Day 22: Wrap

The Patchwork of Suspicious Circumstances

The final session of the final day of the Wone trial featured some of the strongest argument yet, from both sides.  David Schertler, for Dylan Ward, closed for the defense, and Rachel Carlson Lieber for the government’s rebuttal argument.

First, the earlier session with Connolly.  He stated Zaborsky, “…didn’t have any knowledge of what happened… and there is no direct or circumstantial evidence that he knew what happened.” He again described his client’s crying as a “natural reaction under the circumstances…he was frightened and confused,” and at the end of the 9-1-1 call he was “…terrified and grieving.”   Zaborsky’s reactions, Connolly said, were not those of, “someone who entered into a criminal agreement.”

Judge Leibovitz, as she had with other previous counsel, returned to the issue of PEA, tamponade, the 9-1-1 call and the time line.  “We’re not asking the court to do any math here,” said a soft-spoken Connolly, referring to PEA not so much as a time marker, but merely an outer end of possibility.  Leibovitz interrupted.

“Why is length important?” she asked in light of the government’s removing from the table any allegation of large scale cleanup.  Paraphrasing, she speculated it wouldn’t take very long at all for the three housemates to concoct a story, swipe a knife blade, and call 9-1-1.

“To be honest, it’s not been an issue that I’ve had a lot of enthusiasm for…” began Connolly.  Through the court crosstalk, one could clearly hear Leibovitz say “…way to throw them under the bus…” referring to Mr. Connolly’s defense colleagues who have spent a great amount on the time line.  Connolly quickly found his footing, returning to his argument that “…there is no evidence here of any delay or obstruction.”

Leibovitz also picked up on a theme she had earlier brought up with both Kirschner and Grimm – how much a person would have to know about a crime to be guilty of obstruction. “How much knowledge would you have to have to be a liar,” the judge queried.  “You’d have to know know,” replied Connolly.  Shot back Leibovitz, “But if you knew knew, and you don’t say anything…would that be a crime?”  Existential questions aside, Connolly replied no (no.)  “Omission does not form the basis of obstruction.  Lies do.”

Connolly closed with words familiar to case watchers, that his client, “…is a kind and gentle soul.”  Zaborsky “…shares the frustration of not knowing what happened that night and…he wouldn’t cover up a murder no matter who caused it…Robert Wone was a wonderful person and his death was a tragic loss.  Don’t compound that (by finding him guilty),” he implored.

The baton was passed to Ward counsel David Schertler, and he ran with it.  Next after the jump…

David Schertler began at 3:25 and presented a polished, spirited and confident summation of the defense positions on obstruction, conspiracy and tampering.  Characterizing the government’s case as “assumptions, speculations and innuendo,” just as he had in his opening statement, he argued the prosecution admitted as much in Kirschner’s closing arguments of, in effect, the great deal that’s still unknown about what happened that night.

“They cannot prove the true circumstances of what happened August 2nd, 2006,” he said. “If you don’t know who did what, you can’t prove the true circumstances of what happened to Robert Wone,” continuing that if you can’t prove that, “…you can’t prove that any of these three men have lied.”

“There’s a void in the evidence they can’t fill,” he asserted.  Not so surprising, given the government’s own admission of how much could not be said of that night – proof they would argue of the “success” of the conspiracy.

Schertler then turned to his main argument that the government’s case in chief was little more than an “…assembled patchwork of suspicious circumstances,” which requires the finder of fact (Judge Leibovitz) to make too many leaps of inferential faith.

He marched through the prosecution’s arguments item by item, calling them “little suspicious circumstances.”  Robert’s neatness, the towels on the chair, the sheets turned partway down, the “stares and glares” – as he called them.   Hair and fibers, pork loins, bruise marks, the cutlery set:  for each Schertler lanced the government’s interpretation, offering a reasonable alternate interpretation; each with the incantation of “…it makes no sense…you can’t infer guilt.”

Regarding one of those little circumstances, the clean and unused towels found in the guest room, “They didn’t looked used,” the judge said, “you don’t have to be a legal scholar to see that.”  Putting experts aside, Leibovitz wondered, “The knife looks like it was cleaned off.  What do I do with that?  Why didn’t Henry Lee have an answer for that?  He had one for everything else.”

