Stringers

And her name is, and her name is G-L-O-R-I-A

Moultrie Courthouse, courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

We’re forever thankful for the readers who show up at Moultrie, the extra eyes and ears who take in the testimony, and then send us their thoughts. 

This past week, Leo, Interested Observer have made the trek and on Friday, Gloria sat in on the proceedings and gives us a very thorough readout on the sights, sounds and scene.  From her perspective and background as a psychologist, Gloria paid particular attention to the interactions of the three defendants during Friday’s abbreviated session.

“Although I have followed wmrw.com avidly, today was the first time I had seen the courtroom.  In the absence of the gifted courtroom artist, some observations about the scene for those far, far away to get a feel for it:  From what I counted, two sections of seats (left and right, facing the judge) of 5 rows with six seats per row x the two sections.  The press, including two of our intrepid co-editors, sit in reserved seats in the first two rows on the left side.  I counted nine seats reserved by the press; as I understand it, if press do not show up within 30 minutes, their seats are fair game for anyone.”

“Although you encouraged readers to approach you to say hello and said we’d know you, actually, that’s not so easy. I recognized one of you from a TV interview but otherwise would not have known who were OUR very own reporters.  Left side seems taken up with casual observers otherwise.  Since the attorneys and defendants are on the right side facing the judge, like the bride and groom’s sides at a wedding, it seems that any supporters of the defendants sit in the right section.  In the first row, a group of pretty young, blonde women who may be with the law firms as junior staff since there was some interaction between the young women defense attorneys and the first row of observers.

I intended to closely watch the trouple. However, every big haired or big headed person in the room blocked my line of sight to Joe Price so I couldn’t get a fix on him throughout.  But I did keep Dylan and Victor in my line of sight.  What was most striking was the distance between Joe and the other two, presumably by design.  That is, there were no physical obstacles to him sitting closer or even adjacent to them. In addition, his seat placement was directly in front of and under the projection screen so he could not see exhibits projected on the screen behind him. 

Nor did he attempt to.  (I noted that Bernie Grimm, sitting in front of him, at least made an attempt to crane his neck to view the exhibit behind him.)  It would be clear to anyone that Joe placed himself in the middle of the defense team (although not at the table but a row behind so he had to juggle pads of paper on his knee.  He had pretty constant interactions with the defense team -– mostly with a few young women attorneys closest to him – but occasionally with the veteran male attorneys whose names are known by wmrw.com readers.  (All defense attorneys were there today, except for Spagnoletti.)  Dylan and Victor sat next to each other, again in the row behind the attorneys.

From 2:15 (start) to 2:50 pm, hardly a glance was exchanged from the twosome of Dylan and Victor to Joe although right after Dr. Smith went to the witness chair, Joe was staring at the two as if to get their attention, but they did not look his way.  After 2:50 and especially during breaks (including 3 lengthy bench conferences), there was more interaction. 

During breaks, Joe would slide over to talk to Dylan and Victor and in almost all these occasions, Joe seemed to be explaining points to the other two.  Dylan or (more likely) Victor  would make a brief comment to Joe (or ask a question), and his reply would be of some length without interruption by the other two who were intently listening.  No back and forth; teacher lecturing students.  Not surprising from what I’d read earlier on this blog.  I think most people would be struck (considering the circumstance of their being defendants in a serious trial) of their occasional laughing and smiling, but I was more struck by signs of stress (in Joe and Victor) than levity. (You’d go crazy, day after day, with 100% intensity, with no breaks for light humor.)

To characterize each:  Joe sat with paper pads on his knee, taking notes, referring constantly to documents, showed and discussed passages of documents to the young women attorneys next to him during conference breaks, etc..  His knee was jumping excitedly at times.  Victor was the most animated, and his eyes pretty often were scanning the audience. Although his parents (presumably, his parents) were there, he was not noticeably looking towards them. (During a break in the proceedings, he briefly talked with them but no physical touch between them. 

I wondered if they’re all staying at Aunt Marcia’s during the trial so that they know they’ll have plenty of time at night and this weekend to talk over things so didn’t need to during breaks.  Victor even grabbed a chance to check his Blackberry at one point. I felt he was watching me a lot – maybe because I was staring at HIM much of the time?  I got the sense that he was scanning new faces in the crowd and assessing if they were supporters (or at least neutral). He smiled when the witness (Dr. Jeff Smith) recited his credentials, seemingly pleased with the “get” of this well credentialed ER doc. 

I found it odd that the only time he nodded (in agreement) were a few times when the most arcane and technical issues were being discussed, in a session of pretty arcane and technical issues. Hard to imagine he was really understanding and thus really agreeing with the twists and turns being discussed. Although he did the most smiling of the three, he also was in my observation the most pensive and worried of the three, a deeply wrinkled brow for example.  In all, my observations of Joe and Victor were exactly as I’d have expected from others who have reported their observations of the courtroom on this blog.

Dylan was the defendant of most interest to me because I have always wondered about his very odd reaction to the EMTs  — no response – no talking or gesturing; turned around and went into his room while all hell was breaking loose across the hall in the guestroom.  At the time I read the reports of first responders, I assumed Dylan was drugged out or in a fugue state. But then we all read the transcript of his interview at the Anacostiapolice facility and were surprised that his seemed the most lucid of the three interviews. So, from the start, he was the person I most wanted to observe. 

He was certainly engaged – leaning forward to hear conversations with attorneys/Joe or turning to the projection screen to view exhibits.  There was a fair amount of exchange between him and Victor, sitting next to each other, but with few exceptions, the exchanges (usually a few words) were initiated by Victor.  On the other hand, Dylan exhibited none of the nervous gestures of Joe (knee bobbing) or Victor (emotive, wiping his brow, head in hands, wrinkled forehead). 

