Day 18: Wrap

Rolling Back the Roll Back of the Clock

Dr. Jeff Smith was the sole defense witness today. 

Dr. Jeff Smith

Associate professor of emergency medicine, director of clinical operations at George Washington University Hospital, teacher, author, lecturer, board certified in emergency and internal medicine…you can see where this is going.  Amy Richardson for the defense moves admitting Dr. Smith as an expert; Judge Leibovitz agrees, stipulating expert in emergency medicine.   This will be important later.

Dr. Smith didn’t treat Robert, but reviewed ER records, EMT run sheets, the autopsy, and trial testimony of Dr. Goslinosky and EMT Jeff Baker.

Some basic facts were established.  Robert was admitted to GW as “Trauma Yellow” – the highest level of mortal danger.  Dr. Smith discussed the typical team on hand for Trauma Yellow:

1 supervising doctor, 2 interns, 1 supervising surgeon, 2 senior surgical residents, 1 senior anesthesthiologist, a minimum of 2 nurses, 2 technicians, 1 radiology technician and 1 respiratory therapist.  All in an area about 10′ x 12′. 

That’s 13 professionals, who were by record focused on the immediate conditions: young male, sharp force trauma, and PEA – pulseless clinical activity.  The phrase ‘sharp force trauma’ is the second thing that will feature later. 

From hereon, what can be said definitively – in court at least – is the subject of great debate. 

Earlier we discussed PEA – what it is and what it signifies.  “It signifies a dying heart,” said Dr. Smith, continuing, “…and it has a finite period of time.  It would last no more than 12 minutes…”  Untreated PEA, that is.

12 minutes: number three on the list of items that will become important later.

PEA was first detected by EMTs when Robert was put in the ambulance – as PEA can only be officially diagnosed with an EKG and a negative pulse.  This happens at 11:59.

“This is an example of a perfect storm,” offered Dr. Smith, citing four reasons.  “First, there’s the stab wound to the heart, and as a result of tamponade — ”

Dr. Smith gets no further before Judge Leibovitz asks the witness to step down for a bench conference.  After several minutes of the scrum at the bench – and the husher blaring – Judge Leibovitz asks the witness to leave the courtroom so counsel can have a clear discussion.  This is never done lightly.

Amy Richardson began, but quickly David Schertler stepped in to argue for what became obvious the defense wanted on the record. 

Initially, everyone talked around it.  Judge Leibovitz: “You haven’t laid the foundation to let this witness go there.”  Schertler: “Your Honor, with all respect, we disagree, as this witness seems the best qualified to discuss his experience with PEA…” 

In character, Leibovitz cut to the matter: “(this witness)…can’t testify as to the time of the stabbing…” 

Not that it was a surprise.  It was clear to courtroom observers the defense was working to “walk back the clock”, as the judge later termed it.  In short: 11:59 PEA detected, PEA can’t last longer than 12 minutes, tamponade occurs within seconds of the knife wound…where’s the clock?  11:47, just a few moments before the 9-1-1 call at 11:49. 

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.  Judge Leibovitz would have none of it. “Anybody can add and subtract as well as I can,” she offered, later adding, following vigorous argument from Schertler, “…I understand the argument, but it is not something that he (Smith) can say as an expert.”

Defense asked to move for break…lasting until 4:05.  Amy Richardson began:

Richardson: Assuming there was tamponade, when would PEA have begun?

Smith: It depends on the acuteness of the tamponade.  In this case —

Richardson: Assuming tamponade, when would PEA have begun?

Smith: PEA would have occured within several minutes of tamponade.

Lynn Leibovitz: Is tamponade a process or an event?

Smith: It’s a process.

Leibovitz: Once the process is underway, how long can it last?

Smith: You have to look at the acuteness of the trauma…

Leibovitz: Is there an end result, an end point of tamponade?

Smith: …you can still have pulse and tamponade. 

At this point, the bench reminds counsel Dr. Smith is admitted as an expert in emergency medicine, but not cardiac tamponade.  Meaning the following is not given the extra weight of expert testimony:

Richardson: Assuming acute injuries such as Robert experienced, how long before he would experience tamponade?

Smith: Within a minute or two…

Richardson: And when would PEA occur?

Smith: PEA will occur several minutes after. 

Cross by Patrick Martin followed, attempting to raise questions as to how long untreated PEA could occur, when it was first detected, and what foundation exists for his :12 minute assertion. 

Martin gained ground citing GWU nurse Luhan’s notes of PEA at 12:17, and lost ground when he tried to introduce a text critical of Smith’s theory, which Smith quickly rejected as non-definitive, out-dated and un-cited.  

This, even with his own contribution to volume 2’s chapter on burns.  Chuckles in the courtroom.

The levity soon evaporated.  At Martin’s rest, Leibovitz prodded Dr. Smith for citations for the :12  minute claim.   How do we know :12 minutes?  “How many journals could I find that (make this claim…)” she pressed.

Back and forth following, with the judge telling the witness, in effect, ‘it doesn’t seem there’s any citation for this claim.’  This, and other interactions throughout the day, seemed to suggest not only Leibovitz’ experience in medical issues (malpractice, specifically), but a deeper gulf of language and practice between doctors and lawyers.   Go figure. 

Very brief redirect from Richardson and Bernie Grimm followed.  Grimm introduced a peer-reviewed article from a publication (we didn’t catch what it was) regarding “Blunt Trauma…and Pulseless Electrical Activity: A Poor Ending Assured.” 

The findings of the study, that PEA lead to death in about 9-some odd seconds, apparently bolstered Dr. Smith’s :12 minute assertion.  But what was that title?

 “Blunt Trauma…”   Patrick Martin rose in objection to this item’s admission…notably as Robert died of Sharp Force  Trauma.  “I can read the title…” Leibovitz offered.  Martin smiled; objection withdrawn.   

Finally at 4:50, Dr. Smith was released from his interrogation.

“What’s the plan?”, asked Leibovitz on Dr. Smith’s departure.  David Schertler said the defense may rest as early as Tuesday, with only six (possibly) witnesses.

See you Monday morning at 9:45am.

210 comments for “Day 18: Wrap

  1. Nelly
    06/18/2010 at 7:53 PM

    Great job, Editors! This is off-topic, but this is an interesting comment that someone made on the Washington Post article:
    “It amazes me that they keep talking about Michael Price’s drug issues when it is Joe Price who is the drug addict. He was constantly snorting drugs at the Apex club near Dupont Circle and doing as many men as he could in the bathroom there right in front of all the patrons. It is common knowledge.”

    I don’t think Michael Price killed Robert either.

    • CC Biggs
      06/18/2010 at 8:17 PM

      What Washington Post article is that?

        • Vandy
          06/19/2010 at 7:16 AM

          Hmmm. When this site was first put up, I posted the theory that this case may be related to the arrest of Wyatt Wood (the biggest drug dealer that distributed meth, cocaine and GHB to local clubs). Wood was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to 15 years for distribution (there were 30 others that were arrested). Inteerestingly, who lived on 12th and Florida Ave, NW called the police to report “an intruder”. He heard noises in his house and called the police. The police responded to his house and in plain site found a bunch of drugs and $20,000 in cash. I’m now beginning to wonder if RWone was “closeted” and went to the Swann Street house for a hookup. I just read the WPost comment by DeeJoshy. I remember Apex — it is a huge club and if frequented by a lot of gay Asians. There were a bunch of people who are exclusively into Asians that used to go to that club for that same reason. DeeJoshy included. Here’s DeeJoshy’s post looking for an Asian. http://www.kissjapan.com/personals/deejoshy. Knowing this now, I think there was a drug party at 1509 that went bad. All interesting.

          • Vandy
            06/19/2010 at 7:19 AM

            sorry, Wood (not who) lived on 12th & Florida Ave NW.

          • cinnamon
            06/19/2010 at 7:44 AM

            I am interested in hearing more about how you think The Wyatt Wood arrest is related to this case.

            • Vandy
              06/19/2010 at 8:05 AM

              Initially, I thought that but don’t now.

    • ccf
      06/18/2010 at 8:42 PM

      I generally don’t believe the comments under articles.

    • Liz
      06/18/2010 at 8:48 PM

      I don’t think Michael Price killed Robert either.

      I was surprised when prosecutors suggested Michael Price would be the killer.

      Wasn’t it Joe’s strategy to make them think Michael would be the killer by getting him involved with all of those alibi? It actually worked out!

    • BadShoes
      06/18/2010 at 8:56 PM

      So, if nurse Lujan observed PEA at 12:17am, and EMT Baker observed PEA at 11:59pm, that would be 18 minutes of PEA. Plus, of course, Mr. Wone was stabbed some time prior to 11:49pm.

      If you believe the defendants account is mostly true, and you believe in instant death, then Mr. Wone’s heart stopped a few minutes before 11:49pm, that would make 28 minutes of PEA.

      If you believe that Mr. Baker can recognize a dead person when he sees one, Mr. Wone definitely had no pulse by 11:59pm, which still leaves Ms. Lujan’s observation of PEA some 18 minutes later.

      So, either the 12-minute claim is wrong in the case of Mr. Wone, or the observations of Ms. Lujan, Mr. Baker, or both are incorrect. Am I missing something here?

      • Bill Orange
        06/18/2010 at 9:01 PM

        Nope. That about sums it up.

      • Goose
        06/18/2010 at 9:07 PM

        I am quite sure the 12-minute claim is more a number from the Medical Journal of Convenient Theories rather than the full truth. I think the judge recognized that by trying to pinpoint where the heck Dr. Smith came up with that number.

        • La
          06/18/2010 at 9:11 PM

          The testimony was that PEA could last UNTREATED for up to 12 minutes, but with medical intervention could extend longer, up to 20 or 30 minutes.

        • Bill Orange
          06/19/2010 at 10:36 AM

          I think his testimony pretty much blew up on them. The finding of PEA by the EMT–and as we now know, by the ER staff–was really the best piece of evidence the defense had. The prosecution did not address it very well during their case-in-chief. At the time, I thought it was either medical ignorance or very sloppy lawyering. If that’s what happened, they now have all weekend to fix the problem.

          But I don’t think that’s what happened. I think they left this dangling on purpose, because the defense couldn’t make any arguments about PEA without putting some sort of expert on the stand. They’ve now done so, and that expert has damaged his credibility with an unsupportable “12 minute” claim. And now the prosecution can call a rebuttal witness to testify about PEA. Which means that this trial is going to close with an expert witness from the prosecution, who is going to say that Robert Wone was STILL ALIVE while all of the alleged crimes were taking place. That’s going to be a devastating ending to this trial.

          • chilaw79
            06/19/2010 at 12:43 PM

            My view of Dr. Smith’s testimony is that he is linking his opinion not to the specific facts of Robert Wone’s injuries and time of death, but to medical studies that look at whether a trauma center should do everything possible to try to save the patient. Many of the studies suggest that trauma centers intervene in far too many cases where there is no possibility of recovery or resuscitation.