Leibovitz asked Schertler why Zaborsky posited that it was an intruder on the 9-1-1 call.  Schertler replied that intruder was a natural and understandable assumption to make, and that does not rise to the level of obstruction.  She also raised a hypothetical: if this case involved one person at home and everything else was the same, he (Schertler) would’ve “…papered a murder case,” in his old job as Chief of the USAO Homicide Division.  “Now, with three or four people at home, wouldn’t a reasonable person say it was one of my guys?”  Schertler’s response seemed to trail off.

Referring specifically to his client, he chided the government for constructing argument largely in the absence of known fact.  “This court would have to speculate about what happened in that house that night and impute that knowledge to Mr. Ward.  And you can’t do that.”

It was all, in his opinion, bordering “…on the Kafkaesque.”  Paging existential philosophers, white courtesy phone…

There was an odd moment, when Mr. Schertler referred to two emails that Robert “had sent” from his BlackBerry that night.  First, we don’t recall those mystery draft emails, recovered by Detective Waid, being entered into evidence; and second, even if they were, it seemed clear to us that those emails were, in fact, never sent.

Grimm had also referred to these emails in his close, then later surprised us on one point: other emails on the stipulations list between Joe Price and Dylan Ward seemed to indicate their independent relationship was coming apart and that Price had said Ward, “…was pulling away.”

Regardless, at his close, all three defense counsel – in their closing statements – had gone on record as arguing that you can’t find obstruction unless you can prove “actual knowledge” of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.   He ended at 4:30…actually, Judge Leibovitz ended him at 4:30, allowing him one final rhetorical “flourish.”

At his close, Rachel Carlson Lieber began what would be the final words in the Wone trial argument.

“We don’t know what happened to Robert Wone that night of August 2nd, 2006.  They did, and they lied,”  she began.  “Kathy Wone doesn’t know…” what happened to her husband that night; “they do and they lied.  Robert Wone’s parents don’t know what happened to their son that night, they do and they lied.”

The government’s case closing came down to one simple equation.  A lie equals obstruction of justice.

The defendants didn’t just stop at ‘not knowing’ – as per the previous bench inquiry into how much ‘know knowing’ would constitute a crime.  “They spoke; they provided details that are contradicted by their statements, by the physical evidence…” and by other factors.”

Speculation innuendo and guesswork, wondered Carlson Lieber?  Here’s speculation: that “…some ninja assassin intruder…” leaped two fences, entered the house, grabbed a knife, entered and left unseen and unheard, and killed a man who wasn’t even supposed to be there, save for an ill-timed sleep-over.  Or another: speculation is trying to establish a time line from one doctor who said that “…blood from a 7/8″ wound to the pericardial sac…” wouldn’t flow out…an utterly implausible conclusion.”

This was Carlson Lieber’s answer to Schertler, Connolly and Grimm: that this case wasn’t a “…panoply of little suspicious circumstances…” as Schertler characterized it, isolated and separate.  It was instead the totality of all of it taken together.

If David Schertler tried to tear apart the “…patchwork of suspicious circumstances,” Carlson Lieber worked to stitch it back together into a whole quilt.

Glancing at the clock, she ended: “I’ve been talking for 19 minutes, your Honor, which is a very, very long time…”  No coincidence and a not-so subtle reminder that 19 minutes was was the least amount of time that the government alleges elapsed between the Maureen Bunyan time stamp and the 9-1-1 call.

Lieber ticked off a number of criticisms of the defense’s witnesses: Dr. DiMaio’s testimony was “unfathomable,” Dr. Najam’s testimony was not relevant to these circumstances, and that Diane Ward may not have remembered which child got what knife or which one she kept.

Considering the day in toto, Leibovitz appeared to be narrowing down her questions to a limited set.  At what point does willful ignorance become obstruction?  Why did none of the defendants at least try to offer another explanation, other than the intruder, instead of “…throwing up their hands passively…” as she characterized.  When do the facts indicate the conspiracy began – at the earliest and the latest?   And why does the time line matter, given the limited accusation of tampering?

It may not be 19 minutes, but at 1500+ words, this post is long enough.  We will be posting tomorrow, and through the weekend, with much more from the trial, and analysis and react.