Cool as a cucumber. Throughout, I tried to think of a situation to which to compare his attitude – as a rather passive, mildly interested bystander, rather than as a defendant in his own trial.  Someone watching an interesting play or listening to a fairly interesting lecture that he would not be tested on later. Aloof, maybe. As if none of this really related to him but it was kind of interesting.

On 6/18 at 11:42 am Kiki wrote:  “As long as their clients continue to want to join forces so will the attorneys.”  That was a very apt description of what I observed. I did not see ANY indication of a break in the trouple so those bloggers holding out hope of a defendant “flipping” will probably be disappointed. I was surprised at the close working relationship between members of the three defense teams.

I did not detect a single incident in which the attorneys for one defendant were pursuing their own independent actions or strategy. It seemed like one huge defense team.  (I did not expect nearly that much collaboration, since each defendant has his own representation.)  And I noticed that the defendants chatted with attorneys from different teams pretty spontaneously, depending more on proximity than on who represented whom.

Dr. Jeff Smith:  He estimated he’d been an expert witness 20-25 times, when he was paid by the defense, but in most cases, they were medical malpractice (in the ER) cases.  I assumed that showed that he’s a “hired gun” and that medical malpractice cases show he’s fairly fresh for this kind of (non malpractice) case.

You caught this – Dr. Smith’s reference to the “perfect storm” started as saying there were “four reasons” but as you said he only got to the first (“stab wound to the heart”) before they took off on that but never returned to the other three.  (I doubt that the other three are relevant, but ….  Who knows?)

Judge:  When presented with an ER expert, she asked the defense if they were not planning to call a cardiac expert.  She was told they would not, feeling that Dr. Smith could deliver the goods (“for efficiency sake”).  Doesn’t sound as if she was convinced that Dr. Smith’s expertise qualified him as a stand in for a cardiac specialist.  Although Schertler, three times, disagreed with her, feeling that Smith’s clinical experience in the ER makes him MORE qualified in the area under scrutiny than a cardiac expert.

You could tell that the Judge is not only relying on Fowler’s testimony but remembers it well.  She brought up his testimony (as if it were the gold standard) a few times while Dr. Smith was testifying.Judge to Amy Richardson:  “What opinion are you trying to elicit from (the witness)?”

Interesting point not picked up.  Maybe so subtle that I misread it and overinterpreted, but for what it’s worth….  When Dr. Smith was being grilled by the defense (making the point that he had not examined Robert but was depending on written notes by other “officials and medical personnel” on site at the house and in the ER), he mentioned that he knew EMT Baker.  That Baker had more than 20 years of experience as an EMT and is, in Dr. Smith’s opinion, extremely competent. 

I noticed the Judge quickly looking to the defense to see if there would be a comeback or comment from the defense, and she seemed a tad surprised that there were none. I took that to mean that Smith was in effect (but not realizing it) buttressing prosecution witness Baker’s opinions and observations on the scene at the house.  Remember that Baker had commented, upon leaving the witness stand – “tough crowd.”

Schertler asked for a break for the defense team to organize.  The judge said she had to hear a plea at 3:30 anyway, so called a break until 3:45.  After she heard the plea which ran more than 15 minutes, she called for another (10 min.) break because the court reporter needed a break.  I stayed to watch how she handled the plea.  Unlike her sometimes impatience and clear intent to move things along at warp speed with the Wone case, she took plenty of time hearing the plea. 

It was routine but she dotted every I and crossed every t.  It was the case of a heroin addicted woman who killed her cocaine addicted husband and immediately called 911 to report it and admitted guilt.  (Sounded like self defense to me.)  The woman was plea bargaining for a sentence of 7.5-8 years.  The judge was infinitely patient, making sure the woman understood her rights, etc.  Just sayin’.  Oh, and in setting a date for sentencing, she posited a date in September but the defense attorney gently reminded her that it was a “holiday” for him.  She caught it – oooops, that’s MY Jewish holiday too!!  Rosh Hashunah.  Chuckle from the knowing in the crowd. 

Observations of Judge Leibowitz:  Very, very impressive.  While everyone else was drifting off from time to time – examining their split ends, yawning, checking their Blackberries, even reading a book (my seat mate) – she had to be “on” every second. (E.g., she questioned what she heard as “path of pathology,” when actually what was said was “pathophysiology.” 

Not letting a single word go by that she did not fully understand.)  The judge has to not only moderate the complex legal process but also has to fully comprehend all of the (often arcane) substantive content.  Being onsite made me appreciate the enormity of her role as judge and jury, both.  Either role would be daunting. 

I was surprised how active Leibovitz was in questioning the witness. Certainly juries do not have that opportunity to directly question witnesses and obviously not to the level of detail that she inquired. (No jury would ever pile up all the questions she asked in the jury room, asking for answers to them, and of course, that would not be in real time, when the witnesses were on the stand.  More they would ask the judge to clarify instructions or ask to see exhibits or transcripts.) 

Not only is she clearly more intellectually equipped than almost any jury of peers that would be assembled anywhere, she also – in exercising the power to intervene by questioning – has a knowledge of facts on this case that far and away exceeds what any jury would be privy to.  On top of that, she was mindful of administrative matters, such as breaking for a plea bargain hearing and when the court reporter needed a break.  Boggles the mind. 

The one negative was her snarky comment at the beginning of Dr. Smith’s presentation, demanding that the attorneys and Dr. Smith ENUNCIATE. I thought they were enunciating fine and felt that she was just reminding the doc early on who was IN CHARGE.  But in other contexts, especially in explaining the process to the witness, she was pretty gentle, even touches of light humor.  Example:  Question: “Does this support or undercut your opinion?”  Dr. Smith: “Yes.” Uh, WHICH???

