and without a sound.]

      I grant you that both theories leave many questions. However, between the two, I buy the theory that the trio was involved.

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 9:43 PM

        Again: I’d probably bet on the three being involved. But I haven’t seen sufficient evidence. And based on the police’s record in this case, there’s clearly plenty of evidence, pointing one way or the other, that they either missed or got wrong.

    • BadShoes
      06/11/2010 at 9:43 PM

      Nate-

      this is a difficult case.

      Your exposition of the implausibility of the prosecution case is excellent. Your points are well-taken. You are right, the murder/sexual coverup theory is implausible; the timeline for all the things that had to happen is tight, and the police investigation was bungled in ways that do not give one confidence in the remaining evidence.

      I don’t agree with your assessment of AUSA Kirschner’s argument as “clearly that of a prosecutor with no case,” though I do agree that Mr. Kirschner did not offer a coherent exposition of why the evidence he was about to present showed that the defendants were guilty. I believe that such an exposition can be made, and I hope that Mr. Kirschner will do so in his closing arguments.

      The first thing to keep in mind is that the murder of Robert Wone makes no sense. It was an irrational act. If we ever learn the truth, whatever the truth may be, we will discover that Mr. Wone’s murderer acted without good cause and against his own interests. And, we will discover that the chain of events that led to Mr. Wone’s death was staggeringly implausible.

      So, trying to think about this crime ‘forward,’ in terms of what would motivate someone to kill Mr. Wone, is futile. There is no good reason. For a burglar, a North Korean ninja, the defendants, relatives, tenants, neighbors, the guy in the van, or anybody else, Mr. Wone, sleeping on a bed on the second floor of his friend’s house can’t reasonably be seen as threat or prey.

      Instead, it may be more productive to reason ‘backwards’ from a known end state, and ask “what must have happened in order to produce that end state?” Some ‘facts’ are more disputable than others. Which ‘softer’ facts are consistent with the ‘harder’ facts?

      Since this is an obstruction and tampering trial, having assembled a view of what must have happened, then one can ask, “Are there any points at which the defendants are telling us things than cannot be true?” If there are, can inaccurate statements be attributable to normal human frailties, or misunderstandings, or are they clearly deliberate? If they are deliberate, what aspect of this episode does the fiction conceal?

      Viewed in terms of what must have happened, what might seem like on the surface, like rather trivial errors of recollection can take on a more sinister cast.

      I hope this helps, and I look forward to hearing more of your views.

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 9:57 PM

        I agree with nearly everything you say. But reasoning backward does not provide us with sufficient evidence in this case, either. Sherlock Holmesian deduction may be fun. (“Whatever remains, however improbable, must be true, my dear Watson.”) But it has no legal weight.

        And a “sinister cast” is not enough to convict someone of a crime, especially in a bench trial.

        • BadShoes
          06/12/2010 at 10:30 PM

          Nate-

          Deductive reasoning is used in science, medicine, law, engineering–and by judges and juries. If we humans couldn’t make it work, we would still be struggling to figure out how to chip stone tools. Deductive reasoning may or may not be fun, but it certainly has legal weight.

          The arguments of all of the counsel in this case are filled with logical deductions, some more persuasive than others. Clearly they expect the judge to use logic, and they are proffering advice on what facts are most relevant, and what logical conclusions the judge ought to draw from those facts.

          People do make erroneous deductions, typically because, either:

          a) they are based on invalid premises, (if the moon is made of green cheese, that just proves there must be a really big cow lurking somewhere in outer space) or

          b) because they are logically flawed (all cats have four legs, an iguana has four legs, therefore an iguana is a cat).

          Deduction may or may not be fun, but it certainly has legal weight.

          I’m sorry you didn’t like “sinister cast.” I try to avoid making conclusionary statements about the guilt or innocence of the defendants. The unavoidable by-product is that sometimes my prose tails off into vacuity.