Programming note:  Join us for a online chat with Washingtonian Magazine’s Harry Jaffe tomorrow morning at 10:00amET.

272 comments for “Day 22: Wrap

  1. commonsensewillprevailihope
    06/24/2010 at 7:56 PM

    This relates to the prior thread:

    It’s one thing to use guilt of one defendant pleading guilty pre-verdict as evidence of guilt of others, and I certainly see how that would not be proper.

    However, I’m surprised (I truly don’t know the rule or if there is much precedent) that you all seem to be saying a judge could not, pre-verdict, allow additional testimony if, for example,an intruder walked into court Monday morning to confess, or if one defendant decided to plead guilty and testify against the others. Also, I’m doubtful that double jeopardy attaches prior to a verdict (one commenter says it has already attached) — for example, I would think the judge could still declare a mistrial (if there were grounds for it, obviously).

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 8:14 PM

      I will let one of the criminal lawyers chime in, but my recollection is that double jeopardy attaches in a criminal bench trial when the first witness testifies. In a jury trial, double jeopardy attaches when the jury is empaneled.

      Of course, there are exceptions.

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

        We need a lawyer on this one. Trials with empaneled jurors can end in mistrial and hung jurys, and the prosecution can choose to retry the case. Thus no double jeopardy.

        Maybe I am watching to much TV, but for some reason I think this is an important 4 days for the defendants when one or more can try and get a plea deal. This case is unique because all 3 defendants are being tried at the same time. Usually a plea deal is granted subject to testifying in an upcoming trial for the prosecution.

        Help. Should we have any expectation that one of them could flip over the weekend?

        • Themis
          06/24/2010 at 8:30 PM

          The case is over on the issue of guilt on these charges. Our founding fathers valued procedural fairness over truthfindin in criminal proceedings.

          • Daphne
            06/24/2010 at 8:55 PM

            Thank god they did!

          • Themis
            06/24/2010 at 8:56 PM

            I should qualify that anyone can plead before the verdict is announced, but the prosecution cannot reopen its case to present more evidence at this point.

            • chilaw79
              06/24/2010 at 9:13 PM

              Themis,

              To present a hypothetical, if an individual had stood up in the courtroom of Judge Leibowitz today and said, “The defendants are telling the truth; I am the person who entered 1509 Swann Street and murdered Robert Wone, and I do not know the defendants” would the judge declare a mistrial or would she continue to verdict? I assume the defendants would request a mistrial for purposes of this hypothetical.

              • Themis
                06/24/2010 at 9:22 PM

                Any crackpot can do that. The remedy would be to move for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence IF there was a guilty verdict.

                • chilaw79
                  06/24/2010 at 9:25 PM

                  So, is there any way that double jeopardy would not attach?

                  • Themis
                    06/24/2010 at 9:36 PM

                    It’s a very nuanced analysis, especially with respect to facts that may have res judicata effects, as opposed offenses of conviction creating double jeopardy. Rather than sow confusion among non-lawyers, which I have done my best to avoid, email me off-list about the particulars. The editors have my info.

                    • chilaw79
                      06/24/2010 at 10:06 PM

                      Thanks for the offer, but I can crack a few law books at some point and figure it out further (not that it comes up in my practice).

                  • Cat from Cleveland
                    06/24/2010 at 9:45 PM

                    Question for the criminal bar – double jeopardy attaches to the tampering and obstruction charges. Does it also attach to murder? In a civil trial,res judicata (our version of double jeapardy) would attach to any claim actually litigated and those that could have been litigated. How does it work on the criminal side?

                • emg
                  06/25/2010 at 9:01 AM

                  You are saying that if someone stood up in court during closing arguments and confessed to the murder, that the Judge would not declare a mistrial, but instead proceed to issue a verdict? Any judge who found them “guilty” would be overturned on appeal for ignoring the new evidence. A “not guilty” verdict would be just as negligent without first investigating whether or not the individual was indead a “crackpot.” Then double jeopardy would come into play and the blame would rest soley on the judge.

