Day 22: BREAKING

BREAKING:

The Wone trial officially ended at 4:59, Judge Leibovitz expects to issue her verdict Tuesday at 11am, pending any changes. 

Wrap coming soon

3:15 Update – Who’s Under the Bus?

Bernie Grimm, for Joe Price, and Thomas Connolly for Victor Zaborsky have finished their statements.  It was a study of contrasts.

Grimm focused only evidence tampering, in what might be termed a scattershot presentation.  “The government says the only truthful thing he said was that he pulled the knife from Robert’s body.  If he pulled the knife out, that’s proof it was the murder weapon,” he said in a strong flourish.  He also suggested that three college educated men could surely create a stronger lie to throw the police off the track other than an unseen, unheard and unlikely intruder. 

Tom Connolly began at 2:40 and wrapped at 3:05 – the only one so far to come in on time (or under.)  “I understand the frustration of people for the lack of clear answers in this case.  Mr. Zaborsky shares that,” he said, his voice rarely raising past a near whisper.  Victor Zaborsky “…is a kind and gentle person,” he said at the top, and the end, and throughout, suggesting there is absolutely no evidence of Victor having any knowledge at all of what happened. 

There was an interesting moment of separation, characterized by Leibovitz as “…throwing (your colleagues) under the bus…”  But we are heading in now for the remaning statements.  That, and more, in our final wrap post. 

Earlier updates follow.

 

1:45 pm update

Doug and Craig are back in the courtroom, but I was there with Doug this morning, and wanted to fill in with some observations as we wait for the next update.

As the defendants walked in, the family members of the defendants were seating in the first row behind the well were the defendants are seated.  As the defendants entered, Dr. Needham Ward stood and gave a hearty handshake, first to Joe Price.  It was lengthy and looks like words of encouragement were exchanged.  Then he shook his son Dylan Ward’s hand, and finally Victor Zaborsky’s hand.  The rest of the family including Victor’s family remained seated.

More observations follow.

When Glenn Kirschner began his closing argument, which was very strong at the beginning, he went right to the human reaction one would have when finding a close friend stabbed, and that would be to immediately check to see if your (other) loved one, who was just down the hall, was OK.  At this point, Diane Ward, Dylan’s mother broke out crying uncontrollably.  Tissues were exchanged.

Glenn went on to say that this human reaction on checking on your loved one, in this case, Dylan Ward, and whether they had also been injured, belies the fact that the story they are telling does not add up.

When describing  the conspiracy, GK focused on what he calls “the Mercedes meeting.”  This is after the defendants had been interviewed at the VCB, and immediately afterwards when Price and Zaborsky gathered in the Mercedes owned by Scott Hixson. 

Kirschner describes Price as now being in his a comfort zone, that being a Mercedes owned by Hixon, who was a “neighbor and paramour”  and he changed his story on the knife — from removing it to pulling it out of his chest.

Kirschner then showed clips from the video taped confessions and contrasted what Victor said about the knife before the “the Mercedes meeting” and afterwards.  Before the Mercedes meeting, he described in detail the knife and Robert’s body position.  Detective Gail Brown drew out Victor’s observations, and VZ confirmed. That describition changed after the “the Mercedes meeting” with Victor now being confused about not seeing the knife, and how the body was positioned.  This Glenn Kirschner said was evidence of the conspiracy and obstruction. — David

1pm Update – Shouts and Murmurs

Time is clearly relative in a courtroom.  Kirshner’s :10 minutes turned into :45.

Kirschner again began strong, to show how evidence points to specific findings of fact as to their guilt.

The burglary was introduced to show state of mind “…of how the three respond when a member of the family commits a felony.  They circle the wagons, and use law enforcement selectively for their own purposes,” he stated.  “It informs the court how the defendants conduct themselves…they minimize, try to protect, and exonerate.”

Regarding Price, “a decision had to be made.  Either sacrifice the responsible party, or protect a family member, and they jumped on the conspiratorial train.”  Later, “Maybe Zaborsky joined kicking and screaming, but there was a certain naiveté and willingness to jump on the conspiracy bandwagon because he wasn’t going to break the Joe Price bond.”

“Without holding together, there was mutual destruction for everyone,” he said.  Kirchner said the evidence was clear: Victor had a deep, abiding love for Joe, and would protect him, and Joe had a very deep and abiding love “…and an all-consuming relationship…” with Dylan.  Dylan’s loyalties?   “Unclear,” said Kirschner.

At this point, Leibovitz turned from conspiracy to obstruction, engaging in a vigorous colloquy with Kirschner.  Throughout the morning, Judge Leibovitz seemed intent on pulling from the prosecution the strongest, and clearest, possible narrative.  Speculating here, this may be a sign of a finder of fact asking the prosecution to build the strongest case of guilt so the finder of fact doesn’t have to.

“When did the conspiracy begin that night?” she asked.  “What the evidence of agreement?”  “When did each of them join, and don’t I have to find evidence of some conversation?”  Kirshcner seemed to hit his stride when hitting upon the 9-1-1 call.  Victor’s comment that “…we heard…” was proof of collusion at least, and conspiracy at worst.

Eyebrows raised in the courtroom when she asked “…wouldn’t I have to find that Dylan Ward was the killer if he entered the conspiracy?”  “Likely, though it may be that Ward was the killer…” he said, Ward showed proof of having entered the conspiracy by asking if the back door was unlocked, and by shutting down when shot glares by Joe on the couch.

This, by the way, wasn’t the first mention of killers today.  Earlier in the morning, under questioning by Leibovitz, Kirshcner all but said that one of the three of them had to be the killer.  The judge later picked this up, on discussion of what Kirschner called the “33 1/3 problem”, saying in effect, ‘You have three people in a house, four at most with Michael Price, and no evidence of an intruder.’  Ergo: one of them has to have done it.

Leibovitz returned to a theoretical posed last week with Rachel Carlson Lieber: the loving mom and two sons.  The mom finds a dead body, the sons profess ignorance and posit an intruder, the mom can’t believe one of her treasured sons did the deed, and so comes to believe their innocence.

“Is she lying?…does any omission of fact make her guilty of obstruction?” she asked.  Unspoken but clear to all was who was being referenced as the loving mom.  Hint: it’s not Joe, and it isn’t Dylan.

Legal beagles will make note of discussion of the McBride (sp?) case as possible precedent, Rule 1805 and its applicability, and whether ‘nexus’ is required.  These observers heard a judge that may be looking at two defendants in one light, and the third in a different one.

Much more to come, but two room observations.  At the beginning this morning, when Kirschner was laying with strong language the brutality of the crime and the involvement of the defendants, Diane Ward – with Needham at her side – burst into tears.  The tears continued, though Dylan remained stoic (or emotionless) throughout, as usual.

“Am I done?” asked Kirschner at 12:30?  Laughter, and an affirmative from the bench, followed by Judge Liebovitz reminder that she will limit the defense closings to an hour each.  “Of course you will,” angrily said Victor’s mother, loud enough for all to hear.

 

 

11:30am Update

After a brief, but forceful disagreement from Judge Leibovitz to a request from Robert Spagnoletti – “We’re going to have closing statements now,” she emphasized – AUSA Glenn Kirschner has held the courtroom for an hour of closing statements.

It hasn’t always gone so smoothly.  “The defendants covered up the true circumstances of Robert’s murder…they’ve successfully prevented this murder from being solved,” he began.  “They all actively participated..and they should all be held accountable….they lied, misdirected,orchestrated, tampered…”

One fact leapt out “…screams out…” for the prosecution: the defendants not checking on Ward in the moment’s after finding Robert.

However what began as a strong closing turned more into what resembled oral argument before the Supreme Court.  Leibovitz has increasingly interrupted Kirschner’s recitation of evidence, repeatedly pleading for specific facts and inferences she – as the fact finder – must make to find guilt.

 Kirschner gets :10 more minutes, no more.  He better offer what Leibovitz is asking for if he wants to finish strong.

9:30am Update

The line mob of spectators waiting to get inside room 310 is already long.  A court official tells the crowd that the seats are already spoken for – reserved for family members, press, and legal teams.  Room 100 is set up for the overflow and an audio feed will be in there.  TV trucks are outside for live shots and reporters are filing in.

We still expect a 10:00am start.

8:00am Update:  The Last Day Edition

Left to right: Zaborsky counsel Amy Richardson, Joe Price and unidentified member of the defense team

There is only one item of business on today’s calendar.  “Closing arguments will begin in ctrm 310 tomorrow at 10am” came the succinct email from the DC Courts’ Public Information Officer‏, Leah Gurowitz, confirming what we already knew.

This trial has ended.  40-some witnesses testified, under direct and cross.  Hundreds of pieces of evidence and thousands of documents were admitted for review.  Theories were floated and shot at.  Questions – on both sides – linger.

So it comes to this: one hour for the government to sum up their case, three hours (one for each defendant) to rebut and defend, and one half-hour for super-closing rebuttal from the government.

And then by close of business today, it’s in Judge Leibovitz’s hands.

…Except It’s Not The Last Day

Left to right: The Government team - AUSAs Glenn Kirschner, Rachel Carlson Lieber and Patrick Martin

We will remain on high alert from now until we get word that Judge Leibovitz has reached a decision.

We expect to get a a two-hour heads up ahead of the ruling, nothing more.  We’ll bring you immediate coverage of the ruling, and the response.

And of course, the story doesn’t end there.

537 comments for “Day 22: BREAKING

  1. Nora
    06/24/2010 at 8:14 AM

    Thank you, editors, for all of your outstanding work on this blog. Your passion and dedication are truly humbling. And thank you, all who have posted. Even those with theories most of us would deem crackpot added flava.

    I have faith in Judge Leibovitz’s ability to make sense of all of this. This may not be a popular view, but I would rather the defendants go free if guilty than be imprisoned if innocent.

    • cat
      06/24/2010 at 8:46 AM

      Hear, hear.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/24/2010 at 9:52 AM

      Nora:

      Agree 100%. The system doesn’t always work, but with Judge Liebowitz, it has so far. I will have tremendous confidence that her decision, whatever it is, will be a just one.

      She has been tough on the prosecution, forcing them to put forward their best case and get their facts on record. She has been extremely fair to the defense, excluding evidence not relevant to the charges at hand and keeping their experts focused on their proper areas to rebut the appropriate prosecution experts. Both sides have presented strong cases.

      This leaves her free to do justice as she sees fit, applying the law, logic and common sense. I don’t think she will hedge or mince words. If she thinks there is no case and that the defendants have been unfairly prosecuted, I have no doubt she will so state in her acquittal, citing the many doubts raised by the defense. If she thinks they are guilty, there are plenty of facts in evidence on which she can base a reasonable opinion.

      I don’t see her saying that she must find the defendants guilty on the facts but going lenient on the grounds that they seem to have been caught up in an unfortunate situation. Or that something strange happened at 1509 Swann and that the defendants must know more but that the prosection just didn’t make its case.

      Not this judge.

      • Kate
        06/24/2010 at 10:07 AM

        I fully concur Hoya and Nora, particularly with your last paragraph Hoya … and your last paragraph, too, Nora.

    • Aquanetta
      06/24/2010 at 11:14 AM

      Nora,

      I 100 percent agree with you also. I was only able to make it one day and she seemed very fair and unbiased. Plus, everything that I read seems to indicate this also. I think she will make the decision based on what was presented to her. OBVIOUSLY, I hope its a gulty verdict… but Im not convinced it will be that. Time will tell.

    • RosieRiveted
      06/24/2010 at 2:52 PM

      The guilty parties, whoever they are, will have their day, whether it’s our legal system that brings it about, or a higher one. Justice will be done.

  2. Vandy
    06/24/2010 at 8:33 AM

    Thank you editors. Was the mystery blonde woman in Ctrm 310 ever ID’d?

    • Lee
      06/24/2010 at 8:44 AM

      I think she was the non-Domme, Econo-Girl, but I may have got that wrong. I keep getting diverted off on tangents of my own making.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 9:08 AM

        Non-Domme Econo-Girl does not appear to be blond in her photos.

  3. Lee
    06/24/2010 at 8:42 AM

    Because this is not a murder trial, and we will not have discovered who murdered Robert Wone, will the editors continue this blog?

    I, for one, certainly hope so. Not only is this the best and most informative blog I have ever seen, the quality and level expertise of those responding to this blog is awe inspiring.

    As much as I regret the reasons for us all meeting on this space, I do enjoy being a part of this community and being occasionally able to offer something myself.

    I do think there’s a book to be written about this case from the perspective of this blog. I’m thinking that the best way to put together such a book is to use a Robbe-Grillet, Nouveau Roman, approach combined with the point of view of the screenwriter taken in Adaptation.

    The story of someone reading this blog while trying to figure out what happened at Swann Street could capture a lot about the stories and a lot about this blog and the people who are part of it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank the WMRW team, especially the editors, for what has been created here.

    • ccf
      06/24/2010 at 10:16 AM

      As much as I am grateful to the editors for this informative blog, don’t we think we should slow down and get on with our lives, if we still have one left.

      Everyone should take a break and perhaps come back for the civil trail. By that time I hope — even though I don’t post much — I won’t read every single comment like I do now.

      That said, I hope the blog continues to be the center of information for this intriguing case. Thank you, editors.

    • RosieRiveted
      06/24/2010 at 2:55 PM

      Here here – fantastic job editors, very very impressive. You’ve created something truly innovative here, and you deserve a standing O. Nice work –

  4. La
    06/24/2010 at 8:45 AM

    I assume you’ll be posting on the blog as soon as you get the 2 hour heads up?

  5. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    06/24/2010 at 9:05 AM

    Today’s been a long time comin’.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 9:10 AM

      …but I know a change is gonna come?

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 9:17 AM

        Sam Cooke and I certainly hope so. For Robert.

        • Jim
          06/24/2010 at 2:05 PM

          I think that the editors should turn this into a book. They have done such an amazing job. I just finished reading The Seven Days of Rage about the Craigs List Killer. There are a lot of similarities between Phillip Markoff and Joe Price. I was able to sit in the court room yesterday for the first time. It was so interesting to observe Joe.
          Kudos to the editors.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 2:08 PM

            What impressions did you come away with?

          • cinnamon
            06/24/2010 at 2:18 PM

            Would love to hear more about your observations in court.