    • susan
      06/11/2010 at 11:57 PM

      “We’re supposed to believe that almost immediately after Robert’s arrival, one or more of these three highly intelligent and worldly men – none of whom was apparently under the influence of drugs, and one of whom was an experienced lawyer”

      I am confused. How is it “apparent” that “none” of these defendants were “under the influence of drugs.” How did you establish that?

      How does being an “experienced lawyer” somehow weaken the possibility that a person might obstruct justice? In fact, are you saying lawyers as a class are noted for their lack of obstruction of justice?

      “Highly intelligent worldly men”= don’t commit crimes?

      So much else of what you write is supposition, not unlike the postings you dismiss as speculation and say you haven’t/won’t read. But you seem to equally dismiss the facts presented that point to obstruction.

    • Tribe97
      06/11/2010 at 11:58 PM

      Hi Nate,

      Here are my thoughts on the points you raise:

      1) We’re supposed to believe that almost immediately after Robert’s arrival, one or more of these three highly intelligent and worldly men – none of whom was apparently under the influence of drugs, and one of whom was an experienced lawyer – suddenly decided that they would horrifically assault and rape a heterosexual friend.

      – Why is this unbelievable? One of the hallmarks of a sociopath is above-average intelligence. Unfortunately, people do awful things to one another all the time; it is undisputed that SOMEONE made the decision to horrifically assault, rape, and kill Robert; why not one of these three men?

      2) We’re supposed to believe that somehow they expected to get away with the assault and rape. How could they do this without killing Robert afterward? If they did intend all along to kill Robert, why not come up with a better coverup? If this was a rape or sexual thrill killing, why not choose a victim they didn’t know, whose rape/murder could not be traced to them?

      – Its possible that the attack was impulsive. Its possible that they thought he would be unconscious throughout and he woke up and things escalated. Its possible that they mistakenly thought he had asphyxiated during the assault and stabbed him to make it appear that he had been the victim of a random crime and not a sexual assault gone awry.

      3) We’re supposed to believe that within the course of barely an hour, the men managed to do all of the following things:
      a) either overpower Robert (despite no evidence of a struggle) or drug him (despite no toxicology evidence),
      b) engage in elaborate sexual practices involving needles, electric shock, and Robert’s own semen in his rectum,
      c) kill him,
      d) clean up the scene,
      e) hide the evidence,
      f) discuss a cover story,
      g) agree on the cover story,
      h) make sure they all understood the cover story,
      i) call 911.

      – Sure – why not? Its not like they did any of the above WELL. Clearly elements g and h were not adequately performed or they wouldn’t be where they are. Let’s talk a plausible time line using a hypothetical factual scenario. At time 0, Robert goes up to go to bed. At time :05, after he’s had time to change into his nightclothes, Perpetrator goes into his room to share a drink with him and gives him a drug that will be difficult to detect and fast-acting, like Ketamine. By 0:10, Robert is unconscious and Perpetrator starts to do his thing.

      At some point during Perpetrator’s party, he has Robert face-down. When Perpetrator finishes, he rolls Robert over to see that he doesn’t appear to be breathing. This could be as early as 0:15. At this point, Perpetrator panics and seeks help. Perpetrator and Accomplice decide to try and cover up the accidental death by making it appear that Robert was the victim of random violence, so they decide to stab him. Not wanting to get blood on themselves, they move Robert into the bathroom, where he is stabbed. In the process of washing blood from themselves in the shower before moving Robert back to the bed, his body is similarly cleaned.

      By now, it could be as early as 0:25. Perpetrator and Accomplice finish cleaning up the scene and hide or get rid of the knife. They then discuss a cover story regarding an intruder. While they are still discussing, Accessory enters the room, sees the body, and screams. Accessory rushes to call 911; while Accessory does so, Perpetrator and Accomplice are hurriedly giving Accessory their version of the facts, which Accessory is relaying to the operator.

      4) We’re supposed to believe that amid the terror and hysteria of the murder’s immediate aftermath, none of the three men revealed the murderer (either deliberately or accidentally).

      – Again, why is this so improbable? Under the above time-line, Perpetrator and Accomplice have their stories straight, and Accessory doesn’t know who did what so sticks with what he knows to avoid getting someone in trouble.

