Day 21: Wrap

Close To Closing

Today’s afternoon session got underway shortly after 2:00pm, with the delayed testimony of Dr. Lance Becker, Director of the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Lance Becker

Coming from an 8:00am lecture, Becker missed his first train to DC by four minutes, but was able to jump on the next one.  Becker was the Wone trial’s final witness, in this instance for the government’s rebuttal.

AUSA Glenn Kirchner managed the direct on Becker’s 45 minutes of testimony.  His credentials seemed platinum.  Undergrad from the University of Michigan and Med school at the University of Illinois.  The extensively published Becker is active in the American Heart Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians.  He is board certified in emergency, internal and critical care medicine.

Kirschner had Dr. Becker brief on exactly what resuscitation science actually is.  It is a relatively unknown field of medicine that restores the dead back to life.  When the normal blood supply stops the techniques involve using CPR, defibrillation and resuscitation from shock.

He was deemed an expert in emergency medicine and the science of resuscitation, but Judge Lynn Leibovitz held off on designating him as an expert in P.E.A. until Kirschner’s questioning went there.  It did and Ward counsel David Schertler objected, perhaps for the last time in this five week trial.

It seems that Becker was one of the medical professional that first defined P.E.A. about fifteen years ago.  It was previously known as Electrical Mechanical Dissociation until Becker’s group began using the term P.E.A.  He described it as an absence of pulse in the presence of electrical activity on an EKG monitor.  One can’t feel a pulse but can see a heart rhythm and the blood flow is “very, very low,” during P.E.A.

Although he practices and teaches emergency medicine, Becker’s clinical work involves animal models and studies, years ago swine, but now mostly with lab rats. 

Becker said P.E.A., “…is a garbage can of things… (a process) with so many various causes,” including cardiac origins, drowning, asphyxiation, bleeding out, drug overdose and tamponade. 

His animal studies involve inducing P.E.A. by depriving rats of oxygen and bringing them back to life, sometimes after as much as 12 – 15 minues, and soon as long as 20 minutes. 

The animal subjects are timed carefully and his success rate with rats in P.E.A. after 12 minutes is a 60% survival rate after three days.  After 15 minutes, unpublished results say survival rates are between 40% and 50%.

On an EKG, monitoring the blips change from the first minute to the last and defining the end of P.E.A. is difficult, Becker said. Kirschner asked if it’s possible to extend P.E.A. to 20 minutes and Becker said yes and that he was about six months away from pilot studies on that.  Kirschner then wanted to test the boundaries of P.E.A and asked Becker what the outside range of survival is.  10 – 20 minutes we were told, then Leiboviz asked for a clarification; was that supported by the literature?  Becker said it was.

Kirschner may have hit a bump in his follow up question.  Does animal P.E.A. translate to humans?  Becker said it did not because humans were far more complex and that perfect comparisons are difficult.  Kirschner then tried to push the P.E.A. boundaries out further and asked Becker if he could set an outer limit for P.E.A.  Becker replied he could not. 

Kirschner was done with his direct and the defense team asked for a five minute break to confer in the hallway before their cross.  Out of the courtroom filed Connolly, Spagnoletti, Schertler, Grimm and the fifth man on the squad, Joe Price.  The team was back inside just a few minutes later and Price counsel Bernie Grimm was seen momentarily conferring with another cardiac expert, this one in the audience, Dr. Needham Ward.

To the courtroom’s surprise, the defense passed on their chance to cross Becker, and at that point, the government officially rested its case.

There was still some pending procedural business left; all three defense attorneys renewed their motions for acquittal.  Leibovitz said she was going to delay her ruling on that.  She asked if the government was going to argue against it and suggested they incorporate that into their close.

Before gaveling out, Leibovitz ruled on Schertler’s earlier request that the MPD report on the bike theft be admitted.  Leibovitz declined and cited a DC civil case as her basis.  The content of that police report was “rank hearsay,” she said.  Leibovitz set the start of closing arguments to begin at 10:00am Thursday morning.

There were some empty seats in the courtroom today, a packed house is expected tomorrow.  In attendance today were a number of readers and supporters of the defendants including Kim Musheno, Lisa Goddard Desjardins and defendant Dylan Ward’s mother, Diane, who testified earlier this week.

Superior Court Public Information Officer, Leah Gurowitz informally briefed the press section on how she expects the verdict to be announced.  She said she hoped to be able to provide a two-hour heads up after getting word from Leibovitz’ chambers that a decision has been reached.  Informed sources said not to expect a verdict before next week.

223 comments for “Day 21: Wrap

  1. Hoya Loya
    06/23/2010 at 5:07 PM

    Okay – last time. Has the prosecution proved the case for conspiracy, obstruction and tampering (Joe only) beyond a reasonable doubt? How would you craft a summation for either side?

    The prosecution has established that:
    1. Kathy and Robert were happily married and Kathy knew about the visit to 1509
    2. Robert arrived at 1509 around 10:30
    3. Neighbors hears a scream between 11:00 and 11:35;
    4. The 911 call was made at 11:49
    5. Victor’s 911 call cited “one of our knives” and indicated that Robert was breathing and that Joe was applying pressure to wounds with a towel
    6. EMTS saw Victor crying on the stoop, a non-responsive Dylan, Joe sitting on Robert’s bed, not applying pressure
    7. Robert was stabbed three times but there was little blood at the scene or on the towel
    8. Robert appeared to already be dead when the EMTs arrived and later showed PEA
    9. Joe called Kathy to tell her “Robert was stabbed in the back”
    10. Striation marks were observed on Robert’s torso by an EMT
    11. There were pre-mortem needle marks on Robert not made by the EMTs or ER attendants
    12. The stab wounds indicate that Robert was motionless when stabbed
    13. The sternum wound had bruising consistent with being caused by a knife hilt
    14. The recovered knife may have been too long to cause the wounds or the bruising
    15. The missing knife from the set in Dylan’s room would be consistent with the wounds
    16. Robert was missing more blood than was accounted for at the scene
    17. Robert did not die from tamponade for at least 45 seconds after being stabbed and should have bled more
    18. The back of Robert’s shirt was very bloody.
    19. The bed sheets had two small blood stains
    20. There was no “cast-off” blood traces from a knife being pulled from a wound
    21. Robert’s clothes were strewn about, contrary to his usual neat practices
    22. Joe made stabbing motions while telling Kathy what he heard the night of the murder
    23. Joe told Tara Ragone and Scott Hixson that he removed the knife from Robert’s chest
    24. Joe told Tara Ragone “There’s a big difference between tampering and wiping away some blood, freaking out about a crime scene.”
    25. Expert Deedrick’s tests suggested that the knife had been wiped down with a towel
    26. Deedrick’s fiber tests suggest that more W&M t-shirt fibers should have been found
    27. The defendants said there was an intruder who entered through the unlocked kitchen door
    28. The defendants variously said they heard the door chime, grunts and a scream
    29. All three defendants said the 911 operator told them it was 11:43 (on the tape it’s 11:54)
    30. Joe and Victor said that they saw lots of blood
    31. Joe admitted moving the knife to the detectives
    32. Nothing was stolen from the house
    33. The police did not find any evidence of an intruder, to the extent they searched for same
    34. Dirt around and on top of the rear fence was undisturbed
    35. Expert testimony confirmed the scene, timing and method were not consistent with an intruder
    36. Michael Price missed his phlebotomy class for the first time on the night of the murder
    37. Michael Price attended Robert’s funeral and cursed at a police officer for focusing on Joe
    38. Joe told Sarah Morgan that Michael did not have a key or security codes, but he did
    39. Joe did not disclose to the police that Michael had a key until the burglary investigation
    40. Sarah Morgan was part of the 1509 “family” raising doubts about her objectivity
    41. The defendants would place washed, overturned garbage cans next to a shed that was four to five feet from the fence, too far to jump without disturbing dust or dirt
    42. Joe asked Jason Torchinsky if Kathy would waive her attorney-client privilege to discuss her interview with the police with Joe’s lawyer
    43. Dylan suspected that Michael had burglarized 1509 in the fall but wanted to consult with Joe before calling the police
    44. Joe, Dylan and Victor delayed in calling the police about the burglary
    45. Louis Hinton conferred with Joe on how to handle the burglary
    46. Per Scott Hixson, the defendants’ relationship was not exclusive
    47. Challenged Petraco’s expert testimony re: the knife and fibers
    48. Challenged expert Smith’s PEA testimony
    49. Challenged Najam’s expert testimony on tamponade
    50. Challenged Dr. Lee’s testimony re: blood on the knife and the towel
    51. Challenged DeMaio’s testimony as contradictory to Fowler’s

    The defense has:
    1. Raised doubts about the knife – the MEs couldn’t rule it out as the weapon and Dr. Lee identified smears, hair and tissue deposits consistent with it being the murder weapon
    2. Raised doubts about the extent of the search for evidence of an intruder and showed that the fence could be scaled
    3. Raised doubts about Detective Wagner’s objectivity due to homophobia
    4. Raised doubts about expert Deedrick’s methodology and findings
    5. Established, via Sarah Morgan and Scott Hixson that the defendants were “equals”
    6. Established, via Sarah Morgan, that the defendants often left the doors unlocked
    7. Established, via Sarah Morgan, that there had been a recent break-in on the street
    8. Established that Tara Ragone has read about the case, including this blog
    9. Established that Michael Price was only being trained to draw blood, not to give injections
    10. Established the Officer Waid was not an expert on blood “cast-off”
    11. Raised doubts about Jason Torchinsky’s motive for cooperating with the investigation (emails)
    12. Established, via Louis Hinton, that Joe had a loving, caring relationship with Michael that included “tough love”
    13. Raised some doubt as to how well the replacement knife fits Dylan’s set
    14. Had Dylan’s mother produce the allegedly missing knife from Dylan’s set
    15. Established that the sandbox lid at 1511 Swann was noted to be dented on August 3
    16. Raised the possibility that the EMTs caused needle marks in Robert’s neck
    17. Presented Smith’s expert testimony that PEA would not have lasted long once the heart stopped beating
    18. Presented Dr. Lee’s expert testimony that the stains on the towel were consistent with applying pressure
    19. Presented Dr. Lee’s expert testimony that the stains on the bed were consistent with Robert’s wounds and that the blood on the back of the shirt was from transport of his body
    20. Raised the possibility, via Dr. Lee, that an martial arts expert could have incapacitated Robert
    21. Presented DiMaio’s expert testimony that fishtailing and defensive wounds would not necessarily be seen in a stabbing victim
    22. Presented DiMaio’s expert testimony that Robert could have been asleep when stabbed
    23. Presented DiMaio’s expert testimony that blood in the abdomen was not an indicator of Robert being alive after being stabbed
    24. Presented Najam’s expert testimony that tamponade could have caused death in 5 to 10 seconds
    25. Entered a recording of a Nightline Maureen Bunyan sound-alike into evidence

    • Meto
      06/23/2010 at 5:14 PM

      Hoya Loya:

      Great service. Others should add or subtract?