Defense strategy:  Actually, I was persuaded by Schertner’s argument, repeated three times, that Dr. Smith’s experience was highly relevant to the questions of PEA and cardiac tamponade. Even persuaded by his argument that an ER physician with Dr. Smith’s qualifications may be better qualified than a cardiac expert on these issues.  (Presumably because as a first line ER person, he’s seeing persons closest to how Robert would have presented the first time to MDs, vs a cardiac expert who typically is called in for a consult for still alive, if critically ill patients.) 

But clearly, the Judge did not agree with Schertler. Remember that the defense, after the third and final bench conference, answered her pointed query that they hoped to establish certain facts (about time of death, etc.) by Dr. Smith’s testimony so that they would not HAVE to call another witness (presumably, meaning one of their cardiac experts).  And that this was being done for “efficiency.”  She then referred to Dr. Fowler’s gold standard (my words) and that instructed defense attorney Amy Richardson that she needed to lay a foundation for her strategy with this witness.  (Judge: “Why does HE get to say how long tamponade took after stabbing?”) 

Since the Judge determined that he was not qualified (and that he did not satisfy her about the robustness of the scientific literature to support his contentions about timing of death), does that mean that the defense team will now have to take another shot at the same issues, this time bringing in a cardiac expert? Or will they concede the point and let it drop?

Moving Forward:  Judge: What’s the plan for Monday? Defense:  Possibly could rest on Tuesday pending defense clearing up “a scheduling problem.”  Grimm: “Hopeful we can resolve the problem.”  Judge: How many witnesses?  Answer: “No more than six … give or take.”  Judge:  The devil is in the “give or take.”  Doesn’t sound as if six witnesses can be cleared on Monday for Tuesday closing arguments to commence. Grimm: Mentioned the expert witness is in China at a speaking engagement and problems getting back.  (Had mistimed when this witness would be needed because of the break last week.) 

Later, he mentioned the witness is in Mongolia – apparently not realizing that Mongolia is NOT part of China but is a sovereign nation.  Geez.  Grimm said there was a possibility that he could replace the witness (referred to as a “doctor”) with another expert with identical areas of expertise.  Judge warned defense there would not be “a big break” between the end of arguments and closing so they better be ready to go forward. 

Leibovitz, ignoring the comment by Grimm about a substitute witness, asked if they could get the testimony remotely from the overseas witness by Skype or other electronic means, saying that she had done so with a witness in Korea.  Can’t be done in THIS courtroom but “I’d be willing to try” with the court setting up audio and visual hookup.  No pickup on this from the defense; in fact, Grimm seemed to contradict himself by saying that the problem was not “communications.”  Oh?

Mystery Witness:  I’m pretty sure the witness in “China” or “Mongolia” is Dr. Lee.  Unfortunately, his website – which has a tab for his upcoming speaking engagements – is outdated, only listing a 2008 engagement.  On the other hand, a google search shows he has been to Mongolia before.  Mongolia is “out there” and exotic enough that it’s unlikely that any of the other intended witnesses would be there. 

On the other hand, by now, the dream team must know that Dr. Leibovitz won’t be impressed by a celebrity witness.  Actually, I’m now wondering if the defense’s not picking up on her offer for a Skype like hook up for testimony (at least, not that I heard) is that they’re feeling they should drop Dr. Lee and substitute a less colorful, more credible witness who can testify to the forensics involved.

On The Clock: The psychologist in me is currently obsessing over Joe’s recklessness long prior to the murder.  (This is being fed by HoyaLoya’s current proposition that Joe should not be disbarred, etc.)  Even without the current charges against him, if even 1/10 of the rumors of his behavior are true – drug use, partying, plans for x rated business, etc. – there would be a basis for some serious mental health problems. 

We’ve seen some of this, on a lesser level, with politicians whose public persona are out of whack with their private behavior.  Not sexually driven as much as compulsive recklessness – a form of “gambling addiction.”  How much can I get away with?  The private porno on his law firm’s computer is a serious, serious red flag.  Inappropriate is the mildest term. 

Real psychopathology there – and I am not given to diagnosing from afar usually.  I’d be interested in knowing (but never will) whether his risk taking behavior was on a downward, accelerating slope leading up to the murder.”

90 comments for “Stringers

  1. cat
    06/20/2010 at 10:55 AM

    Gloria,

    Loved your observations. I have been wondering similarly about Joe’s rumored reckless behavior. The police told Victor he’d never make it in the DC jail. I wonder how Joe would fare if and when the inmate population should hear the talk about his behavior in nightclub bathrooms, etc.

    • babs
      06/20/2010 at 12:07 PM

      Gloria,
      Friday was my first day attending the trial. I sat on the right side directly behind Victor’s parents. Dylan acknowledged them when he came in. They exchanged a couple sentences. Victor stopped to talk to them when he arrived, and as you noted talked to them during one of the breaks. I think they were heading home several hours away after the trial. Although supporters of the defendants may stick to the right side, not everyone on the right was supporting the defense. I saw alot of what you observed (including the big hair that blocked your view). The defendants did seem rather relaxed considering the reasons they were all in the courtroom. It was certainly interesting to see the defendants behaviors, reactions to the courtroom activity and relations to one another. Thank you for your reporting.

      • Pete McLeanVa
        06/20/2010 at 3:54 PM

        Gloria or babs, did Judge Leibowitz ever look at the defendants?

        • Gloria
          06/20/2010 at 10:43 PM

          She can’t help but see (look at) the defendants. It’s a pretty small room relative to the number of persons inside. Since the 3 sit right behind the attorneys, when she looks at the attorneys, she sees them.

