Day 15: Updates

2pm Update:

 What were we saying about stepping on the gas earlier?

11:30, Det. Daniel Whalen was called.  A 27+ year veteran of the MPD, and homicide detective for over 20.

Whalen was investigating the August 2nd murder, but it was the 1509 Swann burglary that brought him to court.  AUSA Glenn Kirschner engaged Whalen on a meeting he had November 8, 2006, with Joe Price and his attorney Kathy Voelcker at Sam’s Pawn Shop, conveniently located on 14th street near Swann.  

Joe identified several items as his, and provided Whalen with background: Michael’s health status, his drug and mental health issues, Michael’s posession of the key and security code to Swann.  Discussion also followed as to Hinton’s phone call, his identification of the car still containing stolen electronics, and Joe’s suspicions that his brother was involved. 

Cross from David Schertler and Bernie Grimm followed, eliciting from Whalen, Joe’s forth-coming and helpful nature on the matter (thus attempting to poke holes in the state-of-mind arguments).  Did Joe help with Michael’s medicines?  Yes.  His finances?  Yes.  Did he occasionally demonstrate ‘tough love’ by trying to help Michael kick the stuff and become responsible.   In defense eyes: Joe Price = humanitarian.

Whalen stepped down at 12:15, followed immediately by Officer Leother Strong, an MPD evidence tech for 6 years. 

Photos were introduced of Strong’s work at Swann: dusting the BMW for prints, and taking photos.  The sides of the car from end to end were dusted; nothing was found – not prints or any other indentations.   The mid-section of the car wasn’t dusted, he told Kirschner, because latent dirt there would have demonstrated prints.  On cross, he told Schertler that neither bumper had been dusted. 

Done. 

Here’s where it gets more interesting.  The government and the defense are at this moment trying to work agreement on several stipulations that would obviate the need for any other witnesses, save one tomorrow morning: Dr. David Fowler.  If agreement is reached, trial will adjourn this afternoon, followed by Fowler tomorrow morning.

Also tomorrow morning, Leibovitz made clear her deadline for Rule 29 filings.  No delay.  No excuses.  An outline if necessary, but she will move immediately to Rule 29 at the close of the government’s case. 

11:30 Update:

The day began with Louis Hinton attorney Barry Pollack arguing his client had standing to invoke his 5th amendment rights against self incrimination.  His argument in brief: although Hinton had testified before a grand jury on these matters earlier, circumstances had substantially changed…as in, he went from being a witness in the government’s eyes to a possible suspect. 

It was an interesting legal debate regarding the Ellis decision and  incrimination…but for naught.  Leibovitz ruled she would compel testimony, although with a warning to the prosecution that it would be tightly limited on relevance grounds. 

What did we learn?  Mr. Hinton had a 8 or 9 year relation with Michael Price, knew Joe well, spent a fair amount of time with the defendants, and had discussions with Joe several times during the night of the burglary.  Further, Hinton was asked about instances of support for Michael from Joe, and other instances of what might be called ‘tough love.’ 

He was never asked on direct, cross or re-direct, where either he or Michael Price were the night of the murder.  With clear direction from Leibovitz, Hinton would only play a small role at most in this case. 

NEXT UP:  State of Maryland Chief Medical Examiner Dr. David R. Fowler to take the stand later this morning.

Earlier updates follow.

8:30am Update:  Tuesday Morning Hash 

Trial reconvenes at 9:30 in 310 Moultrie today with witness for the prosecution Louis Hinton.  Well…sort of.  Hinton will be bringing his attorney with him, and is likely to invoke, so his testimony may be somewhat adversarial.  We shall see.  

Say What?!  There seems to have been lots of discussion, and some confusion over Scott Hixson’s testimony.  First to make clear, when he referred to “…the night before…”, he was not in any way referencing the night of Robert’s murder.   What’s unclear is what exactly he said…and meant. 

Scott Hixson and Judge Lynn Leibovitz, courtesy William Hennessy Jr., www.courtroomart.com

To the best of our ability, we recall Hixson saying he had been “…with someone who the night before had been with…”  Uh, with who?  And doing what?  Very unclear. 

 He may have said “with them” or “with the three of them.”   And whoever this person was, just what activity on both ends is being referenced?  Social or sexual?  Before Hixson could clarify he was soundly cut off.

There also was some animated discussion here about “underwear man.”  Hixson was fairly clear on this.  Going to his bedroom sometime between 11 and midnight, he looked out the windows – which face onto Swann and directly across from 1509 – and saw a commotion outside, meaning emergency vehicles and flashing lights.  He then saw a man in “white bikini briefs” open the door, presumably for EMT personnel, but he couldn’t make out who it was.  A few moments later he saw a body on a gurney wheeled out. 

Hixson says he was at this point increasingly distraught: he didn’t know what had happened or who might have been injured, or worse.  He says he then went downstairs and watched from the windows there, not sure what to do.  It was some bit later he saw the three Swann Street housemates leave the house and enter the cars that would transport them to the VCB. 

 

Get On With It  Not only is Judge Lynn Leibovitz intent on moving the trial forward with no breaks, she clearly wants a little more accelerator and less brake (*ahem*) from both teams.  Her growing frustration with AUSA Patrick Martin reached its boil point yesterday: a series of prompts and requests to “get on with it” apparently not working, she finally seized control and one point and questioned witness Hixson on a specific point.  Hers elicited one of the clearest statements from Hixson all day. 

Presidents Day  Yesterday we heard of Jefferson Wilson’s role introducing Price, Zaborsky and Ward to Hixson.  By some twist of fate, the man with two President’s names was also in Moultrie yesterday – as a juror.  At lunch break Wilson met with all three defendants in what appeared a genuinely amicable group.  Smiles and hugs all around.  

What Day Is It?  There’s been small confusion over what trial day we’re at.  Recall that day 13 was, in effect, a punt.  However we did post a “Day 13 Update” and so, to keep things straight, we began yesterday with day 14.  So for those keeping score at home, today is actually the 14th official day of trial.  Sticklers are advised to consider this a leap year. 

Artwork courtesy of WTTG-TV and William Hennessy, Jr.

165 comments for “Day 15: Updates

  1. Bill Orange
    06/15/2010 at 8:45 AM

    “Hinton will be bringing his attorney with him, and is likely to invoke, so his testimony may be somewhat adversarial.”

    Are you serious? Why don’t they just give him “use immunity”?

    • chilaw79
      06/15/2010 at 9:48 AM

      I assume Hinton will take the stand, answer some questions, and then invoke if any questions start to veer into an area where Hinton may have potential criminal liability. Since Hinton is being called as a prosecution witness, I would not be surprised to find out the prosecution has a plan.

      Hinton does have a Fifth Amendment interest but only as to his own criminal conduct, not that of others.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/15/2010 at 9:55 AM

        Based on how things have gone with other big prosecution witnesses (e.g. Sarah Morgan), I have low expectations.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/15/2010 at 11:18 AM

          HL,
          Do you get the impression that the prosecution is going easy on everyone? Or are they avoided certain lines of question because it step too closely to murder trial fodder?

          • Hoya Loya
            06/15/2010 at 12:39 PM

            My low expectations were met.

            To answer your question, I think the prosecution is using a drip, drip, drip approach and only wants certain very specific information from key witnesses. I think there was nervousness from both sides on wild card Hinton in particular — he could have blown either the “maybe it was Michael” theory by affirming the alibi or the “Michael has nothing to do with this” defense if he recanted, so neither side did much with him.

            The prosecution’s approach is risky. The original affidavit, on which many of us based our early speculations contained (we thought substantiated) allegations of drugging, restraint, sexual assualt, stabbing, a knife switch, washing, redressing and placing on the bed. Everything but the stabbing and knife switch was withdrawn or excluded and the knife evidence is looking shaky, though there are also the missing blood issue, the 911 call and the statements.

            Kirschner better have one heck of an argument ready in opposition to the Rule 29 motion, to show that all those little drips add up to a case. In his favor, the judge must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government on this motion. But after four weeks, if the judge thinks he’s spinning his wheels, she may grant one or more acquittals.

            Take the case against Dylan — what is there? That he might have lied about seeing the unlocked door, that he clammed up when Joe looked at him funny and that he gave the intruder story at VCB? What evidence did he tamper with? That charge at least may well be dismissed. Schertler must be feeling pretty confident and I’ll bet Connolly has a great argument ready to go. Grimm’s got the toughest client and the toughest argument, no doubt.

            The prosecution needs to end with a bang, not yet another wimper. Is the Maryland medical expert still in the wings? He hasn’t been referenced in any recent updates or stories. Is there another knife expert? Deedrick didn’t exactly hit it out of the park and he addressed fiber evidence more than the identity of the murder weapon.

            • chilaw79
              06/15/2010 at 2:20 PM

              Your assessment seems pretty sound, but there are a lot of exhibits in evidence. I would say the prosecution has done a fair amount to debunk the “random intruder” theory of the case presented by the defendants.