  6. weaver
    06/24/2010 at 9:20 AM

    Now that the testimony is over I have confidence that the judge will be able to see the forest through the trees.

    There was no intruder that night.

    That leaves the defendants, and a man who was murdered. At least one of them killed Robert Wone, and they ALL covered it up. To me that is the bottom line, and if they had a jury and I was on it, I would vote guilty at lightening speed and feel 100% confident in doing so. I think their high powered defense knew that 99.9% of jurors would see exactly what I see and they went with a bench trial in the hopes they could get acquittals by manipulation of legal definitions. Ones they could frame to obscure the truth. The truth being there was no intruder that night.

    Like I said, I have confidence that the judge can see the forest through the trees.

    If the Wone family is reading this blog, know that my thoughts are with you, and I look forward to the depraved scum bags going to prison. THEY made the choice to cover this up, and they need to pay.

  7. Lyn
    06/24/2010 at 9:28 AM

    A perverse outcome?

    I believe all three defendants are guilty. I believe Price and Ward murdered Wone and all three were involved in the cover up. I believe the rank of culpability is Price, followed very closely (if not tied) by Ward, with Zaborsky bringing up the rear.

    For some reason I fear a somewhat perverse outcome in this trial: Price and Zaborsky being found guilty, while Ward goes free. I believe such an outcome will infuriate Zaborsky, who was probably assured of his freedom by Price and who will justifiably be outraged that Ward (who he probably knows was directly involved in the actual murder along with Price) is walking free while he is sent to prison for a helping to cover up a murder which he himself didn’t commit.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/24/2010 at 9:34 AM

      That scenario would make a great Law & Order SVU episode.

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 2:27 PM

        Agreed Hoya, I’ve thought so for a long time. But would we be left not knowing what really happened in the episode as well? (cue those tones)

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/24/2010 at 9:36 AM

      Lyn, I was thinking the same thing. Price and Zaborsky being found guilty, while Ward going free. My reasoning being that if anyone knew that Joe was not in bed, it would be Victor. By virtue of having separate sleeping quarters, Dylan could get a pass.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 5:50 PM

        If Victor went to bed before everyone and fell asleep, he wouldn’t “know” that Joe was not in bed, in theory. Joe could then come in and quietly crawl into bed and then startle and wake Victor up.

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 9:37 AM

      If that occurs, my view is that Victor has a simple mechanism available to him. It would take some courage on his part, but he could remedy the situation almost immediately.

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 2:29 PM

        What would Victor’s options be AFTER the judge renders a verdict? Can he still try to get a plea deal before sentencing?

    • Kate
      06/24/2010 at 9:54 AM

      Excellent point, Lynn – that would be perverse, indeed. And Chilaw is quite right that Victor could remedy the situation immediately. But can he? I agree with CD that perhaps the only thing that Victor knows for certain is that Joe was not in bed with him. The rest seems to have been related/dictated to him by Joe … and Victor believes him wholeheartedly. Merely my point of view this morning.

      I must admit to being quite anxious today. I can only imagine what the defendants, defense team and prosecution are experiencing at this time.

      Many thanks,
      Kate

      • Kate
        06/24/2010 at 9:55 AM

        AND, of course, THE WONE FAMILY!

    • ccf
      06/24/2010 at 11:26 AM

      I’ve thinking of the possibility of such a perverse outcome as well.

    • AnnaZed
      06/24/2010 at 11:31 AM

      I wonder about this also. If the Judge finds that the evidence against Dylan Ward just does not support convicting him and Victor finds himself in hand-cuffs, what then. Victor has held the line for a long time, but this injury added to the long list of insults that he has absorbed in his relationship to Joe Price just might be too much.

      “Isn’t he our friend?”

      • RosieRiveted
        06/24/2010 at 2:59 PM

        I wonder if Victor’s family knows anything…and in an effort to save him, might sing? If I were them, I’d be so angry that my son was being risked by a charming/charismatic partner who seemed to not be very loyal…

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 5:53 PM

          I think its in the realm of possibility that Victor doesn’t know what happened that night.

          • mw
            06/24/2010 at 5:59 PM

            Absolutely. Plenty of reasonable doubt with regards to him, IMO. The government didn’t prove he obstructed or tampered of conspired. And you can’t hold his since slience since that night against him (even if he subsequently learned what happened)

            I wonder if it would have been better for the prosecutors to stiupulate to the defendants’ motion to sever (assuming the judge would have gone along with that stipulation). Maybe that would have promoted a more targeted prosecution

    • Wulfila
      06/24/2010 at 1:04 PM

      I do think that a scenario such as this might be the best possible result with regards to ever actually finding out what really happened that night. Obviously, it’s going to take one defendant’s turning on another, and if one feels unfairly punished vis-à-vis one of the others, that just might happen. They’re in for a penny, in for a pound at this point, but if it’s possible to turn that pound into 6-pence, the least guilty person (if you could describe them as such) would be crazy not to. (Then again, you’d have to be at least a tad crazy to have gone along with this whole scheme if you played no material role to begin with…)

    • Bill
      06/24/2010 at 1:43 PM

      Motive??? Where is the motive? It doesn’t make any sense.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 2:09 PM

        Motive he what rational people use to explain the actions of others. What was Jeffrey Dahmer’s motive? He was hungry?

        • John
          06/24/2010 at 2:32 PM

          Yes no motive in the normal sense. It was just sex
          play gone bad and then the cover up. The motive
          was to cover up the mess.

  8. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    06/24/2010 at 9:32 AM

    I read a brief article in the City Paper in which he mentioned the turtle sandbox cover. I didin’t see a photo of the cover, but I’m thinking the cover probably became soft and caved in from the oppressive heatwave that week. The article indicated that the cover was made of RUBBER.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 10:11 AM

      I paid a visit to ToysRUs yesterday to inspect a brand new Mr. Turtle. Pressing with the force needed to, say, guide a companion through a doorway was enough to slightly compress it.

      Also curious that there was no footprint, dirt from the yard, etc that would be reasonable to expect if someone stepped on it.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 10:17 AM

        Carolina, I don’t know if you saw my post from earlier today, but the “cover” was rubber. This make me think that 1) it wasn’t a hard plastic cover like I was imagining, and 2) it could have melted from the intense heat that week. It was high-90s and 100 degree heat that week.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/24/2010 at 10:18 AM

          ROFL!! Obvisouly you raed it….you repled to it. Where’s my coffee?

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 10:28 AM

          If it was really rubber, then this is a no brainer. The defense must really think the judge is a fool. If this were Lance Ito, we would have had a field trip to visit Mr. T on the set, wouldn’t we?

      • Aquanetta
        06/24/2010 at 11:20 AM

        Carolina, did you buy the last one…. All of a sudden all of the Mr Turtles are gone. 🙂

        • Kate
          06/24/2010 at 11:30 AM

          Very funny, Aquanetta.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 11:32 AM

          I am blameless, my need for Mr. T was satisfied in-store.

        • Aquanetta
          06/24/2010 at 11:53 AM

          Its all good. I was put on a waiting list… KINDA like my new IPHONE. 🙂

      • Gentle Reader
        06/24/2010 at 11:55 AM

        I have not been around a Mr Turtle sandbox in many years, but I do remember the cover was pretty flimsy. I would be inclined to think this particular dent was most likely made by a neighborhoodd cat using it as a landing spot or a napping place.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/24/2010 at 12:03 PM

          Nice observation, Gentle Reader.

          But also, the top was described as “rubber”….may not have been the original cover. Perhaps a rubber tarp or similar.

  9. chilaw79
    06/24/2010 at 9:39 AM

    I hope all of the lawyers give closing statements that set forth the case with clarity and enable Judge Leibowitz to reach a relatively quick and fair verdict.

    I am not going to make a prediction until I have read summaries of the closing statements.

    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
      06/24/2010 at 11:14 AM

      Chilaw-

      Wise to keep your own counsel, as always. I reserve the right to take the same position, with this caveat.

      While not in the prediction business, I have wrestled with every angle, including those I believe will pop up from the little discussed stipulations (such as the astounding lack of foreign fingerprints), trying to view each & every element in the most favorable light for the defendants.

      I am willing to go out on a limb without the benefit of reviewing the highlights of the closing summaries as to 3 matters only.

      1)I think it is quite posiible that this Judge will interrupt with questions, which is a horrible experience as it breaks your train of thought.

      2)Look for Joe Price to act as if he plans to take over his attorney’s closing. He seems to be escalating. Controlling a client like this is so excruciatingly difficult. I don’t envy Mr. Grimm at all.

      (In my fantasies, I imagine this happening at the last second. Joe gives his own closing.) If Joe Price does not visibly increase his efforts to openly be the 4th counsel, look for signs of very heavy sedation.

      3)Joe Price will be found guilty of at least 1 charge. I just cannot come to any other conclusion. There, I said it.

      I don’t believe in signs Hoya Loya, FWIW, I just believe that the evidence presented clearly supports (if not cries out for) a guilty finding beyond a reasonable doubt. For Joe Price alone, I am ready to call it, bring your toothbrush with you to the sentencing.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 11:29 AM

        To conspire you have to have more than 1 person, so if Joe is to be found guilty of conspiracy, Victor and/or Dylan would have to be found guilty of that charge as well. I see all three being found guilty of conspiracy.

        Obstruction…..seems like Joe could be found guilty of obstruction all on his own. The keys…calls to Kathy Wone to get information….asking to waive att/client priv….it appears he was up to no good.

        Tampering….Joe made incriminating statements to Tara R. about wiping up blood.

        I believe Joe will be found guilty of all 3 charges. Victor and Dylan guilty of conspiracy, but not obstruction.

        • AnnaZed
          06/24/2010 at 11:34 AM

          Two people can’t conspire? I didn’t know that you needed three. Are you sure of that?

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/24/2010 at 12:01 PM

            I said you need more than 1. That would be 2 (at least). (One or the other or both.) LOL We’re on the same page, AnnaZ.

            • AnnaZed
              06/24/2010 at 12:05 PM

              Ah yes, one plus one equals, now I have it (more coffee required to get to three). Sorry.

          • chilaw79
            06/24/2010 at 12:13 PM

            The DC statute is clear that a conspiracy requires two or more persons.

      • chilaw79
        06/24/2010 at 11:34 AM

        One of my best (and worst) attributes when I litigate is a nagging sense that there is something left undone or unsaid. These usually leave me with a terrible set of litigation jitters.

        In this case, there are dozens of things most of us would like to have seen or heard. What if the body had not been removed from the scene? If photographs had been taken with the body in place and the medical examiner had observed the body at the scene? What if the police officers who interviewed the defendants had been sensitive and had not tried to beat the defendants over the head with being gay men, but had simply tried to get the defendants to provide as much information as possible? What if the medical examiner had saved more blood or done more stringent toxicology tests? What if the Blackberry had been properly examined and retained as evidence? What if Ashley’s Reagent had not been used? I could go on and on.

        As the poet says, the saddest words, what might have been.

      • KiKi
        06/24/2010 at 11:41 AM

        Disclaimer: nothing posted below is meant to take away from the awful tragedy that has occurred in this case.

        I will make a prediction, because “why not?”, we are obviously sitting here refreshing our screens every 30 seconds waiting for an update. I sent my law clerks to watch and have not heard anything since 9:30 so i am getting restless and ready to predict.

        I think JP will be found guilty of tampering. I think that is it.

        Conspiracy (as I am sure the prosecutors on this blog will agree) is one of the hardest (if not the hardest crimes to prove). Without sounding like a law school professor, the elements of conspiracy themselves are very difficult to have evidence of (sans wiretapping, snitch, etc).

        Let’s take Dylan first – with Dylan I get hung up on the performing an act in furtherance of the conspiracy. What act has the prosecution “proven” that Dylan committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Now I know may of you will tell me it is his statements he made to the police that is exactly like the others, or that his statements don’t make sense, or it is possible there is a missing knife. And while all of these statements are true. I do not think they prove Dylan conspired BARD. People will say ridiculous things and will conform their stories to what those around them said/heard even in the most innocuous circumstances.

        Victor – the only prosecution argument that works for victor is the 911 call (leaving aside the above arguments about the statements which apply to all defendants). Lets assume when we are talking about Victor that RW was dead way before Victor makes the 911 call. He still made the 911 call. There is no evidence that Victor new about the body 35 minutes before he called. There is a scream, yes. But I would be pretty sad (as should all of you) if a person is convicted because a neighbor in Dupont heard a scream while Maureen Bunyan was talking on the box.

        Joe – I think Joe has a better defense for conspiracy than Victor. Where is Joe’s act? Do not just surmise, give me a specific act. A specific instance where the prosecution has proven Joe acted in furtherance of the conspiracy. Joe sees his friend, who has been stabbed. Joe acts like an a-hole, the police act like a collection of a-holes. That is what we know. Everything else is assumption.

        Now that being said. I think obstruction is harder for the defendants and since this post is already long enough I will collect my thoughts and post obstruction after I pour myself another cup of coffee.

        • Bea
          06/24/2010 at 12:04 PM

          KiKi, late last night I posted in Day 22 Wrap the BEST the DEFENSE could hope for and doing mental gymnastics to find reasonable doubt could see Dylan Ward being acquitted without much difficulty (and there’s irony in that), worked through another layer and could THEN see Victor being acquitted – but try as I might, I can see no other verdict that Joe being convicted of obstruction. And that Judge Leibovitz will throw the book at him in sentencing.

          • KiKi
            06/24/2010 at 12:14 PM

            I saw that Bea – and I think your points (as always) are much clearer on the issues than mine. I am now going to attempt to put together a coherent argument for Joe Price being found NG of Obstruction. – Talk about mental gymnastics!

            • rivetted
              06/24/2010 at 1:31 PM

              KiKi, Bea, if Joe is found guilty of obstruction, what would “throwing the book at him” look like, at sentencing?

              • KiKi
                06/24/2010 at 1:57 PM

                I have not practiced in DC since the voluntary sentencing guidelines were instituted but the statute itself says 3-30 or 10k fine or both. I think people much more versed in DC sentencing practices discussed this a few days back.

        • chilaw79
          06/24/2010 at 12:14 PM

          The DC statute requires only one person in the conspiracy to have committed one of the charged overt acts.