      5) We’re supposed to believe that over the course of four years, none of the three men – despite the obvious tensions and rivalries in their three-way relationship, not to mention all the strain and pressure they have been under since then – decided to save himself by turning state’s evidence against the others.

      – Again, why not? Even if they come clean, they risk a fair amount of jail time, whereas if they ride out the investigation, they get off with nothing. Not to mention, they care about one another and may want to avoid seeing anything bad happen to their loved one.

      6) We’re supposed to believe that Joe Price, a successful and experienced lawyer with a good reputation and a record of social responsibility, either:
      a) decided to rape and kill an old college friend just for fun, under circumstances that would clearly implicate him in the murder
      or,
      b) decided it was worth sacrificing his entire life, career, wealth, and status to protect someone else (Ward or Zaborsky) who had just murdered his old friend.

      – Why are these options so unbelievable? Maybe he did it himself, or maybe he’s protecting a “family member,” but either way, from a practical standpoint, his friend is dead and nothing will bring him back; why would he not want to protect himself or a partner when he can’t bring his friend back?

    • Hoya Loya
      06/12/2010 at 7:31 AM

      Nate:

      I know you are “gone” but:

      As Bea pointed out, the prosecution in not trying to prove rape or murder, so we don’t have to believe (1), (2) or 3)(a), (b) or (c) or (6)(a); (4) and (5) are the essence of the conspiracy — they have decided that their only chance to be acquitted is to hang together rather than fall seperately.

      I personally don’t believe (6)(a) either (and per above it’s not part of the case), but could be persuaded on (6)(b) — he might have thought it was too late to help Robert but that there was time to save “the family” or he might have thought that he would be implicated regardless by the cops and therefore cover-up was his only choice.

      I don’t think there is anyone here who doesn’t think that the case was seriously compromised by the shoddy investigation.

      As I mentioned, much of the prosecution’s case as set forth in the opening still stands after three weeks, though it’s an open question whether that case will be enough to convince the judge of reasonable doubt even if all those points are established.

  17. Liam
    06/11/2010 at 10:10 PM

    Badshoes stated “Are there any points at which the defendants are telling us things than cannot be true?”

    First, your post is very well stated.

    I have not read anything regarding what happened that night that simply “cannot be true” or that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that they lied/obstructed. The proof (evidence) isn’t there. Without evidence it’s one side’s story against the other.

  18. WhatACase
    06/11/2010 at 10:21 PM

    This case is full of mysteries, but one of the greatest to me involves the neighbors who heard the “scream.” The neighbor, Mr. Thomas, testified that he heard a loud scream through the wall, and that it was during Maureen Bunyan’s evening newscast (which runs from 11 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.). Thus, the timeline supporting a delay in calling 911 ranges from the scream occurring anytime between 11:01 pm and 11:35 pm, and when the actual 911 call was made.

    Of course, a more exact timeline could be drawn if Mr. Thomas had been asked to estimate the time between the scream and the arrival of numerous siren-screaming first responders outside his door (which is a few feet from 1509 Swann)–at least one ambulance, one fire engine, and two police cars. But Mr. Thomas was not asked this question by either the prosecution or the defense. Bea posited some insightful comments to one of my previous posts on this topic as to why the defense wouldn’t ask a question that the prosecution hadn’t asked, but I still wonder—what is the likely answer to that timeline question??

    • Nate
      06/11/2010 at 10:30 PM

      If you live in the city – and I happen to live a few blocks away from where this murder occurred – you know that hearing a scream out the window at night is not that unusual. Usually it turns out to be drunk kids or the like. That’s no doubt the reason that Mr. Thomas kept watching the news and didn’t call the police. The only thing his vague testimony tells us is that sometime during those 34 minutes, someone (man? woman? Robert? one of the trouple?) was screaming (in pain? in fright? in excitement? because they were a drunk kid and it was a summer night? because they were getting mugged?) somewhere within earshot of Mr. Thomas.