              One item that I think must be in evidence are the hospital records. I assume that authenticating those records was one of the purposes for bringing in the hospital trauma nurse. Those that might shed light on the blood issue. It is not clear whether the DC medical examiner would have those records available to her for the autopsy. Perhaps Dr. Fowler will shed some light on this.

            • Bea
              06/15/2010 at 2:28 PM

              Thoughts for Hoya and Chilaw (and anyone else, of course):

              Hinton taking the Fifth, and the Judge compelling as to limited subject matter, certainly resonates that M Price may no longer have a good alibi. While Hinton’s taking the 5th cannot be held against Hinton, does it not undercut the alibi for M Price in a huge way?

              It’s tough to piece this together from excerpts but that is my sense of what the prosecution is doing.

              Again, the prosecution doesn’t “care” for these purposes who the murderer is, only that these defendants are guilty of these charges. With Hinton’s Fifth being indicative at least indirectly as to M Price, it is certainly more believable than the unknown intruder who could not have come over the back gate per evidence and logic.

              I agree that Ward may be acquitted (though there is a bare minimum of evidence – and of course the backdrop which cannot be considered that he either failed the poly or it was inconclusive – defense moved to exclude). But it certainly seems to me that the prosecution has met its burden against Zaborsky and Price as to conspiracy and obstruction, with Price as to the additional tampering. My two cents.

              Am curious about your take on the Hinton/5th issue.

              • Hoya Loya
                06/15/2010 at 3:13 PM

                Bea:

                I responded on the 5th issue below.

                If the judge believes the intruder story is false and that it does not explain the physical evidence, are Dylan’s statements sufficient basis for a conspiracy/obstruction conviction?

                Ever since I first listened to the 911 call, I’ve thought it created major problems for Victor, even more than Joe’s random statements about the blood, the knife, grunts, moaning, etc. create for Joe, since the call is recorded, was the first report of the crime and contains clear discrepencies with the evidence at the scene. But I don’t see any evidence tying Victor to tampering (maybe the “other” towel?).

                Can Kirschner tie the lack of blood, striation marks, strewn clothes, lack of gray fibers on the knife, lack of defensive wounds, delay in calling 911, lack of intruder evidence etc., what we’ll call the M. Price evidence and the curious statements of Joe at VCB and to friends, supported by the VCB statements of the other two, into a convincing case for the judge?

                • Bea
                  06/15/2010 at 3:24 PM

                  That’s the million dollar question, to be sure. I agree that tampering may be dropped against Victor (unless it’s part of the conspiracy). I also think the Rule 29 may be the last we see of Dylan Ward (and the last the other defendants see of him?). I see your point re the 911 call being the clearest evidence as to discrepancies/falsehoods. But I do see all counts surviving against Joe Price.

                  • AnnaZed
                    06/15/2010 at 6:25 PM

                    I would like to be monitoring the situation from a distance to see Joe’s head explode when Dylan gets off scott-free, ha!

                    Then he will start babbling and trying to implicate Dylan (maybe even telling some particles of truth) and it won’t mean a thing.

                    I wonder if Joe (or Victor for that matter) truly comprehends, truly takes on board, that this not only could happen it quite likely will happen.

  2. Taboo
    06/15/2010 at 10:03 AM

    So… Hixson is close friends with the three defendants. He looks outside the night that Wone was murdered and sees a commotion and body coming out. He did nothing? Hixson did not go over immediately see to see what was happening at his friends’ house?

    If I had friends who lived across the street and heard a horrible commotion, I would be over there in a flash. So, Hixson didn’t evebn go to 1509 after he saw a body come out?

    This doesn’t make any sense. I am NOT accusing Hixson of anything. This just does not add up.

    • Carolina
      06/15/2010 at 10:52 AM

      A lot of emergency responders would be absolutely thrilled if more people had the common sense Hixson displayed. There’s a cop, an ambulance and a fire engine Aside from getting in the way, what was he going to do?

    • Lyn
      06/15/2010 at 10:57 AM

      That struck me as highly unusual too. One of your friends may have just suffered a serious medical problem and you don’t walk over to inquire as to their well being? Odd.

      I sure hope investigators did an extensive canvasing of the neighborhood to look for any items that may have been disposed of. Some posters have questions how the trouple would have gotten rid of the knife, bloody towels, cameras, and things used in a clean up. If they only had to go as far as a neighbor’s house, they could have gotten rid of stuff in a jiffy.

    • Eagle
      06/15/2010 at 12:50 PM

      I agree T.
      In my neighborhood, whenever an ambulance or fire truck arrives, people come out of their houses to see what they can do to help their neighbor.
      Unfortunately, after bedtime, the ambulance and fire trucks silent their sirens, but they do
      keep all the lights on, which reflects in nearby homes. Depends on who is up/ wakes up if there is a response.

      • Taboo
        06/15/2010 at 1:22 PM

        Hixson staying in his house is just too weird. Did he call them? Apparently not. From what I can gather, he had not contact with them until he was called at 6 am to come get them? WTF? NO WAY!

        • cinnamon
          06/15/2010 at 2:02 PM

          Yes, I find that odd too. He was close enough to the defendants that they called him in the morning for a ride but, not close enough to worry about what medical emergency may be happening at their home. I’m not buying it. If I had a friend that was close enough to call me from jail, I’d think they would be important enough that I’d be running across the street to see if everyone was okay if I saw ambulance and police.

          • Taboo
            06/15/2010 at 2:45 PM

            Exactly. This is just weird.

            • prtyboydc
              06/16/2010 at 12:35 AM

              It’s not weird. With the level of commotion going on in and around the house, I would be loathe to add to the chaos by appearing on the scene. Once seeing the three housemates driven off in squad cars, I would assume they wouldn’t be accessible by phone. I might have tried to call Sarah or others neighbors to see if they had information, but otherwise would have stayed up pacing until I could reach one of the housemates.

              • DonnaH
                06/16/2010 at 2:06 AM

                And perhaps he thought that if he did try to go check on his friends, he would be stopped by cops and might even find himself being questioned by them about the trouple before he was informed about what was happening. Especially given what he knew about them by way of drug and sexual proclivities, he may not have wanted to have to deal with that possibility.

                • Taboo
                  06/16/2010 at 9:28 AM

                  DonnaH: That thought has occurred to me as well. He probably knew there was LOT of weird s&*t going on in that house and was afraid of getting caught up in it. BUT, then didn’t he admit to going back and having sex with these guys after the murder! GOOD LORD! BAD judgement!

  3. Craig
    06/15/2010 at 10:07 AM

    Right about now, Louis Hinton may be on the stand. Until the mid-morning update, it might be a good time to dig into the archives. This post from a million years ago looked at a domestic disturbance between MPrice and Hinton (that happened a few months before the murder), that found the latter taking up residence at 1509 Swann.

    This could’ve been another way Michael got a set of keys to the house.

    • Eagle
      06/15/2010 at 1:44 PM

      Just read the post from the past.
      Seems like Hinton is functionally a member of the family ,even though he does not live there. Two of the defendants bailed him out (literally). He finds refuge in the trouples house. Price gives him legal support when he needs it.
      It might not be legally admisable (not that the prosecution would try), but here is Hinton, an established recipient of the largess of the family, with a criminal record, providing the alibi for
      MP. Weak credibility.

  4. Elizabeth
    06/15/2010 at 10:12 AM

    Comments from yesterday appear to be closed, but there are a few things that are bothering me, so I would appreciate input.

    1. I don’t have a problem with the overturned trash cans. I think Sarah said Joe left them that way when he rinsed them out. But what about the sunglasses on top of the shed? That is strange.

    2. Lots of comments yesterday about Victor being under Joe’s control. This I have a real problem with. The guy is an adult – a well-educated, highly compensated professional with children. I just don’t see him as poor Victor in a trance-like state of dependence. He is not some young, impressionable person enamored with an older man who makes him do things he doesn’t want to do.

    • tassojunior
      06/15/2010 at 10:55 AM

      Only one of the trash cans is upside down by the shed. The other 3 are in the disarray the DC trash truck always leaves them after pickup.

      http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0610/742553.html

    • Carolina
      06/15/2010 at 10:56 AM

      1. Yes, and sneakers slung over electric lines. How DO they get there? Regardless of the glasses being on the shed, how did the intruder go from shed to yard? He would have had to either tightrope the fence and jump into the yard at 1509, or jump into the neighbor’s, and then climb into 1509. Reminder: No signs of anyone scaling any of those.

      2. Do you mean to say you have never encountered an adult relationship that is unhealthy, to the point of ridiculousness? I envy you.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/15/2010 at 11:02 AM

        “sneakers slung over electric lines”….Carolina, you never cease to make me snicker (or sneaker, in this case. ar ar)

      • Craig
        06/15/2010 at 11:13 AM

        Carolina: The video played in court of Tom Connolly’s Very Special Olympics event, the Paralegal Fence Vault, showed how it could’ve been done, and it looked doable. The rub was it could not be scaled without making pretty firm hand grips on the top rail before going over to the other side.

        And according to Detective Waid’s testimony, the tree adjacent to the fence where the perp would’ve landed had undisturbed cobwebs on it.