          • KiKi
            06/24/2010 at 12:26 PM

            But they must all act in furtherance of the conspiracy. I will give you an overt act on anyone of them but you can’t prove to me that the other two “acted in furtherance of the conspiracy.” And that is supreme court precedent – See the discussion below with themis re: Grunewald/Krulewitch line.

            • chilaw79
              06/24/2010 at 12:46 PM

              The three elements of conspiracy under the DC statute are:

              1. Two or more persons formed an agreement to commit a crime (e.g.,obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence);

              2. The defendant knowingly participated in the conspiracy with the intent to commit the offense; and

              3. At least on person involved in the conspiracy committed one of the charged overt acts.

              In the case of obstruction of justice, the elements under the DC statute are:

              1. The defendant endeavored to influence, delay, or prevent the truthful testimony of a potential witness in an official proceeding;

              2. The defendant did so by threatening the witness or by sending a threatening communication;

              3. The defendant had the specific intent to influence, delay, or prevent the witness from testifying; and

              4. The person being influenced was a witness or potential witness.

              See prediction below.

              • KiKi
                06/24/2010 at 12:57 PM

                Ok… I am not sure what your point is. My prediction above is referring to whether anyone of them acted in furtherance of the conspiracy. This would equal element 2 of your pasted statute above.

                Overt act (3)=1 person not necessarily the defendant charged. Acting in furtherance (2) must be proven for the defendant charged. So my above arguments go to element 2 of the statute.

              • KiKi
                06/24/2010 at 1:13 PM

                And as far as obstruction I was using section (a)(6) in my argument below:

                “Corruptly, or by threats of force, any way obstructs or impedes or endeavors to obstruct or impede the due administration of justice in any official proceeding.”

                Which is the section they are indicted on not (a)(2) as you cite above.

                • chilaw79
                  06/24/2010 at 3:17 PM

                  The (a)(6) provision is an omnibus provision aimed at proceedings.

                  • KiKi
                    06/24/2010 at 3:25 PM

                    Albeit, but that is what is cited in their indictment.

        • KiKi
          06/24/2010 at 12:42 PM

          Ok and Fresh cup of coffee and here is Obstruction:

          Since Bea gave a defense summation for Dylan and Victor on this charge yesterday I will try Joe. As I said above that conspiracy is one of the hardest crimes to prove, Obstruction I think is one of the easiest. I had a client’s mother who was tried and convicted of obstruction because when asked where her son was she said “I don’t know.” And that was technically obstruction.

          As I said in my above post – Joe acted like an a-hole in his police interrogation and in his statements there after. I think the statement alone could technically prove obstruction. But as we talked about the other day we need that mens rea.

          Here is how I would start my argument on the obstruction: “If Joe Price is guilty of obstruction of justice, then so are many members of the MPD, the secret service and the MEO. In fact, the interferences of those three agencies lead to more obstruction than any act of Mr. Price.

          Did Mr. Price say things to the officers that have later turned out to be untrue? Absolutely. But did Mr. Price do so with the intent to obstruct justice?

          Or did Mr. Price simply get facts wrong? Did he just try to make sense of a non-sensical situation? Did his ego get the best of him? I would submit the answers to these questions are far more likely yes.

          And even if you think it is possible or even highly likely that Mr. Price acted with the intent to interfere you still must acquit. Unless the government has proven to you BARD that Mr. Price’s statement were for no other reason than to interfere with a police investigation then you must acquitt.”

          Now lets take the matter of Michael Price and the failure to tell the police of MP’s key. here there are 2 problems. 1 the intent problem. Can we prove it was not a mere oversight. Where is the witness who heard JP say “we can’t tell the cops about MP’s key?” – there is none.

          Problem 2 – You can’t prove that this failure lead to any sort of interference. Once the cops knew MP had the key what happened? There is not even any evidence that MP was interviewed or attempted to be interviewed by the police.

          • AnnaZed
            06/24/2010 at 12:50 PM

            I know what you are saying and I do understand that the Judge can’t just find Joe guilty of being an asshole (fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it).

          • chilaw79
            06/24/2010 at 3:40 PM

            I spent a long lunch hour trying to puzzle through the obstruction of justice statute and some of the case law. As I read it, the (a)(6) provision under which the defendants are charged is an omnibus provision that goes to obstructing or impeding an investigation or proceeding. The other provisions focus on obstruction related to specific participants in official proceedings: people who are expected to testify, jurors, judges, etc. The “victim” of this type of obstruction is the investigation into Robert Wone’s murder, but I still think there has to be a practical showing that the obstruction was aimed at a potential witness or the elimination of some other evidence.

            Isn’t the neighbor across the street who went with Dylan into Swann Street after the burglary the witness to the delay? Dylan knew that Michael had a key and was scared to go into Swann Street alone?

            It is hard to say what all the evidence was given the stipulations, documents, telephone numbers, and other information available to Judge Leibowitz. Somehow, I thought that Michael had an alibi witness.

            • BadShoes
              06/24/2010 at 4:05 PM

              “I thought Michael had an alibi witness.”

              When he testified, neither the prosecution nor the defense ever asked Mr. Hinton about Michael Price’s whereabouts on August 2nd.

              So, Michael Price no alibi (AFAIK) in evidence.

              • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                06/24/2010 at 4:40 PM

                BadShoes-

                You are correct. Sigh.

                I was hoping to hear all about Louis Hinton’s diary in which he took such careful note of the nights they were in bed together.

                But it never came in after all the hoopla & anticipation.

        • Lyn
          06/24/2010 at 1:21 PM

          kiki said: “I think Joe has a better defense for conspiracy than Victor. Where is Joe’s act? Do not just surmise, give me a specific act. A specific instance where the prosecution has proven Joe acted in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

          Multiple witnesses reported seeing Price muzzle Zaborsky and Ward when they began to answer questions asked of them by the police.

          • KiKi
            06/24/2010 at 1:27 PM

            Because he is a lawyer and as a lawyer he was advising two laymen that anything they say can be used against them. or he was constipated and gave them a weird look. Or he was concerned and upset by the whole situation. I do not think that is proof of a conspiracy.

            • Lyn
              06/24/2010 at 2:55 PM

              Oh, of course. Constipation just happens to kick in at the exact moment another member of the trouple begins to respond to a police inquiry. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

              Thanks for providing much needed comic relief.

          • chilaw79
            06/24/2010 at 2:41 PM

            Joe told Sara not to return to Swann Street.

            Joe contacted Kathy Wone’s lawyer to see if he could find out what she had told the police.

            Joe told the police he would provide a list of people with keys to Swann Street and did not do so, so the police did not find out about Michael Price’s key until the burglary occurred and the three defendants discussed how to handle it.

            • KiKi
              06/24/2010 at 2:59 PM

              “Joe told Sara not to return to Swann Street.” – Because there was an active police investigation.

              “Joe contacted Kathy Wone’s lawyer to see if he could find out what she had told the police.” – Because her husband was found stabbed in his house and the police have accused him of murder, not to mention the police comments about Robert. Maybe he wanted to make sure the police treated her a little better.

              “Joe told the police he would provide a list of people with keys to Swann Street and did not do so, so the police did not find out about Michael Price’s key until the burglary occurred” – See my comment above in response Lyn, but additionally the police never followed up on the list.

              “and the three defendants discussed how to handle it.”” – So maybe they should be charged with obstructing the burglary.

              • galoon
                06/24/2010 at 3:50 PM

                That morning, when Sarah asked Joe if she should talk to police, he advised her against doing so. Why?

              • David
                06/24/2010 at 3:52 PM

                “Joe told Sara not to return to Swann Street.” Or because he didn’t want her talking to police before he had time to talk to her first.

                The other interesting poinst Kirschner brought up in his closing was the conversation at Kathy Wone’s home after the murder. Joe did all talking, and when he left the room, Victor and Dylan just sat there and didn’t even talk to Kathy. They didn’t mention a word to her.

                • chilaw79
                  06/24/2010 at 4:32 PM

                  Why would Joe be worried about what Sarah said to police, other than to impede her cooperation, since they knew she was at a friend’s home (and it does not appear that anyone bothered to check on her well being following Robert’s murder). Joe claimed he thought she might have come home, but no one bothered to check on her either until the next morning, when Joe called her at the crack of dawn.

      • JJNSYR
        06/24/2010 at 12:30 PM

        Looks like you were right – alot of interruptions forcing the gov’t to prove each and every component – this will however shield her verdict on appeal.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 12:39 PM

          Does the clock stop when the judge interrupts?

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 2:11 PM

            Must have; she let him run long. Can’t imagine that happening any other way with this judge.

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 2:35 PM

              Carolina-

              She let him run so long Victor’s mother made an angry outburst.

              It will be interesting to see if the defense crew also go over. One of them is the Judge’s former boss from the DC USA Homicide Division.

              She was hoping to keep to strict time constraints in order to render a verdict today. I no longer think that is possible.

              That is my prediction, no decision today.

              Eds, observers, stringers, anybody? Did she say how much time would allow for Rebuttal?

              • David
                06/24/2010 at 3:45 PM

                Judge Leibovitz said Glenn Kirschner would be alotted half hour rebuttal after the defenses closing arguments.

                David, co-ed.

                • Carolina
                  06/24/2010 at 4:22 PM

                  I tend to think this favors acquittal. While she may think the common sense verdict is guilty, she has reasonable doubt and wants to be sure she gives the prosecution every chance to make the case. If they can’t pull it out of their ass, they’re done and can’t blame it on anyone but their case as they presented it.

          • chilaw79
            06/24/2010 at 3:41 PM

            I think it is like soccer.

      • gina
        06/24/2010 at 2:11 PM

        Thank you FCSOP-I always gain so much insight from your posts, (along with so many others on this blog, hoyaloya, bea, bill o, carolina, the list just goes on and on!) I too relish the thought of him jumping up and taking over, thoroughly exposing himself. Heavy mood depressants will have to be employed.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 2:45 PM

          He looks pretty happy in the picture. It caught my eye and I had to read the photo caption to believe what I was seeing. He looks like he is having a great time.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/24/2010 at 2:50 PM

          Gina-

          Thank you for your very kind praise. I am glad to know at least some of you have enjoyed my contributions.

          As well sharing in my fantasy vision of Joe finally just doing it: in your face, strutting his stuff instead of being limited to conferencing, note passing, mouthing & banging his leg so violently his body rocks.

          I so wish he would do his own closing. It is not evidence, so nothing he could say can be held against him. Grimm is up last, a last minute substitution would definitely end this with a bang.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 4:33 PM

            FCSOP

            Are you in court watching?

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 4:42 PM

              Tucson-

              Nope, just “watching” on my computer.

              Same as you.

              • tucsonwriter
                06/24/2010 at 5:57 PM

                I keep trying to walk away. Really I do.

  10. cinnamon
    06/24/2010 at 9:43 AM

    As a follower of this blog for several months, today feels so heavy. I can’t imagine what it feels like for the Wone’s and for the defendants and their families.

    I hope all get the justice that they deserve.

  11. BigEinDC
    06/24/2010 at 9:55 AM

    I have been a “lurker” on this site for quite some time, following it constantly since just before the trial started. I want to thank the editors and the peanut gallery for their reporting and analysis. There are some real smarty-pants folks following this site. Let’s hope the judge has the analytical skills of some of the commentariat (and I think I’m in love with Bea – LOL).

    Here’s hoping that justice is done and the Wone family can get some closure.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/24/2010 at 10:08 AM

      Move over BigE! We’re all in love with Bea!! LOL

      Seriously, though…..Bea has always been this lovely voice of reason when passionate discourse gets the best of us. I thank her for that.

    • Aquanetta
      06/24/2010 at 11:26 AM

      So says… the Peanut Gallery

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 12:04 PM

        😀

  12. LegallyConfused
    06/24/2010 at 9:56 AM

    Will there be update summaries posted throughout today of the closing statements, or will we have to wait for the end of the day Wrap?

  13. Hoya Loya
    06/24/2010 at 9:57 AM

    I don’t really believe in signs. But something happened this morning that, to paraphrase EMT Baker, made my hair stand on end.

    “Wendy the Wedding Singer” has been performing on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal in NYC every Thursday morning for years. When I arrived this morning, adding to the weirdness, on an earlier than usual train, she was just finishing “What a Wonderful World.”

    • Kate
      06/24/2010 at 10:02 AM

      Wow, Hoya Loya – that must have been a strange moment.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/24/2010 at 10:07 AM

        I know, I know, its a popular song that is played often, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Wendy” sing it before despite years of hearing her. And had I caught my usual train, I wouldn’t have heard it today.

        I’d like to think of it as a “sign” that Robert is okay with whatever goes down today.

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

          That’s a lovely thought.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/24/2010 at 11:56 AM

          Hoya,

          Oh my, at the last minute I think you are going soft on me. What a tell. There is only 1 result that allows Robert Wone to rest in peace.

          You ARE siding with the angels on this one. Let justice be done & so that the wicked will not remain free among us. I pray for this as well.

          Have you ever heard Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version which is a medley of “What a Wonderful World” & “Over The Rainbow”? It is truly sublime. A real treat if you have never listened to it before.

        • gina
          06/24/2010 at 3:16 PM

          I am a superstitious person by nature and am always looking for signs-and this one totally made my day! Fingers crossed for GUILTY x 3.

    • cinnamon
      06/24/2010 at 10:26 AM

      Wow. This brought a tear to my eye.

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 2:38 PM

        Me too Cinnamon. Emotions are running high. Whatever happens, I think I’ll miss the great reporting by the very dedicated WMRW team, and the lively discussion among the posters. It’s been very educational.

    • AnnaZed
      06/24/2010 at 11:21 AM

      More synchronicity, last night I actually burned the steaks. I thought of Joe.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 11:40 AM

        I will assume you did not turn the hose on them in tribute.

        • Kate
          06/24/2010 at 12:37 PM

          Very funny.

          Thanks

        • HKG
          06/24/2010 at 12:55 PM

          Hahah! Witty as ever!

  14. Lee
    06/24/2010 at 10:04 AM

    The prosecution needs to focus on conviction rather than explanation. As I said on Day 21 Wrap, the entire focus of the summation should be:

    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 if it doesn’t support these basic points. At this point, we are not going to be able to figure out what happened, who was involved, or who actually killed Robert Wone.

    This idle speculation about what happened at Swann Street, while fascinating and engrossing, really misses the point of the current trial.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 10:14 AM

      Let us hope the prosecution cuts their arguments so clearly.