    • DavidR
      06/24/2010 at 9:11 PM

      I can only imagine Joe is trying to hold them all together for the next four days. He must know it looks bad for him and the others must be questioning how many years they will get. I doubt any will go scott free.

      Can Joe walk in and say he killed Robert alone and coerced the others in with him thus then being charged with the murder and the others let go? I doubt that will happen but it seems it could or should.

  2. Bea
    06/24/2010 at 8:03 PM

    Excellent summation, Eds! So wish I could’ve heard it. Sounds like Lieber did well (did she really say ‘ninja assassin’ or are you being funny? – a lot of it sure sounds familiar 🙂 ).

    You guys are my heroes – all the work and dedication is a service not only for justice for Robert Wone and an honor to his family, but an incredible act of generosity and compassion for the rest of us.

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 8:11 PM

      A tremendous summary, but yet one that leaves me yearning for more.

      I wish I could have abandoned my legal work and gone to court today. Absent that, the editors deserve all the praise lavished upon them for providing a forum for a reasoned and thoughtful discussion of a case that seems not to have gotten much attention.

    • Carol
      06/24/2010 at 8:12 PM

      The judge really did say ninja!

      • commonsensewillprevailihope
        06/24/2010 at 8:15 PM

        Using that rather dismissive term underscores the impression others have stated that she just does not buy the intruder theory, which has to be pretty bad news for JP and crew (Joe..what do you think?).

        • Bill Orange
          06/24/2010 at 8:17 PM

          You’d have to be strung out on coke to believe the “intruder theory”.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 8:24 PM

            Excuse me, that’s now officially “Ninja Assassin Intruder” from now on. You may, of course, use the acronym, NAI.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/24/2010 at 9:10 PM

              YouTube “A Ninja Pays Half My Rent.”

            • Lyn
              06/24/2010 at 10:03 PM

              I thought it was NAIWSAN: Ninja Assassin Intruder Wearing Sunglasses At Night

        • Leo
          06/24/2010 at 9:47 PM

          Yes, she was clearly dismissive of the intruder theory, and kept asking why the defendants didn’t offer up some other alternatives, like Michael Price, or a contractor/maid with a key, etc. She was also dismissive of the whole PEA thing (understandably). Then Schertler himself said in his closing that after this case, he doubted he would ever try to use hair and fiber “experts” again. As noted, Connolly mentioned in passing that he was never “enthusiastic” about the PEA and tamponade stuff. I didn’t hear the Judge say that comment about “way to throw them under the bus,” but I did hear the courtroom erupt in laughter after their exchange, so she was clearly being facetious.

          • Leo
            06/24/2010 at 9:55 PM

            Oh yeah, and she was utterly dismissive of Henry Lee! She said the cleanliness of the knife blade edge was the only thing he didn’t have an explanation for. And, in a shout out to public servants everywhere (I am one), she noted acerbically, when Schertler was dismissive of Dr. Goslinoski’s testimony (that she was all alone out there with her “10 minutes to unconsciousness” timeline after tamponade), that “Dr. Goslinoski is the only one who was not paid a DIME for her testimony. She is a public servant. She is not paid a dime. And she was the only one who stuck to her testimony re. timeline.” Schertler acknowledged her service and apologized for making light of her.

            • Nelly
              06/24/2010 at 10:07 PM

              Good, glad to hear that Dr. G was given some iota of respect for all the work she did, for no extra pay.

            • Carolina
              06/24/2010 at 10:16 PM

              Wow– and that’s not a word I use, but wow, Leibovitz is really something. I appreciate the judge recognizing the ME for sticking with her findings while the hired guns fired around her.

            • Themis
              06/24/2010 at 10:19 PM

              Which just goes to show that other witnesses for the prosecution, including the ME from MD were paid just Luke defense witnesses. Personally, I don’t give a damn. And, as previously stated, I think Dr. G gained credibility by giving ground on areas where she was uncertain. That said, public defenders are paid less than prosecutors with similar experience, BY LAW, in numerous jurisdictions. And defenders aremuch less likely to be tapped for judicial and executive posts. At last count, two (2) federal judges had been public defenders versus the 100+ who had been prosecutors. So the $$$ argument rings hollow, even from the judge whom I think has generally performed a great job.