        • Carolina
          06/15/2010 at 11:18 AM

          My point exactly. Can you do it? Well, of course. Can you do it and leave no sign of it? Not likely, short of a jet pack or other NASA device.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/15/2010 at 11:20 AM

          No one ever said it couldn’t be done. The argument is that it can’t be done without leaving evidence of doing so.

          • "That's the Power of Pine Sol, Baby"
            06/15/2010 at 1:33 PM

            Do we also hold this view about the defendants stabbing someone, having the victim bleed massively, and then the defendants cleaning it up?

            Can all of that be done without leaving any evidence of blood or cleanup?

            If we are consistent and believe that in both cases, … there goes a lot of the case against the defendants.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/15/2010 at 1:45 PM

              Hmmm. I don’t agree, PineSol. My argument about the fence is that “it can’t be done without leaving evidence of doing so.”

              This doesn’t apply to a dead body.

              You seem to be saying that because there is no evidence that someone came over the fence, then no one came over the fence.

              But that doesn’t work with a dead body. Just because there is no evidence around his body, doesn’t make him alive.

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                06/15/2010 at 1:52 PM

                And just because there is no evidence of blood around his body, doesn’t mean there wasn’t blood elsewhere. Or maybe he didn’t bleed profusely. Or maybe they didn’t need to clean with Pine Sol.

                The fact is is that there was a dead body in the guestroom, and no evidence of an intruder.

              • William
                06/15/2010 at 2:33 PM

                The missing blood is a huge part of this case. Isn’t the prosecution’s argument that, since a large amount (4 liters) of blood is missing, there MUST have been a cleanup of the crime scene (which must have been done by the defendants). But there is no evidence (on record) of blood anywhere in the house and no evidence that the body was cleaned. One explanation is that MPD screwed up – there WAS blood evidence but it was compromised. But another explanation is that MPD screwed up by not trying to account for the blood somewhere else. (Lawmed had some credible theories about this.) So under either explanation, MPD screwed up.

                Try to clean 4 liters of blood from a crime scene (and a body) with no evidence of residual blood anywhere and no trace of cleaning products on the body (in less than an hour). I’m no expert, but all my years of watching Law & Order, etc., tell me it’s hard if not impossible; what is real life crime scene cleanup like? Shouldn’t there have been something on the body showing that it had been cleaned? There were open wounds – would cleaning products and city water have been found in them? Would a significant amount of water have entered the body through the wounds if they indeed washed the victim in the shower?

                Saying that the defendants cleaned up the blood seems as implausible as the intruder story. Nothing makes sense. But that’s a problem for the prosecution, not the defense.

              • "That's the Power of Pine Sol, Baby"
                06/15/2010 at 2:55 PM

                CDnDC, the current case is against the defendants is for tampering, obstruction and conspiracy–not murder. For those charges, the presence of a body is basically stipulated. For the point I’m making, the body is irrelevant.

                For there to have been tampering there would have had to be blood (a lot, speculate many) and cleanup (extensive, speculate many).

                The absence of blood evidence and the absence of evidence of cleanup is EXACTLY analogous to the absence of evidence of disturbance of greenery, cobwebs and schmutz on the fence.

                You seem to be arguing that in order for someone to have come over the fence, there would have to be evidence of such–disturbance of the vines and cobwebs on the fence, and fingerprints or palmprints or footprints. Absence of evidence (sunglasses notwithstanding) means (for you) that it didn’t happen.

                With respect to blood evidence and cleanup (detergents, chemical cleaners, etc.), you take the opposite tack–that the absence of blood and the absence of evidence of cleaning means that tampering MUST have happened, even though there’s no evidence of blood or cleanup.

                It’s fundamentally inconsistent.

                But for the charges of tampering, the absence of blood and cleanup seems to be more of a problem for the prosecution’s case than the absence of evidence that anyone climbed the fence seems to be for the defense, IMO.

                • Craig
                  06/15/2010 at 3:05 PM

                  Pine Sol: Please limit yourself to one screen name only.

                  • Elizabeth
                    06/15/2010 at 3:13 PM

                    Why do you torture us so? Tell us the other screen name!!

                • can'tstopreading
                  06/15/2010 at 3:12 PM

                  1. Doesn’t the absence of blood constitute evidence of a cleanup? What about the EMT’s account that there was a film of blood on Mr. Wone’s stomach as if it had been wiped? That’s enough for me.

                  2.Where are the towels Price used to apply pressure? Someone had to get rid of them. . .

                  If there was no evidence of an intruder and only three people (admittedly) in the house at the time, one of which said he was “freaked out by all the blood”, who would you conclude did the cleanup?

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                  06/15/2010 at 3:13 PM

                  ::putting my hands on my hips and huffing::

                  Fine. LOL

                  I understand and I agree.

                  • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                    06/15/2010 at 3:19 PM

                    I suppose the inability to find blood stains, etc may hinder, but certainly doen’t prohibit the arguments for tampering. There is other evidence that supports the state’s belief that the scene was tampered with.

                • Carolina
                  06/15/2010 at 3:15 PM

                  Let me use my favorite word here: PLAYMAT!

                  • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                    06/15/2010 at 3:20 PM

                    NoooOoOoOOoO! My eyes!

                • leo
                  06/15/2010 at 3:20 PM

                  The defense doesn’t have to prove anything. They can throw up some hypotheticals, but even if they aren’t convincing, defense still doesn’t lose the case. Prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the absence of evidence (blood and cleanup) = tampering.

        • tassojunior
          06/15/2010 at 11:21 AM

          And Waid on cross said he was sure there are photos of all the cobwebs somewhere around… Somewhere.

      • Elizabeth
        06/15/2010 at 11:28 AM

        Hi Carolina,

        Excellent point regarding the sunglasses. Maybe someone was driving through the alley and pitched them out the window. Could be totally unrelated to anything!

        2. Sure, I have encountered unhealthy relationships, but way more in my early twenties than my mid-forties. And at neither time to this extent of ridiculousness. And CDinDC, you too, are correct. I guess my point was more that if you have a job and an education you are likely to have more resources and options than without one or the other. Sure situations can spin out of control. But I still don’t buy it. I think “co-dependence” is a psychobabble bunch of crap.

        Given that supposedly up to 99% of the population is “co-dependent,” (and I think I might be a lot older than most posters so I clearly remember when this term was coined and in fact was in the mental health profession at the time) it seems to me to be part of the human condition – normal rather than abnormal. It doesn’t excuse personal responsibility.

        And the sneaker on the line comment? Priceless! I know this case is about a human tragedy, but it is really fun to see what you guys come up with!

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/15/2010 at 12:19 PM

          psychobabble…perhaps. LOL But unhealthy relationships can be more or less severe. I tend to save co-dependence for the really severely disfunctional relationships.

          And re job and education/resources, doesn’t amount to hill of bean if you’re trapped in a situation that you feel is more powerful than you. I speak from experience. Having been in an abusive/controlling relationship for a number of years several decades ago. You feel trapped. Ashamed. Unable to reach out for feel of retaliation. There is a horrible snowball effect. You act, you fear. You don’t act, you fear. I’m inelligent…educated…professional. Family, friends, money, nothing could help me until I helped myself. A smile can conceal torment. And torment comes in many shapes and sizes.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/15/2010 at 12:30 PM

            disfunctional = dysfunctional LOL

          • Elizabeth
            06/15/2010 at 2:41 PM

            Had to get some actual work done for a few hours there! Not to belabor this point, but it sounds like for you, too, this relationship was when you were much younger…And I get the whole abusive relationship thing, in fact, I was a counselor at a safehouse for about 4 years. But in my experience, most of those victims were very isolated – either physically, intellectually, emotionally or all three. In fact, that isolation is a necessary part of turning an otherwise healthy person into a victim. I just don’t see that here. I don’t see Victor as a victim of what some posters describe in almost brainwashing terms.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/15/2010 at 2:52 PM

              “But in my experience, most of those victims were very isolated – either physically, intellectually, emotionally or all three.”

              I was none of these things. My point is that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Seemingly happy healthy people suffer in relationships in which they are controlled or abused (mentally, physically, sexually, emtionally) every day.

              If it were formulaic, it could be identified. But it’s not formulaic. Everyone has their weakness, and some people know how to uncover someone’s weaknesses.

              Abusive relationships are societies dirty little secret.

              Brainwashing…no. Unhappy, controlled, confused, abused…perhaps.

              • Elizabeth
                06/15/2010 at 3:03 PM

                Just to delve a little deeper, if you were not isolated in any way from people around you providing another, healthier point of view, how did find yourself in such a mess? Many people start to go there, but don’t due to reality checks from friends and family. It is usually without those reality checks that you find yourself, one day, in a really crazy relationship and say how the hell did I get here??

      • ladyg
        06/15/2010 at 1:16 PM

        they say, when you see a pair of sneakers hanging from electrical lines, usually means they are marking/saying that this is their territory.

        • Carolina
          06/15/2010 at 3:20 PM

          There are many urban myths, but this one would be a lot more effective if the person was still in his sneakers.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/15/2010 at 3:26 PM

            There’s also the myth that it means someone “got laid.”