  15. LegallyConfused
    06/24/2010 at 10:16 AM

    Oh, and kudos to the editors and many commentors who have contributed to a better understanding of the legal process in a criminal case. It has been a revelation to me.
    Although I have already served as a juror in DC on two criminal cases, and am comfortable with the verdicts we, as a jury, reached, I think I will be better prepared to serve as a juror in the future as a result of reading the analyses, and possible interpretations that have been presented on this blog. This blog has done a real public service, and the editors et al. should be commended for it. Thank you!!

    I,too, have confidence that justice will be served by Judge Leibovitz’ decisions–whatever they may be.

  16. BenFranklin
    06/24/2010 at 10:45 AM

    It will be a resounding verdict! This judge will rule with the benefit of Science & the wisdom of Solomon on her side.

    I hope everyone here is ready to fully embrace the totality of the verdict in their heart.

    Nothing more to see here. Now go fix the MPD. Move along.

    • Lyn
      06/24/2010 at 10:57 AM

      Is “Science” a proper noun?

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 11:04 AM

        A very important point. I suppose if one were to speak of it in the greater sense, the science of science, then it might work. Perhaps as a meta topic? I seem to recall Lee has an excellent grasp of the language and would appreciate him making a call on this one.

        Leave it to BF to bring about such a brainbending, last minute dilemma.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/24/2010 at 11:18 AM

          Whenever I see BF, I get the same feeling….it’s the feelign you get when you’ve had a party and it ended around midnight…and then you hear a knock on the door at 12:30. You know that feeling, don’t you?

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 11:43 AM

            I think we may attend parties in similar circles.

          • HKG
            06/24/2010 at 12:57 PM

            Nice one, gave me a good laugh!

          • TK
            06/24/2010 at 2:40 PM

            Yep, CD!

        • Lee
          06/24/2010 at 11:19 AM

          Thanks for the vote of confidence, Carolina! I’m by no means an expert on language or usage, though. I am, however, qualified to give an opinion on BenFranklin and his posts.

          Science is not a proper noun. Unless, of course, you are speaking German. But if you hurdle the fence at Swann Street without leaving a trace, you can disable yourself by grasping your joint. Or something like that,

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 11:51 AM

            I say if the intruder can do all that, he is entitled to make science a proper noun. BF, however, is not.

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 12:30 PM

              I wonder if BenF has ever heard the Thomas Dolby song, “She Blinded Me With Science”?

              Lee, doesn’t that title usage present “Science” as a noun? Artistic license, perhaps.

              Maybe BenF is actually trapped in an 80s time warp.

              • Carolina
                06/24/2010 at 1:34 PM

                Having lived through the offending decade, I can think of no one who is more deserving of vertical blinds and soft pastels.

      • NYer
        06/24/2010 at 1:26 PM

        BF her is reverting to the 18th-century writing style…it is as the real Ben Franklin would write it.

    • Kate
      06/24/2010 at 11:04 AM

      Morning Ben – I believe everyone here has great faith in Judge L. and trust that justice will prevail. Whatever that verdict may be, the finder of fact will be reasonable, methodical and honorable.

      • Lee
        06/24/2010 at 11:23 AM

        Kate,

        This is way off-topic, but I’ve been thinking about the concept since you first mentioned it: What are Nineteenth Century undergarments? And does that category include burlap thongs?

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/24/2010 at 11:32 AM

          Lee, I’m so glad you asked. I was very curious ever since Kate mentioned that!

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/24/2010 at 11:43 AM

          Burlap thong for BenF, nah, I am thing more along the lines of a hair shirt.

          “A garment of rough cloth made from goats’ hair and worn in the form of a shirt or as a girdle around the loins, by way of mortification and penance.”

          Kate, what say you?

          • Kate
            06/24/2010 at 12:30 PM

            I say – burlap thong AND hair shirt! A definite fashion statement for those inclined to grouchiness, like our friend, Ben.

            The wearing of such an ensemble would certainly enhance the desire to grumble, cajole, berate, etc. Not to mention the effect it would have on those who find discomfort an exciting prospect.

            Great thought, Former Prosecutor!
            Kate

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 12:39 PM

              Kate,

              Thank you, following up your comments, to finish the ensemble, what BenF really needs is a scold’s bridle. That will lessen the noise considerably.

              I wonder if Dylan Ward would be so kind as to lend BenF one of those he was holding for Culuket.

              • Kate
                06/24/2010 at 5:27 PM

                Yes, perfect accessory.

                You have a bright future in the fashion industry!

                • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                  06/24/2010 at 6:09 PM

                  Kate-

                  Thanks!

                  After this gig, I am hoping to style Lady GaGa.

                  She is quite fond of that sort of thing.

                  Did you ever read Minette Walter’s book, “The Scold’s Bridle”?

                  She evoked the best sense of how & why someone’s personality might be twisted by repeated child…I better not spoil it for anyone out there.

                  It is a great read. “Nuff said.

        • Kate
          06/24/2010 at 12:20 PM

          Lee – thank you for the laugh. But, since you asked, here goes (and to everyone else, I apologize in advance for the following):

          Fortunately for the women in the mid-19th century, they were spared the burlap thong – that seems to have a more modern derivation and was designed for those who enjoy extraordinary chaffing and discomfort in the naughty bits regions of their anatomy.

          Itchy thongs aside, women of that century were required by societal convention and fashion to wear an awful lot of under pinnings, none of which were especially designed for comfort or ease of movement.

          On any given day, a woman would dress in the following garments (in order of how they were donned):

          1. Chemise – a short sleeved, cotton garment quite like a modern nightgown, which came to below the knee to mid-calf.

          2. Corset – usually made of heavy cotton canvas with an average of 22 steel bones attached. This was laced up the back to give the torso the proper shape from above the breast to a few inches below the hips. In other words, a very big, tight bra, that also assisted in supporting the weight of many layers, and several yards of fabric.

          3. Drawers – made of cotton, these had a waistband with legs attached, but open at the crotch. The legs usually came to just below the knee to mid-calf. They were put on over the corset, and the underlying chemise was tucked in – rather like a diaper.

          4. Under Petticoat – worn over the above. In warm weather this garment was made of cotton, in winter, it would be wool.

          5. Crinoline or Hoop – these came in various widths, but certainly nothing as big as in “Gone with the Wind.” They were usually made of bands of watch spring covered with fabric and held together by bands of canvas strapping. Fashion dictated a full skirt and the armature of a crinoline created the proper shape without the weight of many, many petticoats.

          5. Over Petticoat – one or two were worn over the crinoline and were made of cotton and heavily starched. They added more fullness and prevented the wires of the hoop from ghosting through the outer garments.

          6. Outer Garment – A dress! The average day dress required 7-9 yards of fabric.

          From frequent first-hand experience in wearing such garments for historic interpretive programs I can attest to their weight and insulating properties. And believe it or not, you get quite accustomed to it.

          Lee, that is mid-19th century undergarments in a nutshell and certainly more information than you, or anyone else here, would ever need to know!

          And – do we get to hear of NASA from a rocket scientist?

          Cheers and sorry for the off-topic diatribe,
          Kate

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 12:24 PM

            Wow. Fashion dictates….

            Thanks, Kate. And I thought heels were a hassle.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/24/2010 at 1:04 PM

              tucson….that made me laugh out load at my desk!

          • Lee
            06/24/2010 at 12:29 PM

            Kate,

            Thank you for the information. The crotchless drawers are obviously from Fredrick’s of Hollywood.

            NASA has its own acronym-designated undergarment–the WCD. That’s waste collection device. Astronauts do not–under any circumstances–wear diapers. Although, to the uninitiated, a WCD looks exactly like a pair of Depends.

            Keep up the good work.

            • Kate
              06/24/2010 at 12:39 PM

              The many wonderful things that come from NASA research – first Tang (remember that) and then Depends.

              What a Wonderful World!

              Thanks, Lee,
              Kate

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 12:59 PM

              Lee-

              WCDs aren’t diapers?

              There was a lot of discussion regarding a different Bill O & his former lover Lisa Nowak, the “astro-nut”, in that she had driven across the country with a supply of some kind of diaper to prevent the need to pitstop.

              Therefore, you must be a spokesperson for NASA in that they fell all over themselves denying she had come up with the idea while wearing her WCD.

              It was not their finest hour, from Bill O’s reckless philandering to his lack of knowledge regarding how computers or emails work to the OMG content of the emails themselves.

              I wish I had never learned that astronauts are bored with flying Top Gun, viewed their superiors with such contempt, are too dumb to pass protect personal emails on their work computer,& eliminate their body waste into DIAPERS, um, WCD.

              I have a classmate from my teen years at NASA. Is Lee your middle name?

              • Lee
                06/24/2010 at 1:30 PM

                It is, indeed.

                • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                  06/24/2010 at 1:59 PM

                  Marshall Space Flight Center?

                  • Lee
                    06/24/2010 at 5:48 PM

                    Dryden Flight Research Center. Edwards, CA.

                    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                      06/24/2010 at 6:43 PM

                      Lee-

                      You tease.

                      You are retired.

                      “I’m retired from my career as an aerospace engineer with NASA.”

                      So not actually still working at Dryden.

          • Bill 2
            06/24/2010 at 4:11 PM

            Kate – A lot of that stuff was still worn in the mid-20th century. Where? In convents (prior to Vatican II reforms in the mid-60s). My mother taught novices and postulants in a nunnery in the DC suburbs. One day, during a very rainy spell, she had to get something out of their large garage and found they had put up clotheslines to dry the wash. She couldn’t resist looking at all the many garments that were worn under the black habit and veil. Of course, they didn’t wear corsets, but there were many layers of underthings beneath what we saw nuns wearing. All had a label with the name of the owner. At the dinner table that night, we had some good laughs over which nuns wore the biggest bloomers.

            • Kate
              06/24/2010 at 5:33 PM

              Bill 2 – I’m Catholic as well. As a child, I wanted to be a nun.

              In retrospect, it must have been an attraction to the clothing….

              I’m a clothes horse to this day – in three centuries, no less!

      • commonsensewillprevailihope
        06/24/2010 at 1:26 PM

        A verdict of innocent does not necessarily mean they are innocent. It could mean there was an inadequate prosecution case, or a botched police investigation, or a stupid judge or jury. In this case it appears the judge is quite sharp so if she aquits it may well mean the case was not made to the legal standard in her view. However, there is nothing in the constitution that requires American citizens to suspend their own common sense or judgement. OJ was acquitted and I am completely convinced he is a heinous murderer. I did not embrace the totality of that verdict or believe that justice was done. In this case, if their is acquittal on some charges, I suspect the judge will feel terrible about it on a personal level because she heard enough at the trial that was extremely suspicious that she probably has a strong feeling that these people did something very wrong. Personally, I think there is substantial evidence of obstruction (no opinion on conspiracy because of the technical legal issues).

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 1:38 PM

          Well said.

        • Daphne
          06/24/2010 at 2:11 PM

          The verdict is “not guilty,” not “innocent.” Big difference.

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

      Just remember, Acquitted does not equal Innocent.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/24/2010 at 11:28 AM

        But if we trust our system, it should indeed equal “innocent of these charges.” It means the case wasn’t proven, the defendants cannot be retried on the charges and that they are free to try to resume what’s left of their lives.

        • commonsensewillprevailihope
          06/24/2010 at 12:46 PM

          They can be charged with murder later if a Michael Skakel event ocurrs, for example. Meaning one day more evidence might emerge, perhaps due to dropped guard after this acquittal or due to discord among the three, or four.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/24/2010 at 12:51 PM

            Or “someone” directly involved runs his mouth.

          • tassojunior
            06/24/2010 at 1:05 PM

            I wonder how easy it would be to try Ward (or Z)for murder after there’s been a judicial decision they did not tamper with evidence.

            • Kate
              06/24/2010 at 5:35 PM

              That’s a great question, Tasso.

              I wonder if a strong leagl mind would weigh in?

              (Even though we’ve moved to another page.) Lots of activity, today.

              Kate

    • AnnaZed
      06/24/2010 at 11:26 AM

      “…I hope everyone here is ready to fully embrace the totality of the verdict in their heart.”

      I am prepared to do that.

  17. Bill 2
    06/24/2010 at 10:55 AM

    “I hope everyone here is ready to fully embrace the totality of the verdict…”

    And I hope you repeat those words while looking in the mirror.

  18. Daphne
    06/24/2010 at 11:07 AM

    Thank you eds for all your fine work. May justice prevail.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 11:49 AM

      Uh, okay.

      • AnnaZed
        06/24/2010 at 12:09 PM

        I have been spending a lot of time with my boy-friend’s teenaged sons. The younger one (13) persists in calling other people “retarded” while the older one (19) seems to have grown out of it.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 12:14 PM

          I thought it was ruh-tard now, after “The Hangover.”

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 12:36 PM

          Oh Joe, you’re not 25. Not even in a dark club can that mistake be made.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 12:52 PM

            Did you just threaten me? Really?

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/24/2010 at 12:58 PM

              I have an ignore button my keyboard.

              • Ohio
                06/24/2010 at 3:54 PM

                I want one

                • Ohio
                  06/24/2010 at 3:59 PM

                  an ignore button that is

            • Lee
              06/24/2010 at 12:59 PM

              Since I can’t reply to “uh” below, I’ll comment here.

              uh–

              There is absolutely no reason to lash out at Carolina as you have. If it were up to me, I’d kick your ass off this blog in a heartbeat.

            • Bea
              06/24/2010 at 1:24 PM

              Dear uh,

              Piss off.

              Others: shall we begin our non sequitur sequence with Uh until the Eds. ban him?

              • akibrasil
                06/24/2010 at 2:01 PM

                Yes please

          • TK
            06/24/2010 at 2:45 PM

            LOL Carolina

      • KKinCA
        06/24/2010 at 1:05 PM

        Eds – can you get rid of this troll? He is being so rude and disrespectful to some of my favorite posters!

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 1:19 PM

          His adolescent trolling makes me nostalgic. Ah, for the young, innocent days of the internet.

          You know what I really want to know?

          Where Lawmed went.

          He came, he disbursed massive amounts of information to support sympathetic interpretations of the medical evidence, then POOF! Gone. I was hoping for that epic review of all the medical evidence from someone who claimed to be a longtime member of a trauma team. He went so far as to insinuate he was at UofMD ShockTrauma.