            This may be an appropriate standard for determining whether the hospital is committing malpractice (e.g., what is the standard of care in trauma centers), but not for fixing the actual time of death of Robert Wone.

      • cinnamon
        06/18/2010 at 9:10 PM

        Does making your head spin = reasonable doubt?
        My god. This is getting all getting so hard to follow.

        • AttorneyAtLunch
          06/19/2010 at 10:16 AM

          Reasonable doubt as to what, though? Remember, this is not a murder trial. What is at issue: did the defendants move evidence, interfere with (clean up) the scene, etc. All this does is question the time of death, and the lapse between death and calling 911. And it sounds like the judge can keep her established facts vs. theories straight. I don’t think this is so effective for the defense…. If she can find beyond a reasonable doubt that someone wiped off the knife, or moved the knife, or moved the body, or cleaned up blood; – then somebody obstructed justice…. Then, who had motive and opportunity to do that…?

      • lurker
        06/18/2010 at 9:17 PM

        Hello again all, and again kudos to the eds and the knowledgeable posters here.

        In reading the threads since the trail resumed, some comments led me back to read more about the specualtion on ketamine.

        In one of the threads tagged on that, there was discussion of the stimulating effect on the heart.

        If (pure speculation, and I have no more medical knowledge than I do legal) Mr. Wone had been administered ketamine, could that have had an effect on something like PEA?

      • babs
        06/19/2010 at 8:14 AM

        It’s 12 minutes at the most IF no there is no medical intervention (CPR)

        • Bill 2
          06/19/2010 at 8:18 AM

          Wouldn’t drugs, such as ketamine, make a difference in that 12 minutes?

          • chilaw79
            06/19/2010 at 3:51 PM

            I am not a doctor or particularly well versed in medical issues related to PEA. However, the articles state that a drug reaction or overdose could be a contributing factor in PEA (assuming that a stab to the aorta is not enough).

            No toxins were found, but there are a variety of drugs that either occur naturally (e.g., insulin) or dissipate quickly (e.g., ketamine) that may not be found in testing. I will let a doctor comment, but it appears that it would be really important for the trauma center to know if any drugs were taken or injected by Mr. Wone (whether with his consent or not).

      • Doug
        06/19/2010 at 10:50 AM

        To be specific, Dr. Smith says untreated PEA can last at an outside of :12 minutes. Treated, PEA can last longer, depending on how aggressive the treatment is.
        -Doug, co-editor

    • BadShoes
      06/18/2010 at 9:16 PM

      I can’t find this quotation by searching the Washington Post site, nor by searching on google, nor by hand searching comments on recent washington post articles.

      The editors (and readers) may wish to consider the possibility that this posting is provocation, or that the Washington Post, for reasons of policy, has since deleted the original comment.

      • BadShoes
        06/18/2010 at 9:21 PM

        oops. Somebody found the link. So the comment was real, and it is still up. Even so…

        • Clio
          06/19/2010 at 3:08 AM

          Why would anyone, including Culuket, be that desperate as to enliven the ladies’ room at Apex? I just do not believe that bit of Penthouse Letters creeping into the public discourse: Dyl’s porta-dungeon could not fit into just one stall!

  2. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    06/18/2010 at 8:03 PM

    So, if you don’t believe cardiac tamponade occurred, the PEA would have occurred after a longer and lengthier period of suffering.

    • Lyn
      06/18/2010 at 9:08 PM

      The PEA time of 12 minutes – if true – doesn’t prove anything. He could have been stabbed 30 minutes prior and not died for 18 minutes. We don’t know that he had a tamponade or when it happened if he did. We also don’t know which stab wound happened first or whether all three stab wounds happened at the same time.

      • Hoys Loya
        06/19/2010 at 10:22 AM

        The 12-minute figure was a little too pat. The judge clearly picked up on that instantly. The expert should have given a range and backed it up with a source.

        For instance, the scream testimony is probably more credible for the fact that the neighbors gave a range — sometime during Bunyan’s newscast — rather than saying that had to have been 11:00 when she first came on which would beter suit the prosecution.

  3. YournormalJoe
    06/18/2010 at 8:05 PM

    Could someone please answer this for me…

    Once the defense rest and the case is in the judges hands, about how long before she renders a verdict ?

    Thanks.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/18/2010 at 8:21 PM

      Not soon enough.

    • Liam
      06/18/2010 at 8:47 PM

      And, could someone please answer this for me….

      What does “beyond a reasonable doubt” really mean? Does it mean that you (as a juror or judge) are 90% sure that the prosecution has proven the defendants are guilty? 95% sure? Seems rather subjective to me.

      Contrast the civil standard, which, I think, is basically that you think it more likely than not that the defendants did what they are accused of. I can wrap my head around that standard.

      • Lyn
        06/18/2010 at 9:05 PM

        A reasonable person does not doubt they they are guilty.

      • Themis
        06/18/2010 at 10:48 PM

        A reasonable doubt is often described as the kind of doubt that would sway you in making the most important decisions of your personal affairs. It’s not zero doubt or fanciful doubt, but a real and substantial doubt that would cause you to pause and question or hesitate. It can’t be quantified like “preponderance of the evidence”, which is more like than not. I realize that is about as clear as the Gulf right now. But that’s the way it is.

        I could look up a generalized pattern jury instruction if people would find it helpful. It would not be specific to DC. Also, the editors kindly provided me with DC pattern jury instructions, which they would probably post if there was interest. The thing to keep in mind about pattern offense instructions is that they are not tailored to the indictment, and good jury instructions are.

        • Themis
          06/18/2010 at 10:52 PM

          To clarify, the DC instructions provided to me deal only with the alleged offenses. They did not include things like reasonable doubt. The editors effort in getting the instructions on the offenses was in keeping with the extensive work on this site and much appreciated by this legal nerd.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/19/2010 at 8:09 PM

            Themis,
            I was taught in Trial Practice to describe “reasonable doubt” pretty much word for word as you stated, “A reasonable doubt is the kind of doubt that would sway you in making the most important decisions of your personal affairs”, but with this pearl of wisdom added, “such as the decision to place a mortgage upon your house”. To give them a practical example.
            Imagine how funny that is today since so many people did not make the decision to place mortgages upon their houses using any kind of serious reflection.

  4. YournormalJoe
    06/18/2010 at 8:22 PM

    Nelly

    You are right it is off topic (Joe Price/Drugs/Apex), but yes it is common knowledge.

    • Bea
      06/19/2010 at 8:16 PM

      Did either of you guys (or friends of yours you consider honest) SEE this behavior or did it crop up in the rumor mill after the murder? Just gaging how accurate you think it is.

  5. chilaw79
    06/18/2010 at 8:24 PM

    The article cited by Bernie Grimm appeared in The Journal of Trauma (November 2002).

    • chilaw79
      06/18/2010 at 8:37 PM

      The title of the article is “Blunt Trauma Patients with Prehospital Pulseless Electrical Activity (PEA): Poor Outcome Assured.”

      This article apparently triggered a number of studies. Some distinction is drawn between blunt traumas and penetrating traumas (I assume Robert Wone is in the latter category.)

      • Bill Orange
        06/18/2010 at 9:03 PM

        Blunt force trauma and penetrating trauma are two different things. They’re related, but still very different. It probably about as different as breast cancer and lung cancer.

        • chilaw79
          06/19/2010 at 12:00 AM

          Most of these studies address the issue of whether it is futile to do full-scale attempts to resuscitate an individual with PEA. There is some suggestion that penetrating trauma not lead to death as fast as blunt trauma, but a variety of factors play into this. The presence of a pulse, vital signs, and the ability to perform certain procedures. The literature suggests that it is futile to resuscitate if PEA is present for between 5 to 15 minutes. This goes to whether the doctors should give it a shot or just call the death.

          That is a very different issue than when death would occur.

          • Bill Orange
            06/19/2010 at 12:10 AM

            Yes, but PEA due to blunt force trauma is different from PEA due to penetrating trauma, and in any case, there’s simply no way you could NOT try to resuscitate the victim, no matter how futile it might seem. You just can’t tell someone’s family, “Well, the EKG proved that your loved one was alive when they got to the ER, but we didn’t bother trying to save them, because the literature said it was futile.”

      • Nelson
        06/19/2010 at 12:55 AM

        The article doesn’t come close to substantiating the 12-minute figure. Table 2 on page 877 shows that of the 62 patients studied who had no vital signs at the scene, and did not subsequently recover vital signs, the mean time from PEA detection to declaration of death was 8.8 minutes.

  6. tucsonwriter
    06/18/2010 at 8:25 PM

    Some quotes from “How We Die” by Sherwin Nuland

    p121 “Clinical death is the term used to encompass that short interval after the heart has finally stopped, during which there is no circulation, no breathing, and no evidence of brain function, but when rescue is still possible. If this stoppage occurs suddenly, as in cardiac arrest or massive hemorrhage, a brief time remains before vital cells lose their viability, during which measures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation or rapid transfusion may succeed… the time is roughly no more than four minutes.”

    “The appearance of the newly lifeless cannot be mistaken for unconsciousness. Within a minute after the heart stops beating, the face begins to take on the unmistakable grey-white pallor of death…. Clinical death has a distinctive look about it. A few seconds’ observation of the victim of cardiac arrest or uncontrolled hemorrhage will decide the appropriateness of attempts at resuscitation. If any doubts occur there are the eyes to consider. If open, they are at first glassy and unseeing, but if resuscitation does not commence they will in four or five minutes yield up their sheen and become dulled, as the pupils dilate and forever lost their watchful light. …” p 122

    “In most deaths, the heartbeat ends before the brain ceases to funtion. Particularly in sudden deaths due to trauma other than head injury, the cessation of the heart beat is almost always the result of the rapid loss of more blood than can be tolerated – the trauma surgeon refers to such a hemorrhage as exsanguination, which is a more elegant term than the more commonly used bleeding out…. The rapid loss of approximately one-half to two-thirds of the body’s blood volume is usually sufficient to arrest the heart. Since total blood volume is equal to some 7-8 percent of body weight, a bleed of eight pints in a 170 pound man or six pints in a 130 pound woman can be enough to cause clinical death. With laceration of a vessel the size of the aorta, the process takes less than a minute; a tear in the spleen or liver might take hours, or even days…..” p. 124

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/18/2010 at 8:47 PM

      Interesting….thanks for those passages, Tucsonwriter.

      A couple of thoughts on that…..the EMTs noted Robert was cool and clammy…..this could have been a result of shock from blood loss shock would indicate life. Robert would have had to have been alive and breathing to go into shock.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/18/2010 at 8:52 PM

      “The autopsy reveals that the heart, coronary artery and the inferior vena cava were perforated by stab wounds. The coronary artery and vena cava are major blood vessels.