              • Kate
                06/25/2010 at 8:11 AM

                Themis – I’m very curious about this.

                Please, can you explain why public defenders would be paid less, by law, no less!?

                That doesn’t seem right, or just.

                Reminds me of the old adage: “every kid in the sandbox should get the same sized bucket.”

                Regards,
                Kate

                • emg
                  06/25/2010 at 8:29 AM

                  In this day and age its a miracle that the State can win cases. They simply do not have resources to fly in expert witnesses from all over the world, or run tests portrayed on CSI. ME offices are nothing like what is seen on TV. Far from it.

                  How the government can even attract the best and brightest based on Prosecutor salaries is a mystery. As an example, the starting salary in Ma. for ADAs is about $35,000. That’s less than right out of college teachers that work only 180 days.

                  Suffolk County ADA’s can’t even afford to live in the county they serve. With law school loans of $120,000+ they are forced to live in high crime areas.
                  Yet they make the sacrifice.

                • Themis
                  06/25/2010 at 11:42 AM

                  Here is a link to a report by the Constitution Project on the crisis in indigent defense. The report is quite long, but the executive summary lays out the problem succinctly.

                  http://www.constitutionproject.org/manage/file/139.pdf

                  For what it’s worth, DC has one of the best public defender systems in the country. VA not so much. Don’t know anything about MD.

                  • Kate
                    06/25/2010 at 12:47 PM

                    Thanks, Themis!

      • Nora
        06/25/2010 at 6:45 AM

        Above it says that Carlson Lieber used the term “ninja” – not the judge. Which tells us nothing about how the judge views the intruder story.

        But which makes it obvious that Lieber reads this blog!

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

      I like to think it was the prosecution’s tip of the hat. That may be ridiculous, but I think they appreciated the way “ninja assassin” so thoroughly captured the spirit of what the defense wanted us to believe.

      • cinnamon
        06/24/2010 at 8:25 PM

        “the way “ninja assassin” so thoroughly captured the spirit of what the defense wanted us to believe.”

        Agree completely.

      • Leo
        06/24/2010 at 9:48 PM

        When I heard Carlson Lieber say those words, I really felt it was a nod to the blog! Was it Bea who first started calling the intruder theory by this name? I think it goes way back. It now lives in perpetuity, part of the trial record.

      • can'tstopreading
        06/24/2010 at 11:58 PM

        Not ridiculous at all.

    • HKG
      06/24/2010 at 8:23 PM

      Hear hear!

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

      Bea: Carlson Lieber used the exact phrase “…ninja assassin intruder…”, not us. We’re not that clever.
      -Doug, co-editor

      • Tarfunk
        06/24/2010 at 8:34 PM

        The prosecution may actually have the defense to thank for the “assassin” prod. On Monday, defense witness Henry Lee pointed out there were several ways a person might be immobilized, including by a marshal arts expert or an assassin. I think many in the audience were dumbfounded when he said that.

        • emg
          06/24/2010 at 8:43 PM

          Henry Lee has become a circus act. I lived in Connecticut during his career as Chief Medical Examiner. He did some really impressive impressive work in his early years, and solved what appeared to be unsolvable cases.

          The woodchipper case was one of the first convictions without a body.

          But somewhere along the way he got caught up in his own press and hype and sold out to the highest bidder or the highest profile cases. His spatter tests became more outrageous and more sensational. He has become a charicature of himself and consequently discounted. What a waste.

          • Ohio
            06/25/2010 at 9:42 AM

            In this age of “celebrity” everything, these celebrity forensic experts are doing a huge disservice to forensic sciences.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 8:54 PM

          Most of all his benefactors.

      • gertiestn
        06/24/2010 at 9:27 PM

        How on earth did the editor dudes keep from bursting out in chortles when “ninja assassin intruder” was invoked? I’m pretty sure I would have simply lost it in the courtroom.

  3. Meto
    06/24/2010 at 8:07 PM

    Editors:

    My thanks to you, really. What a tribute to the Robert.

    I also agree with the several posters who believe that you have accomplished something special here.