          • Pete McLeanVa
            06/21/2010 at 4:17 PM

            Thank you. I was trying to compare how a judge might process observations of a defendant’s body language and facial expressions versus a less trained juror. Judge Leibowitz, it seems, can listen/look/feel/taste/touch 120x/minute.

      • Vandy
        06/20/2010 at 4:01 PM

        I’ve seen Court TV on cable…is there a reason why trials in DC are not televised?

        • Agatha
          06/20/2010 at 4:18 PM

          I believe it is the decision of the judge.

          However, after the OJ case many are reluctant to have cameras in the court out of concern for a possible circus like atmosphere. People do act differently with cameras present and many witness are reluctant to step forward if there are cameras in the court.

          I believe the best solution for everyone is to have the court proceedings recorded by news illustrators/artists – like William Hennessey. The news artists provide an invaluable service.

        • chilaw79
          06/20/2010 at 7:44 PM

          The local courts here in DC do not even permit cell phones with photo capability. Such phones must be surrendered at the security checkpoint.

          The courts here are very security conscious. Part of this may be the potential for witness intimidation.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/20/2010 at 3:25 PM

      “his behavior in nightclub bathrooms”…..cat, do you know Joe? I don’t think I’ve “heard” anything on WMRW.com about that. Do tell.

      • Pete McLeanVa
        06/20/2010 at 4:19 PM

        Jeez Joe!

        “Trolling” for tricks at Apex?

        I traded that club card for a Costco Club Card 5 years ago. When I turned 35.

      • Bill 2
        06/20/2010 at 4:32 PM

        On the Day 18 Wrap the first comment quotes something posted in the comments section of the Washington Post about Joe Price at the Apex Club. The comment seems to be gone from the WaPo now.

  2. mbz1971
    06/20/2010 at 10:56 AM

    A possible Michael Price spotting–coming out of go mama go! (didn’t realize it was still open for business). Does he still work there? He was on a cigarette break and making a rather animated call.

    • bonsource
      06/20/2010 at 10:59 AM

      I imagine all of Michael Price’s calls are somewhat ‘animated’ lol.

    • susan
      06/20/2010 at 1:20 PM

      On the GMG Facebook page it says the store remains open while waiting for things to get sorted out with the future tenants.

  3. John
    06/20/2010 at 11:03 AM

    Hats off to GLORIA. What great insights! A fresh look at the court is wonderful. Keep up the observations for us all.

    • ccf
      06/20/2010 at 11:12 AM

      Ditto. Excellent.

    • Kate
      06/21/2010 at 8:07 AM

      Another voice in the chorus! – Many, many thanks Gloria for your thoughtful observations!

      Cheers,
      Kate

  4. BadShoes
    06/20/2010 at 11:35 AM

    One final point about PEA vs. asystole, or “flatline,” that may or may not be relevant to this particular circumstance. EMTs and ER personnel are not scientists making scientific observations. They are healthcare professionals with a duty to save life.

    As I understand the drill, if an EMT or ER says “PEA,” that means that there is some chance of resusitation, and the relevant protocols require him/her to undertake life support and resusitation efforts. OTOH, ‘asystole’ basically means ‘dead,’ and no further action is warranted.

    I don’t know this, but I suspect that, if there is the slightest ambiguity, emergency personnel will prefer to err on the side of life, and call “PEA.” The worst that can happen is that the resusitation efforts fail, and the patient outcome is the same. Nobody would want to have a patient die because the emergency personnel gave up too soon.

    So, there might be a kind of disconnect between Dr. Smith’s clinical observations, and the decision-making process that emergency personnel go through in deciding to record an entry on a form.

    • Bill Orange
      06/20/2010 at 12:17 PM

      I strongly suspect that this is what happened. I keep wondering if there are any printouts of the actual EKGs in the EMT or ER records. If so, it would be fairly easy to clear this up. If not, the prosecution needs to get the EMT and the ER nurse back on the stand to explain exactly what they meant by PEA.

      • Carolina
        06/20/2010 at 1:55 PM

        Bill, isn’t it also true that EMTs do not have the authority to call a patient deceased? If that is correct, what *do* they call the patient’s condition until the doctors can give a time of death?

        • Bill Orange
          06/20/2010 at 5:16 PM

          I’m really not sure. I would guess that they don’t, particularly in cases where there was a recent trauma, which is where the phrase “dead on arrival” comes from.

          • Carolina
            06/21/2010 at 8:23 AM

            So in order to get that PEA designation, it *would* still have to be present, correct?

    • ccf
      06/20/2010 at 12:18 PM

      Good point. At this moment, this PEA deal intrigues me the most. I hope the prosecution recalls EMT Baker to the stand and clear this up.

    • Agatha
      06/20/2010 at 4:26 PM

      If someone overdosed (willing or unwillingly) on Ketamine … how would this impact treatment in an ER or even how the heart functioned?

      After realizing that K takes maybe 10 minutes to kick in and the high lasts 45 minutes to 90 minutes … this becomes an important element to vet and provides a complimentary timeline to the activities of the night of the murder.

      I would also be curios to know what the ER doctor would have done differently if they knew there was a drug overdose – with/without a fatal stab wound to the heart.

      • prtyboydc
        06/23/2010 at 4:11 AM

        Ketamine does not take 10 minutes to kick in. As a “party” drug, liquid ketamine is typically air dried into a white powder with a consistency similar to powdered sugar and inhaled through the nose. The effect is nearly instantaneous and makes the user feel “spacey” or mildly hallucinogenic. When someone takes too much K, they become incoherent and may become semi-conscious. The drug wears off within 15-30 minutes and the user typically has no lasting or ill effects.