            Don’t people ever get laid in wingtips or hush puppies?

        • chilaw79
          06/15/2010 at 3:54 PM

          Go to Snopes and you will see that there is no one explanation for sneakers on electrical lines. The explanations are all over the map: from old military rituals involving soldiers who are mustering out getting rid of their boots, loss of virginity, plain old bullying, and drug/crack sellers marking their territory.

          I seriously doubt that even a ninja intruder is so cool he wears sunglasses at night.

          • Deb
            06/15/2010 at 4:23 PM

            I think the explanation is some goofy teenaged boy wanted to see if he could actually get them wrapped around the wire without getting caught. Then, he ran away while laughing his ass off.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/15/2010 at 11:01 AM

      Re 2. – “trance-like state of dependence” may be stretching it, but co-dependence, financial intertwining (property owners together and who knows what else), and family intanglements (children together) can result in an ugly dependent relationship and frame of mind. People don’t have to be the opposite of well-educated, highly compensated professionals with children to find themselves in uncontrollable situations.

  5. jfh
    06/15/2010 at 11:13 AM

    I would be very careful about posting his update status unless, you the editors, are friends wih him on facebook – otherwise you may be violating his privacy.

    • Carolina
      06/15/2010 at 11:20 AM

      AHAHAHAAH! Privacy on Facebook. That’s going to send me for another glass of sweet tea.

      • Elizabeth
        06/15/2010 at 11:39 AM

        That’s exactly what I mean! You are on a roll this morning, my dear!

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/15/2010 at 12:34 PM

          Elizabeth, we both love the witty retorts of Carolina. Big fan here! LOL

          • Carolina
            06/15/2010 at 3:23 PM

            *BOWS* Thank you both, very sweet of you.

            I need the release from wanting to throttle someone.

    • NYer
      06/15/2010 at 12:45 PM

      Not sure I follow you, jfh. If his profile is a “public” one, he presumably has no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to what he posts. He might as well be walking around with a sign.

      Oddly enough, if the eds are indeed friends with him, and they are publicizing info from his private profile without his permission, then they arguably could be violating his privacy.

      But I have the feeling this may fall under the former scenario and not the latter..

    • Alice
      06/15/2010 at 1:22 PM

      Facebook status, what Facebook status?!

      • Alice
        06/15/2010 at 1:24 PM

        eek I found it; creepy indeed.

        • Anonymous Friend
          06/15/2010 at 1:36 PM

          Whose status? What does it say? Please explain – my firewall won’t let me go to Facebook. Thank you.

          • Alice
            06/15/2010 at 1:39 PM

            Louis Hinton’s status. Do a search for this blog on google and check out the cached entry for today.

            • Daphne
              06/15/2010 at 2:32 PM

              Can’t find it. What does it say?

            • Anonymous Friend
              06/15/2010 at 3:49 PM

              I can’t either – I feel very dumb! I searched the name of this blog on google, and then I searched that name with hinton status, but I’m not seeing anything. How do I find cached entries? Could you provide a link, maybe, if you don’t want to type it? Thank you. I’m showing my age, I guess. There was a time I was web-proficient!

              • Alice
                06/15/2010 at 4:58 PM

                Grr can’t find it now. The gist is that it’s his birthday and he wanted to be clawed in the back by some wild animals. If I can find another link, I’ll provide it.

                Happy Birthday Louis!

  6. cat
    06/15/2010 at 11:17 AM

    creepy facebook status

    • Anonymous Friend
      06/15/2010 at 1:12 PM

      Maybe I read too quickly, but what’s this about a Facebook status? Thanks for helping me understand these posts.

  7. BenFranklin
    06/15/2010 at 11:36 AM

    No recanted alibi from Mr. Hinton.

    I keep asking myself after each witness, was that REALLY a witness for the prosecution? REALLY?

    Acquittal tomorrow.

    • KiKi
      06/15/2010 at 11:42 AM

      I agree the prosecution did not meet its burden. If I was the defense attorney I might even waive the motion not put on a defense go right to closing and ask for the acquittal that way. It is clear that these guys had something to do with the murder and covered it up and obstructed justice, problem is that the prosecution (mostly because of the shotty investigation) didn’t have the evidence they needed to meet their burden.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/15/2010 at 12:43 PM

        It’s hard for me to draw any conclusions one way or the other based on the “sound bites” were getting. I tune in everyday to get a recap of the days events. How I wish i could be there to hear ALL of the questions asked, ALL of the answer, the judges questions, the vibe in the room, the looks on the defendants faces, the judge’s behavior, the defense attorney’s, etc etc etc. That being said, if you were sitting in a juror’s box how could anyone make a decision based on what we are getting via the media.

        We’ll get a decision soon enough. Until then, trying to call the case from this point of view isn’t doable.

        • KiKi
          06/15/2010 at 1:03 PM

          I apologize if my comment seemed to try to “call” the case. My point was simply that prosecution seems to be lacking evidence to convict on any of these crimes due to the high burden of proof and the poor investigation. I think this entire blog is devoted to people trying to “make a decision based on what we are getting via the media.”

          When we as a society try to judge our democratic institutions, particularly our criminal justice system, the only information we have is, typically, from high profile criminal prosecutions as they are played out in the media. Unless everyone is going to get a law degree and become criminal lawyers or judges we have the imperfect system of judging based on limited information.

          Fortunately, in this case the editors have done something wonderful and attempted to give the public less subjective actual “reports.” To me, it would seem, if there is any case in which observers can judge without being in the courtroom it would be this case, because of this blog.

          And based on what I have seen, in the media, it appears that the justice system has failed. Even if there is a conviction on these charges, we have seen the failures in the system. Failures that happen everyday but are hidden because there is not media coverage. That I can judge without hearing questions or answers.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/15/2010 at 1:28 PM

            Very good points, KiKi. Great post, in fact.

            The editors of this blog have done something extraordinary. They have provided access to very seldom seen documents in a criminal case, and I agree that in this case “observers can judge without being in the courtroom.”

            However, based on what I have seen via the media in reporting the TRIAL, I am left with so little information, morally, I can’t say they are or are not guilty. That’s why I stressed the necessity to see it for myself. Hear every detail first hand. Only then could I make a sound judgment based on trial proceedings.

            So until then, if new facts come to light, we’ll hash them out in the internet court, but I’ll patiently await the verdict of the judge.

            PS…my comments were originally meant for the BF, as he seems to be so confident in his verdict. (I enjoy your comments. Not so much his.)

  8. mw
    06/15/2010 at 11:47 AM

    I’m starting to agree BF.

    Where’s the case? All I’ve learned is that these guys are a bunch of weirdos.

  9. tassojunior
    06/15/2010 at 12:19 PM

    I actually hope the defense gets to go on. A significant case that lets the public see how crimes are handled is good for society. And the defendants should want the stigma of suspicion removed.

    I get the feel that the prosecution was never keen on bringing a case against these defendants but was pressured (to get blood from a stone).

    Maybe in a defense case we’ll get to see more of the motivation for the prosecution and how crimes are handled. Of course that may be unsettling and I’m sure the “justice” system would never allow itself to be so exposed.

    • Carolina
      06/15/2010 at 3:25 PM

      More fun will be the civil trial. Should be quite a show.

  10. CC Biggs
    06/15/2010 at 1:21 PM

    Didn’t Hinton provide the crucial alibi for Michael Price for the night of the murder. How can the prosecution not be allowed to ask about that??!! Their conspiracy/obstruction theory is based on an alleged motive of the housemates to protect someone they know who might be involved in the murder (i.e., Michael Price). His whereabouts that night are therefore important to establishing motive for the crimes for which defendants are now on trial. The Hinton alibi for Michael Price is therefore relevant — indeed highly relevant — to this case.

    • leo
      06/15/2010 at 1:47 PM

      But if the prosecution knows that he will repeat the alibi, they do not want to ask him that on the record. No need to bolster the defense’s argument.

      • BadShoes
        06/15/2010 at 2:11 PM

        Your argument makes sense for the prosecution. Now why wouldn’t the defense ask about the alibi?

        The attorneys on both sides seem to know something about Mr. Hinton’s testimony that I don’t know.

        I never understood why the prosecution has made such a big deal about Michael Price when he had an alibi–unless they thought it was breakable.

        Now I don’t understand why the defense didn’t crush that portion of the prosecution’s case by eliciting said alibi from Mr. Hinton. Without an alibi, Michael Price is back in play.Just another strange development…

        So, what actual evidence did Mr. Hinton provide?

        • Hoya Loya
          06/15/2010 at 2:31 PM

          Bad Shoes:

          I agree that the emphasis on Michael Price was major misstep — I can see implying it could have been Michael Price and also using the burglary to show the defendants’ willingness to defer to joe and delay reporting a crime, but to start to center so much of the trial around him was not good strategy. The only way it makes sense to me is if the government has evidence that he is indeed the killer and expects to bring murder charges soon — which I doubt is the case.