      I passed on an idea to the Editors in an e-mail moments ago (although I didn’t hear the telltale whoosh of sent mail so who knows whether it went) proposing the possibility of a post-closing weekend debate by attorneys 2 per side on conviction v. acquital, only one person on each side would actually be someone whose legal conclusion is the opposite. Just a thought, but then I don’t do well in D.C. summer heat.

      Regardless thanks to you Hoya Loya, the Editors (especially Craig who was crazy enough to respond to my first inquiry back in October about this site), and all the regular commenters both those from before the trial and those who began during this trial (e.g. Chilaw79 and KiKi).



      • Hoya Loya
        06/23/2010 at 5:37 PM

        Thanks Meto. Comments are encouraged, as always.

        I’d love to see an update of Bea’s proposed prosecution summation from the other day set against a proposed defense summation. But then again, we’ll have the real things tomorrow.

        • Bea
          06/23/2010 at 6:19 PM

          Thanks for props, Hoya, and props to you as well.

          Given the Judge’s edict of an hour for prosecution and an hour for each of three defense teams, I hope that the prosecution is going lean and mean on issues and preempt all the red herrings the defense will try to hang on to.

          I would break it into three parts:

          1. put Fowler’s testimony front and center with “CATCH 22” of defense theory that IF Robert died immediately, how did he groan for minutes after and IF Robert did NOT die immediately how are there no defensive wounds and perfect “surgical” incisions? Either way shows conspiracy and obstruction by defendants;

          2. focus on TIMELINE and LACK OF BLOOD in combination with the only genuine non-expert, non-familial testimony of the Thomases hearing the scream before 11:35 and no call until 11:49 and the arrival of the EMTs seeing no blood, striations on Robert’s stomach, denial by defendants of cleaning blood despite comment by Price to Tara Ragone, all with the backdrop of nearly a gallon of blood being unaccounted for. (Recognize that “turtle top” neighbor is non-familial, non-expert, but not not as meaningful).

          3. go through litany of WHAT one would have to believe to make the defendants’ “story” credible as I put forward last week and END on that note.

          • HKG
            06/23/2010 at 7:49 PM

            Excellent Bea. There really were so many red herrings by the defense, hard to keep it all straight!

          • chilaw79
            06/23/2010 at 8:07 PM


            I agree with your basic approach. I think a timeline is critical to the prosecution’s closing. It also is just a useful way to present the evidence.

            I also would focus on some common sense points (especially since I think the net result of the forensic evidence is sort of a wash, with the exception of the autopsy report and Dr. Fowler’s confirmation of the autopsy report).

            There is no evidence of an intruder that night. No witness actually heard or saw an intruder, and there was no evidence that an intruder came or departed over the fence. Nothing was stolen from Swann Street. If Wone was asleep (or otherwise incapacitated), why would an intruder stab him, or, in fact, go to the second floor at all when there were very salable items on the first floor that could be readily taken?

            The reasonable inference is that either Wone was attacked by someone in the house or by someone with a key to the home. Joe Price and the other defendants failed to disclose to the police (until the burglary) that Michael Price had a key. During the 911 call, the defendants did not appear to be in fear of their own lives and did not request police. Although Price stated in the police interview that he would provide a list of people with keys, he did not do so (if that is correct).

            Although Victor represented to the 911 operator that Wone was still breathing, Wone was dead when the EMTs arrived. Price knew this because he was sitting on the bed and not putting pressure on the wounds.

            I also would make sure that each element of each crime by each defendant is supported by the evidence presented.

            • David
              06/23/2010 at 8:20 PM


              I would also like to add that when Sarah found out the Michael had a key to 1509, which was after the burglary, that it was Joe who told her, but he was not “forthcoming” with the information.

              This word always struck me as rather pregant with meaning from Sarah’s testimony.

              David, co-ed.

            • Bea
              06/23/2010 at 8:29 PM

              Agree with the timeline and the resolution of an which is accompanied by the fact in evidence.

              All the “common sense” elements are magnified in “what one would have to believe to find Defense’s “story” credible” (in other words, would included this in the third part of the closing). It’s critical for the prosecution to be highly organized and logical in the closing and tell the Judge up front what red herrings to expect to obfuscate that the defendants are guilty of the charges.

              I might even end with (forgive as this will be quick as I’m due at a meeting and don’t have time to edit):

              Kathy Wone testified that when she told Joe Price the morning after the murder that Robert would have fought back and asked if he heard anything like that, that Joe responded by making three stabbing motions accompanied by three grunts – as if to impart to Kathy Wone, fresh in her grief and hungry for any information to put her mind at rest – that that was exactly how he died. He knew exactly how Robert died and he did indeed grunt each time he was stabbed. He didn’t move, as we know from the stab wounds with surgical precision, but Robert Wone felt each one and let out a cry even if he couldn’t move.

              And when pressed by a mutual friend wanting to know more about the newspaper accounts of ‘tampering’, Joe Price told that friend, Tara Ragone, that ‘wiping up blood’ wasn’t tampering if one was ‘freaking out waiting for the ambulance.’ But Joe Price never told the police about wiping up blood – in fact he flatly denied it, just as he didn’t tell the police that he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest as he did to Tara Ragone and his friend Scott Hixson.

              He was telling these people that he knew exactly what happened to Robert Wone, and that he didn’t consider himself guilty of anything – but as he told the police, it was the ‘worst night of his life’ – pretty understandable if one sees a good friend stabbed three times and hears his cries, if one has to wipe up his good friend’s blood. A terrible night indeed. As one of his two partners, Victor said to police that night, “my life will never be the same.”

              These are words of men who have gone through an ordeal – not that they are charged with Robert Wone’s murder, but at the very least witnesses to horrendous acts. And as at least to Joe Price, his hands were red with Robert Wone’s blood – not when the police arrived, and perhaps not even literally that night but it’s likely so, but certainly in the figurative speech: Joe Price has Robert Wone’s blood on his hands as he sits before you awaiting judgment.”

              • tucsonwriter
                06/23/2010 at 8:42 PM

                Wow. Powerful. I really believe Joe Price witnessed something and couldn’t compartmentalize it completely. There was a leaky partition there. Dylan Ward seems totally able to.

                I don’t understand the whole Michael Price did it scenario. Reading back stories…. I just don’t think Michael Price has the smarts. Dylan Ward has how many degrees? And has studied how many subjects? He has flat demeanor, was on prescription meds at the time, etc etc ET Cetera.

                I submit that the prosecution has been barking up the wrong tree with Michael Price. He seems like a party boy- good time guy. Not that bright.

                Its weird. Before reading this case I didn’t realize how a couple of people I know are pretty kinky. Like I know this guy who travels to Panama because he can women to do things there that they won’t here. Dylan Ward travels to Asian countries. He freaking looks like a…. on this website.

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                  06/23/2010 at 8:50 PM

                  tusconwriter says: “Like I know this guy who travels to Panama because he can women to do things there that they won’t here.”

                  Ummm….if he has to travel out of teh country to get a woman to do something because women here won’t do it, it must be pretty off the wall. Perhaps your friend needs……help.

                  • Clio
                    06/23/2010 at 9:23 PM

                    So, TW, that’s why New Scotland in Panama failed in the 1690s: the locals were just too kinky for the colonists — b—-, please!

                    • tucsonwriter
                      06/24/2010 at 1:37 AM

                      I don’t know anything about New Scotland. That was another poster.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/24/2010 at 1:36 AM

                    Yeah he does need help. He is a friend of a friend. That is the point.

                    People with bizarre appetites will go to the places that feed them.

                • Carolina
                  06/23/2010 at 10:22 PM

                  Stabbing somebody doesn’t take much brains. Now the cover up… But then, no one ever accused MP of that.

                • Bea
                  06/23/2010 at 11:10 PM

                  I personally don’t think Michael Price is the killer. And for purposes of this case, it really doesn’t matter – that JOE knew or believed he knew who murdered Robert and took actions and conspired to obstruct justice is what matters. I do think Joe was the leader in the CURRENT charges and brought Victor and Dylan along. And this could conceivably include Person X, Joe, or Dylan as murderer. I’m not saying I don’t care who murdered Robert as I obviously do, but Joe was the leader of the cover up. The prosecution knows they have to focus on convicting these three men of the current charges.

                  I think they will. While a good closing is always a good idea, the Judge isn’t bound to the closing of either side or any defendant – she is bound only to the evidence. So if she finds (for example) Ward’s closing the most effective, she’s a judge and a lawyer and has an independent mind based on evidence. Neither the opening or the closing are evidence. I doubt they sway her that much (but of course everyone preps as if it will).

                  • chilaw79
                    06/23/2010 at 11:46 PM

                    I have a lot of confidence in the judge, but if I were presenting the prosecution case to her, I would bring forward the basic facts I want to hit, link them to the elements of the crime and the acts of each charged defendant, avoid making unsupported claims or engaging in theatrics (I am not sure I would pour out the gallon of liquid in front of Judge Leibowitz), and end strong.

                    • Bea
                      06/23/2010 at 11:50 PM

                      I know I said ‘pour a gallon’ a while back but I agree. Of course the closing should be strong and structured – didn’t mean to imply I wouldn’t, just that Judge L may not “need” the closings. Pretend she does, of course.

                  • Liam
                    06/23/2010 at 11:51 PM

                    Yes. I would think that a good closing, including a powerful narrative like you proposed above (nice work) would be very persuasive to a JURY. But, is a judge really persuaded one way or another by a great closing? It seems that a great closing to a jury is the last thing they here and would influence them in the direction they take their deliberation. But, a judge, as you indicated, would seem to me to stick very strictly to the law and the evidence. No BS. No emotional attachment like a jury might have.

                    • Bea
                      06/24/2010 at 12:34 AM

                      No on the gallon spilled – I retract that – but a good narrative can include persuasive prose in addition to being tight and structured.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/24/2010 at 1:42 AM

                    Thanks. You rock.

              • Kate
                06/23/2010 at 8:42 PM

                Excellent, Bea – and very powerful.

            • Leo
              06/23/2010 at 9:00 PM

              I would emphasize (among other things) that one of many ways the defendants all attempted to mislead and misdirect police was by blaming an intruder. Evidence that this was a purposeful, willful attempt to mislead the police: Victor claims to 911 operator he’s too scared to go downstairs but never mentions their other roommate, who’s unaccounted for, and neither he nor Joe check on him.

              Inconsistent with their professed belief that an intruder had come in. Victor says to 911 operator “evidently somebody came in to our house,” which sounds unnatural and coached. Dylan claims he “noticed” the patio door unlocked from his position at the bottom of the stairs, where he could not have seen the door. Joe blames an intruder yet sits fearlessly and unconcerned in his underwear with his back to the door of the guest room throughout the crisis. By their own accounts, none of them behaved consistently with their “theory” of an intruder having come into their house and possibly still being there.