      “Perforation of either one can (and almost always does) lead to death in minutes – four to seven minutes tops, not 30 minutes. In other words, Wone was not alive for a “significant” period of time after his wounds were inflicted. Death would not be immediate, but it would probably take less than five minutes.

      “What is described as the third stab wound perforates the small intestine, the pancreas, and the inferior vena cava. The inferior vena cava is a huge vein, and it would have bled like crazy. The same stab wound opened up the small intestine right next to it. Therefore, it’s not shocking that you get blood pumping into the small intestine. It’s a narrow tube, so filling two feet of it is not hard to do.

      “And someone somewhere came up with the idea that having blood in the small intestine means that Wone was alive long enough to be “digesting his own blood.” That’s simply not true. “Digestion” implies that blood had somehow entered Wone’s G.I. system at some point earlier in the digestive process (mouth, throat, stomach).

      “There were no injuries to those areas of the G.I. system and no indications that Wone had been forced to ingest his own blood – he was apparently completely incapacitated and still had his mouth guard in – so “digesting his own blood” is a pretty silly statement.”

      This is a post recopied from this site- posted on 5/14/2010

      • tucsonwriter
        06/18/2010 at 9:00 PM

        The remark posted about the inferior vena cava being a huge vein and the fact that this is a stab wound and that Robert Wone was lying on his back means there should have been splatter – if the heart is still pumping and there is a hole in a major vein, that vein is going to gush.

        • Tarfunk
          06/18/2010 at 9:32 PM

          The fact that Robert was found lying on his back certainly doesn’t mean he was stabbed in that position. Perhaps that vein gushed down a bathtub drain or outside on a patio that got washed down (those steaks were burning, you know).

          • tucsonwriter
            06/18/2010 at 11:52 PM

            OH yeah. Those burning steaks.

            There is so much that was included in testimony that is superfluous and generally in excess. LIke the burning steaks. Makes me wonder if they burned some evidence…..

  7. mia
    06/18/2010 at 8:34 PM

    I have not read the autopsy report and am not sure how badly the sharp trauma would damage the heart. But it is very likely that this trauma only cause a slow accumulation of blood in the pericardial cavity. It may take up to 20 minutes for a PEA-causing cardiac temponade to happen in this situation.

    Dr. Smith also agrees that cardiac tamponade is a process. Indeed, it could be a more than 20mins process.

    • Bill Orange
      06/18/2010 at 9:06 PM

      The aortic root was hit. The blood loss would have been quite fast.

      • NoName
        06/19/2010 at 10:06 AM

        True…..resulting in a lot of blood. Where did that blood disappear to? Your answer really only opens more questions. The bed linens as well as the mattress should have been soaked in blood.

        • chilaw79
          06/19/2010 at 3:57 PM

          The testimony of Dr. Fowler, the Maryland medical examiner, was that Wone could have bled internally given the nature of the wounds. Dr. Fowler examined literally thousands of stabbing cases in South Africa so his testimony was pretty convincing to me.

          One possibility would be that Wone was not conscious when he was stabbed and his heart was either not beating or beating very slowly.

          The judge has a lot of evidence before her from the EMT and the hospital that is not readily accessible, except to counsel and the judge. Only the oral witness testimony is in the record available to the media (unless cited by the parties in court). I think there may be a lot in those records.

          • Penelope
            06/21/2010 at 1:39 AM

            It’s a shame that Dr. Fowler didn’t examine Robert Wone’s body. I can’t help thinking that he just might have found something that would crack the case wide open.

  8. Bob
    06/18/2010 at 8:39 PM

    I still have questions about the speculation that there will be a plea deal. I understand that one of the defendants might offer to “roll” or turn US evidence against the other defendants. However, first, without other supporting evidence, why would the prosecutor be inclined to believe the “rolling” defendant? Why wouldn’t the prosecutor think that the confession or implication is just another lie? Although I know that the Justice Department, up to Mr. Holder, would like to see this case solved, do they really want to see it “solved” just by selecting a villain based on the testimony of someone who would have to confess to being a liar to make that statement? Second, does the Justice Department really want to have a murder trial, or do they want to convict a murderer? If they really want to convict a murderer, why wouldn’t they consider that the defense is likely to get a hung jury because some of the jurors would know that the key witness is a confessed liar.

    If the “rolling” defendant can offer any independent supporting evidence, then of course the prosecution should accept the plea and go to trial with the independent evidence. However, the government is also still charging Joseph Price with destroying the evidence.

    I understand that the Justice Department wants to identify the murderer. But don’t they also want to identify the murderer in a way that the public will believe, rather than just by someone saying: “My ex-lover did it,” after years of saying: “The intruder did it.”?

    I can see that one of the defendants might want to cut a deal, but would it be wise for the prosecution to take a deal unless there is independent evidence?

    • Themis
      06/18/2010 at 10:55 PM

      Holder has recused himself from this case and avoided any involvement with it while at DOJ. This is the ethical course to take.

      • chilaw79
        06/18/2010 at 11:37 PM

        Themis,

        I wanted to let you know I appreciate your views and commentary. I think it is very valuable to have commentators with both prosecution and defense backgrounds on this site. Hearing from someone who has been in the trenches gives more perspective to the blog for someone like me who is a rank amateur as far as criminal law goes.

      • Bob
        06/18/2010 at 11:38 PM

        I agree as to Mr. Holder. It doesn’t affect my questions about the wisdom or unwisdom of accepting a plea, that might itself be a lie.

      • Bill Orange
        06/18/2010 at 11:39 PM

        Yes, but this sort of falls into the “can’t unring a bell” category. Everyone involved knows that the US Attorney General has an interest in this case.

    • Bea
      06/21/2010 at 3:25 AM

      Hi Bob,
      I don’t think any of the defendants are going to try to cut a deal, much as I want the least culpable (read one not involved in the actual murder) to do exactly that. I’d rather we had the murderer(s) behind bars on a murder conviction than three conspiracy/obstruction (and a plus one for Price) as these.

      I don’t think the prosecution would just dole out an deal to any of the three willing to roll. I think the prosecution would have to be certain that the person was not involved in the killing and would have to withstand scrutiny to make sure that was the case (logic, facts, polygraph). You’re right that the cross would be blistering and the former-defendant would be branded a liar taking a deal to save his ass. But that’s always the case when someone takes a deal in exchange for testimony. My guess that the person most likely to meet the prosecution’s testimony would be Victor, but that’s a guess based mostly that by both Ward’s and Price’s account that he was the one upstairs asleep (and to a lesser degree the accounts of his personality given here by people who knew him – we’ve had far fewer accounts of people vouching for Ward’s or Price’s character).

      Long-winded, as always, but I think the prosecution would take it if it ‘added up’. I think that the most culpable might throw the other(s) under the bus if not for his/their guilt and that the less culpable is under a delusion that he’s doing the right thing by supporting his loved one (and that the same would be true if the tables were turned). But that’s one person’s impression.

  9. Ex Swann
    06/18/2010 at 8:41 PM

    A brief stint in a prison of justice is nothing compared to the hellish lifetime prison you are building for yourself now Victor. You need to act now Victor or you will be doomed forever. The meter’s running now Victor …

    • commonsensewillprevailihope
      06/18/2010 at 9:53 PM

      I think we can be sure the defendants (hello scumbags!!) are reading every word of this blog. They are surely living, breathing this life-changing trial in every moment. That is also why I suspect a couple of the posters are the defendants or very close to them, particularly Joe Price.

      • Bill Orange
        06/18/2010 at 11:42 PM

        Joe is almost certainly reading. I’ve seen several posts in the past–both here and in comments at the Washingtonian–that sound like him. These seemed to drop off a couple of weeks ago, right about the time the eds noted that Joe’s legal team had started “flanking” him in the courtroom. I pretty much assumed that they had an intervention at around that time.

        • Clio
          06/19/2010 at 3:02 AM

          Hi Joe! I wonder if others in this case are posting, too: it’s a virtual village for rogues as well as for knights-errant.

          • AnnaZed
            06/19/2010 at 3:46 AM

            I wonder if Joe believes that if the four men who created this site had just left well enough alone, done nothing, that he would have gotten away with it all. I wonder if he even might be right.

            The person who really needs to read this site from start to finish and who I would wager has not done so is Victor. Wake up and smell the cat food buddy, Monday afternoon will be too late.

            • Kate
              06/19/2010 at 9:31 AM

              Anna – it appears that in Clio’s “virtual village”, Victor would be playing the Fool.

              I do wish he’d finally come to his senses and take off those blinders of unconditional love he’s been sportin’ for way too long.

              And Clio – I think I’d like to be a Princess in the village…sound good?

              • Clio
                06/20/2010 at 5:48 PM

                Sounds great! Both a naive person coming of age and a embittered pensioner will need to be cast yet, though. XO from afar, Clio.

        • Mush
          06/19/2010 at 7:55 AM

          I am guessing Joe is reading and taking notes about which of us he plans to sue after he is vindicated, given the threats the trolls were making a few weeks ago.

          • Bill Orange
            06/19/2010 at 10:06 AM

            I agree that he thinks he’s going to sue everyone who sullied his “good name”. I’m not terribly concerned about it, to be honest. It would take about 30 seconds to secure free legal representation, and Joe wouldn’t make it through the first deposition without obliterating his “good name” all by himself.

            • Hoya Loya
              06/19/2010 at 11:18 AM

              Remember, being cleared of these particular charges will not clear the defendants of the murder — most “vicious” comments here (or at the WaPo or elsewhere) go to the murder itself, not the cover-up. I also think most posters have been careful in their comments and tried to calm the more outlandish speculation.

              However, I wouldn’t recommend referring to the defendants as scumbags, psychopaths, serial killers, drug addicts, vampires, vindicive landlords, etc. (all of which, and worse, I’ve seen them called online from time to time). Or saying that they definitely are or must be murderers.

              Whatever ones doubts and suspicions might be, these guys are human beings, with families, who have not been convicted of anything. Imagine you have been wrongly accused and then you read the things cited above about yourself on a blog. Or imagine being one of their kids and stumbling on this blog. Speculation needs to be reasonable, fact-based and fair and clearly put forth as speculation, not fact — and not because one fears retaliation, but because it is the right thing to do — just part of being responsible denizens of the web and not abusing its not really anonymous forum.

              • commonsensewillprevailihope
                06/19/2010 at 11:47 AM

                Well, ironically, you are saying for people to be measured in their comments, and then you go and lump together comments which are very different in nature:

                “I wouldn’t recommend referring to the defendants as scumbags, psychopaths, serial killers, drug addicts, vampires, vindicive landlords, etc.”

                Scumbag is a vague, loose term that is hardly the same as calling someone a serial killer.Please.