          As for Hinton, as I noted above, I think both sides were wary of asking about the alibi — I don’t think they could be sure what answer they would get today.

          • BadShoes
            06/15/2010 at 2:41 PM

            Well, if I understand correctly, Michael Price no longer has an alibi for the purposes of this trial–the defense had an opportunity–supposedly–to put an alibi in evidence, but didn’t take it.

            Hmmm

            • leo
              06/15/2010 at 3:28 PM

              Maybe the prosecution has something in the way of a prior inconsistent statement that they can’t present directly against Hinton, but could if the defense opens the door by asking about the alibi. Therefore, neither side asks the question.

        • Bea
          06/15/2010 at 2:35 PM

          Hinton taking the 5th can’t be held against Hinton as to his criminal behavior on the day of the murder but what of its impact on M Price and his prior alibi for M Price? I posed this above to Hoya and Chilaw for their legal take as well – wonder if this is the impact which is between the lines and not directly accessible to this blog.

          • Hoya Loya
            06/15/2010 at 2:50 PM

            Well, as BadShoes notes, the alibi is now not in evidence (and the judge must have noted this omission since the alibi was referenced in the motion to exclude evidence regarding MP and maybe even in opening statements — don’t recall).

            But the defense could argue that there was an intruder and they don’t know who it was — it might have been Michael or someone else. If they’d known it was Michael they wouldn’t have covered it up but cooperated as they (albeit belatedly) did with the burglary.

            • Bea
              06/15/2010 at 5:02 PM

              I see the burglary differently – they did not immediately call the cops on Michael. And they knew they could hold the keys on pressing charges – not so with a murder.

              As you pointed out below (nod to WaPo), the Judge indicated Michael’s alibi was not relevant, and I’m not sure if this coupled with Hinton taking the 5th may have more traction than we’re seeing in these limited reports.

              I think the Judge, a former prosecutor, sees things through those eyes and isn’t likely to give a pass to what Weisburg was seeming to do. The defense can argue that the trio wouldn’t have covered up for Michael but I don’t think it plays well – and I think the Judge may well be saying that the murder being covered up could have been committed by one or more of the defendants or Michael Price or someone else the trio would ‘cover for’ – so long as it was not an ‘unknown intruder’ the evidence as provided certainly “reads” on obstruction and conspiracy (to Price and Zaborsky, admittedly, far more than Ward).

  11. Atlanta
    06/15/2010 at 1:49 PM

    I agree with CD in DC. The prosecution is still making it’s case. We are getting soundbites from the media and abbreviated reports on this site. There appear to me many considerations the judge must make and closing arguments haven’t been made. There are still witnesses who have yet to take the stand.

  12. 99
    06/15/2010 at 1:53 PM

    Did I miss something or has the time from the scream to the 911 call not been part of the prosecution’s case? The neighbors testified, but not much has been made about the missing 15 minutes when Joe said it was “less than a minute” from when he found Robert to when he told Victor to call 911.

  13. Phil
    06/15/2010 at 2:08 PM

    Not entirely sure why so many are thinking its such a weak case–here are things that have been shown in court (I believe) that have yet to be refuted (although the defense may be able to poke holes in them):

    1) Needle marks on victim’s body that are unexplained.
    2) Victim was incapacitated/not mobile/no defensive wounds when stabbed. (Both sides agree to this!)
    3) Lack of blood (a huge amount.)
    4) Delay between scream and 911 call.

    What else am I missing?

    • cinnamon
      06/15/2010 at 2:25 PM

      No signs of an intruder. None.

      • Phil
        06/15/2010 at 2:28 PM

        Good point.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/15/2010 at 2:42 PM

        But it could have been an intruder with keys. Or a very lucky intruder who found the door open and was able to kill Robert with a very lucky first stab that caused instant death from cardiac tamponade and little external bleeding. With the needle marks caused by resuscitation efforts that the EMTs and ER nurse failed to recall and blood lost when his chest cavity was drained as part of those same efforts.

        The delay leaves time for something to have happened, but how are the three otherwise definitively tied to 1, 2 and 3?

        A great deal of this case rests on the 911 call and the VCB statements as they compare to the evidence and what the judge decides to make of same.

        • rk
          06/15/2010 at 3:14 PM

          I still think that one of the most difficult issues for the defense is the condition of Robert’s body at the time of the EMT arrival. If I recall correctly, the EMT’s at the scene described the body as cold, clammy and with no signs of life.

          According to the defendants’ account of the evening, they heard screaming/grunting and went down to investigate within a minute of hearing the noise. That would mean the emt’s would have arrived at the scene of the murder about 6 minutes after the stabbing. That’s not enough time for a body to go cold and clammy.

          If the screams/grunts were NOT from the sounds of the actual stabbing, then Robert must have been capable of making the noise himself. If he was totally paralyzed and incapacitated by the single stab to the heart, how does he scream and make enough noise to wake Joe and Victor? It doesn’t seem plausible to be capable of screaming and then going cold and clammy with no signs of life within 6 minutes.

          The emt’s testimony regarding the condition of the body was not highlighted by the editors in their reporting, but I’m guessing it was discussed during trial.

          Perhaps it will be raised by the prosecution during closing. Remember – Joe’s first words to the first responders: “I heard a scream.”

          • Ivan
            06/15/2010 at 3:30 PM

            Also, EMT thought the body looked “arranged” – keep in mind the magazine found on Dylan’s nightstand. Also Joe told the detective that night about a bloody scene – he also mentioned it to Tara Ragone yet there was little blood according to the EMT.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/15/2010 at 3:41 PM

              Joe also said “wiping blood” isn’t the same as tampering. Well, actually, Joe….it is.

            • Hoya Loya
              06/15/2010 at 3:46 PM

              The magazine was excluded from the trial.

              The “cold and clammy” condition was a sign of shock (confirmed by one of our medical-backgroung posters). I’m with rk in that I’m not sure that observation made it into testimony.

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                06/15/2010 at 3:55 PM

                If he died immediately, he couldn’t have gone into shock.

                And shock is a result of blood lose.

                Hmm….go figure.

              • Elizabeth
                06/15/2010 at 4:12 PM

                Can someone explain to me (unless it has to do with “for truth” and “not for truth,” then I am begging you, please just let it sit there like a turd) why the EMT was not allowed to give a professional opinion as to the crime scene?

                He was allowed to say it was not typical in that most crime scenes he has observed are chaos, but was not allowed to mention the “hairs on the back of his neck standing up.” Why? I think, IMHO, that a professional judgment on such a thing is quite relevant, not to mention interesting.

                • Goose
                  06/15/2010 at 8:06 PM

                  It has nothing to do with for truth, so you can be happy about that (although I do agree that hearsay can be a huge turd).

                  A witness is there to report about his or her observations, not his or her feelings because they are generally not relevant and can be overly prejudicial.

                  An expert witness is the only type of witness who can offer opinion. There is a long and involved process to qualify someone to be an expert witness – a list of qualifications (education, job experience, etc.) must be submitted in discovery and that person must be established in trial as an expert witness (though proper questioning). If the proper foundation is not provided, opposing counsel can challenge the expert status of the witness.

                  That being said, every witness is allowed to testify within his or her own experiences – for example, the prosecution can ask the EMT – how did this crime scene compare to other stabbings to which you have responded? More or less blood? Etc…this is all within the realm of his personal knowledge.

                  Unless the witness has been deemed an expert witness, he or she cannot offer an opinion as to a question such as – based on your observations of the crime scene, would you say that the defendants tampered with the scene?

                  • Liam
                    06/15/2010 at 8:23 PM

                    I like your explanation. It clarifies this particular evidence issue for those of us (i.e., me) not in the know regarding the legalities. Thanks.

            • Bill 2
              06/15/2010 at 3:54 PM

              I seem to recall that one of the medical people said the body on the bed was colder than someone who had just died. Wasn’t there some graph that showed how the body temperature drops after death?

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                06/15/2010 at 4:07 PM

                I recall that conversation. Was it Eagle? Step forward please!

                Anyway, ” After death, the body loses heat progressively until it equilibrates with that of the surrounding medium. The rate of this heat loss is approximately 1.5 degrees per hour until the environmental temperature is attained, then it remains stable.”

                However, Hoya Loya just brought up shock. When someone goes into shock the body gets cold and clammy. Blood lose can bring on shock. But this would indicate living longer than the defense claims. The other option is that Robert’s body was washed in cool water bringing the temperature down.

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                  06/15/2010 at 4:18 PM

                  Maybe the chief medical examiner will go into this stuff. It refutes the defense teams claims of immediate death.

                • 08/09/2010 at 10:09 PM

                  This might help:
                  Eagle on 06/03/2010 at 8:46 PM
                  Let’s not forget that one of the officials (an EMT, I think,) having just arrived on the scene, noted that Robert’s body was cold and clammy. After death, body temperatures decrease only .75 to 1.25 degrees per hour and thus his body should not have been cold and clammy.
                  lawmed on 06/04/2010 at 7:40 PM
                  That is not correct.
                  ALL hypovolemic shock (shock from loss of blood) patients are cold and clammy. It is one of the hallmark signs and independent of passage of time. All of your blood vessels constrict and your blood is shunted to impotant organs like the heart and brain, while diverted from peripheral circulation including blood flow to the skin, arms, legs. Low blood flow equals cold and clammy which actually may not represent any change in core body temperature
                  http://whomurderedrobertwone.com/2010/06/03/day-12-updates/

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/15/2010 at 3:58 PM

            rk says: “If he was totally paralyzed and incapacitated by the single stab to the heart, how does he scream and make enough noise to wake Joe and Victor?”