              • RosieRiveted
                06/23/2010 at 9:56 PM

                Totally agree.

              • Lee
                06/24/2010 at 7:23 AM

                Isn’t that the entire summation right there?

                There is no evidence of an intruder. None of the defendants acted as if there were an intruder, but each of them told the police “the intruder story.” That’s obstruction for each of them.

                If there was no intruder, and all defendants told the same story, they had to have discussed and agreed to the intruder story. That’s conspiracy.

                The rest of the evidence and testimony only confuses the issue.

                • chilaw79
                  06/24/2010 at 9:21 AM

                  Lee, I think you have it in a nutshell.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/23/2010 at 9:17 PM

              Correction- Victor did say he was afraid to go downstairs to let the EMT’s in in the 911 call.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/23/2010 at 8:29 PM

            Hoya. Meto, Bea, Chilaw….

            One of you please – tell me how you are feeling before tommorow’s session – i.e. how important are the closing arguements? Do they make or break or just get weighed in? Does that depend on the judge? Some enlightenment for the non-legal eagles in the crowd.

            • chilaw79
              06/23/2010 at 9:19 PM

              In one sense, the evidence is the evidence and it is all on the record now.

              The purpose of the closing statement in this case is to show that the crimes alleged have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The closing statement presents the “story” of the crime. Since much of the evidence is circumstantial, the closing statement for the prosecution also should point out the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the evidence.

              The defense emphasizes “reasonable doubt.” The defendants are going to argue as one team, apparently, making no distinction between the defendants and what they did or did not do, other than the fact that Dylan and Victor already have been acquitted of evidence tampering.

              While closing statements should not be so important, they may well be in this case. If I were presenting a closing statement, I might well be prepared for some questions from the judge. This would not occur in a jury trial, but I think it may be possible here.

              • Hoya Loya
                06/23/2010 at 9:50 PM

                Make or break, especially for the prosecution.

                • chilaw79
                  06/23/2010 at 10:38 PM

                  The prosecution has to put this altogether in a coherent way in an hour. I think Bea could do it in 20 minutes, but Judge Leibowitz would probably say she is speaking too quickly.

              • babs
                06/23/2010 at 10:45 PM

                How will the prosecution present the case against Joe and tampering with evidence? The knife on the scene – probably not the murder weapon had blood on it? Did he plant that one and put the blood on it? Will they say he is responsible for the disappearance of the knife that is missing/the murder weapon? (I am not convinced that the knife Diane Ward had in Tacoma, WA was from Dylan’s set. She may have had her own knife and setidentical to Dylan’s) Did Joe alter the body? move it from the where the murder occurred, clean it? Did he change the sheets? I think it is unusal to keep a knife set in one’s bedroom closet. What is enough to convict Joe of tampering?

          • RosieRiveted
            06/23/2010 at 9:40 PM

            Excellent Bea – especially the last point. Too difficult for reasonable folk to buy many of the stories being purveyed.

      • chilaw79
        06/23/2010 at 8:17 PM

        While I appreciate being noted, my contributions are trivial compared to those of many others, especially the editors.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/23/2010 at 8:43 PM


    • commonsensewillprevailihope
      06/23/2010 at 5:18 PM

      Thanks very much. I’m no criminal lawyer, so hard to evaluate the weighting of evidence. Personally, I place a lot of weight on the clothes strewn about and the odd postion of the body as belying the idea that Wone went to sleep after a shower in a normal fashion as the defendants claim. To me that sets the scene for all the other things that are discussed, and makes it appear he simply did not go to sleep in that room of his own volition.

      • commonsensewillprevailihope
        06/23/2010 at 5:34 PM

        To elaborate on why I think this is significant: there is simply no reasonable explanation regarding an intruder that would explain the clothes or the odd position of the body. I am certainly not saying this is the only important evidence, but I think an important factor to weigh in looking at the evidence is to focus on things that cannot by any reasonable stretch of the imagination be attributed to an intruder. Another would be the needle marks that are unexplained. Another would have been the semen but that was not admitted, I understand.

        • Hoya Loya
          06/23/2010 at 5:41 PM

          The position of the body on top of the bedclothes (Robert slept underneath a sheet) should have been on the list. Thanks.

          But, remember it is not enough for the prosecution to merely show there was not an intruder — it must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there were efforts by the defendants to obstruct justice (which may or may not include the spinning of a false intruder story).

          • commonsensewillprevailihope
            06/23/2010 at 5:44 PM

            Hmm.. Isn’t it enough to show obstruction if they know it was not an intruder (ie have additional info) but do not disclose it. Likewise, a false statement that he showered and went to bed.

            • Carolina
              06/23/2010 at 6:52 PM

              I don’t know if this will be enough, but it’s what a lot of us are hoping for.

          • BadShoes
            06/23/2010 at 7:34 PM

            The significance of the body on top of the bedclothes and the clothing in disarrary is that it contradicts the account of Dylan Ward that he heard Mr. Wone take a shower and return to his room, clicking the latch, circa 11 pm.

            If Mr. Wone had taken off his own clothes, and put himself to bed, his clothes would have been neatly arranged inside the pillowcase provided for the purpose, and the bedclothes would have been unmade (since Mr. Wone would have been in it).

            We know Mr. Wone didn’t shower while wearing his street clothes, so for Mr. Ward’s account to be correct, Mr. Wone must have taken off his own clothes.

            I think the prosecution could argue that this evidence shows that Mr. Ward deliberately misled the police about material facts during a time period leading up to “the scream.”

            • HKG
              06/23/2010 at 7:54 PM

              Very very good point.

            • Mark M
              06/23/2010 at 11:15 PM

              throw in the fact that the bath towels given to Robert were found dry and folded. I don’t think he took a shower before he was stabbed.

          • Bea
            06/23/2010 at 7:39 PM

            AND it’s still illegal to obstruct and conspire if the defendants THOUGHT they were covering up for “a friend” and it really WAS an unknown intruder.

        • weaver
          06/23/2010 at 6:01 PM

          Didn’t the judge ask Kathy Wone to clarify Robert’s sleeping habits?

          • Carolina
            06/23/2010 at 7:12 PM

            Someone did. I don’t recall if it was the judge or one of the prosecution team.

          • david
            06/23/2010 at 8:03 PM

            Yes, Robert’s sleeping habits came into the trial, but I remember it differently from Hoya Loya on the point he cites above. I thought Robert rolled the top sheet all the way to end of the bed if it was hot. Either way, the way Robert was found is not consistent with what Kathy testified about Robert’s sleeping habits.

            David, co-ed.

            • Carolina
              06/23/2010 at 8:44 PM

              That is how I recall it, as well. She said he would have pushed the bedclothes all the way down.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/23/2010 at 8:44 PM

              Good point. I hope the prosecution is reading this. There was tremendous chit chat about the air conditioner being broken etc.

      • Bob
        06/23/2010 at 8:08 PM

        Congratulations on posting in a normal font.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/23/2010 at 8:45 PM

          Oh, behave.

    • weaver
      06/23/2010 at 5:49 PM

      Excellent summation, thank you very much!

    • Flint Hill Resident
      06/23/2010 at 6:12 PM

      Thanks for the excellent summary Hoya Loya.

    • chilaw79
      06/23/2010 at 7:48 PM


      I would add that it is not possible to determine the order of the stab wounds, or how quickly (or slowly) Wone was stabbed. There is no evidence of defensive wounds.

      Also, I would add there is a telephone on the second floor, but the 911 call was placed on the phone from the third floor.

      There were two neatly folded towels in the guest room. However, Zaborsky said he brought another towel to Price to place pressure on the wound.

      Wone was placed in the ambulance at 11:59.

      • Carolina
        06/23/2010 at 10:26 PM

        Question: Aside from Victor saying so, how do we know he made the call from the third floor?

        • Ivan
          06/24/2010 at 9:23 AM

          It was a land line – could be the only land line in the house (?). However, as someone brought up yesterday I believe, it is a mobile landline so that is a good question.

    • Mark
      06/23/2010 at 9:51 PM

      That’s an amazing list of items for both sides. Very well done. I won’t pretend to understand the full scope of the trial, and I certainly didn’t hear any testimony, but in my humble opinion, the respectives points raised by both sides would not result in a murder conviction. HOWEVER, this is not a murder trial, and the evidence of a conspiracy of silence on the part of all three is overwhelming to me. I would not be surprised if they are convicted of conspiracy, but I’m not sure the remaining tampering charge is sustainable.

      • Cat from Cleveland
        06/23/2010 at 11:38 PM

        I come from the civil side. Can a criminal attorney answer – can there be a conviction for conspiracy if there is no conviction for the crime they conspired to commit? Thanks.

    • chilaw79
      06/23/2010 at 10:45 PM

      A couple of additional points that I would add to the list.

      Joe Price spoke for the three residents during the on-scene questioning and set the tone for the interviews later conducted at the VCB.

      Physical and forensic evidence contradicts some of the defendants’ statements and reflects on their credibility (e.g, Victor did not bring another towel, Joe was not applying pressure when the EMTs arrived, there were other towels available in the guestroom).

      The statements at the VCB used similar language (e.g., “intruder”) and described events almost identically even though the defendants witnessed very different things, given the fact they were in different places in the house.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 1:57 AM

        You are kicking ass!

    • Ivan
      06/24/2010 at 9:09 AM

      I don’t know about the others but the dented sandbox cover has raised, in my mind, the likelihood of someone coming over the wall. A clever “ninja” would realize that coming from another property rather than from the alley would more likely go undetected by the police. However, I would think the police checked all sides of the property perimeter. But maybe not.

      • Bill 2
        06/24/2010 at 9:29 AM

        But what about the other property – didn’t that also have a fence from the alley? If so, then the “ninja” would have had two fences to climb. I think it’s more likely that a bag of evidence removed from the house may have been tossed over the fence into the next property where it could be retrieved. The fact that police found a weapon near the body means that they would not have been out in the yard or alley looking for a weapon.

        • Ivan
          06/24/2010 at 10:09 AM

          Yes, good point, unless the neighbor’s gate was unlocked. Just speculating.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 10:19 AM

            No, Ivan, I agree with you. If the defendants or the police rushed to the alley, it was a clear shot in either direction. They’d have seen him/her/it.

            Moving between fenced yards it would have been nearly impossible.

            That said, having visited a brand new Mr. Turtle yesterday I can tell you, no adult landed on the lid. Had they done so, it would have crushed it and presumably left dirt, grass or some other type of debris from their shoe print.

            Total red herring, but a good one on the part of the defense, with little or no time to follow up and rebut.

          • Bill 2
            06/24/2010 at 11:15 AM

            In the Day 19 wrap it states: “On the day of August 2, 2006, Ms. King said that she put the garbage from 1511 out in the alley, locked the gate, and went home to Annandale, VA.” She also replied to questions about the fences at 1511 and 1509.