      • Eagle
        06/11/2010 at 10:41 PM

        Nate
        The Thomases swore that they definitely heard the noise coming from their next door neighbor.
        I do appreciate your other analyses which are very clear.
        How explain
        1. the mysterious disappearance of 4000cc blood?
        2. the neat, carefully executed stab wounds
        3. the lack of defensive behavior by the victim?
        So far, the prosecution has showed me nothing. Especially the motive.
        The defendants claim to be “family”, one of whom covered frequently for and was an enabler for MP.
        However, do they have the loyalty and controls of a cult? No evidence of that.

        • Nate
          06/11/2010 at 10:45 PM

          How exactly are we proposing that Robert Wone was murdered, given the lack of a struggle and, as you say, the “neat, carefully executed stab wounds”?

          Was he, therefore, first drugged and then stabbed? If so, why is there no toxicology?

          • WhatACase
            06/11/2010 at 10:50 PM

            Nate —- PLEASE do some of your own research on this site rather than asking us to do the searches and provide you with the links. there was nothing “vague” about the Thomas’ recollections. There have been numerous reasonable, interesting scenarios posted here to explain how Robert may have been drugged and/or restrained, which would explain the perfect stab wounds. Look it up and then add to the discussion. As the old saying goes, “any jackass can kick down a barn; it takes a carpenter to build one.” Get building.

            • Nate
              06/11/2010 at 10:56 PM

              Sorry, but unlike you, I don’t consider reading anonymous people’s website postings to be “research.” And anyone who does, in my opinion, is a … well, is a four-legged animal that kicks down barns.

              • WhatACase
                06/11/2010 at 11:06 PM

                Wow — you clearly aren’t interested in exchanging ideas and theories, are you? You pose questions (you may recall that just minutes ago you asked me to point you to postings on this site with theories that went beyond your simplistic original post), and when I tell you to do your own reseach on this site, you erect a straw man about “research.” Gee, that’s impressive. Farewell—rant all you want, but I’m bored.

                • Nate
                  06/11/2010 at 11:12 PM

                  Please get back to me when you’ve calmed down and are ready to offer actual, fact-based answers to my questions rather than bluster and invective.

                  Till then …

                  • WhatACase
                    06/11/2010 at 11:20 PM

                    Nate — Don’t misunderstand me–no hard feelings here–I just don’t want to waste time. When your questions don’t require me to point you to links on this site–which you don’t think is worthy or searching, I’d be happy to participate in a give-and-take. Just do some reading here, and when you have something interesting to offer, I’m in. But until then, don’t expect me to respond.

              • Carolina
                06/12/2010 at 10:06 AM

                Then why are you here? The research you’re asked to do involves the EVIDENCE, not anonymous (which, by the way, is what you are) posts.

                • cinnamon
                  06/12/2010 at 11:23 AM

                  Exactly! There is plenty of evidence here that could be referenced.

              • tucsonwriter
                06/12/2010 at 7:20 PM

                Then why are you here?

          • Leo
            06/11/2010 at 10:58 PM

            Standard tox screens did not check for ketamine which would have incapacitated him. Perhaps the standard screens will be adjusted after this.

            • Nate
              06/11/2010 at 11:00 PM

              Right … so they somehow injected Robert with ketamine without him fleeing, or without him struggling enough to leave evidence of a struggle. Very plausible.

              • Bill Orange
                06/11/2010 at 11:29 PM

                The first dose could’ve been in his water…

                • WhatACase
                  06/11/2010 at 11:34 PM

                  BillO — You and many others–for many months–have posited the “drug in the water” theory here. I just wish that some who come here would bother to read some of the previous posts before posting.

                  • Bill Orange
                    06/11/2010 at 11:42 PM

                    Well, I don’t expect the new folks to read every single old post, so I don’t mind the rehash. When I first started reading about this case, I was about ask skeptical as Nate is. And then as I read more and more, I found myself saying, “Okay, that looks pretty bad,” and then “Okay, that looks REALLY bad”, and then finally working my way up to, “I can’t believe they expect me to believe this bullshit anymore.”