              • Bill
                06/19/2010 at 3:41 PM

                Finally, someone with a heart and common sense. I’ve stated a few times that it is premature to conclude the case (and promptly been attacked for saying it). I very much like your kindness and mature recommendations. I also greatly appreciate Bea’s comments.

                And yes, I’m gay and don’t know the defendants nor Robert.

        • Bill 2
          06/19/2010 at 8:14 AM

          Joe’s reading may be taking a back seat this weekend, to keeping Victor from jumping ship.

          • AnnaZed
            06/19/2010 at 11:17 AM

            Posted somewhere in all these comments is the information that the three men are still living together (is that correct?). If true I wonder how many times or even if Victor’s family and friends have implored him to leave this toxic relationship.

            • Bill Orange
              06/19/2010 at 11:27 AM

              I seen various comments on this, and I don’t think we really know one way or the other.

            • motown
              06/19/2010 at 11:49 AM

              I saw JP and VZ a couple of weeks before the trial began shopping together at a supermarket near 14th/U. Ironically, JP mentioned to VZ that he was going to fire up the grill when they got home.

              • AnnaZed
                06/19/2010 at 12:03 PM

                Ha! Good lord, my only laugh on this site for days (so serious is the situation), but Joe is apparently a person completely lacking in irony.

  10. Tarfunk
    06/18/2010 at 8:42 PM

    This quote is from the Washington City Paper’s coverage of the second day of the trial. Baker is the EMT who responded to the 911 call.

    <>

    It seems clear from this quote that the EMT in the ambulance did not see PEA as meaning Robert may have been only recently incapacitated and therefore a candidate for resuscitation. “No reason for any resuscitative needles” and “Flat line” make it sound like Mr. Baker knew he was transporting a dead man, even if he weren’t officially allowed to make that designation.

    I can’t imagine the prosecution won’t bring Mr. Baker back to the stand.

    • Tarfunk
      06/18/2010 at 8:43 PM

      Sorry. My use of angle brackets seems to have eliminated the quote. Here it is:

      Baker was asked about other needle puncture marks and said he was not authorized to insert needles into a patient’s chest. He also said there would’ve been no reason for any resuscitative needles in Robert’s feet or ankles. While hooked up to monitors in the ambulance, Baker said Robert was ‘P.E.A’, meaning Pulseless Electrical Activity. Flat line.”

      • Goose
        06/18/2010 at 8:58 PM

        This is what I understood as well. He also said in his affidavit that it was clear that Robert had been dead for some time. I’m confused about this new timeline the defense is trying to establish, although I understand the need for them to explain away the delay in calling 911.

        • Carolina
          06/20/2010 at 2:06 AM

          PEA does *not* mean “flatline.” I believe we have BillO to thank for clarifying that.

    • NoName
      06/19/2010 at 10:22 AM

      To do what, reinforce the fact that Robert had been stabbed some time long before the 911 call?

  11. sitedown
    06/18/2010 at 8:57 PM

    Why did i see people yesterday say that sentencing guidelines were 3 to 9 years, but today’s post article says guidelines for the DC Superior Court have a max of 38years? Is the post wrong?

    • Themis
      06/18/2010 at 10:59 PM

      The Post article refers to statutory maximums, not suggested guideline ranges, which are generally less than stat maxes. The guideline ranges do not bind the judge, however. She can still impose the stat max and box car the sentences on the different counts.

      • Kate
        06/19/2010 at 9:36 AM

        Morning Themis – if I correctly understood your great post from yesterday, “box car” means running the sentences consecutively?

        Thanks for you efforts, we all truly appreciate it,
        Kate

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

      38 years is the max sentence if one of the defendants is found guilty of all three charges, and has to serve consecutive – versus concurrent – sentences. Right now, only one of the defs is still charged w/all three charges (conspiracy, tampering, obstruction). The other two are only up for the one charge of conspiracy, so they are presumably subject to fewer years in prison. Also, several posters felt that since none of the defs had any prior convictions, that the judge might not convey the maximum sentence. She could also make the sentences concurrent – meaning that they could serve time for multiple charges all at the same time, rather than serving time for one charge for 13 years, then for the second charge for 13 years, then the third charge for 12 years.

      • Elizabeth
        06/18/2010 at 11:21 PM

        “The other two are only up for the one charge of conspiracy…” no obstruction of justice for DW and VZ?

      • DonnaH
        06/18/2010 at 11:58 PM

        Actually, both Victor and Dylan still have two charges apiece against them, for conspiracy and obstruction. Only the tampering charges against them were rolled (Day 17 Update).

      • slwapo
        06/19/2010 at 12:02 AM

        “She could also make the sentences concurrent – meaning that they could serve time for multiple charges all at the same time, rather than serving time for one charge for 13 years, then for the second charge for 13 years, then the third charge for 12 years.”

        I didn’t know they can do that. So if Joe Price is found guilty of conspiracy, tampering, and obstruction, but the Judge makes the sentences concurrent, then it is no different than if the Judge were to find him guilty of obstruction but innocent of conspiracy and tampering. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

        • Bill Orange
          06/19/2010 at 12:32 AM

          I’m fairly sure that’s not going to happen here. The underlying crime in this case is murder. If this judge finds them guilty, she’s going to throw the book at them. I’d expect a bare minimum of 5 years per charge, served consecutively.

      • slwapo
        06/19/2010 at 12:17 AM

        I also find it outrageous that the Judge could look at their lack of prior convictions and give them a reduced sentence in this trial that involves a murder. I don’t know, but I’ve never heard a judge or jury say “Well this was the first time you murdered someone, so we’ll go easy on you.” I know these guys aren’t on trial for murder, but if convicted, then that means they knew who did it and they covered up for them, which is almost as bad as murder.

        • Bea
          06/19/2010 at 1:01 AM

          I agree with Bill O above – while “no record” is a mitigating factor, that the underlying crime they obstructed/conspired and (Joe) was murder, which is a huge “aggravating” factor.

          • NoName
            06/19/2010 at 10:33 AM

            Also failure to accept responsibility adds points to the final total.

            For those that don’t know, every crime has a presumptive starting point for sentencing. Then “points” are added or subtracted based on the defendant’s background. A matrix is then consulted for a “recommended range” which the Judge can then disregard for their own reasons.

            • NoName
              06/19/2010 at 11:13 AM

              I should have said “based on many factors, to include the defendants background”.

  12. Timeline
    06/18/2010 at 9:02 PM

    Sooooo…we have PEA recorded in the ambulance at 11:59 and again in the ER at 12:17. That’s 18 minutes right there. And the defense witness is trying to claim max 12 minutes so they can backfill the timeline to 11:48, right before the 911 call? Yeah, that ain’t flying.

    Plus, I’m thinking we’re going to be hearing from that EMT again.

  13. susan
    06/18/2010 at 9:22 PM

    1. Didn’t V. Zaborsky say he say Mr. W’s eyes rolled back when he first saw him? Would this suggest death or clinical death?
    2. When both J. Price and V. Zaborsky independent of each other mentioned the time of finding R. Wone, does anyone think this could reasonably be construed as the time of his actual death? It seems to me that this came out because they both had fixed that time in their heads, even thought VZ was told a totally different time by the 911 operator.
    3. How likely is it that you’d have two occupants–one of which you are supposedly in a “committed relationship” with–(even though he’s relegated to his own bed on a separate floor) on the same floor, allegedly find one stabbed three times with “blood all over” but you don’t call out to the other resident on the floor to either say–What the hell?!! Or, “Dylan are you okay???!!!

    Doesn’t work, doesn’t follow, doesn’t seem logical as far as their story goes.
    4. One more question: I understand D. Ward’s light was on in his room at the time period in question. What about other lights in the house? Was the alleged intruder allegedly finding his/her/its way around in the dark?

    • Carolina
      06/20/2010 at 2:10 AM

      4. I have always wanted the prosecution to ask Joe and Victor if the lights were on or off when they first went downstairs. No, actually, I wish they had been asked separately by the police.

  14. ladyg
    06/18/2010 at 9:26 PM

    OMG, is there anybody out there watching DATELINE…pls turn it on NOW!!!!

    • cinnamon
      06/18/2010 at 10:04 PM

      ?

      • chilaw79
        06/18/2010 at 10:28 PM

        The cases involved both involved stabbings. A couple was slain and the “intruder” (yes, there actually was an intruder) who initially came in armed with a gun ended up stabbing a husband and pregnant wife. The couple’s two children escaped unharmed. The intruder (1) stole some items, (2) left the knife and dropped his gun, and (3) fell over a large pot in his haste to depart.

        A second murder about 10 miles away also involved a stabbing of a woman who was engaging in Internet conversations with Brazilian men.

        The segment featured a panel that included a former DC homicide detective involved in the Chandra Levy case. Of course, I felt like yelling at the TV set about solving our own local stabbing.

        • ladyg
          06/18/2010 at 11:14 PM

          sorry guys, it just caught my attention, when they showed the kitchen that “intruder” use their knife (the kitchen was almost identical of 1509 swann st./location where the knives). being caught up in this case you’re (i am) looking for clues all over the place trying to closed this case. yes, i too felt like screaming at the tv (to scary yet so true)telling them to get their butts to DC, asap and do some profiling . this case has me so wigged out, it’s unbelievable.

        • Jo
          06/19/2010 at 3:51 AM

          Both cases happened in Ventura County, CA. Very sad especially the first one of the couple and their unborn child. Definitely created a lot of fear in the local communities following the murders.

          Very different cases than what we are looking at here though.

          • ladyg
            06/19/2010 at 9:04 PM

            the kitchen scene looked almost identcial to like the picture gallery (1509 swann st) above. that the intruder took the knife from the counter, it was just uncanny. i guess the thieves/intruders in the DC area, are more sophisticated (they don’t knock things over). did i just type that, my bad.

      • chilaw79
        06/18/2010 at 10:30 PM

        The intruder who was caught (who fell over the planter) left his DNA all over the place and was arrested after his DNA was taken following a subsequent burglary arrest.

        No arrest was made in the second case.

        • ladyg
          06/18/2010 at 11:21 PM

          just wanted to see if anyone saw the same thing. thanks, big time, for tuning it.

    • tassojunior
      06/18/2010 at 10:54 PM

      Better yet last week’s 20/20 story on Riley Fox where police refused to believe intruder by back door and refused to look for evidence counter to (very handsome) father raping and murdering her. Public defender finally paid for private DNA which found real killer just before father was to be sentenced. Amazing story, search Riley Fox on 20/20 site.

      • dcbill
        06/18/2010 at 11:44 PM

        That program left me with the feeling that the new DNA evidence wasn’t as solid as it sounded. I don’t know. Something about that whole story just didn’t seem right to me.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/19/2010 at 12:26 AM

        The 2004 Riley Fox murder case is a horrifying story about a kidnapped, sexually assaulted murdered child, whose own father falsely confessed to the crime.
        Not a single fact of which you have recounted accurately other than the correct spelling of her name.