        When injected, the above experience is intensified and the possibility of a more severe OD reaction is heightened. I have never witnessed someone inject liquid K for the purposes of sex. In fact, with inhaled K, it is difficult to get, much less maintain, an erection.

    • BadShoes
      06/20/2010 at 10:10 PM

      Another possibility: perhaps some insurance companies reimburse on resusitation from PEA; but do not reimburse on (failed) resusitation from asystole.

  5. La
    06/20/2010 at 11:40 AM

    Gloria, what did the note say that you passed to Kathy Wone during the trial? Do you know her?

    • 06/20/2010 at 12:41 PM

      I’m glad my comments are useful; I have been timid about posting (nor do I really know how to do so.)

      La: Ha! The observer (me) being observed in the courtroom. I do not know Kathy (or anyone else involved), but she came in midway and sat two seats from me. I did pass her a note, saying something like: “I hope that justice will be done at this trial. However, if there is the need to move to a civil trial, there are many people who are prepared to give you moral and financial support to proceed.” I then gave her my email address but suggested she contact the blog if/when she needs that support. I hope I wasn’t misrepresenting (overestimating support from) the blog audience. I met another blogger there (hi, Grace) who had approached Kathy for support, and Kathy reported that she knows that many are praying for her and Robert’s family.

      May as well add here that I was blown away by “our” two co editors. As closely as I was listening (and I do have a little intellectural muscle — I’m retired from NIH), they did a terrific report of the substance of the proceedings and picked up nuances that went right by me. ((I was left to “nibble at the edges” of local color, etc.) Not only that, but by the time I got back home (public transportation, straight home), they had already posted a brilliant summary. And they do it day after day including full days (Friday was 2:15-5 with breaks_. I’ll be there Monday (not available afterwards); waiting for the co editors to give me my “assignment.” What do you want me to look for and report on?

      • anoninny (not currently)
        06/20/2010 at 2:24 PM

        super. more “unbiased” reportage

        • Carolina
          06/21/2010 at 8:27 AM

          Where, exactly, did you get the impression that no one here supported Kathy Wone? Do you suppose anyone here *doesn’t*? Saying I support Kathy doesn’t mean railroading the Trouple. That’s not going to give anyone a better night’s sleep.

      • kiki
        06/21/2010 at 1:09 PM

        Glora,

        Thank you for the insightful reporting. I felt like I was in the courtroom.

        Kudos to the editors who cannot be praised enough for their continuing efforts for us and Robert/Kathy.

  6. Rebecca
    06/20/2010 at 11:44 AM

    Gloria,
    I found your observations fascinating. Thank you for putting us all right in the court room with you!

  7. Bill Orange
    06/20/2010 at 12:19 PM

    “Throughout, I tried to think of a situation to which to compare [Dylan’s] attitude – as a rather passive, mildly interested bystander, rather than as a defendant in his own trial. Someone watching an interesting play or listening to a fairly interesting lecture that he would not be tested on later. Aloof, maybe. As if none of this really related to him but it was kind of interesting.”

    I keep expecting someone to say, “He was a quiet type. A loner. He pretty much just kept to himself.”

    • Nelly
      06/20/2010 at 2:12 PM

      Gloria, thank you for your take on the court proceedings.

      As for Dylan, he’s probably still on prescription meds. Was it Zoloft or Wellbutrin that he was on in 2006? Maybe his medication affects his demeanor as well.

      • David
        06/20/2010 at 5:29 PM

        Nelly,

        Dylan was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin according to Joe Price’s statement at the VCB on August 3, 2006. However, during the hearing for a bench trial in May, Dylan stated in court that he was not on any prescription medications at the time.

        David, co-ed.

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

          “Cool as a cucumber” now, Dyl has probably found himself via the crucible of this tragedy: he may no longer need the pills, but he may require only a steady stream of loyal and friendly customers.

  8. Hoya Loya
    06/20/2010 at 12:40 PM

    Gloria:

    Terrific observations and lots of food for thought. Thank you!

  9. Lee
    06/20/2010 at 12:40 PM

    Gloria,

    Thank you for your excellent and insightful observations. I was a little thrown off by the use of quotation marks in this piece, but I was very grateful to read your contribution.

    The quality of the WMRW team and a large number of the contributors makes this site unique. You are another example of the quality and intelligence of those who are interested in this case and in discovering who, in fact, murdered Robert Wone.

    Thank you again.

  10. susan
    06/20/2010 at 12:59 PM

    Gloria,

    I attended the proceedings one morning last week and your portrait of Dylan Ward was spot on. Who knows if he’s just a cool cucumber, in denial, or practicing some sort of deep breathing transference type of exercise. But the outward image is just as you wrote it.

    Re J. Price, I have to say the porn on the computer, even at a law firm, does not seem astounding. The news is always full of reports of SEC employees (including attorneys) and others with porn on their computers or searches recorded on their computers. Not saying I like it, but it is a billion-dollar industry and not uncommon.

    Do you or does anyone know–when the case closes and the judge finally comes to a verdict-a day or weeks from closing arguments–is everyone called back into the courtroom for the pronouncement? I imagine so, but don’t know.

    • Bill 2
      06/20/2010 at 1:21 PM

      Though it’s not uncommon for porn to be on someone’s office computer, don’t you find that it’s usually porn photos downloaded from the internet? I would think it’s rare for someone to upload porn photos of themself from their camera onto a work computer. That’s what makes this instance stand out from what is usually seen in news stories as the downloading of porn. It seems that this scenario is more likely to be the uploading of porn.

      • Carolina
        06/20/2010 at 2:03 PM

        If nothing else, few of us want to see ourselves naked over our morning cup of tea.