    • Ivan
      06/24/2010 at 9:12 AM

      HoyaLoya-what about the police dog detecting blood in the lint catch of the dryer and the patio drain.

  2. tucsonwriter
    06/23/2010 at 5:13 PM

    Questions, questions, questions- not a lawyer and didn’t follow the OJ Simpson civil case.

    If these guys are found guilty, can the civil case proceed? I am guessing that it can but not sure.

    Also how does wrongful death differ from murder?

    I told a friend about this site and she mentioned she had just seen a CSI tv show where the doctor killed the victim and cleaned the site. He couldn’t be proved guilty. Cleaning the site seems to be a good way, apparently to get away with a murder convinction. Clever Culuket.

    • Meto
      06/23/2010 at 5:18 PM


      The civil case really is unrelated to the criminal case and can proceed regardless of outcome in this case. The reason is simple – the criminal case is the case brought in our names by the Government – Society v. the Defendants. The Civil case is for injury to individual persons – Kathy Wone. The only thing of relevance may be that in some jurisdictions (stealing from FairfaxLaw here) a conviction against the defendants is dispositive/helpful to plaintiffs in civil case because the burden of proof in criminal case is higher and defendants have had their shot. Wrongful death is simply the civil action name for all those things the criminal law calls murder – e.g. homicide, manslaughter.



      • whodoneit
        06/23/2010 at 5:30 PM

        Wrongful death is even a little broader than that, in that one can have civil liability for causing another’s death (by negligence) but not have any criminal liability. For example, the estates of the workers killed on the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico can bring wrongful death actions against the companies that were at fault, but they are unlikely to have any criminal liability.

        • chilaw79
          06/23/2010 at 8:20 PM

          I think it could be argued that Joe Price essentially has acknowledged being negligent by failing to lock the back door. Perhaps a claim could be lodged against Joe Price’s homeowner’s policy. I also would be surprised if Joe Price did not have an umbrella liability insurance policy.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/23/2010 at 10:19 PM


            That is such an interesting thought. I wonder if 1 of the stipulated telephone#s belongs to the insurance company? It is typically a requirement of your coverage that you notify the insurance company promptly of any situation that has occurred likely to result in a claim.

            Your homeowner’s policy will not pay out for deliberate tortious acts, nor will it cover the policyholder’s criminal acts. In order to continue pressing the idea of an intruder who entered thru the unlocked back door, Joe should have contacted his insurance company to advise them of the break in.

            He certainly would be expected to have provided Kathy with the contact information to start her claim. The insurance company may have actually investigated the matter & already refused to pay out.

            If 1 of the stipulated telephone#s belongs to the insurance company standing behind the homeowners’s policy, and that number was never called, that is something the prosecution could address to demonstrate that Joe Price knew there was no intruder. And was therefore not willing, or never thought of, making the false claim to the insurance company.

            Bea is so right, the devil is in the details. Wish I could see what is behind the 9 stipulations. The telephone#s are so intriguing.

            • Carolina
              06/23/2010 at 10:29 PM

              I wonder if the insurance company is crossing its fingers they’re found guilty.

            • chilaw79
              06/23/2010 at 10:32 PM

              Most lawyers I know carry a lot of insurance. Of course, most of them also check to make sure the doors are locked at night.

              If a house guest died in my home, particularly if the death could be attributed to my negligent act, I would put in a claim and give my insurance information to the widow. Of course, the homeowner then would be required to cooperate with the insurance company investigation.

              • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                06/23/2010 at 10:58 PM

                I am with you on this all the way. I am a lawyer, I have both a deluxe homeowner’s policy as well as a generous umbrella & I would have to contact them ASAP to avoid voiding the same if I failed to notify them on a timely basis of my negligent act resulting in the death of a house guest.

                Do you think Joe Price contacted the insurance companies in accordance with the terms of the policies? He was kind of in another trap of his own making. Hoisted on his own petard, as it were.

                If he doesn’t report the uh, incident, it goes to demonstrate that he was lying that night and on subsequent occasions when he claimed there was an intruder.

                If he does make the report to the insurance companies, then he takes the risk of further criminal exposure in regard to the crime of insurance fraud. Back to Sir Walter Scott.

                Oh what a tangled web we weave,
                When first we practise to deceive!

                • chilaw79
                  06/23/2010 at 11:30 PM

                  I don’t know, but, if I were betting, my bet would be that Joe did not contact his insurance company.

                  I am sure Covington will examine this issue and will write memos documenting their research.

                  • Kate
                    06/24/2010 at 7:58 AM

                    Also – surely Joe contacted the insurance company, at the very least, to file a claim for repairs after the crime scene and FBI folks were done cutting away floor boards, dry wall, stair treads, etc.

                    I recall the repair bills were quite sizable – 100, 200K?

                • tucsonwriter
                  06/24/2010 at 2:05 AM

                  Brilliant… FCSOP

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 2:00 AM

        Thank you for being respectful. XO

    • Mark M
      06/23/2010 at 6:04 PM

      A civil case can proceed but the burden of proof for the plaintiff, in this case, Mrs Wone, will be lower in that she must only prove that the defendants caused her husband’s death by a preponderance of the evidence….51-49 percent is good enough. Moreover, if the defendants refuse to testify, a presumption of wrongdoing may be made against them by the judge or jury. Some measure of justice can be obtained from a civil trial as evidenced by the OJ Simpson case where a civil jury found Simpson had taken the life of his ex wife, and accorded punitive damages.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/23/2010 at 6:36 PM

        In the civil proceedings against OJ Simpson, the measure of justice was limited by the reality of it being a default judgment. Rather than spend money on defending the civil charges, Mr. Simpson put his energy into consolidating his life in a way that made his assets untouchable. Very little was ever collected of the punitive damage award.

        His residence in Florida was selected because state law there protects you from creditors, and his sizeable NFL pension is also not eligible for levy. In the instant case, it is hard to imagine that no defense is planned of the civil matter still pending.

        One major distinction here is that 1 of the defendants is a trial lawyer himself. It is impossible to predict the future but it seems unlikely that this will follow the OJ path in that sense. As has been noted previously, a Florida residence is already in possession of the defendants for reasons that may be similar to those that motivated OJ Simpson.

        Real justice for OJ Simpson came in the form of his 2007 arrest followed by a 2008 conviction for numerous felonies, including armed robbery & kidnapping. He is currently in jail with many years left in his term.

        Legal saying:
        “The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they mince exceedingly fine.”

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

          Mince away, wheels!

        • whodoneit
          06/24/2010 at 12:34 AM

          The civil case against OJ was not a default judgment. There was a trial on the merits. The judge did not allow electronic media, so it was not as publicized as the criminal trial.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/24/2010 at 1:40 AM


            The civil case was awesomely publicized & televised nonetheless. Nature abhors a vaccum. By that point, all things OJ had become a cottage industry for many cable news shows.

            Relentless media coverage continued without cameras in the courtroom. Often film from the criminal trial was substituted where possible & then further enhanced with new interviews, along with new commentary.

            There was a trial on the merits, but it was a pile on. Hope that is the right football metaphor. This time around the plaintiffs had so much public support, freelance photogs searching their files for damning evidence & a crowd of attorneys & investigators working pro bono, along with the right to introduce massive amounts of anything useful from the criminal trial into the record, a very bare defense had little chance, inadequate funding & seemingly little will to fully defend the second time around.

            That is why I termed the punitive demages as resulting from what amounted by contrast to a default judgement. OJ had slipped into a different mode, he wanted to conserve & hang onto the money he had left, not spend wildly on another “Dream Team”. He could not afford the original group, although the feeling may have been mutual by then.

            Dr. Michael Baden alone had charged Simpson $100k in fees for the criminal trial, he wasn’t asked back for the knockout. If you don’t believe me, read Harry Shearer’s day by day coverage in Slate’s “O.J. By The Sea”.

            In only “36 dispatches”, the entire civil case was reported from juror selection to “wrap” party. Pretty darn fast, don’t you think for a full trial on the merits if you believe it was not so much as tanked but rather, was vigorously defended?

            I don’t think that Joe Price can afford to let the civil proceedings fly by while he tries to staunch the flow of funds from his NFL pension, because he hasn’t got one. My understanding is that he didn’t get anything when he was booted from Arent Fox, either.

            His personality is pugnacious as a litigators often are, he won’t go down quietly for round 2. And he is not famous enough to raise funds by signing autographs for his fans or making tv/book deals entitled, “If I Did It”.

            Whatever happens in the civil trial, it is seems a long way off, unlike closing arguments in the current criminal case, less than 9 hours to go. I expect to see a least 1 guilty verdict by Monday.

      • commonsensewillprevailihope
        06/24/2010 at 12:49 AM

        In the civil case can’t Joe et al be forced to take the stand (and take the 5th perhaps). I can’t remember if OJ took the stand in the civil case.

        • Bea
          06/24/2010 at 12:55 AM

          OJ had to testify and because the murder trial was over did not get to take the 5th. Here, even with an acquittal on these charges, he could take the 5th because there has been no murder trial. That’s assuming he thinks he could be brought up on charges. . .

  3. Bea
    06/23/2010 at 5:42 PM

    To Eds and anyone who heard testimony: nothing on the notion of PEA being primarily a clinical datapoint when it comes to EMTs, how it might be misread or mistimed or misunderstood? I’d assumed the prosecution was going to try to establish PEA as a not-very-meaningful data point to determine a time stamp, not try to move it from the 12 minute to 20 minute mark. No explanation as to any of this, not even what happened at 12:17 that would call it into question?

    I know, multiple questions, but I am a bit baffled that THIS is what the prosecution wanted from this witness.

    • Leo
      06/23/2010 at 5:50 PM

      I know, I can’t believe they waited all morning for this testimony. Like the “missing” knife, I’m afraid the PEA business just doesn’t add up for either side. If I were doing the closings, I’d leave both issues out! And focus on what I consider my winning points (for either side).

      • Hoya Loya
        06/23/2010 at 5:55 PM

        Agree. I think it’s neither here nor there. The EMTs noted it as one of many indications that Robert was in very bad shape, if not dead. To try to extrapolate more with regard to the timeline would seem to be futile and the judge has shown disinterst in the topic from the start. I’ll be very surprised if it shows up in her findings, whatever the verdict.

        • BadShoes
          06/23/2010 at 8:51 PM

          “…the judge has shown disinterest in the topic from the start.”

          The “tell” here is that the judge had an opportunity to question an expert witness on PEA, and chose not to take it.

          I conclude that the judge thinks she knows all she needs to know about PEA already.

      • weaver
        06/23/2010 at 5:56 PM

        I agree with you, all that PEA stuff was a distraction from more important things, imo.

        What do you think are the winning points?

        I think the injections on the feet are very important.

        Does anybody know why the sexual abuse wasn’t brought up? I think that is very important too and I don’t understand why it wasn’t brought up?