        None of the facts of that case relate in any way to the murder of Robert Wone.
        I have no idea what the relevance is of your finding Kevin Fox to be “very handsome”.
        Unlike the Trouple, Kevin Fox is both a very unsophisticated & uneducated person.
        That is the sort of person who is likely to make a false confession.
        Riley Fox was a 3 year old girl who was discovered drowned 4 miles from her home.
        She was not stabbed to death while spending the night at the home of an old friend from college.

        Her father was arrested after he told the police that he had left the front door open, not the back door, & thought she had wandered off, but upon the discovery of her body falsely confessed in a videotaped statement that he had killed her.
        The Trouple have never falsely confessed to killing Robert Wone, they have never confessed to anything.
        Kevin Fox was not cleared “just before” sentencing, althought that sounds very dramatic!
        He was never tried on any charges at all,he was released after spending time in jail after his arrest.

        His attorney did not pay for a private DNA test, she pressed the FBI to perform the testing of the samples they already had.
        Despite an enormous effort to solve the case with the foreign DNA, no match was made until more than 5 years later,last month a former neighbor was charged with the crime.
        There is no foreign DNA to test in the murder of Robert Wone.
        It is that absence of forensic evidence that is so confusing.

        Are you saying that you think the same person from Forked Creek, Illinois is the real killer of Robert Wone?
        Perhaps you & OJ should go back to searching for the real killer on the back 9.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/19/2010 at 2:41 AM

          So… “foreign DNA” NO FOREIGN ( I feel like I am spelling foreign wrong) DNA means — showering down the body.

          I guess I need to revisit the evidence. If they found 2 fingerprints in the guest room – is that a total of two fingerprints or two foreign fingerprints?

          No fingerprints, no blood, no DNA…..

          Hmmm in other equivalent crimes people are committed by the presence of these things. These are present in crimes. This was a crime. Ergo …..

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/19/2010 at 3:15 AM

            Let me finish that thought for you, tucson, this was a crime scene that was so sanitized up & staged, so much is missing, that is could be called “The Mysterious Intruder Who Cleaned Too Much”.

            • ladyg
              06/19/2010 at 9:07 PM

              now that’s too funny.

        • tassojunior
          06/19/2010 at 9:44 AM

          The FBI did not test the samples of DNA because the local police had told them not to; they knew the father had to be the rapist and murderer. A private lab tested the DNA that the public defender somehow got and she presented the findings which may have then led the FBI to also test samples they still had but were refusing to test.

          The father confessed after he was told that was the only way he’d “be gone easier on” as he was sure to be convicted. Even the 7-year-old son was shown being mentally tortured in a videotaped interrogation to get him to say incriminating things about his father. With a “confession” any trial would have been pretty simple.

          The police refusal to look for counter evidence extended to not searching the trash can close to the body where the victim’s bloody underwear containing DNA were or the public restroom close to the body where she was raped and murdered.

          20/20 summarized the case as a conspiracy of police to not look for evidence which could lead to anyone but the father. Fox got $8million damages from the police in court. A new prosecutor was elected but most of the detectives on the case are still there.

          Blaming the father for making a “false” confession much later in the situation he was in is certainly something the jury in the damages trial didn’t buy. They agreed the police had made a too-rapid dismissal of any other murderer immediately upon entering the house and therefore intentionally not searched for counter evidence.

          The Riley Fox murder was a gross miscarriage of justice and defending it in any way is bizarre.

          OJ had a all-too-clear motive and was probably a case of jury nullification when they realized the lead detective was a pronounced bigot. Kevin Fox was about as unsuspecting as anyone could be to anyone with common sense. Unfortunately that doesn’t include detectives who suspect such people of having “hidden” lives and who want to close a case within minutes.

          • Bill Orange
            06/19/2010 at 10:19 AM

            I’m really not seeing your point here. This man was falsely accused of killing his daughter. His lawyer was convinced of his innocence and asked for the available evidence to be analyzed more thoroughly, which ultimately proved his innocence.

            What does that have to do with this case? The three defendants have a legal dream team. At any time, they could’ve asked the government to do additional testing on any number of pieces of evidence (e.g., the knife, the found on Robert Wone’s body, Robert Wone’s clothing, the swabs from the sexual assault kit, the unidentified fingerprints in the house, etc.). As far as we know, they have done none of these things. If there was ANY chance that the defense team thought that their clients might be innocent, don’t you think they would have asked for one of these things?

            • tassojunior
              06/19/2010 at 11:02 AM

              I actually agree with you on that. Even at this late date I would have been hopping mad demanding everything from prints to DNA samples to sunglasses. I would have put a decent percentage of available funds into an investigator to find who the murderer was. It may not be that hard.

              And I also agree that close-by possession of a dead body in DC is 9/10’s of the law in most cases. But this case doesn’t seem so open and shut and isn’t like the typical street stabbing murder in DC and may not even fit in the “gay thing” pigeonhole. Still it is in reality a burden on the possessor of a dead body to prove otherwise, whatever the law technically.

              My skepticism of the police theory doesn’t mean I don’t think there aren’t valid theories that implicate any of the defendants. The prosecution chose not to make any of the obvious ones that involve more common sense. My desire is to actually find the murderer even if it’s one of the defendants. I realize obstruction, however nebulous, in DC is a much more serious crime than murder and I simply don’t agree with that.

              • Bill Orange
                06/19/2010 at 11:25 AM

                “I realize obstruction, however nebulous, in DC is a much more serious crime than murder and I simply don’t agree with that.”

                Could you expand on this a little? I would guess that your typical murder conviction yields a much harsher sentence than your average obstruction conviction, but I’m open to your argument to the contrary.

                • tassojunior
                  06/19/2010 at 11:30 AM

                  In DC the maximum for murder is 30 years.

                  • Bill Orange
                    06/19/2010 at 11:33 AM

                    What’s the average for obstruction, and what’s the average for murder?

                  • Bob
                    06/19/2010 at 12:06 PM

                    No. I am not a lawyer, but I have read the DC Code. The maximum for second-degree murder is 30 years unless the government establishes special circumstances. The maximum for felony murder is 60 years, unless the government establishes special circumstances.

                • Bob
                  06/19/2010 at 12:13 PM

                  Doctor: I think that Tasso Junior is simply mistaken, and would appreciate a legal analysis of the sentencing guidelines and average sentences for obstruction and for first-degree murder. (Regardless of who one thinks killed him, it was first-degree murder, either premeditated by the ninja or in the course of either burglary or rape.)

  15. susan
    06/18/2010 at 9:33 PM

    Re my number 2 above I mean the time of his actual stabbing or even if not stabbing, it seems likely that that time noted by both in separate interviews in relation to the murder must infer something significant. It could be the time he was drugged and incapacitated. That would allow time for the PEA to occur.

    Another question: Isn’t the defense in a bit of a Catch-22 re their argument about the time of death. Their insistance about the time, if proven, would at the same time prove some kind of conspiracy because it would seem to refute the possibility of “screams” being heard–one floor up.

  16. Bob
    06/18/2010 at 9:53 PM

    I also have a thought on Dante’s Inferno and any possible participants in a crime. I have not read the Inferno completely in many years, but I have ready access to a guide to its structure. I am not, at this time, commenting on where anyone goes, but on where anyone goes based on God’s true knowledge (which we do not have) of the crime.

    First, I will note that Dante, in a relatively violent world, consigned the violent only to the seventh circle of Hell, but the dishonest to the eighth circle of Hell. I think that a twentieth-century author (when I went to college) would reverse that, but that is not a criticism of Dante.

    If there was a Chinese ninja, he is in, or will go to, if he has not yet been killed, the seventh subcircle of the eighth circle, for entering a house to steal. It is true that he stole only a life, but he did not meet Robert Wone openly on the street. I don’t think that there was a Chinese ninja. He isn’t entitled only to the first subcircle of the seventh circle.

    Dante would send the housemates to the third subcircle of the seventh circle, the Abominable Sand, for their “violence against nature”. I would say that if they were faithful to each other, they are entitled to Purgatory or judgment for their other sins, and if unfaithful, to the second circle of Hell, but this trial is not about a strange relationship. It is about a murder whose truth is not known.

    Other than the ninja theory, either one of the housemates or someone known to the housemates killed Robert. That involves different subcircles of the eighth and ninth circles.

    The advice to engage in a conspiracy to obstruct justice takes on to the eight subcircle of the eight circle, the Councilors of Fraud. What they stole from people was something of more value than their property, because they stole their integrity. However, Dante takes those who actually lied to obstruct justice to the dreadful tenth subcircle of the eight circle, a valley of diseases. Actual liars and perjurers go to this dreadful valley.

    If any of the housemates actually took part in the murder of Robert Wone, then Dante sends them to the deep ice, a cold day in Hell, of the third subcircle of the ninth circle, traitors to their guests and hosts.

    Many of the damned in Dante’s Inferno are not even entitled to the dignity of fire.

    God knows the truth, and the judge is tasked to determine the truth, but that is what Dante has speculated about some of the horrible crimes that may have occurred here.

    Taking issue with one previous post and agreeing with another, whoever did this was not sub-human, but was human and exercising the horrible right of humans to do sub-human things, and so subject to (in traditional religion) the full wrath of God on wicked humans (with the right to repent).

    I am not speculating here on who did it, but on what Dante says happens to them.

    • Also from the Post Story
      06/18/2010 at 10:20 PM

      Jeesum Christmas, glad those rules aren’t what the court uses.

      • Bob
        06/18/2010 at 10:35 PM

        Not the court that they are currently in, but a court that some of us believe they will eventually face.

    • ccf
      06/18/2010 at 10:47 PM

      OK, so in 25 words or less, are they going to Petersburg VA or Cumberland MD?

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

        80-90% chance Petersburg.

      • She did it
        06/18/2010 at 11:28 PM

        my heart says miami shores . . .

      • Bob
        06/18/2010 at 11:43 PM

        I wasn’t writing about that. They are both in this world. They aren’t quite as horrible as the eighth circle of an even wiser judge than Judge Leibovitz.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/19/2010 at 12:01 AM

          The Ninja comment has always been a very sarcastic rebuttal to the over the back fence both ways without touching anything….and exiting the gate and leaving it locked by key…..

    • AnnaZed
      06/19/2010 at 2:49 AM

      Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.

      • Kate
        06/19/2010 at 10:02 AM

        Anna – it’s been a very long time for me, but am I close in the rough translation:

        “We can only hope and pray.”

        I know that’s not right, but am I in the ballpark?

        • AnnaZed
          06/19/2010 at 11:22 AM

          All hope abandon ye who enter here.

          (for Bob’s Dante analysis ~ Robert did not have a chance)

          • Bob
            06/19/2010 at 11:37 AM

            That is the last line of the inscription over the gates of Hell that Dante sees as he begins his descending journey. I think AnnaZed is also saying that it should have been over the door to 1509 Swann, which was a small Hell in which Robert never had a chance.