            I’ve said this a few times. Forgive me for repeating myself.

            Some drugs, such as ketamine, do not paralyze completely. They can breathe and they are still vocal. However, they are unable to defend themselves and are easily subdued.

            Check out Youtube videos referring to ketamine or ket.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/15/2010 at 4:02 PM

              oops….sorry….I misread your comment. strike that!

            • tassojunior
              06/15/2010 at 8:11 PM

              or Special K.

        • prtyboydc
          06/16/2010 at 12:50 AM

          I am increasingly inclined to believe that the murder was committed by Michael Price. It is clear that Joe will go to great lengths to protect Michael from having to suffer the consequences of his actions–out of guilt, love or combination of the two. The familial bonds that tie the three defendants together are strong enough to compel Victor and Dylan to go along with Joe’s cover up.

          The interconnectedness of neighbor Scott, Sarah, Joe, Victor, Dylan, Louis and Michael is fascinating and the commitment to each other, on some level, is enviable.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/15/2010 at 2:26 PM

      I agree, Phil. We are seeing a minute amount of the information shared in court.

      • Bea
        06/15/2010 at 3:08 PM

        Agree – we’re one layer removed from spectators trying their best to give us the “gist”. Same with news reports. Although Hoya disagrees with my assessment, I suspect there’s significant impact today in Hinton’s taking the 5th and NOT testifying as to M Price’s alibi – can’t be used against Hinton but it may well have affect as against M Price’s so-called alibi. Perhaps, too, this was what the prosecution wanted to happen (or NOT!), the point being that we’re trying to assess that which is (necessarily) incomplete.

        While CD is right to not provide a judgment as to guilty/not guilty, we are coming quickly upon the Rule 29 decision. I do think there’s a chance Ward will be dropped from the case, though I don’t see that happening with Price or Zaborsky (possibly “tampering” will be dropped for Zaborsky). There’s just no way for us to know all of the evidence or how the Judge is analyzing it.

        • leo
          06/15/2010 at 3:33 PM

          The judge won’t rule from the bench on any Rule 29 motions, will she? But she will rule before Monday, when the defense is scheduled to start its case?

          • Elizabeth
            06/15/2010 at 3:46 PM

            From the 2 pm update:

            Also tomorrow morning, Leibovitz made clear her deadline for Rule 29 filings. No delay. No excuses. An outline if necessary, but she will move immediately to Rule 29 at the close of the government’s case

            • leo
              06/15/2010 at 4:46 PM

              Right, she’s going to hear the motions. But I assume she won’t rule immediately from the bench–anybody have any idea when she might rule?

              • Bea
                06/15/2010 at 4:55 PM

                My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I think Rule 29 motions in bench trials are different from jury trials and she can’t delay the ruling. Of course, even if she denies, she can still rule favorably on the same Motion after the close of the defense case.

                The way she’s informing them in no uncertain terms that the defense needs to be ready to proceed may mean nothing except that IF she rules for the prosecution that she wants no delays (but that she hasn’t decided). I do wonder if there is an undercurrent of suggesting that she’s going to want to hear the defense’s case.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/15/2010 at 3:40 PM

          Bea, I used to feel that Victor was the least culpable of any wrong-doing, but that feeling has changed for me. If anyone would be aware of Joe’s absence from bed that night, it would be Victor. Perhaps he didn’t know what was happening downstairs, but he would have known Joe was not in bed with him and perhaps lied to cover that fact.

          Dylan, on the other hand, could truly have been in bed asleep when everything took place.

          • Bea
            06/15/2010 at 5:07 PM

            Forgetting for the moment whether evidence introduced points to Dylan, I still suspect he was involved in the obstruction as a minimum (polygraph, while not admitted, and not completely reliable, still has some impact). But I agree that Victor is likely guilty of these charges. I still maintain that he wasn’t involved in the murder (or he wouldn’t have screamed, for one thing). Whether it was one or both of the Price brothers, or Dylan and one/both, we simply don’t know. The worst thing imaginable happened to Robert Wone, and with the timeline, the blood, and logic, I keep coming back to the complicity of these defendants whether or not the evidence is sufficient in each count as against each defendant.

            Not that we are disagreeing in total – I think it’s wholly possible that Dylan was far less involved than I once thought. But he knows what happened.

          • cat
            06/15/2010 at 5:19 PM

            I’ve read posts that speculate that Joe and/or Dylan stabbed
            Robert to cover up his accidental death from drugs they
            injected in him.

            Under this theory, what were they planning – that Robert
            would wake up the next morning and not remember anything;
            that he would charge them with sexual assault; would
            they blame sexual assault on “an intruder”?

            • Bea
              06/15/2010 at 5:47 PM

              Dang, my answer went into the black hole.

              Some speculate that the perpetrators assumed that ketamine’s effect which includes amnesia might be the key. Others have theorized that the perpetrator may have been too high to consider repercussions (i.e. that Robert was not some trick who might not object or might not press charges). Just a quick answer about what’s been written previously.

              • cat
                06/16/2010 at 7:40 AM

                Thanks, Bea.

        • Hoya Loya
          06/15/2010 at 4:33 PM

          This was just posted by the WaPo and sheds some more, interesting light on the alibi issue:

          “Hinton’s attorney, Barry Pollack, said Hinton has told authorities that his client and the younger Price were in bed together in their Silver Spring home the night Wone was killed. Leibovitz said that information as not relevant to the case against the housemates.”

          • BadShoes
            06/15/2010 at 7:53 PM

            Hmmm. On the one hand, if the judge doesn’t think that it matters whether Michael Price has an alibi or not, then the prosecution’s entire Michael Price shtick appears to have been a waste of airtime. Oops.

            OTOH, it may suggest that the judge broadly isn’t interested in motives, which suggests, in turn, a challenge for the defense. The absence of motive is actually the defense’s most compelling positive argument.

            • Tarfunk
              06/15/2010 at 8:09 PM

              As numerous postings on this site have pointed out, if Robert had been female, no one would be the least bit concerned about motive. The sexual assault itself would be considered motive enough. Why should a sexual assault against a male be seen any differently? And the prosecution never has to prove a motive anyway.

          • Bill Orange
            06/16/2010 at 8:56 AM

            This looks like simple spin from his attorney to me. Look at what he says: He’s not even claiming that his client was at home in bed at the time of the murder. He’s just saying that his client has previously made that claim. The notion that it isn’t relevant is absurd. The whole point of calling Hinton to the stand was to bolster the prosecution’s argument that Joe Price is willing to go to great lengths to protect his brother from the authorities. If Michael Price has an alibi for the night of the murder, that assertion–even if true–is irrelevant to the case.

            The prosecution had good reason to avoid asking him about the night of the murder–if the alibi was true, they didn’t want him to say so; if the alibi was false, they didn’t want him to invoke his fifth amendment rights. The defense, on the other hand, would only want to avoid asking him the question if they knew the alibi was false. And they didn’t ask.

    • KV
      06/15/2010 at 2:56 PM

      A missing bloody towel or towels?

    • BadShoes
      06/15/2010 at 3:17 PM

      If we accept the defense’s cardiac tamponade theory, then Messrs. Price, Ward, and Zaborsky each told police that Mr. Wone emitted multiple groans/grunts/screams after he must have been immobilized and dead.

      Mr. Price told police that Mr. Wone groaned at some point after he came downstairs, inconsistent with tamponade. (circa 11:45pm)

      If we reject the cardiac tamponade theory, then there is missing blood and the wound evidence of incapacitation, also not consisent with the three defendants testimony of groan/grunt/scream.

      Three defendants offered very different accounts of sounds uttered by the dying Mr. Wone. Not too significant in isolation, but compelling when combined with medical evidence that noises are inconsistent with both tamponade and incapacitation.

      EMT observed that Mr. Wone had been dead for some time circa midnight. Inconsistent with the defendants’ reported time of death.

      Mr. Wone’s clothes in disarray, piled on top of the pillow case that he habitually used to keep his used clothing neat, while his pocket litter (wallet, etc) was neatly lined up on the dresser. Not consistent with Mr. Wone undressing himself.

      Mr. Wone’s toothguard in place (inconsistent with above).

      Mr. Wone’s body lying on his back on top of a neatly made, turned down bed, humped over the comforter. Inconsistent with Mr. Ward telling police that Mr. wone had gone to bed quietly and been asleep for 45 minutes.

      Back of Mr. Wone’s t-shirt suffused with blood, while the bed he was lying on had two distinct, separate blood spots. (This might be my interpretation, may not actually be in evidence)

      Blood striations on Mr. Wone’s chest observed by EMT.