                    • WhatACase
                      06/11/2010 at 11:54 PM

                      agree completely. but some of the alleged “new” posters sound alot like “old” posters with an axe to grind, and I simply don’t want to play that game. But bless you for being far more patient.

                    • Zombie Fag Gangbangers
                      06/12/2010 at 1:07 AM

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          • Eagle
            06/11/2010 at 11:29 PM

            These are those myriad unexplainable issues/ facts.
            what we basically know is that Robert is dead.
            Makes one wonder if we are not out on tangents- that we are missing one or more of fundamentals that would solve this puzzle.

      • Bill Orange
        06/11/2010 at 11:13 PM

        That was my impression at first, too. But that’s not what Mr. Thomas testified to. The room he was in shared a wall with the guest bedroom, and he was very clear in his testimony that the scream he heard came from next door, not out the window. Your question about why he didn’t immediately call the police is valid, but as you pointed out, people hear screams in the city all the time, and he likely assumed that someone next door was either briefly startled or was perhaps involved in a heated argument. From what I’ve gathered of the postings here (and perhaps his testimony will seem less solid to the judge), his testimony was VERY convincing and held up under cross-examination. His testimony alone suggests a delay in calling 911 of at least 15 minutes.

        If I were a juror on this case, and this was the ONLY piece of testimony I was considering, I would probably say that there’s reasonable doubt here. But it’s not the only piece of evidence. In addition to the scream, we have unexplained needle marks on the body and no signs of movement during the stabbing. We have no cast-off blood on the walls, floor, or ceiling, despite what must have been a brutal stabbing. We have no evidence of an intruder, the front door and the back gate were both locked, and no one heard an intruder enter or leave the house. As far as I’m concerned, that’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Joe Price and Victor Zaborksy did not suddenly discover their friend stabbed to death by an intruder and then immediately call 911. And once you reach that conclusion, they have to be guilty of obstruction and conspiracy to obstruct.

        As for the argument that Joe Price is too smart to do something like this, I would argue that the fact that he had BDSM pornography–including photos of himself–on his office computer suggests a propensity toward very reckless behavior.

        • WhatACase
          06/11/2010 at 11:24 PM

          thank you BillO, for succinctly clarifying what is in evidence.

  19. Tribe97
    06/11/2010 at 11:11 PM

    Okay, sorry to be graphic, but Nate raises a question that I’ve been struggling with in reviewing the evidence: How does one get one’s own semen in one’s own rectum? Not having the necessary equipment myself, I’ve inquired to verify my understanding and just don’t really see how this could happen. I’ve heard the electrical probe theory, which would explain the semen itself, but what explains where it wound up?

    The only theory I’ve come up with to explain this is that the semen is not, in fact, Robert’s own semen, but rather the semen of a non-secretor (a person who does not secrete blood antigens in their bodily fluids) and who also made an “aspermic” contribution (see http://harfordmedlegal.typepad.com/forensics_talk/2006/12/dna_semen_analy.html and http://www.forensicnursemag.com/articles/391clinical.html; this also occurs when the donor has had a vasectomy), such that the semen did not contain any genetic material. As a result of the assault, the semen was mingled with Robert’s own DNA – both the naturally shedding skin cells as well as probably some blood from the assault – and this resulted in the semen appearing to be Robert’s own.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this? For anyone out there with a stronger forensics background than my own, is what I am suggesting possible?

    • Nate
      06/11/2010 at 11:19 PM

      I’m not a doctor, but as a man with the “necessary equipment,” I can tell you that it’d be pretty damn difficult to get your own semen into your own rectum.

      And as a gay man, I can tell you that I have heard of a lot of weird sexual practices in the gay world, but I never heard of one that involved putting someone’s own semen into his own rectum. Are we really supposed to believe not only that this happened, but that it happened during what must have been a fairly short sexual encounter … and during an encounter – or rather, rape – that left no physical trace of bondage, whipping, gagging, or any of the other S&M stuff?

      This, to me, is strong indication that the physical evidence in this case is hopelessly tainted.