          • Kate
            06/19/2010 at 1:43 PM

            Good lord, I should have remembered that!

            It HAS been a long, long time. The only word I got right was “hope.” Silly me.

            I think I’m going to dig out my Dante for a little light reading.

            Thanks folks,
            Kate

  17. tassojunior
    06/18/2010 at 10:13 PM

    Total non-med here but Wikipedia says multiple injections are normal for PEA. Baker says he didn’t? ER says they didn’t?

    “”Pulseless electrical activity should be treated as if the patient were in asystole. Treatment is intravenous delivery Epinephrine 1 mg every 3-5 minutes, and, if the underlying rhythm is bradycardia, Atropine 1 mg IV up to .04 mg/kg (varies with regional protocols). Both these drugs should be administered along with appropriate CPR techniques.””

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulseless_electrical_activity

    • Bill Orange
      06/19/2010 at 12:00 AM

      He had an IV in his left arm, a deep line in his upper chest, and another deep line in his groin. This was no-holds-barred resuscitation. There would’ve been a number of IV drugs given.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/19/2010 at 12:30 AM

      The ER accounted for all of their marks.

    • Carolina
      06/20/2010 at 2:17 AM

      They ruled out having made the wounds in the feet/ankle areas. The rest were from treatment.

  18. ladyg
    06/18/2010 at 11:34 PM

    boy, i took a looke see over at the WP. website, those commenters, don’t hold back, do they?

    • Kate
      06/19/2010 at 10:04 AM

      Yes, indeey – and to quote Monty Python:

      “It is a silly place.”

      • Kate
        06/19/2010 at 1:44 PM

        As you can read from above, I do much better with Monty Python than I do with Dante!

        • Lee
          06/19/2010 at 2:32 PM

          Monty Python may be closer to reality in this case.

  19. dcbill
    06/18/2010 at 11:48 PM

    Most of the commenters on the WP website are complete idiots.

    • Nelly
      06/19/2010 at 11:12 AM

      True, but I usually look over the comments to see if there’s any good information to be gleaned. People on different websites have been mentioning the trouple’s drug use for years, and even the former prosecutor on this case alleged that Joe dealt drugs.

      • marymary
        06/20/2010 at 7:34 PM

        The WP comments are unreadable. The NYT is pulling up close behind, but with more complete sentences.

  20. tucsonwriter
    06/19/2010 at 12:06 AM

    The search feature on this site is pretty amazing. If you have a question you can search the site. So much information is right here.

  21. tucsonwriter
    06/19/2010 at 12:12 AM

    This is from Earthlink news – Stockton California murder

    More than 1,800 pages of grand jury transcripts and other documents were released Friday, shedding some light on the young Sunday school teacher who eventually pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering her daughter’s playmate. Huckaby, 29, has never revealed her motive and investigators have been at a loss to explain why she did it.

    “There are so many unanswered questions that we will never know,” prosecutor Thomas Testa said.

    What emerges from the documents is a portrait of a depressed woman with a troubled past and a penchant for cutting herself, her family said.

    According to a probation report, she described her childhood as “kind of rough” and said she was raped by a police officer when she was 19. She said she was diagnosed as bipolar and suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

    Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy, testified that Sandra’s killer showed a “calm, calculating mind at work.”

    The way the body of 8-year-old victim was placed in the suitcase after the killing showed the work was likely premeditated, Omalu said during the July 2009 hearings. He testified that Sandra suffered mightily before she died of suffocation and was undoubtedly sexually assaulted.

    • Lee
      06/19/2010 at 8:24 AM

      So she caught a flight from Stockton to DC, choose the Swann Street house at random, then slipped in, killed Robert, then cleaned house? Talk about a “calm calculating mind at work.”

      Good catch. I would have never put this together.

      • Bill Orange
        06/19/2010 at 10:21 AM

        I don’t think that’s was being implied here. I think tucsonwriter was just posting this as an interesting, somewhat similar case.

        • Lee
          06/19/2010 at 2:37 PM

          If so, I’m sorry.

          It’s just that some “contributors” to this blog seems to be suffering from some sort of Tourette’s where legal cases are shouted out for no particular reason.

          Or maybe that was just tassojunior.

          • Carolina
            06/20/2010 at 2:20 AM

            I’m sorry, but this has left me laughing for the last five minutes. Much needed; thank you.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/20/2010 at 5:42 PM

              I agree – the Tourette’s legal shout out is funny. Would make a good skit by Monty Python.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/20/2010 at 5:40 PM

            I thought this was interesting because even though the person went on trial and was found guilty of murder due to THE EVIDENCE – physical evidence and DNA – the murderer refused to state what her MOTIVE was.

            1) Many people looking at this site speculate as to the motive for the murder has been. Even in a case where they know who the murderer is, they still don’t have a motive just because they have a conviction.

            2) The murderer was convicted due to physical evidence – which was altered in this RW case. She thought she was being clever but someone saw her at the lake where the victim was eventually found. In the RW case, the three defendants were all at the murder site at the time of the murder, but no physical evidence exists to conclusively prove who the murderer was.

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/20/2010 at 9:08 PM

              I know I am going to hate myself in the morning for writing a response to tucsonwriter at all, but please tucson,try to stick to the facts as you posted them from Earthlink News! Melissa Huckaby DID NOT get convicted because of a trial & WAS NOT convicted because OF THE EVIDENCE.

              Please read more carefully what you posted again, “the young Sunday school teacher who eventually pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering her daughter’s playmate”. See what I mean? It says right there what actually happened, you posted this yourself, Melissa Huckaby PLEADED GUILTY. It was a surprise at the time, a full trial was expected.http://www.huliq.com/3257/93309/melissa-huckaby-issues-surprise-guilty-plea-cantu-case

              In addition, a lot of people know what her motive was, she enjoyed getting attention from all sorts of sick behaviors, when asked what kind of person would do what she did, “she responded, ‘Why do people hurt other people? Because they are sick in their head, disgusting.’ ”

              If you want to make any kind of comparison here, how about noting the remarks of Tracy Police Detective Nate Cogburn, “She’s the type of person that thought she could always explain her way out of situations. And that was clearly what she thought she was going to do in this case.” Sound like anyone in this case?

              As to how the police always arrest the wrong person, with hindsight being 20/20, Melissa was eventually charged with 2 prior nonfatal poisoning/druggings. Which is a topic that is worth pursuing here, was there ever any trick who might have been drugged before but never said anything after..?

              Prior to the murder, the police had arrested her boyfriend on a DUI, after he was found passed out cold at the wheel at a McDonald’s drive-thru. The police, wrong again.

              Although charged with a DUI, Daniel Plowman never mentioned to investigators that he had driven to MacDonald’s directly from a meeting with his girlfriend, Melissa Huckaby, who had given him something to drink. Daniel Plowman was then cleared by the subsequent events. He had passed out cold not because he had intentionally ingested a muscle relaxant, but rather because he had been deliberately drugged, nonfatally poisoned.

              Is there anyone out there reading this who ever woke up dazed & confused after partying on Swann Street but did not want to come forward for understandable personal reasons?

  22. Jo
    06/19/2010 at 3:58 AM

    Pretty weak start for the defense, don’t you think? If defense rests as early as next Tuesday, when should we expect the verdict? Wondering how long it will take the judge to decide on this case.

  23. Hoya Loya
    06/19/2010 at 10:54 AM

    I’ve been giving thought to a subject from yesterday. I don’t think Joe should lose his license if convicted of any of the current charges.

    Its an old joke that it’s harder to be kicked out of the bar than it is to get admitted. Moral turpitude is a pretty high standard, plus Joe would be entitled to a hearing, I believe. His conviction would not based on financial malfeasance, severe malpractice or, indeed, murder. He has a superb record of pro bono service and activism, as did Robert. He is worth more to society if he would commit to putting his J.D. to work for more such causes in the future, in exchange for a sanction short of disbarment. I’d expect that he would do so even if acquitted,because that is his record.

    Big law is a closed club. Once you are out, for any reason, it is hard to get back in. But I’m sure there are smaller firms as well as not-for-profits and public sector entities that would welcome his talents and services. I think it would be short sighted and a potential loss to society to foreclose this possibility. Robert is no longer around to do good work — it would be fitting if Joe could help rectify that imbalance.

    • tassojunior
      06/19/2010 at 11:29 AM

      Obstruction is always considered a crime of moral turpitude for disbarment. After a number of years, usually 5, someone can apply for a reinstatement hearing and is often successful.

      • Bill Orange
        06/19/2010 at 11:32 AM

        If Joe is convicted of obstruction, I can’t see him NOT being disbarred, and I can’t see him being reinstated in five years. This is a murder investigation. We aren’t talking about some white collar crime that no one understands.

        • Bea
          06/19/2010 at 12:32 PM

          Whether he’s acquitted or whether he’s convicted, loses license and gets reinstated (in his 50s or 60s): billboard on a remote Florida highway, jowly Joe Price in a tight and cheap suit pointing at the camera; “Have you been injured at work? Have you suffered from mesothelioma? Have you discovered asbestos or mold in your home? Call Joe – a do-it-all lawyer! 1-800-GO-GO-JOE!”

        • BenFranklin
          06/19/2010 at 12:51 PM

          Mr. Orange,
          You are a traitor to our alma mater, Wone & Price with your catty, bitchy, echoing of the misinformation that has plagued this case.

          Wait until the defense is done before you continue this sickening betrayal.

          There were no lies, no conspiracy, no tampering, no obstruction, no delayed reporting-just a perfect dark DC storm that wrecked two fellow alumnus’ lives forever.

          • ccf
            06/19/2010 at 1:12 PM

            Normally I respect everyone’s opinion here even if I disagree. But I think you are out-of-line calling someone a traitor.

            Do we have to defend anyone from our alma mater even we believe that he is guilty? What about Robert? Do we have to defend someone who we believe is the murderer?

            I guess I don’t understand your thought process.

            • Bob
              06/19/2010 at 5:22 PM

              As another poster has said, please do not feed the troll.

              When you say that you don’t understand the troll’s thought process, are you implying that the troll has a thought process?

          • Bill 2
            06/19/2010 at 1:14 PM

            It’s a beautiful day at the beach. The ocean is nearly as calm as a lake and the palm trees are swaying gently in the breeze.

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/19/2010 at 1:20 PM

              I am not sure what you mean Bill2, but FWIW my admiration of Bill Orange is well known; as to Ben Franklin & his alter egos, I have learned this the hard way, don’t feed the trolls.

              • Bill 2
                06/19/2010 at 1:32 PM

                Replying to Ben Franklin’s silly rants with something totally meaningless is a bit of a tradition. I share your admiration of Bill Orange.