      Mr. Zaborsky told 911 operator “we heard the chime” before he could have learned this from Mr. Price, and before he had enough information to conclude that the chime was significant.

      Mr. Zaborsky tells 911 operator that “he has one of our knives” while Mr. Zaborsky later told polic he wasn’t sure he actually saw the knife.

      Mr. Zaborsky tells 911 operator that Mr. Wone is breathing, when even defense argues that Mr. Wone must be dead.

      Mr. Zaborsky tells 911 operator that Mr. Price is ‘applying pressure’ but can’t remember whether one or two towels were in play. If two towels, then Mr. Price learned that he needed to apply pressure before Mr. Zaborsky told him. Physical evidence on the only towel found is inconsistent with it being used to apply pressure. Mr. Price said he applied pressure.

      Mr. Ward, who was present, testified that he didn’t see any pressure being applied. Not significant in isolation, but compelling in the context of physical evidence and self-contradictory testimony by Mr. Zaborsky.

      No blood splatter from removal of the knife–three blows, right?

      • Ivan
        06/15/2010 at 3:31 PM

        Very thorough job BadShoes.

      • BadShoes
        06/15/2010 at 3:43 PM

        Three errata-

        EMTs report that Mr. Wone had been dead for some time, is inconsistent with all three defendants report of scream/grunt/moan circa 11:45pm, if we believe that this sound was made by Mr. Wone.

        Mr. Zaborsky later told police he might have heard a chime himself. He said “we” heard a chime when he talked to the 911 operator.

        Defense disputes that the blood stains on the towel are inconsistent with pressure being applied.

        • Hoya Loya
          06/15/2010 at 3:57 PM

          Indeed impressive BadShoes. And don’t forget that Mr. Price was not applying pressure when the EMTs arrived.

          Kirschner should read your posts when preparing his argument. The trick is for him to tie all these inconsistencies into a clear case for obstruction and you’ve done a pretty convincing job of that.

    • chilaw79
      06/15/2010 at 4:05 PM

      There are a lot of exhibits in this case that have not been reproduced on this website (no criticism intended–I assume they are not available or might take up way too much space), but are before the judge.

      I do not have a good idea of the totality of this evidence but I assume it includes telephone records from Swann Street and various cellphones, medical records, police reports, crime scene photos, and other documents. This is a judge who is used to looking at these types of documents and assessing whether the prosecution has met its burden. We have had the 911 tape, the interviews, the autopsy report, and a lot of material, but not all of it.

      • Craig
        06/15/2010 at 4:18 PM

        C79: Thousands of exhibits have been entered into the record and according to WaPo’s Keith Alexander, 250 photos and 4,000 documents. For instance, when the ER nurse testified her entire report from the evening was entered. We just never got a look at that or many others.

        And again, a clarification/amplification on what we heard several months ago from an investigator who was very familiar with the case: Michael Price was indeed an early suspect in the murder. We were told that even his clothing was checked for DNA, fiber and trace analysis.

        How that squares with what was said about the MPD never interviewing him, well, I’m just not sure. As a suspect, could he or his lawyers spurned an interview or interrogation?

        • tassojunior
          06/15/2010 at 4:34 PM

          They subpoena’d his DNA and clothing??

    • John
      06/15/2010 at 4:27 PM

      3) towel/s – where are they? count them.

  14. ladyg
    06/15/2010 at 3:24 PM

    how can the defense give an account for the missing bloody towel (s)?

  15. ladyg
    06/15/2010 at 3:36 PM

    we’ve asked this question over and over again, why would the intruder leave the murder weapon behind (so that it could come back & bite him/her in the butt)? something JP, said in his statement to the police, that the intruder wore gloves, if so than blood would have to be on them too, right? (would there be trace evidence from the gloves on the knife)? this is mind boggling!

    • cinnamon
      06/15/2010 at 4:19 PM

      It seems so odd that Joe already had answers for the “intruder”, ie, maybe he was wearing a glove. I still say that if their story is true, they would have had alot more questions than answers during the interrogation. If there was in intruder in their house and they were suddenly woken, wouldn’t it make sense that they would have alot of questions? Is the back door open? Is the back gate open? Any of the windows open or broken? How did they get in?

      Victor has way too many answers for someone who made an immediate emergency call. In a call where his attention should have been on saving his friend’s life and/or chasing after a murderous intruder…all he was doing was offering explanations for what happened. All too soon, in my opinion.

      • Elizabeth
        06/15/2010 at 4:28 PM

        Cinnamon, I agree the 911 call is fraught with problems, but I don’t think NOT chasing after a murderous intruder is one of the them. It is kind of interesting though, that they offer the back door when the alarm system was off. Why not through a window, broken or left unlocked? If they don’t lock the doors you can’t tell me they were sure all the windows were locked.

        • cinnamon
          06/15/2010 at 10:10 PM

          I didn’t mean that they personally would want to chase after the intruder. I meant that I would think that Victor’s concerns on the call should have been 1. to get the ambulance there to help Robert and 2. to get the police there to track the intruder.

          I don’t think anything else would have mattered at that moment, like Victor telling the 911 operator that he thinks the knife is one of theirs. Who cares at that point? All of that could have been dealt with later UPON QUESTIONING…but they were offering this info right off the bat which I find suspicious.

          • Elizabeth
            06/15/2010 at 10:20 PM

            Yup, agreed. But how ’bout it folks? Why do they all offer the back door and not a window? Or why aren’t they all questioning/confused?

  16. mw
    06/15/2010 at 3:46 PM

    Inconsistent stories and events/circumstances that don’t have an obvious explanation do not prove the crime here, IMO.

    It’s a weird murder scene. How do you just pin that on everyone and lock all three up? The lack of explanations and the failure to solve this murder is frustrating, but it doesn’t prove that any individual person commmitted this crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • Phil
      06/15/2010 at 4:11 PM

      They are not on trial for murder–and inconsistent stories actually could prove the crime here.

      Although the degree of inconsistency–whether it rises to the level of criminal behavior (there are lots of perfectly legitimate reasons for inconsistencies)–is the real question here.

    • leo
      06/15/2010 at 4:52 PM

      “Inconsistent stories and events/circumstances that don’t have an obvious explanation do not prove the crime here, IMO.”

      They absolutely DO–if they rise to the level of obstruction and conspiracy, and if the “obvious explanation” for them is tampering, proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • rk
      06/15/2010 at 5:22 PM

      Weird? It’s beyond weird. Weird would be one or two strange circumstances. Like a home invasion robbery and murder without a robbery. Now that is weird. But start adding the other factors: the strange 911 call, the statement that the intruder has one of our knives (when it is sitting in plain view), not checking on Dylan or looking for the intruder in Dylan’s room before calling 911, the intruder going back over the fence instead of through the gate, the condition of the body, the wiped knife, the needle punctures, the lack of defensive wounds, the magical paralyzing stab wound to the heart, the lack of blood splatter, the strange and inconsistent statements made to friends and police, Michael Price’s blood drawing class, the missing blood, and on, and on and on….

      There are almost a hundred strange circumstances with respect to this murder.

      The CSI and Law and Order shows (Bones, Cold Case??) have given the false impression to observers that most criminal convictions are obtained through high tech physical evidence, dna, hair fibers and hidden spots of blood illuminated by black lights.

      In reality, most criminal convictions are obtained through confessions in exchange for reduced sentences and/or testimony from witnesses.

      Proving conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt absent testimony from one of the conspirators is very difficult, and would certainly require the use of “weird” circumstantial evidence.

      The fact that this case didn’t end up working like a CSI show (with the prosecution proving their case with a silver bullet piece of physical evidence like dna or fingerprints) leads many observers to falsely conclude that this case has somehow been bungled by the prosectuion.

      It seems like the police and detectives made some mistakes along the way, but that is a far cry from incompetence. Instead, it’s just a tough case to prove without witnesses.

      • mw
        06/15/2010 at 5:47 PM

        My doubts about a conviction being in the cards have nothing to do with the CSi effect.

        My impression of the case, just from this site, is we have an unusual murder scene, the police failed to solve the murder, so we’ll just arrest and charge everyone in the house, because they’re clearly not telling us everything.

        They’re clearly not telling us everything. And there was obviously no “intruder” (at least of the stranger variety) But what’s the crime exactly, that has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt? It’s not against the law to delay in calling 911, or to lie to friends, or to withold information from police, or to be generally disgusting people. I don’t think you can add up a dozen “this might be something” kind of facts, and use them to convict three people of these charges (especially when you’re not able to tie any of them individually to anything)

        These charges are being used as a desperate attempt to punish these guys for getting away with murder, or not telling whatever it is the know. I don’t think it’s going to fly.

        They’re disgusting people. I hope Robert’s Widow takes them to cleaners in the civil suit.

  17. tassojunior
    06/15/2010 at 4:00 PM

    The police immediately took over the house with Price’s permission (and 3 hours later with a warrant). For weeks the FBI took out floor boards, sheetrock, staircases, drainpipes and the washing machine to FBI labs looking for blood traces or clean up traces. If a bloody towel, traces of blood, or traces of cleaning agents were anywhere they would have been found as they were motivated to prove the police theory.