          I tended to believe him, mostly because he bristled so at me thinking him to be at Johns Hopkins. Only a Terp would be so put out.

          • Kate
            06/24/2010 at 5:39 PM

            I’ve wondered what happened to him/her, as well.

            I found the insights extremely helpful … and he /she was always very polite.

            Quite unlike our baby-buddy, “uh.”

            (Silly youth.)

  19. tassojunior
    06/24/2010 at 11:40 AM

    Saying there is no evidence of an intruder is a stretch and what lack of evidence there is was the result of the police intentionally not wanting to develop it (just as in the Riley Fox murder case on 20/20).

    Granted one of the “3 homosexuals” could have opened the rear door to stage an intruder scenario. But the trashcan placed upside down next to the shed and fence while the other three cans are the way the trash truck left them, the sunglasses left on the roof of the shed, and the squashed Mr. Turtle cover that the neighbor’s housekeeper alerted police was not squashed the evening before, all are things that would not be expected to be staged.

    The criminality is that the police did not look for footprints on the trashcan, on or around the sandbox cover, or even take the sunglasses to trace or print. For those of us interested in Who Murdered Robert Wone this would have been a little more comforting.

    To stage an intruder story it would have been easy to have unlocked the front door, to have opened a window or door upstairs, or at least to have opened the rear gate. To insist it’s the less obvious entry and exclude others makes it seem more truthful, especially when supporting evidence to that entry later appears.

    Homicide detectives in DC often make over $200K/yr and that warrants a little detective work. I would also have expected questioning of Ward’s sexual contacts as he was the normal occupant of the 2nd floor, not the victim. Questioning about homosexual activity may be repugnant to detectives are are proudly admitted homophobes, but if they continue to come into DC to work because of the high pay, they should at least earn their (my taxpayer) money.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 11:47 AM

      You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.

      Talking Heads aside, you’d go a long way toward making a valid point if you stopped throwing out “facts” and started backing them up.

    • Lyn
      06/24/2010 at 12:22 PM

      Tasso,

      In your opinion, what percentage probability do you assign to burglars typically wearing dark sunglasses during nighttime burglaries involving dark alleys and unlit homes? An answer consisting of just the percentage chance will suffice.

      Thanks in advance.

      • tassojunior
        06/24/2010 at 12:32 PM

        You’re assuming it would have been a random burglar and you’re assuming they couldn’t have come in earlier.

        • Lee
          06/24/2010 at 12:37 PM

          The trouple had noticed the strange disappearance of food during the three weeks before the murder but hadn’t put it all together until just now: The intruder was a burglar who had been hiding in the house for some time.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 12:42 PM

            My tea nearly made its way out my nose. Blast you, Lee.

            • Lee
              06/24/2010 at 12:46 PM

              My pleasure!

              • Carolina
                06/24/2010 at 12:59 PM

                It had all the best elements of a classic Far Side. I’m still smiling, and that takes some work today.

              • Kate
                06/24/2010 at 5:41 PM

                That was great, Lee.

        • Lyn
          06/24/2010 at 12:47 PM

          Ok, then:

          1. What percentage chance would you assign to a non-random burglar (or a ninja assassin) wearing dark sunglasses during nighttime burglaries in dark alleys and unlit homes?

          and…

          2. What percentage chance would you assign to a non-random burglar arriving during daylite hours, entering the house undetected by any of its four residents, hiding in the house for several hours undetected by any of four residents, killing someone after all had gone to sleep and then leaving his sunglasses on the shed on the way in or out?

          An answer consisting of just the percentage chances will suffice.

          • Lee
            06/24/2010 at 12:52 PM

            I think the correct answer from tassojunior’s corner is: The MPD botched the investigation; there is a lot of homophobia in D.C.; and, if you don’t look under your bed at night, there are ninja burglars hidden there always.

            Or, as Groucho Marx once said, “Boogie, boogie, boogie!”

          • tassojunior
            06/24/2010 at 1:14 PM

            Enough of a percentage in a murder, even if it’s less than 1, to have warranted taking the sunglasses and looking for footprints on the garbage can, on the sandbox and surrounding area.

            • Lyn
              06/24/2010 at 1:30 PM

              A non-answer answer. Exactly what I suspected you would provide.

              When your best argument in support of an intruder committing the crime is a theory that burglars wear sunglasses when committing their crimes in the dark of night and you are too ashamed to publicly state a probability of such a ridiculous notion, then it doesn’t seem to me that you’ve got much meat on the bone of your argument.

              • Lee
                06/24/2010 at 1:34 PM

                Burglars wear dark glasses at night so you cannot see them. Get with it, Lyn!

                • Lyn
                  06/24/2010 at 1:39 PM

                  Oh yeah, sorry. Just like when my little tots hide from me by covering their eyes. I can’t see them when they do that.

                • Carolina
                  06/24/2010 at 1:40 PM

                  It really is a Day of The 80s. Who did that song…Corey Hart, maybe? Must look now.

                  • tucsonwriter
                    06/24/2010 at 1:53 PM

                    update to now: song for this site: Spoon’s “The Mystery Zone.” Great song.

              • tassojunior
                06/24/2010 at 2:26 PM

                So your best argument as to why police did not take much less trace or fingerprint the sunglasses is that it was dark? What if they had turned out to have been Collins’? Wouldn’t have mattered because it was dark?

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                  06/24/2010 at 2:34 PM

                  Pssst. Tasso.

                  Remember no evidence of anyone climbing over the fence was found.

                • Nora
                  06/24/2010 at 2:44 PM

                  Tasso, do you even live in the city? There is junk everywhere around my block, particularly on top of roofs, sheds, etc. Thousands of people live in cities, people drop or discard things, and these things accumulate. Open your mind to the fact that every single thing found near that house did not necessarily have anything to do with the murder.

                  Sunglasses are not worn at 11:00 at night anyway, except by Corey Hart. Who I think was busy negotiating with WH1 that night.

                • Lyn
                  06/24/2010 at 2:58 PM

                  Here is a straw, please grasp at it.

      • Wulfila
        06/24/2010 at 1:54 PM

        Or what about a burglar who doesn’t actually, um, burgle? Kinda odd to pass up the treasure trove on the first floor, plus Robert’s watch, wallet, and Blackberry. Any burglar who’s taken Burgling 101 knows not to pass those up and not to murder someone who doesn’t even know you are there.

        If there was an “intruder”, then his/her only obvious intention was to murder Robert Wone. Kinda far-fetched at best.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 2:16 PM

          He obviously did not remember the cannoli.

        • tassojunior
          06/24/2010 at 2:18 PM

          I’d say any intruder with a motive was there to murder Ward.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 2:30 PM

            Then why would such an intruder walk right by his door? Where he was reading his article. With the lights on.

            • Carolina
              06/24/2010 at 4:31 PM

              No one claimed he was a GOOD intruder, TW.

              • Lee
                06/24/2010 at 4:58 PM

                If there was an intruder, there can be no doubt of the intruder’s skills at gaining entrance into target locations and not leaving a trace.

                I think tassojunior may have hit upon the key to this intruder theory (again). The intruder was not that bright. He knew how to get in and out, but he didn’t know how to find the correct person to murder. The intruder might have been after Ward, but he might have been after a different person, The intruder might have even been looking for a different house. In fact, the target for this intruder might have been in a different city entirely.

                • Bea
                  06/24/2010 at 5:02 PM

                  Maybe the intruder was hired by Diane Ward to retrieve the knife to fill her “butcher block” – I cannot in good faith finish this. Lee’s point is well taken though – this dumb intruder who was supposed to kill the wayward Ward (and for what? not making good use of his many degrees?) – is too far fetched.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/24/2010 at 4:34 PM

            Was Ward a double agent for the S&MBI, or something????? Do tell Tasso! I’m hanging on the edge of my seat!

          • commonsensewillprevailihope
            06/24/2010 at 5:06 PM

            If this ludicrousness is the best a FOJ can come up with, well, then J is on his way to the jailhouse.

    • interestedobserver
      06/24/2010 at 12:53 PM

      Tassojunior: “Homicide detectives in DC often make over $200K/yr…” Where’s your evidence or citation to support that proposition? Aren’t you the one who made claims that law enforcement are often part of the Aryan Brotherhood (although you couldn’t name anyone, including anyone who has worked on this case), they live in “right-wing” neighborhoods (although you couldn’t name anyone, any particular neighborhood, including anyone who has worked on this case), and that the U.S. Attorney is one of those Bush holdouts who attended a “right wing” religious law school (although you coudn’t name anyone, including the specific U.S. Attorney who is responsible for this case here in DC, including the schools that he attended)?

      You’re not only not saying anything, but also you can’t back anything up with facts.

      • tassojunior
        06/24/2010 at 1:52 PM

        At least in one recent tax evasion case a DC detective had MPD wages of $130K to $182K from 2002 to 2005 (but declared zero income). Homicide detectives make more and often double their salaries with overtime.

        http://www.justice.gov/tax/txdv09034.htm

        I’d may well do a FOIA request to see how much in salaries and witness expenses this case has cost.

        I’m not printing the home addresses of any police or prosecutors. Prince William County and further Virginia suburbs along with Calvert County Maryland are the centers though.

        Machen has replaced very few prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office so far. The fact that Kirschner’s office last year decided that the public murder of a homosexual was only indictable as a misdemeanor says enough about it’s contempt for homosexuals.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 2:18 PM

          Or the evidence as it pertains to the law. Tricky, that.

      • Daphne
        06/24/2010 at 2:16 PM

        I have 2 MPD living in my neighborhood and I live in Brookland, hardly a bastion of Aryan power.

  20. Bill 2
    06/24/2010 at 11:40 AM

    I have to drive down the coast to meet someone for lunch and it’s absolutely killing me that I have to leave while waiting for Day 22 Updates. Hopefully, I can get back home to check in here again without getting stopped for speeding.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 11:47 AM

      Here, take my Blackberry.

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 2:49 PM

        Carolina you’re on a roll today!

  21. mw
    06/24/2010 at 11:48 AM

    Very interesting that the judge is involving herself so much in the prosecutor’s closing.

    I’m not sure the prosecutors, the posters here, or myself really understand what facts the government really needs to prove here. I just keep getting that sense and everyone (except the judge, and probably the defense), is missing the ball a little here regarding these criminal charges and what they require.

    • Themis
      06/24/2010 at 12:07 PM

      I am not clairvoyant. I have never practiced in front of this judge. All I can do is conjecture. In that vein, it appears to me that the judge, who is a former prosecutor herself, wants to the government to narrow and tighten its case. By doing so, it allows to her focus her legal findings and opinion, render a verdict more quickly, and protect her decision from being overturned on appeal (which is a legitimate concern despite the concerns of some legal scholars).

      • NYer
        06/24/2010 at 1:19 PM

        hi Themis – what do you think the chances are that the judge will issue a written decision on this case? (I’m just asking as a general question the likelihood of such an opinion in a criminal jury trial case, not whether Leibowitz specifically would write an opinion..)

        • Themis
          06/24/2010 at 1:36 PM

          More likely than not. Which is to say I am not persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt, though close. The public interest is very high, and a transctiption of an oral opinion would likely take at least a day. Remember though, she can announce a verdict and then follow with an opinion. That’s her prerogative.

    • Ivan
      06/24/2010 at 12:42 PM

      I think Judge L is savvy enough to realize that, if found guilty, the defendant(s) will appeal. In a way, I think she is trying to cover her decision from being overturned.

  22. Themis
    06/24/2010 at 11:53 AM

    For those who were there when the Rule 29 motion was argued, was a case by the name of Grunewald mentioned? I’d also be interested in finding out if it is mentioned in closings. My guess is that if anybody brings it up, it will be Spagnoletti. He seems to be the point man for pure legal issues.

    • KiKi
      06/24/2010 at 12:04 PM

      To me it seems like Grunewald to a T. You can’t conspire to hide the conspiracy. This is where I think the government is getting hung up. Where is my separate act?

      • Themis
        06/24/2010 at 12:08 PM

        And what exactly was the objective of the conspiracy such that a termination point can be deduced. I think that is a concern for the judge.

        • KiKi
          06/24/2010 at 12:20 PM

          Its been awhile since I read Grunewald and may print it out over lunch to read but wasn’t the entire Grunewald conspiracy in order to prevent prosecution. Which I think is the only way you can get to conspiracy in this case. right?

          • KiKi
            06/24/2010 at 12:22 PM

            That was confusing after I read it. What I am trying to say:

            Thought 1: what I was trying to say is i believe Grunewald says a conspiracy can not be in order to prevent prosecution – correct me if I am wrong.

            Thought 2: I do not think the government has a theory of conspiracy in this case that does not involve preventing prosecution.

            • Themis
              06/24/2010 at 12:33 PM

              It’s not that broad. It basically says once the central objective of the conspiracy has been acheived, continuing efforts to conceal the conspiracy (a conspiracy to conceal the original conspiracy) cannot be inferred because it would extend the life of a conspiracy indefinitely. Which raises the question, what was the objective of the conspiracy? To obstruct justice by doing what? Misleading the first responders? To mislead the police? To prevent investigation of Robert’s death? And, depending upon the object of the conspiracy, when was the objective substantially acheived?

              I hope the judge issues a written opinion. I think she might given the gravity of the offenses and public interest in the case. It would take at least a day for her opinion to be transcribed if she renders it orally.

              • BadShoes
                06/24/2010 at 12:42 PM

                The judge might think a written opinion would be helpful in limiting the grounds for appeal (assuming one or more guilty verdicts.)

                By specifying that she used some particular subset of the totality of evidence to determine guilt, she may limit the grounds for appeal on admissibilty to that subset of evidence that she actually used.

              • whodoneit
                06/24/2010 at 1:57 PM

                It seems to me the conspiracy largely ended after each of the defendants gave their statements to the police and then lawyered up. It may have continued a day or two to include Joe’s call to inquire whether Kathy Wone would waive the attorney-client privilege. After that point, there is really only the burglary which is in evidence to show how the family would stick together to protect their own and delay involving the police. (Yes, the burglary itself may have been staged as part of the conspiracy in an effort to show the high incidence of break-ins in the neighborhood, but I would not include that if I were the prosecution.)