        • KKinCA
          06/20/2010 at 3:30 PM

          And I think even fewer of us would greet the police in our underwear!!!

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

            And, definitely not in a Speedo-style cut!

            • KKinCA
              06/20/2010 at 6:35 PM

              Which cut flatters absolutely No One!! Or at most less than one percent of the world’s population! It just speaks volumes about the attention-seeking nature of Joe. Under that public facade of the happily married father, successful partner at a law firm, and caring provider of pro bono legal services, seems to lie a troubled, conflicted and self-destructive soul that he kept well hidden, at least (and very unfortunately) from Robert Wone.

          • John
            06/20/2010 at 7:26 PM

            The style is so correct for him. He wanted to show how
            upset he was and would not the police believe him
            in this outfit? I don’t think it really worked.
            I am sure that the police have seen this type of
            outfit before for dramatic purposes.

    • mia
      06/20/2010 at 5:06 PM

      To spot porn websites now and then during work hour is one thing, to have your own SM photos stored in company’s computer is totally another thing.

      • Kate
        06/21/2010 at 8:19 AM

        Also, mia ey all – he used his Arent Fox e-mail as his contact address for his new “Eye Candy” on-line porn business.

        Now that is a risk taking, boundary pushing move that truly astounds.

        • Carolina
          06/21/2010 at 8:31 AM

          Having been reminded of this, I am more and more convinced Joe was out of control and begging to be caught. While I don’t excuse his actions, I am inclined to feel sorry for him.

          • Kate
            06/21/2010 at 9:14 AM

            I agree, Carolina – very self destructive and addictive behavior.

    • chilaw79
      06/20/2010 at 11:20 PM

      I have not tried a case in the Criminal Division of the D. C. courts. However, in most bench trials I have been involved in that are fully litigated, the judge often announces the decision relatively quickly. Given the fact that the attorneys and defendants here are local, my guess is that the judge will set a time and date at which she will issue the verdicts in the three cases before her. I think she will have all parties in court for the verdict because some post-trial motions may be made.

      The amount of time will depend on whether the judge decides to issue an oral or written opinion.

  11. chilaw79
    06/20/2010 at 1:02 PM

    Gloria,

    Thanks for your insights. I thought your observations of the defendants and others in the courtroom were very revealing.

    I am hoping I can attend the trial at some point, although I thought it would not be over this quickly.

    • Kate
      06/21/2010 at 8:40 AM

      Chilaw – I was hoping to attend today. Unfortunately, a deadline for work is getting in the way.

      Funny thing about work: on a site replete with busy lawyers such as yourself, and doctors, such as Bill Orange, and psychologists such as Gloria, whose contributions are so vital to these discussions, there’s some folks here with vocations out of the ken, as it were.

      I’m a public historian – researching, writing and producing historic programs. Having a deadline for a program about mid-19th century undergarments seems silly, doesn’t it?

      And it is! Guess that’s why they call it work.

      Sorry for the rant, I was so sure I could make it to the trial today and am disappointed. Here’s hoping for tomorrow.

      Cheers,
      Kate

      • chilaw79
        06/21/2010 at 9:22 AM

        Kate,

        Yes, that’s why they call it work and I had better get back to mine.

        By the way, I think your comments have been interesting. I am glad to see an historian with a sense of humor.

        Regards.

      • Lee
        06/21/2010 at 9:23 AM

        Speaking of diverse backgrounds–I’m retired from my career as an aerospace engineer with NASA.

        • Kate
          06/21/2010 at 9:34 AM

          My god, Lee – that means you’re a rocket scientist! Awesome.

          And many thanks, Chilaw. The history of mankind is so fraught with repeated mistakes and foibles that a sense of humor is essential for an historian’s survival.

          Cheers,
          Kate

  12. bonsource
    06/20/2010 at 1:21 PM

    Susan, it wasn’t just generic porn on his office computer but (if I surmise correctly) self-portraits in somewhat compromising situations . . . I agree, it’s one thing to surf the net for porn (a potential grounds for dismissal at most firms these days) but a real reckless step to keep ‘home movies’ there as well. I imagine he was practicing more than IP law while at the office but also looking for extra-curricular activity when not doing his pro-bono work (tongue firmly in cheek).

    • Bill 2
      06/20/2010 at 1:30 PM

      Somewhat like pro-boner plans when not involved in pro-bono work.

      • susan
        06/20/2010 at 3:52 PM

        Ha Ha, Bonsource and Bill 2!

        Well, it was definitely risque behavior, but probably the grounds for dismissal are the same for homemade porn vs the outside kind, though I’d imagine the former would prove more embarrassing if caught. It could be that was part of the appeal for the person who uploaded it.

  13. Agatha
    06/20/2010 at 1:21 PM

    Was a search warrant issued for Sarah Morgan’s living space in the townhouse?

    If Sarah was a tenant as Joe said – would the police need a separate warrant to search her area?

    Or – if she were family – as she considered herself – would that area be considered in the original search warrant?

    Does anyone know?

    • Bea
      06/20/2010 at 1:58 PM

      Hey Agatha,
      If I recall correctly, the MPD did get a separate warrant for Sarah’s apartment a bit after the fact.

      • Agatha
        06/20/2010 at 2:02 PM

        Thanks, Bea! I was having a hard time finding those details.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/21/2010 at 1:59 PM

      Fantastic point! All the missing items could have been stored down there temporarily.

      Thanks for the psychological portrait.

      I woke up thinking Robert Wone was the intruder. He inadvertently picked the wrong place to stay that night and it cost him his life. I went and read some of the articles in the media page and saw Katherine Wone’s testimony as to the time line. He told her of plans to spend the night in DC a week or so before the event. Then he decided to stay at Swann Street a few days before Aug. 2.