        • Leo
          06/23/2010 at 6:09 PM

          I think it was ruled out early on as irrelevant to these charges of tampering, obstruction and conspiracy.

          • weaver
            06/23/2010 at 6:33 PM

            That’s unfortunate because I think it rules out Robert being attacked by an intruder, and could also go to motive for both the murder and the current charges. IMO Robert was raped and murdered and they all covered that fact.
            I just hope that justice will prevail and the guilty verdicts are days away.

            • Carolina
              06/23/2010 at 6:59 PM

              It’s very hard to prove rape with the attacked person in the courtroom pointing to the defendant. We don’t know that there was any evidence at all of rape in the traditional sense. We don’t know for certain if it was semen or fluid. There was no foreign DNA as far as we know.

              There’s a lot of “supposing” in the idea of a sexual attack that would have muddied this case beyond reason. The prosecution was smart to cut it loose.

              • weaver
                06/23/2010 at 7:10 PM

                Maybe for the purposes of this trial, but in terms of figuring out what really happened that night I think it is very important. Besides a sexual attack is there any way to explain semen on the inside?

                • Tarfunk
                  06/23/2010 at 7:16 PM

                  Thanks to our great editors, you can read all about it here:

                • Carolina
                  06/23/2010 at 7:19 PM

                  We don’t know if it was semen or if it was semenal fluids voided by the body at death as was brought up by several medical experts. If it was semen then yes, it goes a long way toward fleshing out the scene.

                  The truth is we just don’t know, and making an assumption can lead to very wrong conclusions. One could say, “If it was X, then I think Y,” but without knowing it’s just so much static on an already full radar.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/23/2010 at 8:06 PM

                    I think some brainstorming is useful. Hopefully Katherine Wone’s legal team is keeping tabs on this site and perhaps developing some strategies based on all the commentary.

                    • Carolina
                      06/23/2010 at 8:47 PM

                      And I am sure they will have access to the findings of the rape kit.

                    • curiousdc
                      06/23/2010 at 9:28 PM

                      I hope that more than one spectators at the trial had the decency to offer words of encouragement to the Wone family in addition to entertaining the observations of the deluded Zaborsky and Ward families

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

                    why would seminal fluids be voided internally? seems they would discharge the normal route upon death, just like when the bowels release upon death and void the normal route.

                    so, unless the reports of semen in his rectum are inaccurate, it seems it got there by no other means than foul play.

                    • Carolina
                      06/23/2010 at 10:33 PM

                      Exactly what would need to be explained by, dare I say the words lest we conjure them up, expert witnesses. Much of what we suppose we know evaporates when those with greater knowledge enter the conversation.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/23/2010 at 8:04 PM

              From a link on this site:

              The defense contends that the government has no evidence to show Robert was incapacitated or sexually assaulted, so therefore it can not be entered at trial.

              On the incapacitation charge, the defense argues that all blood tests came up negative for any incapacitating drug. They reveal for the first time that the only drug found so far in Robert’s system was atropine, which is an alkaloid drug frequently given in medical intervention or emergency room situations. AUSA Pat Martin’s office confirmed that indeed atropine was administered by medical personnel to Robert.

              The defense is very sensitive about the government entering the paralytic agent succinylcholine without a positive test from Robert’s remaining blood sample. This is a little surprising in light of defense’s confidence that bordered on cockiness as they taunted the government to test away, because they were so sure that no paralytic agent would be found.

              • Bob
                06/23/2010 at 8:19 PM

                Wasn’t xylene found in his blood? It isn’t a “paralytic agent”, but is known to be an “inhalant drug” and can cause unconsciousness in sufficient quantities and even death. The difference between a paralytic agent and a drug that causes unconsciousness is, in the judgment of a chemist, trivial. Does someone want to do more research on xylene, or should I do more research on xylene, or is the issue disposed of?

                • chilaw79
                  06/23/2010 at 8:22 PM

                  I, for one, would be interested in hearing about this issue.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/23/2010 at 8:33 PM

                    Me too but can you cite your source for the finding of it in his blood.

                    • Carolina
                      06/23/2010 at 8:49 PM

                      Do the search. It’s been discussed. They ended up not using it because it can occur in many ways and was found in a minuscule amount just before the start of the trial.

                    • tucsonwriter
                      06/23/2010 at 8:57 PM

                      New mantra” do the search.”

                      Forget “Let the Force Be With You.”

                    • Carolina
                      06/23/2010 at 10:34 PM

                      Can’t post links on this, which is why I say “do the search.” I’m thinking of making a new dance out of it.

                    • tucsonwriter
                      06/24/2010 at 2:14 AM

                      Let the force be with your search…..

    • Meto
      06/23/2010 at 5:52 PM


      I do think that the prosecution got something here – the fact that the term was created by this Dr. and others (although as an attorney I could wish that Kirshner had followed-up Dr.’s statement “when you created the term”?) to account for things that were not properly labeled – but that it is a “garbage can” for all things that show up on a monitor when there is no pulse could be used by the prosecution. He said many things cause PEA and that I thus infer that there are in reality different PEAs. Each one has its own pattern and frequency and would appear sometimes as a blip on the screen.

      Perhaps my thinking on the earlier post is wrong — perhaps the prosecution wanted to prove that it is junk science and the Doctor sort of did that.

      What the doctor is trying to do is learn how to save human lives not study PEA. What he knows about PEA comes from that function.



      • tucsonwriter
        06/23/2010 at 6:00 PM

        I agree….. to call a term a garbage can… That sticks in your head.

        • AnnaZed
          06/23/2010 at 6:07 PM

          You gotta love that this expensive defense team produced witnesses that on the one hand blurted out the word “restraint” (Dr. Lee) and this guy calling his own lynch-pin of his own testimony “garbage.” One might speculate that the defendants might have been better of going with the economy defense and putting up all of that money for a reward that would lead to the arrest of the “real killer” instead. It’s almost comical.

          • The Other White Meat
            06/23/2010 at 8:03 PM

            Becker was a prosecution rebuttal witness, no?

            Also, what happened to Mr. PorkLoin coming back as a rebuttal witness? Did Leibovitz whack that?

            • David
              06/23/2010 at 8:14 PM

              The prosecution simply didn’t call him back this morning. Kirschner may have called another head fake on the defense and called someone else instead. The judge played no roll in the decision; it came entirely from the government table.

              David, co-ed.

              • tucsonwriter
                06/23/2010 at 8:26 PM

                Hmmm but why?

                • David
                  06/23/2010 at 8:51 PM

                  My guess is they never intended to. Former football player Glenn Kirschner pulled a head fake, saying he was going one way, so the defense prepares for that direction, and then catches them off guard by going in a different direction.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/23/2010 at 8:59 PM

                    Did it work in your opinion? I can’t tell with some of these finer points.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/23/2010 at 9:02 PM

                    Also I just want to say to you editors that you are doing something really cool. I was talking to a small business owner today who was saying she will not even remotely approach the news media because it is so depressing. I think this site is really cool because it allows people to talk back when they feel strongly. I would hope that some day all the media would be more based on this kind of reportage. Democracy is information access based. When Rupert Murdoch owns every media outlet – information is not free.

      • Bea
        06/23/2010 at 6:09 PM

        Thanks, Meto – I took note of the ‘garbage’ word with some pleasure but wanted confirmation that the POINT was that it was an ambiguous data point for these purposes.

        • Carolina
          06/23/2010 at 7:06 PM

          Do you take it that he meant the term is used to indicate a collection, or garbage can if you want to stick with his own terminology, of signals one might find in a victim who has no other signs of life? If you don’t have another word for it established, it seems to fall into the PEA category?

          • cat
            06/23/2010 at 7:22 PM

            Agree with Bea, I think he was indicating that PEA is not a “stopwatch,” for time of death, but only a descriptor of electronic activity.

          • Bea
            06/23/2010 at 7:38 PM

            Would have liked it if the prosecution would have brought the point ‘home’ – and get him to say ‘that’s not what PEA is FOR’ to make sure it was clear. Maybe it was clear and we just are too far away? Sure seemed like the Judge didn’t like the prior witness(es) trying to opine on it.

            • Bea
              06/23/2010 at 7:56 PM

              I like this WJLA report online:

              “But the prosecution called a rebuttal witness on Wednesday. Dr. Lance Becker, a specialist in resuscitative medicine, told the court that the Pulseless Electrical Activity detected by the EKG can persist as long as 49 minutes after death.”

              Assuming this is correct, then the 11:59 reading of PEA only takes us back to 11:10 which, in my estimation, is about right for when poor Robert was stabbed to death.

              • Kate
                06/23/2010 at 8:24 PM

                That sounds more like it!

              • Tarfunk
                06/23/2010 at 8:58 PM

                Forgetting about all the hypotheses for a minute, it just boggles my mind that Robert could arrive at 1509 Swann at 10:30 and be stabbed three times in the chest by 11:10. I guess my assumptions about the better part of human nature had held out hope that there was no way this could have been premeditated, that some spontaneous decisions just went horribly wrong. Laying out this very compressed timeline, however, really brings home to me that it truly was likely planned in advance. I so hope for justice in this case.

                • tucsonwriter
                  06/23/2010 at 9:26 PM

                  I really, really, really think this was premeditated by a couple of days. Not the murder but the idea of sexual assault. On the part of two people _ Dylan Ward and Joe Price. They had Victor out of the way. I am sure that is why Sarah was gone. Some subtle hint. The next door neighbor was gone – that’s iffy as to how much communication went on between them. I admit prosecution is sloppy. I would have followed up on that.

                  I think the whole thing was premeditated on the part of Dylan Ward. The sex on the part of both Joe Price and DW. How weird is it that they testify that they BOTH showed him to his room. That’s way freaking weird to me. Only Joe should have taken him to his room in a sane scenario. And in a sane scenario, Victor would have been present, Dylan absent.

                  • Bill 2
                    06/23/2010 at 9:46 PM

                    What you’re saying here makes some sense and to think I almost skipped it.

                  • LRN
                    06/23/2010 at 9:58 PM

                    TW–agreed. Victor was probably supposed to be on travel that week. I think the assault part was Dylan trying to please his “master” Joe like a mistress who tries “spicing”up the relationship when the husband talks about going back to his wife.

                  • babs
                    06/23/2010 at 11:08 PM

                    I agree, but I don’t understand why they would want to do this to a friend. I can’t imagine how the scene went from the time Robert knocked on the door. Did they greet him with a glass of wine, and begin their plan? And at one point did they decide uh oh we have a problem we better grab a knife and stab him.

            • Kate
              06/23/2010 at 8:22 PM

              I agree, Bea – I was hoping that the prosecution would solidify that point.

              But the Doctor’s “Garbage Can” analogy could be used by the prosecution in that P.E.A. is a catch-all term used to describe undetermined electrical activity in the body of a dead or dying individual.

              It also seems that the 12-minute max for PEA has been successfully refuted here.