                • Bill Orange
                  06/19/2010 at 3:02 PM

                  The feeling is mutual for both of you. 🙂

                  • Clio
                    06/20/2010 at 5:57 PM

                    A footnote: the real William of Orange, a member of our lavender Family, was neither “catty or bitchy,” although he died before the real Ben learned how to crawl.

                    Keep “betraying” Culuket, BO, even if you still may defend his seemingly complicit enablers!

            • ccf
              06/19/2010 at 1:21 PM

              Being a city kid, that reminds me of Mr Robinson’s Neighborhood.

              http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/mr-robinsons-neighborhood/2749/

          • Bill Orange
            06/19/2010 at 1:16 PM

            Ben! Nice to see you back!

            I was never a terribly loyal alum to begin with, so I don’t think our alma mater will be surprised by my “treachery” here. However, if you’d like to petition them to take my name off of all of their fundraising lists, I would strongly encourage you to do so.

            As to being a traitor against Price, I was never really on Team Joe to begin with. I did have a little bit of a crush on him, but I never acted on it, and he never showed any interest in me, anyway. (And in that light, I’m now a bit thankful that I didn’t come out until after I graduated.)

            As to being a traitor against Wone, I really don’t think so. I don’t even remember him from college, although a mutual friend assures me that we met at least once. In any case, I only know of one of Wone’s friends who MIGHT still believe the defendants are innocent, and that’s Lisa Goddard. And I’m not even sure about her, because I haven’t heard anything about her opinions on this case since the charges were filed. So if I’m a traitor against Wone, I’ve got a lot of good company.

            I am, of course, planning on watching the remainder of the defense’s case, but I expect that my “sickening betrayal” will continue, because they don’t appear to have much of a case.

            Go Griffins!

            P.S. Did you vote for Joe or Ashley Miller? Even 15+ years later, I still can’t believe that Ashley bit the nurse!

            • Josh
              06/19/2010 at 3:15 PM

              Aren’t all the W&M grads on this site a tad embarrassed that Ben F who claims to be one also seems to believe that the plural of alumnus is alumnus?

              • Bill Orange
                06/19/2010 at 3:21 PM

                Nah. We weren’t all Area I majors, after all.

              • Bob
                06/19/2010 at 5:24 PM

                Ben F., like the historical person whose name he discredits, evidently has no formal education, and this Ben F. has not discovered the law of conservation of electric charge. It was Thomas Jefferson who was W&M, 1762.

          • Bea
            06/19/2010 at 6:25 PM

            Ben always provides comedic relief – if viewed historically, anyway. For the longest time, he absolutely agreed that the three defendants were guilty of these charges but that Joe Price could not have been involved in the murder BECAUSE HE WAS A W&M GRAD and spent considerable effort painting Dylan as the sole murderer (complete with Ambien, then Lunesta-gone-wild theories; likewise he argued that the diminutive Ward had incredible strength and claimed personal knowledge of this – even promised to provide photos of the “very buff” Dyan Ward). Of course last week, he came back to state that OF COURSE the Rule 29 Motions would be granted but the only question was whether the Judge would allow the defense to take to task the MPD for (what was it, Ben?) malicious and some other incompetence . . .

            So we tend to reply with non sequiturs so as not encourage him. Unless you’re in the mood to dance with him for a while (just know that he runs from specific arguments and hides behind ridiculously strident and unsupported statements).

            If memory serves, he claims to have gone to W&M but not with Price or Wone. This matriculation has been questioned, as has his vague undergraduate degree (which sometimes claims to include knowledge of the law). Currently he has claimed to be an unemployed Taoist monk with a predilection for sex with (heterosexually) married men.

            • Hoya Loya
              06/19/2010 at 9:55 PM

              Perfect example of how Ben can derail any discussion, even one saying nice things about his fellow alum Joe.

            • Carolina
              06/20/2010 at 2:30 AM

              You know, the most frightening thing just happened. I read your last sentence and realized I know someone who fits this description.

    • Newbie
      06/19/2010 at 11:48 AM

      You have got to be kidding me! If a lawyer is found guilty of obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, etc. – I don’t think he should be allowed to practice law anymore. I know there are lots of jokes about dishonest or greedy lawyers – but truthfully, they provide an important function in our society. And we have to have law-abiding lawyers.

      I don’t want to believe there are any not-for-profits or public sector entities that would welcome the talents and services of an unscrupulous liar.

    • commonsensewillprevailihope
      06/19/2010 at 11:54 AM

      You cannot be serious!!! Absurd

      • Hoya Loya
        06/19/2010 at 12:20 PM

        I’m serious. I’d take the case myself, and I usually take a hard line on legal ethics issues.

        At Georgetown, our moot court argument first year was to argue the denial of bar admission to a former SDS member involved in the U. of Wisconsin bombing in the ’60’s. It was challenging for those assigned his side, but there were good arguments to be made. Not saying there shouldn’t be some sanction in the event of a conviction, but what better way to repay society at least a bit? He could do a lot of good.

    • chilaw79
      06/19/2010 at 1:00 PM

      While I am not sure I agree with you, my understanding is that a felony conviction for obstruction of justice automatically results in loss of your license to practice in DC. Reinstatement is possible after five years. However, the position of Bar Counsel is that reinstatement requires the lawyer to come clean and rectify the prior obstruction of justice.

    • Eagle
      06/19/2010 at 1:43 PM

      Being licensed, either as a a lawyer, doctor, nurse, mechanic or other is a privilege that society gives to an individual who proves his/her ability and willingness to perform a specific responsible role in society.
      That is the basis of licensure.
      In this case, the “bar” is given the privilege of being the gate keeper of licensure.
      As in nursing, medicine, mechanics or other professions, the privilege given by society thru licensure is returned by professional expectations and standards of practice. The given profession itself usually develops these expectations. Thus, when the expectations are not met, sanctions are imposed. Sanctions protect the public and professional quality.
      Thus, lawyers are disbarred. Nurses, doctors and mechanics lose their licenses etc.

      In this case, it is up to the bar to uphold it’s public duty by setting standards based on
      objective behaviors. The bar has set what those objective behaviors are and for the sake of the profession itself and the public trust, they must be upheld.
      There is nothing personal in it. Nor should the standards be “bent” for one person and that person’s unique compelling situation.
      Any profession must protect itself and the public which gives it the privilege to practice.
      The public needs to trust the professional designation.
      The legal profession is trusted in this country because it strives to keep its deal with the public-promote justice.
      Making exceptions to its standards will only deplete its standards and thus the trust that the people have given to the profession.
      Professionals also have an obligation and need to to each other by being proud and exemplary members of that profession.

  24. ccf
    06/19/2010 at 11:43 AM

    Does everyone think that the EMT’s statement was contradictory and the only way to clear that up is recalling him to the stand? He did say “flatline”, as well as “PEA”, didn’t he?

    Flatline can refer to EKG or EEG and I don’t think it was EEG. And PEA is not a flatline.

    There was no report of PEA in the hospital ER, was there?

    • Bill Orange
      06/19/2010 at 12:55 PM

      I think the “flatline” statement by the EMT was actually an error on the part of the editors of this site. My memory is that they fixed the error within a few hours, and what the EMT said was PEA, NOT “flatline”. Eds, can you confirm this?

      As to PEA in the ER, it’s says above: “Martin gained ground citing GWU nurse Luhan’s notes of PEA at 12:17…” So I’m assuming that PEA was documented in the ER.

      • Craig
        06/19/2010 at 1:19 PM

        Correct Bill O: I wrongly used ‘flatline,’ and noted the correction in the comments but failed to strike it in the post.

        David: A Saturday post? It’s getting late. Or is Sunday analysis day? 🙂

        I spoke too soon.

  25. AJ
    06/19/2010 at 2:05 PM

    So does Victor’s ‘he’s still breathing’ on the 911 call help or hurt the defense? (Recognizing it could have been a bogus claim.) Was Dr. Smith asked about this? Or is it irrelevant? The science in this trial is fascinating but also tricky.

    Love how Judge Leibovitz cut right to chase and asked Dr. Smith for citations on the 12 minute claim. Would that have happened if it wasn’t a bench trial?

  26. marymary
    06/19/2010 at 3:29 PM

    Just a slightly off-topic hats-off to the creators of this website, which is an amazing work of citizen journalism and which has attracted a community which (unlike many) is by and large civil. This is a fascinating case in so many aspects. Even the medical minutiae take on significance as the pieces continue to NOT fit together into a cohesive picture.

    Throughout this trial I have had many more questions than may ever be answered. Two stick out, though, and I would like to hear what others think:

    1. Who is being protected here, and why? (OK, that is two questions, but an accountant I’m not.)

    2. What happened to all the blood? I have seen some estimates that he lost four quarts of blood. That is an awful lot to have just “evaporate” before the police arrived.

    Keep on, writers and community of WMRW, and thank you for bringing law to the public, as it should be.

    • Bill 2
      06/19/2010 at 3:50 PM

      Next week, I think there will be some focus on the blood. Both Joe and Victor commented on all the blood they saw at the scene but, if that were true, it all seemed to evaporate before the EMTs arrived. I was recently at the Magic Kingdom’s Country Bear Jamboree and when Big Al started to sing about “blood all around, and a great big puddle of blood on the ground,” I thought of Victor Zaborsky. Will he ever escape the grasp of Joe Price to reveal what really happened to the blood all around?

    • Bea
      06/19/2010 at 7:04 PM

      Hi marymary,

      Just one person’s personal theory, but I think that Joe Price is the center of “who’s being protected” because, frankly, I don’t think Victor or Dylan would be facing prison time for Michael Price. I suspect that Dylan is “involved” to a degree more than the current charges as I suspect he’d turn on J Price if to do so would save his skin. Victor seems the least involved but too blinded by love to do the right thing (for himself, his kids, the Wone family . . .).

      My guess is that there was a clean-up and that the bloody towels, the digital cameras, the video cameras, and the real knife were all taken away and put in a dumpster not far away. Or scattered throughout the neighbor’s trash. I doubt the towels were many because I suspect much of Robert’s blood went down the drain.

      As you’ve pointed out, that’s a lot of blood and I don’t ‘buy’ that he bled internally since it wasn’t “found”. I wish the prosecution would show a video of spilling an entire gallon of milk (or whatever liquid) so people can fully grasp this.

      • marymary
        06/20/2010 at 4:39 PM

        I have had similar thoughts about the dynamics, yet the question that I cannot answer is, if one of the three at 1509 Swann Street commands more power than the others, why is that? What does this individual know or have that would, perhaps, control others? And if the alpha person knows something about one who might have been more actively engaged in an assault on Wone, why is that, in turn, being protected? This goes around and around, an amazing study in motivation and behavior. If this group is truly sticking together on a story until the bitter end, the one thing that can be said for them is that they surely are not in step with the times. Others would race to see who could throw their housemates under the bus first. And that really baffles, as well.