      It is my belief that the drugging and sexual assault that was planned by the individual or individuals who carried it out. There was a miscalculation in something that was used or done. The stabbing was the plan to make it look like the cause of death and ironically ended up being the ultimate cause of death.

      Not that any of this matters because we may never know. Based on the psychology provided by Gloria there is some serious “denial” going on on the parts of the defendants. I know someone who is in prison for murder and there is no doubt that he was guilty. Everyone knows it but him. He is still trying to prove his innocence.

  14. Vito
    06/20/2010 at 1:27 PM

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Gloria, thanks for your observations. Quick question: Did you notice any of the defendants look back and acknowledge Ms. Wone? Does anyone on the “defense side” acknowledge her?

    Thanks again for this site!

    • leo
      06/21/2010 at 10:44 AM

      When I was in court last week (Wednesday) Kathy Wone was also there and no one approached her that I saw, or looked at her in the courtroom. I can’t imagine any approaches by one of the defendants would be welcomed by her. But they did appear blithely unaware of her presence. As I mentioned, the defendants rarely appear outside the courtroom without one or more attendants flanking them. Victor broke free as the crowd of spectators was waiting to reenter the courtroom after the lunch break and stood right in front of me talking with whom I imagined was his father and brother, since the younger man talked to him about “Mom” and an older woman had just left the line to go to the lobby to the restroom. Victor and his family seemed fine. The brother had a more serious, sober look on his face than Victor. Victor seemed meek and calm.

  15. Bea
    06/20/2010 at 1:59 PM

    Gloria, many thanks! G-L-O-R-I-A indeed, Eds!

    • susan
      06/20/2010 at 3:55 PM

      Not really WMRW related, but Bea, I can see you as “Patti Smith” would appreciate that! Her version of the song is wonderful.

      • Bea
        06/20/2010 at 6:01 PM

        “I don’t f*ck much with the past, but I f*ck plenty with the future”

        and

        “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

        Hard to beat Patti!

  16. Pete McLeanVa
    06/20/2010 at 3:08 PM

    Victor

    Break
    down
    the
    wall
    of
    silence.

    Before
    it
    is
    too
    late.

    Your
    sons
    need
    you.

    This
    summer
    will
    be
    their
    fall.

    Their
    fall
    will
    be
    their
    fading
    Swann
    Song.

    • Bea
      06/20/2010 at 8:34 PM

      Kudos, Pete. I wonder about the Wards and the Zaborskys, whether or not they’ve had one last good heart-to-heart with their grown sons. Even the Price family – if Michael really IS the worse of the bad apples, wouldn’t they want their ‘better’ son to NOT serve time and let the “worse” one do time if that’s genuinely the truth (with the caveat that I have my doubts about Michael’s role(s))?

      • Carolina
        06/21/2010 at 8:19 AM

        I don’t know about calling on the parents to use their influence. These children didn’t form in a vacuum, or as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I can’t help but imagine the Wards as overly indulgent parents who would pay any sum to keep Dylan busy and far, far away from Seattle.

      • Pete McLeanVa
        06/21/2010 at 4:24 PM

        I was thinking of Victor’s biological son and Joe’s son, brothers with the same mother.

  17. Josh
    06/20/2010 at 3:15 PM

    Thank you, Gloria. And thanks especially for the courage to share your interpretation of Joe in the last two paragraphs.

    To me, there have been other signs of psychopathology on his part that probably are the key to the whole case. (I hasten to say I have ZERO professional knowledge of this subject but have had the strange and scary experience of dealing with a few psychpaths and have meditated on their characteristics.)

    I have focused on his way of lying. His “catch-22” e-mail to Kathy was a red flag. He says he has info on what really happened, proving the trouple’s innocence,but is constrained from sharing it with her lest the police retaliate vindictively by charging one of them. Huh? This is monumentally absurd but he says it with such apparent ingenuousness that for a moment one doesn’t notice. Even people on this site who are not in his corner thought they saw the point he was making.

    And then there was the interview (I have not seen but have seen described here)as a W&M alum apparently presenting himself as a poster child for bourgeois (gay) domesticity, rather at odds with what we have learned about the real Joe. (A performance in the vein of ‘what can I get away with.’)

    I’d be interested to hear takes on this from others, especially those with knowledge of the general subject.

    • Bea
      06/20/2010 at 8:25 PM

      Hi Josh (and with props to Gloria once again), I think you’re quite right that something seems amiss with Joe. I watched the alumni interview and for the life of me can’t understand why he’d agree to do it – should he EVER decide to take the stand about his “family” the prosecution could pop it in the DVD player and ask all sorts of questions – in short, his credibility would be shot. There is a ‘public’ Joe and a very private one. We all wonder how and why Victor put up with the live-in mistress, but too how did Dylan cope with his beloved going through a commitment ceremony in becoming domestic partners with Victor in 2006? Or being left at home while the “couple” went to alumni and firm events?

      Having heard a bit about the photos at Arent Fox, these were not for the faint of heart. Joe was definitely being dominated in all his glory – what possessed him to keep them on his work computer? Did he really need to sneak a peek between client meetings? I can’t fathom it, and though I’ve had to deal with my share of strange law firm personnel behaviors, this one certainly surpasses all I’ve seen.

      Isn’t there something telling, too, in that awaiting police that they LEFT the ecstacy pill but sent all the still and video cameras away? Since Michael Price stole more than $8,000 worth of electronics months later, and assuming they handled their own ‘photo sessions’, I’m guessing that the one disposable Kodak was not their only camera. Keep the illegal drugs to find but by all means get rid of the cameras? I am old and boring these days, but in my youth, if I knew the police were coming over (hell, even if parents were coming for a visit), I’d get rid of THE WORST THINGS FIRST. And going back further, when I was closeted, we performed a ritual called “de-dyking the apartment.”