  23. JJNSYR
    06/24/2010 at 12:00 PM

    I have also been a “lurker” for the past six months and would like to thank the editors. All of us have a stake in the criminal justice system. This “whodunnit” is an attempt by clearly culpab le people to manuplate the system. I agree with Weaver’s comment @9:20 that the defense really gambled to take the judge over a jury; in most criminal cases the defense would try to hang a jury through confusion or emotion but here the simple facts of this case
    forced them to take a bench trial – this tells me, short of a blunder by the gov’t, the defendants will be found guilty of obstruction at the very minimum.

  24. tucsonwriter
    06/24/2010 at 12:01 PM

    Suggestion:

    Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s first “I Have a Dream” speech in Detroit.

    Here is a wish- I wish that August 2nd become Robert Wone Random Acts of Kindness Day. On August 2 everyone tries to perform at least 13 random acts of kindness. One is sufficient but thirteen is the goal.

    • Also From the Post Story
      06/24/2010 at 1:59 PM

      No, pick his birthday please, not his murder day!

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

        Better idea. June 1.

        • Also From the Post Story
          06/24/2010 at 2:51 PM

          Okay, August 2 this year (since June 1 has already passed, and this idea needs to start soon or it’ll be forgotten), and then June 1 in 2011 and after.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 2:56 PM

            I’m with you. I am way out here in AZ, can’t make it to the courthouse and want to take some form of action.

          • gina a.
            06/24/2010 at 3:35 PM

            I love this idea. I am putting both days down on my calendar right now.

  25. Hoya Loya
    06/24/2010 at 12:14 PM

    This is why I said the summation was make or break for the prosecution. There are plenty of facts in evidence, but they’ve got to convince her that, together, those facts and the inferences drawn therefrom, meet the legal standard for these charges. As she has done throughout the trial, she is forcing the prosecution to make its case — she’s not going to do their work for them.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/24/2010 at 12:21 PM

      I find it interesting that the Judge keeps pushing the prosecution so hard and then is so fair to the defense. Former Criminal…. I think said earlier today that the one thing that it is difficult to make your case if you are constantly being interupted.

      In all fairness to the judge, isn’t she actually making things worse by forcing the prosecution? Its sort of like the thing where as a parent you don’t rush to tie your kids shoelaces but let them struggle on their own until they get it.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/24/2010 at 12:31 PM

        The prosecution has a case to make — the defense doesn’t. She was clear when scheduling that she wanted tight, clear arguments. They need to show that she can infer that Joe tampered due to facts x, y and z, that all three obstructed because of a, b, c, etc. Not just that there are lots of facts that don’t add up so the defendants must be guilty of something. With a tightly organized argument (as we saw from several of our posters here last night) she wouldn’t have jumped in.

        All the defense has to do is show that it raised reasonable doubts as to the crucial elements of the prosecution’s case (another reason why she needs the critical elements of that case spelled out by the prosection).

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 12:38 PM

        The prosecution can’t just throw out a lot of facts and arguments and hopes some of them land in the right places.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 12:53 PM

          But the defense can muddy the waters….

          This has been an eye opener for me. In terms of the whole chain of events.

          A murder was committed. Which led to this trial. Everyone’s actions along the way are affecting the outcome from the first responders to the scene to the prosecution and judge.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 1:03 PM

            It’s hard to take, isn’t it? But as has been pointed out, our system of justice believes it is better that 100 guilty men to free than one innocent man be convicted falsely. One has to believe that in the grand scheme, it evens out.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/24/2010 at 1:49 PM

              This case is like something a writer could have devised. Closed house, four people in it, one dead body in a deviously short period of time.

              In the murder mystery tradition, the detective has to outsmart the criminal. I wonder how smart the average real life detective is.

              According to the update: the judge isn’t buying the intruder story. The killer is one of the three. It’s right out of a book. (Who read the most books?) Life imitating “art?”

              Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” predicts the truth will out over time if someone is still morally intact.

              • tucsonwriter
                06/24/2010 at 2:54 PM

                “I hate to sound like a b-movie,” Kirschner said, “but three people are there, there’s no forced entry, who did it?”

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/24/2010 at 3:25 PM

        Tucson-

        Sorry to take so long to get back to you. It is a horrible experience, having your train of thought interrupted, but it is to be expected in a bench trial with this Judge. The prosecutors knew it would happen.

        She then more than made it up to them by allowing him to continue with a over half an hour of bonus time.

        Very fair on her part. So fair that Victor’s mom became so angry that she felt compelled to say something about it and very loudly.

        So now the defense team must be on parent patrol as well.

        Prediction: the Judge will let the defense run over as well. Also, not enough to satisfy Mother Zaborsky. You just can’t please everybody.

        • cat
          06/24/2010 at 3:27 PM

          Interesting that Connolly only took 25 minutes.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/24/2010 at 4:30 PM

            Cat-

            I have already posited a theory about that very issue. Remember, he is Victor’s attorney & it was Victor’s Mother who was incensed by the Judge re-affirming the time constraints.

            After that outburst Connolly only uses less than half of the 1 hour alloted to him?

            There is usually only 1 reason to do that, it is because you have agreed to give over the rest of your time to someone else. Please oh please let it be Joe Price.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 3:29 PM

          This website is doing a pretty good job. Too good of a job. I think I am getting carpal tunnel syndrome from hitting refresh.

          Thanks FCSOP for all your comments and links, etc.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/24/2010 at 4:24 PM

            Tucson-

            You are very welcome & right back at you. I am very awed by your willingness to read the links.

            Wish I had picked a simpler handle. Like FCSOP.

  26. Bea
    06/24/2010 at 12:22 PM

    Kind of a strange thing, our online brotherhood and sisterhood, as we sit “together” during this day of closing arguments and await the verdict. I smile thinking that each of us checks in from time to time, seeing what’s new. Reading the blog headline to see what’s happened, scrolling right to see who’s posted lately, lingering to decided how many one can read before getting back to work . . . until deciding ‘really’ that it won’t take that long to read them all, besides Chilaw or AnnaZ or CD or one of the Bills posted and I HAVE to read THAT. . .

    Total strangers. All of focused on the same thing yet there is no running commentary as with Joran Van der Sloot on TV and online national news outlets – we here need our Editors to keep us updated, keep US together. I know that this blog has become the second thing I check when I get online, after my work email, because I feel invested in the outcome for Robert’s family, in Robert’s memory. And it feels like there is a small(ish) network of strangers who share this with me, even if they’ve reached a different decision about what happened. So, first, my unequivocal respect and devotion to our Eds whose hard work cannot be lauded enough, and second, to my online comrades – my nods of thanks.

    And for those who say I’m the voice of reason: to BenFranklin, who turned us all into babysitters, you irritate the f*ck out of me. I can spar with and respect those I disagree with (Tasso, JohnG, etc.) but you are a one-trick pony. Still, though it wasn’t your intention, you did provide some comic relief.

    And back to our regularly scheduled program . . . of course this is not a ‘sign off’ (sorry, Ben) but just random thoughts in the AWFUL waiting and seeing of this trial.

    • Joelle
      06/24/2010 at 12:25 PM

      Bea, what do you think is going to happen?

      • Bea
        06/24/2010 at 12:37 PM

        Like in any trial, I go back and forth seeing all the permutations of how the fact finder can conclude this or that. Much reading as I did here, I can’t know what is exactly in evidence to consider it (exhibits, stipulations, exact testimony) but my gut is that I have no reasonable doubt as to any defendant on any charge. But do I think that’s how the Judge sees it? Not necessarily.

        But I’ll put this out there: Joe Price is going to prison.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/24/2010 at 12:49 PM

          And along with conviction and imprisonment…he would be disbarred.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/24/2010 at 3:41 PM

            CDinDC-

            You mean he should be disbarred. But not so fast there, if memory serves, Hoya Loya was offended by such a scenerio.

            Hoya Loya has offered to represent him as he feels disbarrment would be just plain wrong, a waste of resources, & a real loss to The Bar.

            Here in Maryland it takes forever to get anyone disbarred, it only works promptly if the party consents. Even after a severe sanction, you can re-apply after a certain time period & be very quietly re-admitted.

            You would think embezzling large sums of money from little old ladies over a long period of time would be enough to warrant a permanent expulsion, right? Not so, at least here. With the right political connections, miracles do happen.

            • chilaw79
              06/24/2010 at 3:55 PM

              The DC Bar provides that disbarment is mandatory for a crime involving acts of moral turpitude, including obstruction of justice.

              Political connections did not save Scooter Libby or Eliot Richardson from being disbarred.

              Reinstatement is possible after five years with an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and suitable remorse.

            • Hoya Loya
              06/24/2010 at 4:07 PM

              My offer stands (although I’ll need to be admitted pro hac vice to do it).

              My thinking was not so much that it would be a loss to the bar than it was that imposing a lesser sanction and letting him keep his license on the condition that he puts it to pro bono/public interest use would be a fitting way to let him make up his debt to society given Robert’s dedication to such causes — Joe also had a strong record doing such work in the past and could be counted on to continue to do so.

              Interesting about Maryland. Like I said before, it’s tougher to be admitted than kicked out.

              • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
                06/24/2010 at 4:17 PM

                Hoya Loya of NY-

                I like to think of the MD State Motto as Cradle of Corruption. But there is so much competition for that title.

                Of course, I love photos of your current gov, always imagine the caption, “you can bet he didn’t see this coming”.

    • HKG
      06/24/2010 at 12:39 PM

      Well said as usual. I know for myself I wish I had had more time to post and contribute. But some of you were and are doing it at such a high level of competence it sometimes took all my energy just to keep up! So many thanks to you all. It really has been such a great exerience to find such a stellar group of individuals collected from all over, unified mostly in seeking justice for Robert. We’d probaby never have the chance or serendipity to meet in the real world. And for that I am doubly thankful.

    • Vito
      06/24/2010 at 12:40 PM

      Bea et al, thank you for your posts. I have told many of the Robert Wone case and this site, as it has consumed me for weeks! I pray that justice be done, if not now, at some point in the near future.

      God Bless the Wone Family.

    • Nelly
      06/24/2010 at 1:40 PM

      I feel the same way too! In addition to the editors, I have to thank you, Bea, CDinDC, Themis, Meto, etc. for posting so much thoughtful and informative reflections here. You guys saved me a lot of time by constantly responding to other people’s repetitious queries, misinformation, or silliness, and I thought I was checking in on this blog too often. This website has been a great source of information and also support for those who knew and cared about Robert Wone. Robert would have been pleased, and humbled, to know complete strangers put so much time and effort into establishing this site. Bless you all.

    • Nora
      06/24/2010 at 2:25 PM

      So beautifully stated. I for one will really miss reading your posts.

  27. Dr20854
    06/24/2010 at 12:31 PM

    Do the editors plan for a gathering in the Dupont Circle area after the verdict is rendered? Hopefully it would be a celebration of sorts.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 12:40 PM

      No matter the verdict, I don’t see much to celebrate.

      • Lee
        06/24/2010 at 12:44 PM

        I was planning on drinking a glass of water spiked with ketamine then stabbing the hell out of a nice pork loin.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 12:55 PM

          Don’t forget the burnt offerings in the grill.

        • Sam
          06/24/2010 at 1:21 PM

          I hope you won’t put your knife in the dishwasher when you’re done.

    • Joelle
      06/24/2010 at 12:53 PM

      I was thinking the same thing — it would be great to meet everybody.

      • youhoodc
        06/24/2010 at 1:29 PM

        Yes, we should all meet as a group, not necessarily to celebrate, but to thank the Editors in person and meet some of you. Have commented infrequently but I’m just as enthralled as all of you to this website and the ongoing discussions. Let’s meet!

  28. mw
    06/24/2010 at 12:32 PM

    Ya – I’d definitly take aquittal if I could get the odds that seem to be the the consensus of this site (5-1 or so).

    Even money, I’d have to say guilty on at least some charges.

  29. Meto
    06/24/2010 at 12:53 PM

    All:

    I thought I would start a new thread, but this post relates to Kiki and others discussing Conspiracy. You have sent me to read some actual law – the Grunewald case is a case in which alleged tax evaders were charged with conspiring to hide their tax evasion. They were convicted, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed reasoning that covering up the principal crime is different from conspiring to commit a crime. Covering up a committed crime is as the Court describes below, not an actionable conspiracy.

    “More closely analogous to our case would be conspiring kidnappers who cover their traces after the main conspiracy is finally ended — i.e., after they have abandoned the kidnapped person and then take care to escape detection. In the latter case, as here, the acts of covering up can, by themselves, indicate nothing more than that the conspirators do not wish to be apprehended — a concomitant, certainly, of every crime since Cain attempted to conceal the murder of Abel from the Lord.” Grunewald v. U.S., 353 U.S. 391, 405-406 (1957).

    So to the points raised above – was the conspiracy the murder, the obstruction, or what?

    I continue to await the summaries of closing argument before providing my prediction, although this morning’s admonition from the Court to the prosecution to provide her specific facts does not bode well for it. Could Ms. Lieber please Rebut?

    Respectfully,

    Meto

    • ebgodard
      06/24/2010 at 1:06 PM

      Wow.
      Based on your very clear explanation of Grunewald, I don’t see how the prosecution could make a case for conspiracy. If they can’t prove that the 3 committed the murder, then they can’t prove a conspiracy to murder.

      So the idea of conspiracy “after the fact” is just a figment of my imagination!

      Since tampering was thrown out for Victor and Dylan, it seems the best we can hope for is 3 obstructions and Joe for tampering. I hope I am wrong.

    • KiKi
      06/24/2010 at 1:23 PM

      Thanks Meto and Themis – After having just read Grunewald those two explanations combined pretty much sum it up.

      Btw – really geeky lawyer thought – Justice Harlan was kind of awesome and brilliant. I always said if I ever had a son I would name him Brennan after Justice Brennan but rereading Grunewald made me realize Harlan is a good name too. 🙂

      • whodoneit
        06/24/2010 at 2:06 PM

        Were the defendants in Grunewald charged with tax evasion also or only conspiracy to hide the tax evasion? Here there is no murder charge. The charge is conspiracy to obstruct justice to prevent discovery of whomever committed the murder. Further, it would seem to me that Grunewald could only protect someone who actually committed the murder.

        If convicted on conspiracy, the defendants would then have a dilemma. THey would have to argue on appeal, you can’t convict me of this conspiracy, because I committed the murder.