      • Bill Orange
        06/11/2010 at 11:38 PM

        I think you’re seriously overestimating the time needed for a rape or sexual assault. I can’t find any statistics, but I would imagine that most rapes or sexual assaults–and probably most assaults in general–probably only last a few minutes. Hell, I would guess that most consensual sex–including foreplay, a shower afterwards, and time to get redressed–takes less than an hour.

      • William
        06/12/2010 at 1:18 AM

        I use my husband’s cum as lube as often as I can. It’s hot and it’s not such a “weird” sexual practice in the gay world. (Or is it?)

        As others have pointed out, though, nothing about the semen is in evidence in this case. It gets confusing sometimes, because we know so much that is not actually in evidence. And I’m not sure how much of what we “know” is the truth. However, I think that evidence of a sexual assault would make a stronger case for the prosecution because there just would not be time for an “intruder” to do a sexual assault under the defendants’ timeline. It would have to have been an inside job.

        On the other hand, I’m not so convinced about the scream timing. Eye witnesses are wrong all the time. Asked after the fact when something happened, I have been absolutely sure of the time until someone (again, usually my husband) reminds of something to convince me I was wrong. How much were these old people coached?

        I agree that the evidence is a mess and the prosecution seems sloppy and initially thought there had to be reasonable doubt here, at least because there are three of them – so how do we know if it was actually two or one or any of them? But Craig did a great analysis last week where he put the inconsistencies together clearly and concisely and convincingly. I found it utterly convincing that the defendants had to be lying (and ALL of them are lying) after seeing these facts put together. I hope the prosecutor copies it verbatim for his closing.

        • Zombie Fag Gangbangers
          06/12/2010 at 1:37 AM

          Yes William. After one guy cums, his partner may frequently use that cum to lubricate his own penis. This is not uncommon.

          However, after cumming, most guys don’t enjoy then being immediately fucked by their partner.

          That would be different, of course, if they came and were then immediately violated while being drugged.

    • Bill Orange
      06/11/2010 at 11:25 PM

      My big issue with the “semen in the rectum” is that it involves evidence that has not yet been presented and may be open to interpretation. I’m still not clear on how it was determined that it really was semen, and I would imagine the defense would challenge it pretty fiercely.

      As to how Wone’s own semen could’ve ended up in his own rectum, (WARNING: This is graphic.) I would say that some sort of electrical probe (of the type that was found in Dylan’s room) could have been repeatedly thrust into Robert’s rectum until he ejaculated. At ejaculation, some of his semen could’ve ended up on the probe, which someone continued to thrust into his rectum, thus depositing his own semen in his rectum. I think this theory is fairly far-fetched, but it falls within the realm of possibility, given that the necessary equipment was found in the house.

      I don’t think that even an aspermic non-secretor could leave semen with no DNA in it. First off, non-secretors leave just as much DNA as anyone else. And someone who’s aspermic will still have other cell types in their semen, so you would expect less DNA, but not no DNA at all.

      • Nate
        06/11/2010 at 11:40 PM

        To me, the most probable scenario in this case is:

        The only party that is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is the D.C. police, who are guilty of gross incompetence, negligence, and rank stupidity.

        There may in fact have been evidence to support the intruder theory and they botched it. There may have been evidence to support the guilt of one or more of the three housemates, and they botched it.

        Barring a confession or the discovery of new evidence, there will *never* be a plausible scenario of how, why, and by whom Robert Wone was murdered.

        I’m signing off now, and don’t expect to be posting again.

        • Bill Orange
          06/11/2010 at 11:47 PM

          I don’t think anyone on here is going to try to defend the D.C. police. Because of their incompetence, there is the very really possibility that the murderer may never be brought to justice. But the US Attorney’s office is obligated to work with the evidence they have, not the evidence that they would’ve liked to have. The defense can–and should–argue that this case has been tainted by police incompetence. Even considering all of the fuck-ups in this case, though, I think there was enough evidence for them to go to trial. I’m still not sure if they’re going to have enough evidence to get convictions though. That’s going to depend a lot on the defense.