      So to whisk away CAMERAS for crying out loud? It does make me wonder about the role of filming that night.

      • Bea
        06/20/2010 at 8:30 PM

        Whoops – forgot to mention this. Remember when Senator Gary Hart was rumored to be a “philanderer”? His message, loud and clear, was “catch me if you can.” Of course, they did. Similar psyche, different content?

        • Josh
          06/21/2010 at 1:28 AM

          Thanks, Bea. Interesting points.

        • Carolina
          06/21/2010 at 8:12 AM

          Here’s hoping we meet Joe’s Donna Rice.

          • Bob
            06/21/2010 at 8:23 AM

            We have already met Joe’s Donna Rice, an alternate non-registered partner of the appropriate gender. This is Dylan Ward. (Victor Zaborsky = Lee Ludwig Hart.)

            If Carolina is talking about some other evidence of some other concealed behavior, very little is concealed about Joe Price (e.g., the porn on the office computer).

            I would like to see a “smoking gun” (a “smoking knife”) that conclusively proves who murdered Robert Wone. But that has probably been destroyed, which is the reason that this is an obstruction of justice trial.

            • Carolina
              06/21/2010 at 9:20 AM

              I was using “Donna Rice” to mean the concrete proof that brings down the case, one way or the other. Nothing quite so literal.

              • Bob
                06/21/2010 at 8:00 PM

                I know you didn’t mean anything so literal, but the literal analogy really is applicable. DC law recognizes two-party committed relationships between two people of opposite gender or the same gender, and extends no status to three-way relationships. I had to make that observation.

                Also, if either Joseph Price, or character witnesses on behalf of Joseph Price, are introduced by the defense, Donna Rice Hughes, who is now a professional anti-pornography activist, could be called as a rebuttal witness to testify that the extreme use of pornography by J. Price is sign of bad character.

      • gertiestn
        06/20/2010 at 9:57 PM

        I’ve watched that W&M interview a couple times, and I’m still gobsmacked that Joe Price agreed to do it. Even knowing what I’ve learned in the past couple of weeks about JP (from WMRW and other sources of news), I still can’t fathom it.

      • cat
        06/21/2010 at 9:07 AM

        FWIW, where I work, an academic institution that is an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, dismissal is the penalty when the internal auditors find porn on an employee’s computer. This applies to everyone, even tenured professors. Yet, there are still those who keep porn on their computers at work. When the IT department notices excessive downloading from the Internet, they investigate. The fact that people engage in this behavior at the risk of losing their careers leads me to call it an addiction.

    • Carolina
      06/21/2010 at 8:14 AM

      There was no email to Kathy, but to Tara Ragone.

  18. commonsensewillprevailihope
    06/20/2010 at 3:57 PM

    I suppose that the parents of some if not all the defendants most also be reading every word of this blog. And I hope they are doing what any sane, decent parent would do, and saying: we will love you no matter what, tell the truth. It’s really as simple as that.

    • Josh
      06/21/2010 at 1:29 AM

      Have the Price parents been in court?

  19. bonsource
    06/20/2010 at 11:42 PM

    For those curious about the Joe persona (as I was) but maybe too skittish to pay a house call, you can download and view the W&M interview here: http://dspace.swem.wm.edu/handle/10288/1633

    I love the quote referring to his election to President of GALA: “I was probably more naive then I am now (at the time) . . . ”

    Talk about the understatement of the year.

  20. New Alias
    06/21/2010 at 7:03 AM

    What’s the start time today?

    Brilliant job, Gloria!

  21. Kate
    06/21/2010 at 9:09 AM

    A question for Gloria, and all, regarding Joe Price:

    Joe’s escalating risk taking from alt.com profiles for unknown partners and uploading personal illicit photos on a work computer to starting an on-line porn business with his work e-mail as a contact address, etc., reminds me very much of another unsolved murder case …

    The actor, Bob Crane.

    I used the wonderful search engine for this site and found only one reference to Crane – in the 6/19/2009 installment, appropriately titled “Was Joe Price Out of Control?’ Joe’s behavior reminds me of the secret life Crane was leading, which included increasingly aggressive film and photo sessions conducted with his “buddy.” These sessions often involved the drugging of third parties.

    There is an important difference between the two cases – it was Crane who was murdered. Cold case detectives reworking the case believe it was his “buddy” who killed him after Crane tried to end the relationship.

    I realize this may be far fetched, but I would like to know your thoughts and views.

    Many thanks,
    Kate

    often included the drugging of unwitting third parties.

    • CuriousinVA
      06/21/2010 at 9:31 AM

      I think that what we see with Joe is escalation of risk (at least it seems so). But, for all we know he always had two very different personas. So, while there are similarities with Bob Crane’s career-risking porn obsession, I think you can take the porn part out and insert any kind of risky behavior (gambling, cheating, embezzling, driving while intoxicated etc) and what you have is an addict. I really believe that the more Joe drank and the more Joe drugged the cloudier his judgment became.

  22. Kate
    06/21/2010 at 9:11 AM

    Please disregard the final line – so much for not re-reading before posting!

  23. Annoying
    06/23/2010 at 4:29 AM

    The challenge in convicting on this case is that it is defined by what is absent, not by what damning evidence is present.

    Blood is absent. Bloody sheets and towels are absent. Cameras are absent. Playsheets are absent. Michael is absent from class. Sarah is absent from the house. A knife is absent. A timely call to 911 before 11:35 is absent. A heart-felt effort by the household to find “The Intruder” is absent.

Comments are closed.