              • Carolina
                06/23/2010 at 10:37 PM


  4. weaver
    06/23/2010 at 5:51 PM

    Is it possible the judge could give a verdict tomorrow?

    • Carolina
      06/23/2010 at 7:21 PM

      Anything is possible, but I wouldn’t pick that square in the office pool.

      • Bill Orange
        06/23/2010 at 10:04 PM

        I’m going with Friday afternoon. Guilty on all charges. No bet on on whether or not she’ll issue a written verdict or not–she seems like a sharp, intelligent woman who likes to make sure all of her bases are covered, but she also doesn’t like to waste time, and she may decide that it’s a waste of time to write up a verdict in an obstruction trial when you’ve got a dead body and three people who are all claiming that they were down the hall the whole time but didn’t see or hear what happened.

        They all stay out of jail until sentencing, but they ultimately get stiff sentences (10-15 years for Victor and Dylan, 15-20 for Joe), and they do NOT get to stay out on bail during their inevitable appeals.

        • Bill 2
          06/23/2010 at 10:24 PM

          I hope you’re 100% right on this.

        • Lyn
          06/23/2010 at 10:49 PM

          “it’s a waste of time to write up a verdict in an obstruction trial when you’ve got a dead body and three people who are all claiming that they were down the hall the whole time but didn’t see or hear what happened.”

          +10! That’s one hell of a nutshell!

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 2:22 AM

          I see….more than this.

          • Bea
            06/24/2010 at 3:24 AM

            I tend to agree with the assessment offered by Bill O (give or take some distinction in sentencing as to Ward and Zaborsky, possibly even greater disparity between them and Price than Bill O suggested).

            I’ve gone over and over the facts to find what I’d call the “best possible result” for the defense as I see it. Explained below, the nutshell version is that only Joe Price is convicted and the Judge throws the book at him in sentencing.

            Here is the “best possible result” explanation (of course she CAN acquit all of them; I just don’t think there’s a reasonable doubt without absurd mental gymnastics):

            The most likely to get acquitted is Dylan Ward. As in life, he seems to be a breezy figure on the outskirts of what happened that night (from the point authorities were called) who said very little and thus wasn’t caught in any blatant lies like the others. Maybe she will have reasonable doubt enough to have to conclude that he did sleep through most of it and then did sit down on the sofa doing nothing.

            What makes this unlikely, and thus result in a conviction against Dylan:
            (1) that he allegedly slept through things that the other two heard on the third floor,
            (2) that he claimed to have seen the back door unlocked from the stairs (the picture from the realtors show this highly unlikely both from the distance and the kitchen island blocking it), and Victor has already said on the 911 call that the back door was unlocked but all three during interrogations credit Dylan with having ‘discovered’ this, indicating a ‘story’;
            (3) his statement before being ‘shushed’ by Joe that “WE heard the chime” – this statement would be “a lie” since he claimed to have heard nothing personally and that he’d assumed his position within the “we” story, showing that he knew ‘the story’ and was promulgating it.

            I suspect Dylan was actually MORE involved than Victor despite the evidence being less obvious – Victor was caught in more blatant lies and was cast in a larger “part” in the “play” packaged for authorities.

            Even if the Judge acquits Ward, I think she’ll find a conspiracy between Joe and Victor, and find them both guilty of obstruction to boot.

            Even (a step further) if the Judge finds NO conspiracy between Joe and one other (Victor, Joe, unindicted co-conspirator), I simply don’t see a result which acquits Joe Price of all charges. I’ve tried to do put on my DEFENSE ATTORNEY glasses on this to find legit reasonable doubt with respect to Joe, but the best case for him, in my opinion, is finding Joe guilty of ONLY obstruction – yet if this is the result, which I doubt, I think she’ll hit him very hard in sentencing.

  5. tucsonwriter
    06/23/2010 at 5:56 PM

    This is an excellent link that was posted late last night. I just read the article. Very thorough summary of much of this site, history, etc.

    • tassojunior
      06/23/2010 at 7:27 PM

      That’s old (April). Harry Jaffe has two new articles on the trial. One “Crumbling Case–Innocent,Innocent, Innocent”, 5/21 the day after the ME and another called “Good Fences-Bad Neighbors” on 6/4. Many comments do concern this blog.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/23/2010 at 8:09 PM

        Will read. I just got to this site some time into the trial. Thanks to everyone for providing links. I find it infinitely helpful for us newbies.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/23/2010 at 8:22 PM

          Read the first before but not the second.

          Jaffe seems pretty invested in the story. Is he just frustrated with the prosecution?

          I really don’t know anything about legal trials. This is the first one I have followed but it seems like a case of the jack rabbit versus the turtle. Slow but steady wins the race.

          (then again what do I know? I thought the Oj case was closed when he was chased around by police helicopter in the white Bronco for hours…)

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/23/2010 at 8:09 PM

        the 5/21` article was before the judge ruled on acquittals, too. We saw where those motions went.

        • tassojunior
          06/23/2010 at 8:42 PM

          I noticed he changed the subtitle of “Crumbling Walls” online from “Acquit, Acquit, Acquit” to “Innocent, Innocent, Innocent”.

          • Carolina
            06/23/2010 at 8:55 PM

            I’m sure the judge will take that into consideration.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/23/2010 at 9:04 PM

              Irony or sarcasm? I can’t tell.

              • Carolina
                06/23/2010 at 9:05 PM

                Whichever makes you happy, princess!

                • tucsonwriter
                  06/23/2010 at 9:28 PM


            • galoon
              06/23/2010 at 9:42 PM

              Chuckling again.

  6. commonsensewillprevailihope
    06/23/2010 at 5:57 PM

    In a criminal case does a judge have to, or is allowed to, give reasons for a verdict, and if so is it a written statement or what? (in contrast, a jury gives no reasons obviously).

    • galoon
      06/23/2010 at 6:34 PM

      I could be mistaken, but I believe the answer to this question was the judge can, if he/she pleases, but no explaination/reasons are required.

      • Carolina
        06/23/2010 at 9:05 PM

        You are correct on that.

  7. tucsonwriter
    06/23/2010 at 6:05 PM

    I have a weird little item to throw out. I have read noir/mysteries for years but never been into true crime as a reader.

    Dorothy Sayers in one of her novels – can’t remember which has the perfect murder weapon. An air bubble injected into a vein. I bring this up because of the needle marks in various places – tops of foot, side of neck, etc.

    There were a total of 7 needle marks according to the autopsy report. I think defense created confusion on the neck but none of the others.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/23/2010 at 6:32 PM

      I don’t think I fully made my point. What if Robert were improperly injected with an air bubble? Do any of the medical people know if that leads to instant death or some sort of slowing of the heart? It has been speculated that the stabbing was to cover for perceived unresponsiveness, that the perps thought he was dead and stabbed to lead away from needle marks and other signs. I am thinking of the pump analogy and having air in the feeder lines.

      I read a bizarre case online where a dentist murdered his wife with a bullet that he devised out of dental items which would dissolve in the body, then stabbed her in the bullet hole to hide the bullet hole from the police. He was caught using Luminol as his shirt and watch had traces of her blood.

      But with all this testimony it seems like Robert was alive when stabbed, just unresisting or restrained.

      • weaver
        06/23/2010 at 6:59 PM

        I think it would be difficult to cause death by way of an air embolism in a home situation, but the location of the marks is interesting, as it seems the desire was venous access.

        What happened to Robert was truly horrific and downright diabolical.

      • Leo
        06/23/2010 at 7:40 PM

        The medical examiner established cause of death, and it was not via air bubble in a vein.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/23/2010 at 8:50 PM

          Right. But I was hoping someone medical would weigh in with some sort of speculation here. He was injected. Pre-mortem.

          He was dead when EMT’s arrived. All this quibbling about PEA’s hopefully is in the garbage can where it belongs! (LOVE that)

        • Carolina
          06/23/2010 at 9:07 PM

          If I read her supposition correctly, she was not asking about COD. She was asking what might have made the defendants think he was dead, leading them to stab Robert.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/23/2010 at 9:31 PM

            Thanks. Right. Trying to figure out is maybe by injecting him with something without being qualified to do so if they induced some sort of critical state. So specifically focused on the process of injection. But obviously what was injected is probably more relevant. It was an arcane 1920’s plot line.

  8. John
    06/23/2010 at 6:08 PM

    Did the prosecution ever establish that there were multiple towels at the outset and then the number deminished? Just curious because there was a lot of discussion about the towels. Again, Hoya Loya, thanks for a great summation.

    • Carolina
      06/23/2010 at 7:09 PM

      There is only one towel that has Robert’s blood on it.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/23/2010 at 8:53 PM

      I think it was established that there were unused towels in the room – folded and dry. You can do a search on this site to check questions you have. It’s really user-friendly. I am radically impressed by the techie guy behind this site. Bill Gates should hire him or Steve Jobs. I don’t know if Steve Jobs needs to gain any more ground.

  9. Flint Hill Resident
    06/23/2010 at 6:11 PM

    I have been truly intrigued with this case as well as this site. I have relied heavily on all the discussions following the updates to catch me up and further explain information during the trial. My thanks, to the creators as well as all discussion participants. I eagerly await the verdict with you all.

    My sympathies go out to Kathy Wone, all of Roberts family, and his TRUE friends. May justice be served to honor the life Robert Wone.


    • weaver
      06/23/2010 at 6:51 PM

      Amen FHR, I am right there with you.

    • cinnamon
      06/23/2010 at 9:05 PM

      Yes. Well said.

  10. Lamont Cranston
    06/23/2010 at 7:13 PM

    At one time (and, perhaps, still?) Scottish law provided an intermediate criminal verdict of “Not Proven”. It was rendered where a jury felt the Crown hadn’t made it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, but where sufficient evidence had been introduced to make an acquittal equally impossible. It describes my feelings here: nothing the government introduced has made conviction beyond a reasonable doubt an easy choice, because nothing has been left unrebutted. On the other hand, one can’t be comfortable saying the defendants are not guilty. It’s a very close case.

    • KV
      06/23/2010 at 8:07 PM

      Essentially it means that the outcome of a trial can almost be pre-determined before it ever begins by what evidence is included, or excluded, as the case may be.

      • KV
        06/23/2010 at 8:09 PM

        Oops, this was in reply to SLG below.

    • chilaw79
      06/23/2010 at 8:24 PM

      Wasn’t that a line from the impeachment trial of President Clinton?

      • Clio
        06/23/2010 at 9:02 PM

        Yes, the soon-to-be-forgotten Senator Arlen “Spectre” of the Keystone State — the inventor of the Warren Commission’s single-bullet theory — referred to that obscure piece of B.S. then: thank Hera, that quintessential trimmer has been finally been voted out of office in a primary.