    They were not very motivated when it came to the upside down trash can (which could have had footprints), the sunglasses (which could have had fingerprints or be traceable), the emails, Michael Price or Collins, the “cobwebs”, the fence, or enemies of the occupants because evidence that way would disprove their rape/cover-up murder charge. Now that the rape/cover-up murder has collapsed they are suddenly keen on pretending they suspected Michael Price all along.

  18. JayZ
    06/15/2010 at 4:43 PM

    Isn’t this the better link for any Rule 29 questions in this case?
    http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/superior/admin_orders/rules.jsp

    It’s a federal case, of course, since everything in the District is a federal case. But the DC Superior Court actually has its own rules and the case is being heard in the Moultrie Courthouse of the DC Courts, not the E Barrett Prettyman Courthouse of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

    Or am I wrong?

    I ain’t pass the bar, but I know a little bit.

    • Craig
      06/15/2010 at 4:58 PM

      Thanks JZ – That’s probably a better link than the Fed one I put up earlier.

      Leo: I thought I heard Doug say that Judge Leibovitz will rule on the acquittal motion pretty quickly, like by cob Wednesday when the government wraps. But maybe I heard him wrong-ish.

  19. Ivan
    06/15/2010 at 4:56 PM

    To those of you familiar with the court and its proceedings and personality issues etc. — what is the likelihood of gossip regarding the trail vis-a-vis the judge say for example “I understand the judge is considering acquittal” or ” I heard from a good source the judge thinks this is a slam dunk case”. Those kinds of things. Anyone?

    • Craig
      06/15/2010 at 5:01 PM

      Ivan: I’ve trotted out this shop worn cliche too many times, but here it is again: “Those who know don’t say, and those who say don’t know.”

    • leo
      06/15/2010 at 5:15 PM

      The judge is not discussing her personal views with ANYONE at this point. Well–maybe her husband. So if you heard her husband gossiping, maybe you can put some credence in it.

  20. Pshep
    06/15/2010 at 5:14 PM

    I was in court today as an observer for the first time. I am not an attorney and have only been in court in the past as a defendant for “youthful indiscretions” years ago. Let me give you my impressions:

    Regarding Hinton’s attorney’s argument for him taking the 5th – I interpreted that he could be taking the 5th in terms of filing a false police report regarding the stolen car and “getting M Price off of the street”, rather than anything to do with his murder alibi testimony for M Price to the grand jury.

    The defense team and the defendants themselves seemed relaxed (except for Dyl who editor Doug told me during a break always seems grave/intense). The prosecution teem seemed tense. Leibowitz seems reasonable, but irritated at times. On a couple of occasions today she asked that attorneys for both sides specifically answer a question that she asked and not go into argument. Seemed like this happened more often to Patrick Martin, but he was handling the prosecution argument regarding Hinton’s 5th and Hinton’s questioning.

    Bernie Grimm seemed to be the most confident attorney in the room. Whether this is due to his natural character, his perception that he was winning his case, that he got laid last night, or some other reason, I have no idea, but to a layperson he had the most charisma.

    Dylan did a little interacting with the Joe and Victor, the attorneys, and their supporters, but it seemed to be in response to them talking to him rather than him initiating conversations. He was the only one of the 3 that seemed to consistently have the demeanor of someone facing 37 years in prison. You could mistake Joe and Victor as salesmen at a convention. Looked like they didn’t have a care in the world.

    Hinton on the stand was a waste of the prosecution’s time. Did not ad anything to their case and seemed to only serve the purpose to have Leibowitz grow more frustrated with Martin’s questioning.

    • leo
      06/15/2010 at 5:19 PM

      Thanks for this, Pshep; always nice to have another bird’s-eye view of the personalities in this matter. You are not alone in posting that Joe and Victor seem like they’re on holiday with friends. I wonder if they’d have been counseled to look more like Dylan were this a jury trial.

  21. Pete McLeanVa
    06/15/2010 at 7:54 PM

    I haven’t read these posts so forgive me if this question has been asked. Where does Jefferson Wilson work (18 Linked-in Profiles)? Does Wilson live in the city. How close are Price/Ward and Wilson? My flowcharts and algorithms might trump old fashion gumshoe detective work. The only restriction is I can’t fire a drone when the evidence becomes compelling.

  22. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/15/2010 at 9:27 PM

    Greetings –

    Do any of you know history/facts about the judge in this case?

    • Bea
      06/15/2010 at 9:28 PM

      Former federal prosecutor is all I really recall.

  23. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/15/2010 at 10:24 PM

    Greetings –

    I was in the courtroom today after the morning break. My observations are that Price is clearly a “leader.” When the homicide detective was on the stand, he was requsted to identify Price. Price stood up to show who he was – when he did so, he “relished” the moment. I perceived the “relish” as a bluff. Did he need to stand up or did he choose to stand up? Maybe I have watched too much Court TV but I remember that when defendants are identified, the identifiers typically describe some obvious features, clothing colors/desriptions etc. I have never observed the persons identified stand up as did Price today. “Cocky” is a term that readily comes to mind in observance of him.

    Victor does not impress me as being relaxed. His eyes betray his fear. His mouth smiles…note his eyes. Genuine smiles extend to the eyes. Forced, frozen, and fake smiles do not extend beyond the mouth area. Clearly, he has bitten off more than he can chew. He did not sign up for what he is “enlisted” in. He was drafted to come aboard a sinking ship. He is afraid to live and afraid to die. He is coming apart at the seams and desperately longs for an end to his anguish…. For him, the nights are the worse – when he is alone with his KNOWLEDGE….

    Ward is seized with terror and consumed with guilt….

    Sunshades cannot conceal the truth about countenances….

    Some courtroom “characters” were in showboat mode – perhaps the heavy news presence contributed to such postures….

    Has anyone ever observed a witness being sworn in from the floor of the courtroom as was done today? When witness Strong entered the courtroom, the court employee walked in the courtroom behind him, stood behind the prosecution table, and swore Strong in. Typically the swear ins are done from the “perch” opposite where the judge sits. Do you think that the court employee was showboating due to the news media’s presence? …She obviously craved attention – she is to be commended for the free entertainment.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/15/2010 at 10:29 PM

      Thanks so much for the very interesting description of the defendants Sandra. I totally enjoyed your post.

    • Carol
      06/15/2010 at 10:49 PM

      Sandra, I have been a courtroom spectator for most of this trial and have noticed (and been surprised) that the defendants typically stand up when a witness has been asked to identify them. As for the court employee — I think she did the swearing in from a different place because she was late returning to the courtroom after the break.

    • Ivan
      06/16/2010 at 7:45 AM

      Interesting comments Sandra. Poor Victor. When I was in court (two afternoons) the defendants stood up for identificatin purposes. I did notice Joe had a cockiness about it though.

  24. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/15/2010 at 10:26 PM

    Greetings Bea –

    Thank you for that information on the judge. Perhaps Google has something…I’ll pursue that….

  25. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/15/2010 at 10:39 PM

    Judge Leibovitz – born in NY City – daughter of NY State Supreme Court Judge – BA in Religious Studies and American Civil – from Brown University – Law degree from Georgetown

    George W. Bush appointee to DC Superior Court

    Sources: Washington Post and dccourts.gov

  26. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/16/2010 at 7:17 AM

    Greetings Carol –

    Thank you for the heads up on the standing matter. That could be some kind of strategic move – but what do I know….? Perhaps someone with a better understanding of law strategies can enlighten.

    As for the court employee who swore in witness Strong, her “lateness” could have been staged for the media attention…
    to “gain” her less than 15 minutes of fame. Prior to that, the court had just returned from a rather lengthy break. I was in the corridor when the break occured and entered the courtroom after said break. I mean really…I’m just saying…though, in fairness, her break could have been court business related. I continue to believe that she craved attention…. Anyhow, I have commented enough on that “sidebar.”

    • AnnaZed
      06/16/2010 at 10:52 AM

      Or maybe she just really needed to pee.

      ~ just sayin’, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      Anyway, thanks Sandra for your fascinating observations, seriously.

  27. Wonderingwhy
    06/16/2010 at 10:02 AM

    Hmmmm Hixson looking out of his window while the scene is underway. How easy it must have been for all of the evidence to be taken across the street!!!

  28. Rivetted
    06/16/2010 at 4:11 PM

    I also was able to stop in to the courtroom yesterday for part of the day (Eds, apologies for not introducing myself). Pshep, your observations are interesting. I was definitely surprised that Victor seemed so cavalier. He simpers a lot, in a way that seemed showy to me. Joe showed more gravity, at least while I was there. And Dylan is indeed a very tense, tense guy. I didn’t catch the first part of Hinton’s testimony. He seemed taciturn and reluctant. Was his entire testimony that way?

    Also, wasn’t that the first we heard that MP had the key and codes to Swann Street from March 2005 onwards? From LH and then from the detective. I wonder how Sarah Morgan feels about that piece of information.

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