    Great summary,

    Respectfully,

    Meto

  4. Bill Orange
    06/24/2010 at 8:12 PM

    You know, I just read through this post, and my thought was that if you asked me to make a decision on this case based solely on the defenses’ closing statements, I would probably find them all guilty. This is an obstruction of justice trial, and the defense is arguing that unless the prosecution can figure out exactly what happened that night, then the judge has to let all three defendants go. No. You only need to show that what happened that night was NOT what the defendants said happened. In other words, the prosecution doesn’t need to prove what happened that night; they only need to prove what did NOT happen.

    Furthermore, Connolly’s statement that “there is no direct or circumstantial evidence that he [Victor] knew what happened” is pure bullshit. There is evidence of a 19 minute delay (at least) between the time of Victor’s scream and the time of the 911 call. As a juror, I expect lawyers to try to explain or discredit certain pieces of evidence, but I have absolutely no patience with lawyers who simply pretend that damaging evidence doesn’t exist at all.

    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
      06/25/2010 at 12:36 AM

      Bill O-

      You are putting forth rational arguments relying upon & based upon the evidence.

      A lot of the individuals posting on this blog are not.

      There are always people who are going to be in denial about what happened to Robert Wone because it is too frightening to admit to yourself that you know people who are capable of doing really scary sick things.

      So, it must not be true because Victor was really nice at work & everyone liked him.

  5. cinnamon
    06/24/2010 at 8:12 PM

    Carlson Lieber: “Glancing at the clock, she ended: “I’ve been talking for 19 minutes, your Honor, which is a very, very long time…”

    This was brilliant.

    • Bill Orange
      06/24/2010 at 8:15 PM

      Agree. That was a VERY solid ending.

      • gina a.
        06/24/2010 at 8:18 PM

        I just said the same thing-Awesome way to show how much time they had even using their crazy timeline.

        • cinnamon
          06/24/2010 at 8:22 PM

          Exactly.

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

        Not to knock her performance (I was saying give her a break when people were criticizing her during the govt’s case) but it’s quite standard actually and taught at trial institutes. Trial is theater to a degree.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 8:31 PM

          Absolutely, which is why a jury probably would have loved it. For Leibovitz, it was probably just another Shakespeare in the park.

          That said, it made me sit back and watch the clock for 19 minutes, just to see how long it felt. I wonder if the judge will do the same.

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/25/2010 at 12:06 AM

            Carolina-

            Actually, Themis too often up for an opportunity to knock the prosecution.

            Thanks for your opinion of what you observed.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/25/2010 at 1:22 AM

          Themis-

          But you ARE knocking her performance by pronouncing somewhat snidely that what she did is really “quite standard actually and taught at trial institutes”.

          What someone is taught is not necessarily something they will go on to excell at. If that were true, why then all litigators would be equally terrific since they are all taught the standard stuff. Right? But that is not the case, is it?

          Gee, I hope her Proud Father didn’t read your condescending remarks.

          I noted today that Michael has assured you publicly that your opinions are always welcome.

          I take it that he does not feel the same towards me.

          I imagine I will soon go the way of the Uh person for a far greater crime.

          I am guilty of making reasonable, common sense arguments, backed by the law & considerable experience, that do not conform to your positions. You have gone out of your way to let me know very personally that my dissension is irritating to you.

          This blog is not about you, it is about the murder of Robert Wone. It is bigger than your ego or mine.

          We can’t all be syncophants, Themis. I don’t know what you think that adds, removing a voice that is not a fawning echo. Let me know Michael, I am not needed here if I am not adding to the mix in an importamt way as you may have envisigned.

          • Michael
            06/25/2010 at 3:53 AM

            FCSOP,

            Geez, I do not know how I got dragged into your differences with Themis. I and my fellow editors have welcomed all of the professional and lay person commentary and insights posted in this forum. The only commenters that have ever been redacted were those that blatantly insulted others or made comments that were particularly vulgar. Diversity of opinion and lifestyles are part of what has made this site unique in the way it has sought to serve as a medium in search of justice in the tragic death of Robert Wone.

            Peace to everyone and thank you for your contributions.

            – Michael, co-editor

          • Carolina
            06/25/2010 at 8:59 AM

            I would hate to see you go and I hope you do not, but then I’m maybe not informed enough to post, either. (I won’t trot out my own personal resume, but it’s got letters in front and behind!)