        • Bill 2
          06/11/2010 at 11:55 PM

          I guess you don’t want to hang around long enough to discover that the “why, and by whom Robert Wone was murdered” isn’t this trial. The murder trial, if it happens, is a long way off. This trial may never give us a clue for the why and whom, but it may send people to jail for covering up for a murderer.

          Several scenarios have been put forth in this website that have distinct possibilities regarding the murder. The scenario I don’t see, is anyone caring to do your research for you.

          • WhatACase
            06/12/2010 at 12:08 AM

            Bill 2 — please don’t call it “research”–that’s a no-no for Nate, or is it Ben Franklin? Don’t worry, he’ll be back tomorrow with a new name—-

        • Leo
          06/12/2010 at 7:58 AM

          I totally agree that there is no plausible scenario that accounts for the murder. If the defendants had simply said, we have no idea what happened, instead of offering up false information and unworkable theories, they would be in much better shape (in terms of legal consequences) than they are. If I woke up to find a friend murdered in my guest room, I would probably run out of my house, bang on a neighbor’s door, call 911 and let the “authorities” investigate.

          These guys did not do that. They looked showered, calm, and coached. They offered up inconsistent details. They “observed” stuff that was obviously false (e.g., Dylan noticing the patio door was unlocked or open from the bottom of the stairs, where that view would be obscured; Joe hearing the chime when no one else did, and nobody hearing anybody on the wooden floors or stairs; Dylan and Joe hearing Robert take a shower when they didn’t hear any of these other things, and Robert’s guest towels being unused and undisturbed on a chair). They should just have shut up except to express the understandable horror and shock of discovering a friend murdered in your own home. But Joe the smarty-pants did not do that.

        • Carolina
          06/12/2010 at 10:09 AM

          At least under this screen name.

    • Liam
      06/12/2010 at 12:02 AM

      DNA can be retrieved from saliva. Are you saying that just because the ejaculate doesn’t contain sperm that it doesn’t contain genetic material. This makes no sense to me. My understanding is that every cell in your body contains genetic material.

    • Liam
      06/12/2010 at 12:05 AM

      And what do those links you provided have to do with a persons bodily fluids supposedly not containing DNA?

      • Tribe97
        06/12/2010 at 7:04 AM

        Those links show that semen does not always contain sperm (which do contain DNA), which makes DNA testing more complicated.

        • Carolina
          06/12/2010 at 10:11 AM

          You’re making complicated something that’s quite simple. Read the above statements for how some of us end up with semen in our own rectums.

  20. plumskiter
    06/12/2010 at 3:28 AM

    1. I’d give the govt opening a C+. (for organization and presentation – not content).

    2. The defendants’ statements are statements of an opposing party and thus not hearsay and thus admissible if offered by the govt.

    3. The defendants statements are also admissible against them because they are statements made during and in furtherance of the conspiracy to obstruct and thus not hearsay under FRE 801(d)(2)(e).

    4. Why oh why is the government not arguing 2 and 3 above?

    • Leo
      06/12/2010 at 8:03 AM

      Because of Crawford and the Confrontation Clause, which trumps the normal hearsay rule definitions and exceptions.

    • Carolina
      06/12/2010 at 10:11 AM

      We missed you. Wondered where you’d been hiding.

  21. Lyn
    06/12/2010 at 10:22 AM

    Eds – I’d love to find out more about the knife block discussion in the opening statement. Kirschner talks for a couple of minutes about which knife was taken from the knife block. It sounds like he was pointing to pictures of the knife block during this portion of the opening and was basically saying that if we are to believe an intruder grabbed a knife from the kitchen that he didn’t take the big, scary knives that would be quickest and easiest to grab from the knife block, but instead reached under the knife block and grabbed a small, unseen knife? Did you see these pictures of the knife block? Can you share any details to further clarify what Kirschner was talking about?

    From the way it read, it sounded like the prosecution was saying it was highly improbable that an “intruder” would have selected the knife supposedly used to murder Wone because it wasn’t as easily accessible as the larger, more dangerous knives that were more prominently displayed.

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