        • KiKi
          06/24/2010 at 2:13 PM

          In Grunewald, I believe it was just conspiracy for except Halperin was also charged with witness tampering. Here is the case if you want to read it – http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=353&invol=391

        • Meto
          06/24/2010 at 2:29 PM

          Whodoneit:

          There are two different Supreme Court decisions in Grunewald. I believe that some defendants were acquited of tax evasion and there was a statute of limitations problem that I think (but I also have other work to do so I haven’t studied this a ton) barred a charge for tax evasion against others. So as I read the second case that I quoted from above, the government then charged the defendents with conspiracy to commit tax evasion for assisting those who had been acquitted in the first case.

          I am thinking if my reading of case is correct that one cannot be charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice just by covering up a crime that has already been committed, but that may be one (of many) reason why the judge is asking
          so many questions.

          For those wondering about a difference with a jury trial, I at least have never had a judge ask questions during a closing with a jury. So I am not certain I would also have been caught off guard.

          Harlan is a good name, Kiki!

          Respectfully,

          Meto

    • BadShoes
      06/24/2010 at 2:46 PM

      Meto-

      As I understand your discussion, Grunewald raises a threshold issue of whether the conspiracy to cover up a crime is a prosecutable offense.

      If the Grunewald case is as you describe it, and Judge Liebovitz thought it applicable to this case, would she not have granted the defense’s motion for summary dismissal of the conspiracy charges? Hearing defense expert testimony on tamponade and PEA wouldn’t affect the judge’s views on the applicability of Grunewald.

      Shouldn’t the Grunewald argument have been the subject of a pre-trial motion by the defense?

  30. Rebecca
    06/24/2010 at 12:53 PM

    I have been fascinated and obsessed with this case since I first stumbled on a little on-line article that brought me to this web site. While the case itself is compelling in its own right, I am equally fascinated by this blog and how it has changed the way I think about news reporting.

    This new genre of reporting (not sure what to call it)is very exciting. The information is brought to us “live” and is immediately debated and analyzed. The commentary from subject matter experts in law, medicine, psychology, and forensics add richness to the experience in a way that no single reporter could ever do.

    I have my favorites among the blog participants but I appreciate all of the different points of view, even when some are just plain wacky. I especially appreciate the efforts and devotion of the four editors and their clear, concise reporting – both on the fly and each evening. Their perceptions are amazing.

    All of us are together searching for logic and understanding of WHY this happened amidst the revelations of HOW the murder unfolded. But most important of all we are joined in seeking justice for Robert.

    Thank you for allowing me to participate!

    • akibrasil
      06/24/2010 at 1:49 PM

      What’s really great and new about this web site is not only the level and style of the discussion, but the respect for Robert Wone in 99 percent of the comments. Thank you editors and 99 percent of the commentators.

  31. ebgodard
    06/24/2010 at 12:57 PM

    As I non-lawyer I say again that the law doesn’t necessarily get to the truth. To me a case of conspiracy and obstruction is simply that 2 or more people conspire together for either a common interest or varied interests to conceal,tamper and hide facts and therefore obstruct the legal process.

    The very nature of a conspiracy-if they are good at it- is to not only hide what really happened, but hide the reasons the crime happened. I therefore do not know why they prosecution needs to prove more. If they could, this would be a murder case instead.

    As to when the conspiracy ended, as a layperson it would seem to me it would be right up until the time they became suspects and hired lawyers.

    But I am just a dumb civilian who thinks the law should be based on common sense, disclosure of all the facts leading up to the crime and after the fact, and a desire to get to the truth.

    I am truly afraid that may not happen.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/24/2010 at 1:08 PM

      I hear you. Too bad its not against the law to be an a-hole. That would be common sense!

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 1:25 PM

        This should be a bumpersticker.

  32. chilaw79
    06/24/2010 at 1:03 PM

    My prediction as of now is that the only defendant who will be found guilty of any charge is Joe Price, and Joe Price may be convicted only of tampering, although I think it is possible he could be convicted of obstruction of justice.

    Having reviewed the elements of the crime of obstruction of justice in the District of Columbia (ordinarily used where a defendant has threatened to kill or injure a witness), I am not sure there is sufficient evidence of Dylan or Victor acting to influence, intimidate, or impede another witness. In my opinion, Joe–on the other hand–was trying to influence everyone, including Sara Morgan and Kathy Wone. However, I am not sure that Judge Leibowitz will find an imposing glare or family ties to be enough of an endeavor to influence, delay or prevent truthful testimony.

    The only potential for a conspiracy conviction would be with regard to the burglary at Swann Street, where Dylan waited to consult with Joe Price before reporting the burglary–perhaps knowing that this would lead to the potential for Michael Price to be investigated for the murder of Robert Wone.

    • Tim
      06/24/2010 at 1:25 PM

      I was in court today. Of all the possible outcomes, I think the *least* likely is that Joe is found guilty of tampering alone. It seemed pretty clear from the judge’s questions that she wants to know if she can find guilt on obstruction without finding guilt on tampering. (“Yes,” said the government). It’s also clear that she doesn’t believe the intruder story. At all. But I guess no one really does.

      • cinnamon
        06/24/2010 at 1:33 PM

        Tim,
        I’d love to hear more of your observations today.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 3:31 PM

          Ditto – Tim how could you be so brief with us?

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 3:00 PM

        Interesting, Tim. Do you think the Judge was deliberately allowing the defendants to see that she didn’t seem to believe the intruder theory in the hope that one of them (Victor) will get scared enough to break? Or am I inventing mind games…

    • KV
      06/24/2010 at 1:34 PM

      “only potential for a conspiracy conviction would be with regard to the burglary at Swann Street, where Dylan waited to consult with Joe Price before reporting the burglary–perhaps knowing that this would lead to the potential for Michael Price to be investigated”

      That would be an unexpected twist — possible conviction to conspire regarding a burglary coverup. Very interesting take and quite plausible.

      • chilaw79
        06/24/2010 at 2:50 PM

        It relates back in that Dylan knew that Joe did not tell the police that Michael Price had a key to Swann Street. If Joe had told the police that, the police might have investigated Michael Price as a potential murder suspect.

  33. SheKnowsSomething
    06/24/2010 at 1:19 PM

    If Victor had some of his mother’s gumption, maybe we wouldn’t be here today … four years after the murder of poor Robert … still trying to figure out what in hell happened in that sardine can of a house on the night of August 2nd!

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 1:21 PM

      Really? It seemed to me he learned to turn a blind eye from a pro.

      • SheKnowsSomething
        06/24/2010 at 1:27 PM

        Excellent point also. At the very least, she seems to be a mouthy hen-pecker who has her own man in check … Too bad Vicotr didn’t learn some of that. Maybe he learned to be a doormat from his Dad?

        • Ivan
          06/24/2010 at 1:45 PM

          Please don’t be so cruel. I agree that Victor should speak out. Maybe it will come.

  34. Bea
    06/24/2010 at 1:23 PM

    WOW. What I am reading in the Eds. post is that the Judge is getting her opinion necessities from the prosecution and that she’s really trying to see if there is a way to give a pass to Victor Zaborsky. I think this bodes very strongly for the prosecution except as to Zaborsky.

    Time will tell how she handles the defense closings, but very often you can read from questions. . .

    • tucsonwriter
      06/24/2010 at 1:26 PM

      Not following what you mean but would like to know.

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 1:36 PM

      From what I saw of Judge Leibowitz in court, I don’t think she asks questions for Socratic effect.

      I think she has formulated a view of the case (not surprising) and is pushing and prodding to get just a little bit more from counsel.

      I hope my prediction is wrong.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/24/2010 at 1:37 PM

      Bea:

      I think she may be playing out all the options in her head (think of preparing jury verdict forms) and will probably ask questions of the defense as well (can’t imagine she’ll just sit there for three hours). Then she’ll go into chambers or wherever she makes her decisions, mull everything over and render a verdict.

      She’s been so careful about not tipping her hand all along — not sure she’s doing it now.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 2:15 PM

        Especially after Mrs. Ward’s “outburst.” Seems she would want to seem even MORE fair.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 2:22 PM

          I doubt the judge will be influenced by Mrs. Z’s ill-advised outburst.

          Are we sure she isn’t Joe’s mom?

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 2:32 PM

            Joe’s mom wears combat boots.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            06/24/2010 at 2:43 PM

            Oh, I am completely confident that Judge L could never be influenced by Mrs. Z’s outburst; I’m just thinking that she would probably want to make it clear that she is impartial. Heaven forbid, later down the road when appeals are floating around, the defense accuse the judge of being prejudicial and say they didn’t get a fair trial.

            • Carolina
              06/24/2010 at 3:11 PM

              Let me ask a clarifying question, not just of you but anyone who might have the answers.

              How long did Kirschner take, including his OT? Less than 3 hours? Of that, how much was taken up by the judge’s questions?

              Aren’t each of the defendants allowed an hour, to be divided as they see fit?

    • Bea
      06/24/2010 at 2:04 PM

      Hoya and Chilaw, I understand that she’ll very likely grill the Defense too, but from her questions we can at least see that she’s “received” all the facts and is processing in a way to find guilt, if legally sufficient. I’m not saying she’s disposed to do so, or that she will as to each defendant and each charge, but to cut to the chase she’s certainly seeing this case on a micro level which benefits the prosecution (in my opinion).

      I take most of my sense of things from the fact that she’s asking if there’s a way to excuse Victor for just ‘assuming his boys couldn’t have been bad’. She’s had to dig pretty deep into possible guilt to be asking whether Victor is truly guilty of entering the conspiracy if he’s just a fool who wants to believe.

      Again, asking if ‘wouldn’t I have to find Dylan as the murderer’ leaves a bunch of possibilities on the buffet of findings, but this is telling.

      I am curious to see where her questions go as to each defense lawyer and to the individual defendants. What I am hoping to see is that she asks each defense counsel to ‘go’ hypotheticals as to each individual defendant.

      • KiKi
        06/24/2010 at 2:21 PM

        I can see that interpretation Bea, and hesitate to guess on Judge L’s thinking based one one statement without context. But playing devil’s advocate (I get the pun): Could the quote “wouldn’t I have to find Dylan as the murderer?” mean that she does not think Dylan is the murderer and is asking the prosecutor to explain how they can meet their burden if Dylan is not the murderer?.

        I have tried many cases, mostly murder cases, (even some bench trials) but have never been in a situation where the judge asked questions of either side at closing. This has got to be messing with every lawyer. Because as much as we are reading into each statement you can bet they are coming up with every possible interpretation.

        I have only done a few appellate arguments but I felt like whenever the judge asked me or the state a question I would have to rearrange my argument to answer what “the judge might be thinking.” I can’t imagine doing that in a trial setting.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 2:25 PM

          I read her questioning as you did in your first paragraph. To paraphrase, “But if I don’t think Dylan did it, then what?”

        • Bea
          06/24/2010 at 2:44 PM

          I can only imagine how rough this is for the lawyers, to be grilled and have to go off task and find his/her way back.

          I see your point about “wouldn’t I have to find Dylan to be the murderer” but conclude differently. I think she’s saying that she wants to be spoon fed how she can find Dylan guilty of entering the conspiracy. It’s the back-and-forth and the disclosure in the back-and-forth which tells me she’s certainly in the hunt for guilty verdicts all round, or, at a minimum for Joe with the cafeteria plan on (1) whether Victor’s entry into the conspiracy can/should be ‘renamed’ as just the “mom who loves her kids and follows them to the end of the earth”; (2) whether Dylan entered the conspiracy without having her find that he was on the 2nd floor and actively involved in the murder (as an evidentiary precondition) – whether she buys the prosecution’s answer is another thing entirely.

          My guess is she is “seeing” conspiracy but has her hooks in Joe regardless; whether “seeing” turns to “believing beyond a reasonable doubt” as to Dylan and Victor remains to be seen. She’s still got an open mind as to this (to her credit).

          In a nutshell, though not remotely legalese, I think she knows that Joe is the leader of the conspiracy and obstruction. He’s going to prison. But the judge wonders if it’s possible that he was alone in trying to cover for HIMSELF or for MICHAEL and the other two were just dragged into it. I think she thinks Dylan and Joe were on the 2nd floor and that Victor was definitely asleep for the bulk of this – she’s having difficulty sending Victor away and letting Dylan walk on a subconscious level (as we’ve struggled with here, or many of us anyway).

          Again, this last paragraph has nothing to do with legal findings or the legal process. But behind every finding is one’s own common sense.

          • KiKi
            06/24/2010 at 2:52 PM

            I completely agree on the common sense human level. The human in me says that JP is guilty of a lot more than just these charges. But it as a tried and true defense attorney I post – mostly to just add another side of the argument.

            That being said, even as a human, using commons sense, I am not as convinced about the other two.

    • 06/24/2010 at 2:12 PM

      Agree, Bea. That is exactly what it sounded like to me. If I were on the defense team, I would be very nervous at this point. The judge’s questions during summation certainly did not seem like she is 50/50 on outcome.

      I will be at peace with the judge’s decisions, because, from what I have read, the defense could not have drawn a worse judge. The judge seems to have concluded what every friend of Robert (including almost every mutual friend of Robert and Joe Price) concluded four years ago: (a) the intruder theory is preposterous and laughable, and (b) one or more of Price, Zaborsky and Ward either killed Robert or know who did.

      At its most basic level, it is incredibly sad and sick that a human being could care so little about life, that he would take another’s life for momentary pleasure / entertainment. I hope that whoever was involved (and I would bet my house that Price and Ward were), has a very difficult time in prison.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 2:18 PM

        Thank you for posting Friend of Robert. I feel so sad that such a beautiful person was treated the way he was. I can’t imagine what Katherine’s life has been like since that terrible day.

      • Bea
        06/24/2010 at 2:25 PM

        FOR, I agree about this Judge and her findings. Much as I would hate acquittals across the board, I would tend to agree that they must be justified in view of the evidence and the careful review by this judge.

        Agree that the defendants should be feeling the pinch – she’s slicing this very very finely.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 2:26 PM

        I hope you and Bea are right, but I think we let our emotions convince us of a particular interpretation. Only time will tell, I guess.