        Nice demonstrative evidence with the quart of milk, but perhaps more impressive with a jury than with the court, who I think “gets it” and would be annoyed.

        If he bled internally, the blood would “be” somewhere, would it not. With the blood going down the drain, is the scenario that Robert bled out while being showered after having been stabbed? What would possess anyone to do such a thing, if they were not guilty of some wrongdoing? (“Oh, an intruder has stabbed our friend. Let’s give him a quick shower so he will look nice and neat when the police arrive.”)

        Had not given a thought to camera equipment, etc. The idea of activities being photographed adds another dimension to motivations, which provides food for thought. Yet this assumes, does it not, that someone would have had to sprint to the dumpster right quick before the police arrived? Did no one see or hear anything?

        The questions go on and on. In so many respects, I hope that the Wones are tolerant of the curiosity this has aroused. It has to be difficult to be the center of this sort of attention.

  27. DCULater
    06/19/2010 at 6:57 PM

    Victor…Victor…are you there?
    Your future is calling.

  28. Themis
    06/19/2010 at 8:53 PM

    Eagle,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about maintaining the integrity of the legal profession. Serious misconduct deserves serious sanctions. But there is one segment of the legal profession that is virtually never sanctioned for misconduct: prosecutors. Just read this amicus in which the Cato Institute joined with the ACLU and NACDL. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/preview/briefs/pdfs/07-08/08-1065_RespondentAmCuNACDLandCATOInstandACLU.pdf

    Before making my point, I want to emphasize that in this case there is no
    evidence that the prosecution has engaged in any misconduct.

    That said, I would hope that all calling on Joe to be disbarred would recommend the same for the prosecutors identified in the brief. Prosecutorial misconduct that results in the wrongful convictions and death sentences is as egregious as obstruction, but rarely results in an in-office reprimand, much less public admonishment or suspension or disbarrment.

  29. Themis
    06/19/2010 at 9:06 PM

    I should add that I think most career prosecutors, like most career defenders, think of their work as a calling and not just a paycheck. They are as equally committed to justice, the rule of law, and high ethical standards. But the bad apples shouldn’t skate just because they are prosecutors or even because the people they unlawfully convicted may be or are guilty. That’s a perversion of justice that deserves no approbation.

    • Eagle
      06/19/2010 at 11:24 PM

      Themis:
      Thanks for adding to the subject of professional ethics and obligations.
      I myself am not an attorney. My thoughts come from an in-depth study of the development of another profession. Come to think of it, a nurse-lawyer was on my committee! Interesting.
      But- I agree- prosecutors have their own very special unique responsibilities-with very serious consequences.
      In addition, may I take this opportunity to personally thank you for all you have so consistently and patiently taught us about the law. You have been a great support as this saga has been moving forward.

  30. Themis
    06/19/2010 at 9:15 PM

    FSOP,
    While I don’t love that definition, it is pretty standard and more comprehensible to non-lawyers than many others. In this day and age, I often describe it as the decision on whether to discontinue life support for a loved one assuming that is an option, which it is not for some faiths. But I think it generally gets the point across. Obviously, I don’t use that example in court.

  31. Legally Blonde
    06/19/2010 at 9:56 PM

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Bea, you mention that digital cameras and a video camera were taken away. I don’t remember reading about missing cameras. Can you let me know when/where this issue came up?

    Thanks for the editors for all of their work on this site.

    • Bill 2
      06/20/2010 at 12:06 AM

      I guess Bea didn’t notice your message. The idea that cameras may have been taken away comes from the fact that the residents of the house displayed photos of vacation trips and Joe Price’s office computer had BDSM photos of Joe Price. Thus it’s assumed that they would have cameras. Their continued interest in photography also goes along with the website Joe Price, at a later date, was setting up to sell porn.

      Since police found no cameras in the house, it’s thought that cameras probably left the house as part of the cleanup of the murder scene. It just seems to be unusual for men with photo interests not to have any digital cameras. I hope this works for you until Bea notices your message.

      • David
        06/20/2010 at 12:14 AM

        It should also be noted that Joe Price notes in his Alt.com profile that he is into erotic photography as well.

        David

        • Legally Blonde
          06/20/2010 at 12:26 AM

          Thanks for the clarification. Trying to wrap my head around all of this.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/20/2010 at 12:58 AM

          To be precise, Under the Heading of LifeStyle “Activities Enjoyed” includes these exact words, “Participating in Erotic Photography”. Hard to do without any cameras around. Where oh where did the cameras go?
          Oh, Happy Father’s Day, Joe! That Culuket Alt.com was such a touching piece of online advertising so that your kid will get to know what you are really like, as well as your very specific likes, LifeStyle & Activities Enjoyed in such intimate graphic detail. It is good to know that Daddy would rather have a collar or a leash as opposed to a necktie on June 20th.
          On the plus side, thank goodness you are a non-smoker. I don’t know if this is relevant, but Michael Price’s Manhunt ad did NOT disclose an interest in Participating in Erotic Photography. Pig Play, yes, Erotic Photography, no.

      • Bea
        06/20/2010 at 1:17 AM

        Thanks Bill 2, David, and FCSOP for handling Legally Blonde’s question for me. I would have said the same thing.

        As for Culuket’s profile, too, I’m always amazed that he was forthright about every possible sex act in his “ad” but as for drug use answered “rather not say” (I may not have the exact wording correctly).

        I realize that the reason was that as an attorney he did not want to state in no uncertain terms that he used illegal substances, but as for “public impression” one wants to promulgate, that he isn’t ashamed that he likes to drink urine is a bit of a head-scratcher. Seems an odd thing to want to be remembered for.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/20/2010 at 2:11 AM

          Bea,
          I totally agree. My take on it is this is exactly why nobody will ever make any sense out of what Joe Price did or why he did it. The justaposition of The USA Today Promotional Joe Price with his alt.com LifeStyle & Activites are impossible to reconcile.
          What kind of person feels that as to drug use, the coy response of “I Would Prefer Not To Say” (which is really saying “Yes”, because if he was a non-user as he was a non-smoker, he would have answered the same way) is necessary but all the listings of out of The BDSM lifestyle handbook except notably “pig play” are included.
          Apparently Joe felt that there really are certain matters that require the utmost discretion, the desire to engage in a 3 way as the submissive in cock & ball torture, caging/confinement/dog training/fetish wear didn’t fall into that category. Wouldn’t you love to see what was depicted in the photos of his personal alt.com activities which were discovered on his work computer at Arent Fox?

          • Carolina
            06/20/2010 at 2:42 AM

            Someone recently described the photos. I believe Joe was wearing strategically placed alligator clips. I would have settled for a wallet, myself.

  32. Swwrestler
    06/19/2010 at 11:46 PM

    I have read all the blogs from the begining. I could never figure out who the prosecution thought was the murderer.

    Today I read an article in a past issue Of the Washington Post, which stated that the prosecution thought Michael Price was the murderer,but they did not have enough evidence to indict /and or convict him. They did say , he had a key to the Townhouse, knew the code for the alarm, therfore was a logical suspect.

    The prosecution thinks that “The family” conspired to prevent the police from determing the real murderer.

  33. Bob
    06/20/2010 at 12:01 AM

    I think that you have missed the point. We don’t know how the murderer is because the roommates have enabled someone to get away with murder, and there are laws that say that is a serious crime.

    Maybe I missed your point.

  34. Themis
    06/20/2010 at 10:04 AM

    Much has been made about the alt lifestyle choices of Joe & Dylan. I can’t help but wonder if a victim who had made those same choices would be judged in the same way. The victim I best I remember from my capital defense days was a young woman who was swinger, was into BDSM, and enaged in amateur porn at home to make extra money, and did all of these things while pregnant. But she was a lot more than that. She had lived a horrible life. Her grandfather molested her when she was 5.

    She did the right thing and told someone. Shortly thereafter her father committed suicide, which her mother blamed her for. Her mother was physically and emotionally abusive and sent her off to religious compound for delinquent kids when she was 13. Her family rarely visited, and the group home did nothing to address her psychological issues. So she became a wild child who turned to the sexual practices described above. She could be violent and cruel and lash out unexpectedly. She could also be sweet, giving, and funny. She had her neck slit ear to ear.

    She was more than a whore; she was a human being, albeit a damaged one. Which is how the defense treated her at trial, as a human being. Some jurors asked why we didn’t paint her as whore after the trial, which resulted in a lfe without the possibility of parole sentence. They didn’t care much for her obviously. But i was the person on the defense team who stitched together who life story; and I mourned her loss regardless of how she lived her brief life. People are more than the worst of their choices, and when you can look behind those choices you usually begin to understand why.

  35. Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
    06/20/2010 at 12:45 PM

    Ah Themis,
    Oh, you don’t need to wonder. The murdered victim in the case you describe, like the victim here, who is the murdered Robert Wone, wasn’t living a complicated fraudulently manipulated public life of domestic bliss while enjoying a very surprisingly different day to day lifestyle that was so alt. com. The woman who died when her throat was slit from ear to ear did not portray herself in her day job as Wife & Mother of The Year in USA Today, did she? Did the victim you remember so lovingly wear Prada suits to work at BigLaw while swinging & producing amateur porn at night? I don’t think so.

    Murder victims are as often-you well know- scrutinized as if their life choices have somehow made them complicit in their death. Robert Wone has been asked, repeatedly, to explain why, if you are really the upstanding happily married man that everyone says you were, why would you spend the night at a house that was occupied by men who were not straight? That question always seem to linger for many of the posters here and this is my response to you Themis, the very asking of that question, over & over demonstrates that Robert Wone has been victimized more than once by the secret alt.com BDSM LifeStyle choices of the Trouple, NOT the reverse.
    As to your suggestion that behind this killing lives children with sad backstories, you make me think of “The Onion” headline, “Hitler Launches World War II, Blames Unhappy Childhood”. I don’t speak at all for those who don’t care for the vanilla world, but I imagine that many in the BDSM lifestyle would bristle at your suggestion that they all arrived there as the result of incest, child molestation & so on. They are a feisty crew.

    • Lee
      06/20/2010 at 12:59 PM

      I think we all tend to blame the victim of horrendous crimes as a way of protecting ourselves from realizing that any of us can become a victim at any time. If we assume the victim is somehow complicit, then we, through our right, proper, or careful actions, are safe from the random chaos that inhabits the universe.

      • marymary
        06/20/2010 at 4:27 PM

        100% true.

  36. Themis
    06/20/2010 at 1:28 PM

    FSCOP,
    I have never implied that Robert was anything other than a happily married man. Nor did I imply that the BDSM community was comprised of only psych cases. And, in fact, the young woman was a Sunday school teacher. Twisting my words to suit your needs is not argument and your need to attack is bewildering. If I offend you so, quit reading my posts.

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