  11. slg
    06/23/2010 at 7:23 PM

    Now that both sides have rested and all that remains is closing arguments, can you perhaps provide an explanation of the choices that counsel made to exclude certain lines of argument or evidence? Maybe I missed previous posts…but the affidavit referenced evidence of sexual assault, blood evidence in the backyard drain and (if I recall correctly) dryer and drug paraphernalia belonging to the residents. Why wasn’t any of this raised in the trial?

    • Bea
      06/23/2010 at 7:35 PM

      Hi slg. These all have been rehashed (and you can read more) but in a nutshell, the prosecution decided not to pursue or the judge ruled against these elements primarily for the reason that these charges are conspiracy/obstruction/tampering. Each has its own twist and turn but things like blood evidence from CADAVER dogs is suspect even when directly relevant to the charges at hand; drug and sexual assault was both highly prejudicial (when it was a jury trial) and while it might come in in a murder and assault case, not here. In most instances the prosecution just agreed not to raise them (especially the issues like paralytics when the Judge was pushing and the testing wasn’t revealing any results). Again, this is but a hazy summary – more can be found on the site. Just didn’t want you to think you were ignored. Welcome.

    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
      06/23/2010 at 7:49 PM

      I am not going to be able to put together a list of what is in evidence versus what you feel is missing because we do not know enough about what has been agreed to by way of stipulations. On Day 15 Wrap the Editors listed the following 9 items that were stipulated to back on June 15th. Seems like a long time ago & also perhaps forgotten or overlooked.

      1.The weather in July and August 2006
      2.The October 2006 burglarly
      3.The 9-1-1 call
      4.Defendant’s activities on August 2, 2006
      5.Robert Wone’s activities August 2, 2006
      7.Telephone numbers
      8.Collection of physical evidence and certain testing and serological DNA evidence
      9.And toxicology testing

      As the wonderful Bea noted at the time, the devil is often in the details, I’d love to see the actual items stipulated to, but we can only make guesses & speculation regarding these matters. I don’t think Hoya Loya addressed these at all, no worries, he will correct me if I am mistaken.

      If you look at items 8 & 9, they may well refer to some of the answers you seek. Other matters were not allowed in by the Court as they were most likely deemed to be more prejudicial as opposed to probative in that this is not a murder or sexual assault trial. The attorneys on both sides may have very interesting things to say about any, all or none of the 9 stipulations, these are in evidence, but we don’t know exactly what they are at this point.

      We will find out tomorrow.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/24/2010 at 8:15 AM

        Indeed thanks for the reminder about the stips! They probably work best as an addendum or third category: The parties have stipulated to …

  12. John
    06/23/2010 at 7:50 PM

    It seems as if there is a great push for the judge to issue her verdict. I just wonder if there might be a change of heart if the boys had to stew about the verdict for a long period of time. If one did not get the verdict right away, would it perhaps give someone cause to think – perhaps I should tell the truth? Only a thought.

    • Carolina
      06/23/2010 at 10:48 PM

      I would not hold my breath.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/23/2010 at 11:05 PM

        Lemmings follow the leader.

  13. Robert Chambers
    06/23/2010 at 8:03 PM

    Semen from Robert Wone could have gone into his rectum via a tube use with the Erostek ET machine. If Robert Wone ejaculated while the tube was penetrated into the rectum part of the semen could have dropped on the tube and once the tube is inserted into his rectum the tube will transport part of his semen into the rectum. It is also common that people using this machine are put to sleep when using this machine.

    • Carolina
      06/23/2010 at 9:04 PM

      No, not really. If the tube is in the rectum, semen cannot drop on it. Also, few E-stims are the type that use the probe. Those are typically limited to animal husbandry, where one is sure the tiger would enjoy himself, but you’re not willing to do the foreplay.

      Most E-stims have electrode patches much like an EKG and sometimes a wrap.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/23/2010 at 9:12 PM

      What? is an Erostek ET machine?

      • Carolina
        06/23/2010 at 10:41 PM

        Again, I can’t c&p links here, but it’s one of many e-stims. Google. Or you can go to YouPorn or its like and see it in action. Put the kids to bed first.

      • Carolina
        06/23/2010 at 10:51 PM

        Or did you mean what is an e-stim? It’s a device that causes ejaculation using electrical impulses to the muscles with or without the usual niceties.

        It’s basically a sexual TENS unit.

  14. Clio
    06/23/2010 at 8:33 PM

    Glenn is certainly no Cicero, but why would the defense pass on cross-examining Becker?

    So, even though the government’s case was less than elegant or focused, the Dream Team of the twenty-first century, for their part, was unable to do anything but the unvarnished vaudeville of Dr. Henry Lee, the seemingly selective memory of Miss Sarah Morgan, and/or the apparent crying game of Mrs. Diane Ward.

    Lynn, put an end to this less-than-Moliere farce, this off-off-Broadway flop, immediately with a quick and clear verdict: guilty as charged on all remaining charges! Thanks in advance.

    P.S. Hi Lisa!

    • BadShoes
      06/23/2010 at 9:19 PM

      “Why would the defense pass on cross-examining Becker?”

      Well, as Hoya Loya points out, the judge didn’t seem interested.

      More to the point, with Mr. Becker’s sudden appearance, the defense had almost no time to prepare, and consequently, probably had no idea how Mr. Becker would actually answer any substantive question.

      Cross-examining Mr. Becker would be a high-risk venture–maybe one could elicit some helpful testimony, but maybe it would blow up in your face. Under the circumstances, cross-examining Mr. Becker may have looked like a high-risk, low-return bet.

      • Meto
        06/23/2010 at 9:32 PM

        Clio et al

        I posted on Day 21 Updates that Dr Becker while great did nothing to help prosecution. Please see that Post – and please have Ceaser let up on me. I have been on front lines for him since April.


        • Clio
          06/23/2010 at 9:43 PM

          Will do, Meto: I was distracted from reading that particular post by the bore Suetonius.

          But, as you may know, Caesar has always such a tough martinet; it is no wonder that both men and their wives have succumbed to his considerable charm and energy.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/23/2010 at 9:34 PM

        Does that constitute a “win” for the prosecution?

        • Carolina
          06/23/2010 at 10:47 PM

          More like a draw.

  15. Carol
    06/23/2010 at 9:44 PM

    I know this question has probably been asked and answered, but I would appreciate it if someone could tell me that if Victor stated “they have one of our knives” has it been asked what knife was missing? By the way, I thoroughly appreciate all the hard work and all the time and effort and really informative discussions on this site! Thanks!

    • Nelly
      06/23/2010 at 10:31 PM

      You mean, was that ever asked of Victor? I don’t think so, and he’s not going to get on the stand to explain his 911 call statements to explain what he meant and how he knew the “intruder” had one of their knives.

      • Carolina
        06/23/2010 at 10:45 PM

        And we, the audience, are poorer for it. What a clusterfuck that would have been.

    • BadShoes
      06/23/2010 at 10:43 PM

      Victor did tell the 911 operator, “they have one of our knives.”

      However, the defendants did not report any missing knives, nor did their attorneys make any statements or present any evidence to that effect. There was a knife universally accepted as originating in the downstairs kitchen found by Mr. Wone’s body. Mr. Zaborsky told the police that he thought he saw this knife when he first came downstairs.

      The prosecution has suggested that a knife missing from a box presentation knife set found in Dylan Ward’s room was actually the murder weapon, and that this knife had been made to disappear by the defendants. The defense says the knife had been missing from the knife set for years, and put Mr. Ward’s mother on the stand to testify that she believed the “missing” knife had been in her kitchen all along. The defense entered a Wusthof knife from Mrs. Ward’s kitchen was entered into evidence.

      There are several alternative hypotheses about why Mr. Zaborsky said “they have one of our knives.” The simplest hypothesis is that Mr. Zaborsky just mis-spoke.

      The most damaging (to the defense) hypothesis would be that Mr. Zaborsky knew that the actual murder weapon had been disposed of and was trying to tie the missing murder weapon to a mythical intruder, but did not know that another co-conspirator had re-introduced a plant knife by Mr. Wone’s bedside.

      There are also other possible explanations. I leave it to your judgment as to which possible explanation seems most likely.

      • Carol
        06/23/2010 at 11:43 PM

        Thank you all for your replies. Perhaps when a murder trial comes up (and I really am hoping for that – this is not going to go away) a lot of things speculated will finally come to light! I will continue to follow this case for as long as it takes. Thank you again. How sad for the Wone family. I hope Robert Wone, Esquire and his family will soon get some kind of justice. Rest in peace Mr. Wone.

  16. susan
    06/23/2010 at 10:48 PM

    I think some of us go back to certain facts because they resonate with us.

    Here’s a fictional scenario. Fill in the blank:

    Tom faced Donna and then pulled off his mask, revealing the monster underneath. Donna _______ a) screamed
    b) grunted

    They don’t have the same meaning. Period.

    Also, in Victor’s videotaped interview, he said “I woke up to screams, and Joe and I jumped out of bed. We heard another loud scream…”

    J. Price heard “grunts” and then someone or another heard “low” grunts.

    Also, still have to think about the 5-10 second issue, and the defense’s argument that Mr. W was dead soon thereafter. And JP hearing the chimes first, then the scream/grunt/whistle/whatever he/they are calling it today, but VZ hears the chime later. Meantime, the “intruder” has to cross the length of the second floor and exit quite as a mouse (save for the chime) yet Mr. W is still alive and “breathing”? Plus, I thought VZ was sent from the room immediately (but first checked to see if a knife was missing…from the kitchen??!!) so how was he able to report on Mr. W breathing, etc.

    But then didn’t JP admit to his friend outright that he was obstructing justice? Didn’t he tell his friend T. Ragone that he didn’t “fully” cooperate with police for “fear” that the police would “retaliate” by “arresting one of us.”? Isn’t that obstruction?

    • Carolina
      06/23/2010 at 10:54 PM

      I’m with you on everything but the knife. He didn’t need to check the kitchen to recognize one of their own knives. Joe may also have told him something as simple as, “Oh my god, Robert’s been stabbed! They used one of our knives!”

      • susan
        06/23/2010 at 11:02 PM

        Doesn’t he say “the person has one of our knives” something to that effect. He surely knows how to use proper tense.

      • Nora
        06/24/2010 at 7:54 AM

        Again, Victor tells the 911 operator (on tape) that the intruder “has one of our knives” and that he thinks the intruder ran out with the knife. So, as far as Victor “knows”, there is no knife on the scene. How does he know it was their knife?

        He is revealing more than he ought to know at this point.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 8:50 AM

          I am disinclined to hold anyone to using correct tense or much of anything else on a 911 call. He made plenty of mistakes, but this is one I can forgive him. To each his own on that.