        • whodoneit
          06/24/2010 at 2:49 PM

          Relevant to the Grunewald case and other legal niceties – By her decision on the Rule 29 motions, hasn’t she found as a legal matter that the prosecution has sufficiently established all the elements of the remaining charges, such that a reasonable jury could conclude the defendants are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? At this point, she only has to determine if they have satisfied to her as finder of fact that they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

          • David
            06/24/2010 at 3:06 PM

            In the Rule 29 motions, the court has to weigh the government’s evidence in the best possible light at that point in the trial, which I would take it to mean that is was all true. In the final verdict, the judge does not have that obligation.

            David, co-ed.

  35. tucsonwriter
    06/24/2010 at 1:24 PM

    WOW! Thanks for the update – eds.

    Talk of the killers, indeed.

  36. 06/24/2010 at 1:30 PM

    tsk tsk, has been a long day already. Wonder what the defendants are thinking?

  37. BadShoes
    06/24/2010 at 1:37 PM

    Is there any truth to the rumour that friends of the defendants have been asked to show support by wearing alligator clips on their lapel?

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 1:43 PM

      Tension brings out the humor in some and the ass in others. You clearly win at the former.

  38. Aquanetta
    06/24/2010 at 1:37 PM

    I HEART Carolina !!

  39. commonsensewillprevailihope
    06/24/2010 at 1:40 PM

    Random thought: when it was reported that Joe conferred with the defense lawyers about whether to cross-examine the last prosecution PEA-animal guy, it ocurred to me (once again) just how deeply disturbed and evil these guys are if they are indeed guilty. If they know what happened that night, then spending hours and hours no doubt with their lawyers talking about all these alternative medical theories is just so creepy, as is the whole idea of putting the family of Wone through this trial. It’s so much more twisted than a crime of passion or anger or accident……

    • weaver
      06/24/2010 at 1:52 PM

      Consider that Joe was a pall bearer.

      sick, sick, sick

    • Vito
      06/24/2010 at 2:24 PM

      The photo from Day 22 (today) of JP with counsel makes me believe he thinks he’s ONLY part of the defense team (with his little smile) and not a defendant. He is living in a fantasy which will hopefully will soon become his nightmare!

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 2:41 PM

        compartmentalize, compartmentalize, compartmentalize….

      • Ivan
        06/24/2010 at 2:45 PM

        I agree it is a strange photo of a defendant. Looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world and is ready for his martini lunch.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/24/2010 at 3:59 PM

          Ivan-

          Joe looks happy because he got the ok to do his own closing. This explains the weird voluntary time shaving off of Victor’s lawyer’s closing.

          Connolly only took up 25 minutes of his allotted 1 hour. This despite Mom Zaborsky’s outburst over the time constraints.

          • cinnamon
            06/24/2010 at 4:02 PM

            “Joe looks happy because he got the ok to do his own closing.”

            Is this true? I didn’t see there anywhere.

            • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
              06/24/2010 at 6:13 PM

              Cinnamon-

              Sorry, I was making a joke about a fantasy I had previously described.

              Not true at all.

  40. akibrasil
    06/24/2010 at 1:56 PM

    “…wouldn’t I have to find that Dylan Ward was the killer if he entered the conspiracy?” She said it.

    • tucsonwriter
      06/24/2010 at 2:04 PM

      This blows me away too. I posted almost the same thing at the same time.

    • rivetted
      06/24/2010 at 2:17 PM

      Is it out of order for her to have said this, since it’s a conspiracy-obstruction-tampering case? She isn’t going to “find” the killer, strictly speaking, within this case. I assume that she’s just spelling out the implications for each different scenario, and not, as Hoya says, tipping her cards as to her thoughts on a verdict. Though it does seem provacative for her to have said this so baldly.

      Also, I’d be interested to know if there were any particular reactions from the defendants during this discussion. Too close for comfort for any of them?

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 2:29 PM

        I think way too much is being read into her statement. She’s calling for the prosecution to support a series of possibilities, not likely anything more.

  41. tucsonwriter
    06/24/2010 at 2:02 PM

    “Without holding together, there was mutual destruction for everyone,” he said. Kirchner said the evidence was clear: Victor had a deep, abiding love for Joe, and would protect him, and Joe had a very deep and abiding love “…and an all-consuming relationship…” with Dylan. Dylan’s loyalties? “Unclear,” said Kirschner.

    Eyebrows raised in the courtroom when she asked “…wouldn’t I have to find that Dylan Ward was the killer if he entered the conspiracy?” “Likely, though it may be that Ward was the killer…” he said, Ward showed proof of having entered the conspiracy by asking if the back door was unlocked, and by shutting down when shot glares by Joe on the couch.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 2:30 PM

      Dylan’s loyalties appear to be to Dylan.

    • Bea
      06/24/2010 at 2:52 PM

      I have to like that the two reasons given by the prosecution for Dylan’s entre into the conspiracy are exactly the two I put in my post last night (or yesterday?). I think he is correct.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 3:03 PM

        I think they are reading this blog.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 3:17 PM

        Is it too late for you to consider criminal law?

        Let me take a moment to tell you that until your appearance in the DL thread, very little rose above the common OMG factor and there was very little critical thought. You almost single-handedly changed that, and I wanted to say thank you as we draw to a close.

  42. Lyn
    06/24/2010 at 2:02 PM

    From the update: “The mom finds a dead body, the sons profess ignorance and posit an intruder, the mom can’t believe one of her treasured sons did the deed, and so comes to believe their innocence.“Is she lying?…does any omission of fact make her guilty of obstruction?” she asked. Unspoken but clear to all was who was being referenced as the loving mom. Hint: it’s not Joe, and it isn’t Dylan.”

    Does an omission make her guilty of obstruction? In and of itself, maybe not. But what if mom then gets on the phone to 911 and tells the operator a bunch of lies about her and her son’s attempt to save a still breathing dead man by applying more than one towel to a very bloody victim when there was only one towel, not much blood at all, and a victim whose body was dead long enough to be cool to the EMT’s touch. Is that obstruction? hell yes!

    From the update: ““Am I done?” asked Kirschner at 12:30? Laughter, and an affirmative from the bench, followed by Judge Liebovitz reminder that she will limit the defense closings to an hour each. “Of course you will,” angrily said Victor’s mother, loud enough for all to hear.”

    If the defense gets an hour each to close, I see no reason why the prosecution can’t take an hour each to close as well. Sounds perfectly fair to me.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 2:31 PM

      That’s because you’re not Victor’s mommy. 🙂

      • Lyn
        06/24/2010 at 2:45 PM

        I hope she gets the murder weapon, I mean her knife, back to complete her set after the trial is over. I wouldn’t want her to have an empty spot in her knife block – it’s so unbecoming.

        • Lyn
          06/24/2010 at 2:50 PM

          Oh sorry, I was thinking of Ward’s mom.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 4:39 PM

            That’s alright. Mrs. Ward seems to have enough knives to go around.

    • Eagle
      06/24/2010 at 2:50 PM

      One of the major items holding this defense together is a mutual sense of victimhood. Led, I suspect, by Joe Price.
      The defense sees themselves as victims of the police, prejudice due to life style, now of the judge ( Mrs. Ward’s shout-out is evidence of that. ) Who knows what else is going on in the inner sanctum.
      As I read it, the genuine victims in this case are Robert, his mother and father, his wife, his brother and his hundreds of admiring friends who miss his presence. Not to mention society, to which he habitually contributed so much.
      That’s who I feel sorry for. The others need to stand up like adults and deal with the situation that they are in.
      Amazing what a pose of victimhood can do to to evoke loyalty from others.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/24/2010 at 3:24 PM

        At this point Joe Price really does believe in his own mind, his lies. He has them memorized and believes them to be true.

        I once thought about writing a book compiling personals. I put one in the Tucson Weekly and to a ton of responses from prison inmates. BTW they were all innocent. Or they claimed. I decided not to write the book.

      • Ivan
        06/24/2010 at 3:36 PM

        Mrs. Zaborsky shouted out not Mrs. Ward.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 4:40 PM

        Joe started his victimization in the VCB and has no doubt sung this tune to anyone with tin ear enough to listen. Poor Me, Poor, Poor Me (and my lovers).

  43. Rich
    06/24/2010 at 2:03 PM

    Clearly, We Will ALL have to Meet?

    Once the verdsicts are in, there will be WAY MORE to discuss, as we ALL have feelings, opinions and issues pertaining to this matter.

    After the July 4th holiday when folks are back to work, we should all meet for Happy Hour (Pay our own tabs) and wear ID Badges so we can recongnize one another. Maybe, Friday, July 9th at 8pm?

    We must use the “Handle” that was used on the Blog.

    So, “RaptinMD,” can not have an ID Tag that says, Joanne Johnson. It must be, “RaptinMD.” 🙂

    I for one would be elated over the soiree.

    Editors, plan on some remarks and any souvenirs from the trail to show.

    And, who knows. If the defendants WALK, they can join us?

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 2:32 PM

      “And, who knows. If the defendants WALK, they can join us?”

      Then by all means, let’s have it at Cosi.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/24/2010 at 4:20 PM

        “wear ID Badges”

        LOL How ’bout I just wear a bulls-eye on my back? LOL

  44. mia
    06/24/2010 at 2:08 PM

    Thanks our devoted editors and all the commenters here. I will follow this case/ site as long as it goes.

  45. mia
    06/24/2010 at 2:15 PM

    One thing interesting:Dylan’s mother burst into tears when the government describing the murder. Where’s Wone family? How did they react?

  46. 06/24/2010 at 2:18 PM

    Wow! A lot of comments to digest and the day isn’t even over.

  47. AnnaZed
    06/24/2010 at 2:19 PM

    “Eyebrows raised in the courtroom when she asked “…wouldn’t I have to find that Dylan Ward was the killer if he entered the conspiracy?”

    Wow, just wow. What a feisty judge she is. I would not want to be tasked with fucking with this person though Victor’s mother doesn’t seem to mind doing it.

    • cinnamon
      06/24/2010 at 2:47 PM

      Seems like Victor’s mother is steeling herself against the possibility of a conviction for her son. From what someone reported yesterday of their conversation with her in the hallway, she is already looking at the police to blame for botching investigation and now she seems to be convincing herself that the judge isn’t being fair to the defense. I suppose it’s a normal instinct for a parent.

      • Eagle
        06/24/2010 at 2:52 PM

        I object!!!

      • TK
        06/24/2010 at 3:07 PM

        Cinnamon, don’t forget that Dylan is her “kind, gentle son” who happened to have a room full of BSDM toys, including some sort of electro-stimulator… “My son could not use those!”

        • tucsonwriter
          06/24/2010 at 3:10 PM

          These moms are doing their jobs as moms. Why is everyone attacking the moms? Leave them alone. Mom’s always get put on trail too.

          • cinnamon
            06/24/2010 at 3:12 PM

            I’m sorry but she made an outburst in court. I’m just responding to that.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 4:45 PM

            Too many sons and daughters end up in trouble as adults because their parents never believed they were wrong. I don’t hold with blaming the parents, but children do not develop in a vacuum.

            At the same time, I’m happy to see parents who can not only accept their gay children, but actively support them when the chips are down.

        • cinnamon
          06/24/2010 at 3:10 PM

          I was referring to Victor’s mother. Dylan’s mother’s tears I understand. She doesn’t seem to be in denial about the situation.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/24/2010 at 3:14 PM

            I can’t imagine an experience more horrible than attending a court room trial full of strangers for a son on trial of murder. I have a son and he is kind and gentle. He is a dancer.

            Both families, of the victim and of the people on trial, should be treated respectfully.

            • cinnamon
              06/24/2010 at 3:18 PM

              What was disrespectful?

              • tucsonwriter
                06/24/2010 at 3:26 PM

                No. But could lead to the old dog pile on type comments.

            • lurker
              06/24/2010 at 3:19 PM

              Agreed that the moms are not on trial, but I am a mom, and two things I would never ever want for either of my children:

              *to be on trial for anything relating to a murder, and even more,

              *to be able, all their lives, to visit freely and lay their heads down in the homes of friends they love and trust.

              This entire thing is so horrible in so many ways, but most horrible for the MAIN victim.

              Thanks to the eds and the posters (Bea, you do rock, and so do many many others), and my prayers that the judge renders quickly and fairly, and that hopefully the execution of the law provides what justice the case in this form allows.

            • chilaw79
              06/24/2010 at 4:00 PM

              None of the defendants is charged with murder (although it may seem that way to any of the defendants’ mothers).

              Of course, all parties and their families should be treated with respect, but that goes both ways. The parents of the defendants should respect the judge, the prosecutors, and the police.

            • anoninny (not currently)
              06/24/2010 at 4:23 PM

              tucsonwriter, if you can briefly suspend your honorable sense of humanity, you will fit in on this site fine…from my seat in the courtroom, most of the commentators hoping to pow-wow can prepare to cry into each other’s beers now. most are like a bunch of blind people in Plato’s cave…

              • tucsonwriter
                06/24/2010 at 4:43 PM

                You are cruel…. “from my seat in the courtroom” and all you give us is …”blind people in Plat’s cave.”

                More information from you seat please.

                • Carolina
                  06/24/2010 at 4:47 PM

                  Just another snipe and run. That’s all he’s got.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 4:04 PM

        That was Mrs. Z, not Mrs. Ward.

  48. Rich
    06/24/2010 at 2:41 PM

    Has Joe Price’s parents or family ever showed their face in court.

    Are they alive?

    Do we know anything?

  49. Lyn
    06/24/2010 at 2:43 PM

    “Kirschner describes Price as now being in his a comfort zone, that being [in] a Mercedes owned by Hixon, who was a “neighbor and paramour” and he changed his story on the knife — from removing it to pulling it out of his chest.”

    Zaborsky tells police he doesn’t think Price or Ward could have committed the murder. He can’t say for sure that they didn’t, but he doesn’t think they did.

    But then Zaborsky hears Price giving two different accounts with regard to moving the knife: first, that it was on Wone’s body and Price simply picked it up and moved it; second, that Price actually pulled it out of Wone’s body.

    I believe the fact that Zaborsky then didn’t bother to mention to authorities his knowledge of this glaring inconsistency in Price’s accounts is direct evidence of his involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct justice from being served.

  50. Daphne
    06/24/2010 at 2:46 PM

    Here’s an interesting take from the City Paper. I especially like the description of JP nervously chewing his nails. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2010/06/24/they-lied-they-orchestrated-they-tampered-wone-prosecutors-rest-their-case/

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