  17. susan
    06/23/2010 at 10:56 PM

    With all due respect to some of the posters, I’m not willing to reason away their self-condemning statements with “maybe he misspoke.” I mean, “I think they have one of our knifes” is “I think they have one of our knives” just like “what time is it?” is “what time is it?” There is a man bleeding to death or already death–a “guest” in your house. Honestly! And I don’t understand why they weren’t all conferring with each other to the effect of “Hey Dylan, what the hell happened? Did you hear anything? Who could have broken in, etc.” In fact, the lack of their admitting to any stands out. If you were in a house with your partner, a stranger, a friend–anyone at all, close or not close, and you came upon a murdered guest, wouldn’t you be conferring with each other in btw your hysteria and want to know wtf was going on? Would you all be dispersed? Would you go back to your bedroom? Where’s the fear? Where’s the wonder? Where’s the concern? Where is it?

    • cinnamon
      06/24/2010 at 8:45 AM

      Yes, I have said this before as well. If you were woken up to a bleeding friend in your guest bedroom, you would think you would have PLENTY of QUESTIONS. Not plenty of answers. They had way too many answers and far too few questions in my opinion.

    • weaver
      06/24/2010 at 8:55 AM

      Exactly. The fear was about getting the cover up established, hence the introduction of comments that fit *their* plan, and no reaction to what they alleged happened.

      Consciousness of guilt.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 8:57 AM

      We don’t know that didn’t happen. We don’t have a video or audio of what was said that never made it into the record. There’s also the problem of reading text vs seeing and hearing. As we saw (and heard) with the statements while at VCB, what appears completely strange on the page is far more natural and reasonable when viewed in context of body language and speaking voice.

      Some of us feel it’s more reasonable to look at the hard evidence first. Using a suspect’s demeanor as first line evidence has proven faulty many, many times. Bias too easily sneaks in.

  18. Danali
    06/23/2010 at 10:59 PM

    Re: Chilaw’s comment;

    “Although Victor represented to the 911 operator that Wone was still breathing, Wone was dead when the EMTs arrived. Price knew this because he was sitting on the bed and not putting pressure on the wounds.”

    This fact struck me anew when listening to the 911 call again. Victor tells the Operator (implies at least) that they (Joe?) are applying pressure- yet it’s just a few minutes later when EMTs arrive to find Joe sitting at bedside in undies doing Jack crap.

    So is Victor lying? Or was Joe applying pressure during that part of the call- and then stopped within a minute or two?

    It may seem obvious to most of y’all- but i found myself surprised to realize that I believed Victor was probably lying about that. Because it’s easier for me to imagine that than to picture Joe applying pressure on the wound, trying to save Robert (or to create that appearance) and then deciding to stop just before EMTs arrive.

    I guess I am surprised by what may be obvious to you all because I have long thought Victor was the innocent here. He’s away- Joe and Dylan concoct a plan with Robert that goes horribly wrong- he walks in during cleanup and loses his mind – and then – after a conspicuous delay imposed upon him by the necessity to get their stories straight / finish the cleanup – Victor calls 911. Perhaps being coached on details- but mostly motivated by real panic and despair. Not willingly lying about anything – just conveying what he’s supposed to be the Man with a Plan.

    But now I realize it’s probably not true. It’s such a little lie in the scheme of things I guess- but knowing it’s alnost certainly a lie makes me far more suspicious of the other details in the call. And I guess argues for deeper complicity by Victor in the obstruction matter.

    Sorry to babble about this so much. One man’s epiphany is another man’s ‘no duh’.

    • chilaw79
      06/23/2010 at 11:41 PM

      Ask yourself, if your friend had been stabbed and you had been told by the 911 operator to apply pressure to the wound and keep doing so, would you stop?

      I would not. I would sit their putting pressure on the wound, talking to my friend, and assuring my friend that help was on the way.

      • Bea
        06/23/2010 at 11:43 PM

        Exactly – whether it was doing any good or not. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 9:01 AM

          Even if it seemed Robert had ceased to bleed, even if there was no need for the second towel, surely even know-it-all Joe would have just this once listened to someone trained to give such instructions.

          On the other hand, I can well see him saying, “No blood, no breathing, person on the other end is probably reading off a response card that came up when she typed in the symptoms, what’s the point?”

    • tassojunior
      06/24/2010 at 12:08 AM

      Pressure is to stop blood flow out. If there’s no blood flowing out why keep up pressure?

      • commonsensewillprevailihope
        06/24/2010 at 12:20 AM

        It’s odd that you don’t get this point Mr tasso. It’s human nature, at least for normal people. The point is that a dear friend is gravely wounded, you’re devastated and panicked, you’re hoping more than anything you’ve ever hoped that he is going to be okay, and the operator says apply pressure — of course you would apply pressure until a medical person took over. Even if you saw no flow you might well assume that that was because the pressure was working.

        • cinnamon
          06/24/2010 at 8:55 AM

          Yes, one would think you would err on the side of continuing efforts to try to save a life regardless of the flow of blood.

          • cinnamon
            06/24/2010 at 8:56 AM

            …unless you had no interest in saving that life.

    • another susan
      06/24/2010 at 1:55 AM

      I’ve been especially intrigued by Victor’s role. I’ve assumed that Victor was directed to make the 911 call because: (1) JP and DW were busy staging the scene. At the same time, they knew the call should be made ASAP. Putting Victor to the task left JP and DW free to continue with other matters prior to the arrival of emergency personnel. (2) Victor genuinely did not know what happened. Therefore, he could not blurt out something damaging during the 911 call. He was given a quick rundown of the concocted story, and then he bumbled through the 911 call, punctuated by talking points he had been given — “intruder,” “one of our knives,” etc.

      • Bea
        06/24/2010 at 2:42 AM

        Another Susan, I can see this. I’ve always held the notion that Victor was a figure on the periphery to the primary bad action. Don’t get me wrong – I think he’s guilty of conspiracy and obstruction. The old timers here can tell you that I often pleaded here with Victor (ad nauseum, to many) to take immunity in exchange for testifying against the murderer(s) but, obstinate as I am, I’ve given up hope of him coming to his senses and doing the right thing.

        • cat
          06/24/2010 at 9:09 AM

          I’ve worked with a lot of kids who were in trouble (in a rehabilitative context). I’m afraid that many who come from wealthy families stay in denial for a very long time, believing that daddy’s money will make everything okay.

  19. Gloria
    06/23/2010 at 11:49 PM

    Two lines of questions:

    1) Can Robert’s mouthguard figure into the calculus of points for either the defense or prosecution? If someone out there wears a mouthguard at night, please conduct a test. Make various sounds approximating grunts and report back to those of us who don’t grind our teeth in our sleep. Does the mouthguard muffle such sounds?

    2) Lawyers: I’m intrigued with the management of this case by 3 sets of defense attorneys, each representing a separate defendant. I observed pretty seamless inter-team management, but I wonder how that works. What if they disagree on strategy? E.g., the leads for the 3 teams (plus Joe) went to the hallway today to discuss whether to cross examine Dr. Becker and returned with a decision not to do so. If they had disagreed on that strategy, how would the disagreement have been resolved? Is there a primacy among the lawyers (e.g., one attorney’s opinion carries more weight than another?)

    Would they have divvied up substantive areas and deferred all decisions pertaining to an area to one team? Would the amount of money invested by each defendant in his defense (assuming unequal amounts paid) have any bearing on which legal team calls the shots? In fact, how would you imagine the legal fees are being managed — all in one pot and split among the legal teams? a prior decision by the teams as to which firm gets what share of the pot? each defendant pays his team based on billed hours or a fixed fee amount for the defendant’s case? If a decision is made as to unusual expenses (like Dr. Lee’s involvement), how would that decision be made among the 3 teams and how, logistically, would it be paid?

    Finally, how should I interpret Joe’s going to the hallway today with the 3 defense teams to decide whether Dr. Becker should be cross examined? Was he there on an invitation basis or as his right to make the final decision on his own defense strategy? Shall I assume the other two defendants deferred to him to make such decisions for all 3 of their defenses? But surely lawyers can not check with the defendants on each decision made. And since the judge dropped the tampering charge for Victor and Dylan, has a pattern appeared in which (only) Grimm is handling those portions of the trial that bear on that charge? (I guess that would be knife related and cleaning up any blood.)

    BTW, catch the film “Presumed Guilty” on PBS’ POV documentary film series, 10 pm, July 27 or check your local listings. Follows a case of an innocent man, arrested through police corruption and imprisoned for several years via Mexico’s legal system which is based on a presumption of guilt, not innocence. The juxtaposition of this movie (just saw it) and the trial we are monitoring is startling, no matter how the Good Judge rules in the end.

    • commonsensewillprevailihope
      06/23/2010 at 11:58 PM

      I hope and presume the prosecution is reading this site. So many good points made. Must make Joe nervous as he reads this.

    • deepsouth
      06/24/2010 at 2:03 AM

      On the mouth guard question, it doesn’t muffle volume, but it does garble sounds (gets in the way of your tongue’s habitual movements.) It takes conscious effort to speak clearly around it. I can absolutely see that any sound Robert might have made would come out as difficult to describe. But then, so might the sound someone would make as they pulled a knife free from the bone – that’s my big hangup on the idea of three fast identical ninja blows.

      I appreciate everyone’s efforts here and hope the editors will keep this site up during the civil trial. My heart aches for Robert’s family and for the loss of his life and promise.

  20. susan
    06/24/2010 at 12:24 AM

    If he’s reading this, maybe he’ll click on this link as well. It contains an excerpt from Poe’s “The Telltale Heart.”

    “It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! … I made up my mind to take the life of the old man…”

    And “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it – oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly – very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. ” And so on.

    • Nora
      06/24/2010 at 6:58 AM

      Those interested in this case might want to check out Ambrose Bierce’s Rashomon-like tale “The Moonlit Road.” It bears striking similarities to the trouple’s story – particularly the demonic, silent, motiveless intruder….

  21. AJ
    06/24/2010 at 12:59 AM

    Prosecution should stick to its strengths in their closing arguments & not get bogged down in some of forensic evidence they haven’t proved. Even if this means conceding the tampering charge against Joe.

    • Leo
      06/24/2010 at 7:31 AM

      Precisely! Hope Kirschner can restrain himself. I really don’t think he needs an hour–summarize the winning evidence in themes much as Bea suggested way at the top of this thread.

  22. xxx
    06/24/2010 at 6:59 AM

    I know the judge cannot lawfully make this inference, but us, as outside observers: can we infer that because the defendants did not testify (i) they have something to hide; (ii) they don’t want their stories subject to cross-examination; (iii) they don’t want to have to explain the inconsistencies between what they are saying and what the evidence shows?

    • Leo
      06/24/2010 at 7:34 AM

      No, choosing not to testify simply cannot be held against a criminal defendant. No evidentiary inferences follow at all. It’s because it’s human nature to make these assumptions that our Constitution specifically prohibits it.

    • Bill Orange
      06/24/2010 at 7:53 AM

      As an outside observer (and not a finder of fact in this trial), I think that when someone takes the fifth in an obstruction or perjury trial, it’s because they’re guilty. The Scooter Libby trial a few years ago is a good example. It speaks volumes to me when a defendant won’t take the stand and defend their previous line of bullshit.

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