            I think the tension is getting to everyone and yesterday’s close of the trial was like putting a pin in the balloon. Let it go, post what you will, and ignore what needles you.

            Hey, at least you didn’t get called a dumb bitch by a 25 year old JP wannabe!

          • cinnamon
            06/25/2010 at 9:22 AM

            I have always enjoyed your comments and viewpoint.

          • Lee
            06/25/2010 at 9:58 AM

            Please don’t go. I think you have made many important and insightful contributions.

            Agent Provocateur

          • Themis
            06/25/2010 at 11:53 AM

            FSCOP,

            You have a viewpoint. I have a viewpoint. You are entitled to yours, and I am entitled to mine.

            All I ever suggested is that if you don’t like my posts, don’t read them.

            I think multiple, diverse viewpoints improve a forum. People should have the opportunity to read your posts and contributions.

          • gina a.
            06/25/2010 at 7:54 PM

            Oh lord-please don’t go. I am still making my way through all the comments from today and late yesterday and am verklempt thinking that you might not be giving us the benefit of your knowlege! Please stay! You and Bea make me wish I had continued on my original plan, many, many years ago, for law school!

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 9:02 PM

        BillO, not sure if you saw it or not, but one of the eds indicated it was not Lisa Goddard who attempted to gain access using Robert’s name. I hope he was correct, and I thought it important to point out.

        • Bill Orange
          06/24/2010 at 9:25 PM

          Thank you for letting me know. That really seemed out of character for her. I expect that she’ll continue to stand by Joe unless one of the three confesses. Even then, I think she’d probably still consider him a friend. She is ferociously loyal. I think I’ve said this before, but she’s exactly the kind of person you’d call if you’d just spent the night at the police station. But she’s also very moral, and she’s the last person you’d call if you were trying to get away with a crime.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 9:36 PM

            I think your assessment of her on this blog is precisely why I was so taken aback. Until someone says otherwise, I’m inclined to go with the editor’s view that it was not Goddard, but another blond, possibly also named Lisa.

            • Leo
              06/24/2010 at 9:59 PM

              If Craig says it wasn’t Lisa Goddard, that must be correct. I don’t know her. All I know is that when the same blonde woman entered the overflow courtroom after trying to get in the regular courtroom posing as Robert’s friend, the other two blondes (1 male, 1 female) called out to her, “Lisa!” As I recall, there were 2 Lisa friends of Joe Price.

              • Carolina
                06/24/2010 at 10:18 PM

                Thank you, Leo. You’re right, there were two Lisas.

                • des
                  06/24/2010 at 10:42 PM

                  i saw the same woman and she sure looks like the image of lisa goddard i just googled. is lisa goddard really really skinny? and kinda short?

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

                      Curiouser and curiouser.

                    • Carolina
                      06/24/2010 at 11:12 PM

                      Alright, let’s face it, she’s a distinctive looking woman. I doubt there are two blond Lisas running around the courthouse who look like that. If it was her, I still think it was absolutely shameful.

                    • 310 Observer
                      06/24/2010 at 11:23 PM

                      In reply to Carolina’s post (the website won’t let me reply directly to Carolina so I am replying here)–Lisa was a friend of Robert AND Joe. Why can’t she claim to be friend of Robert’s to gain access to the courtroom when, in fact, she WAS a good friend of Robert’s? He was her chief of staff in college, as has already been said, and it is well known that they remained good friends. She also could’ve used her CNN media credentials to gain access but didn’t. Put yourself in her shoes and cut her some slack. She has handled herself with grace and poise both days she attendedthe trial. She is entitled to her opinion as to the defendants’ guilt or innocence but that does not negate the fact that she was a friend of Robert’s and therefore, in my opinion, has more of a right to a seat in a courtroom than the gawking old ladies who have flown down from New England to view the trial for fun as a vacation,a spectator sport.

                    • susan
                      06/25/2010 at 12:32 AM

                      I think I might have heard some of the same story. Did the person have longer hair than in the photo? And again, really really skinny.

                    • des
                      06/25/2010 at 9:40 AM

                      i was there for only part of the “altercation” – i didn’t see the beginning – but she seemed to be truly upset. was even crying at one point and the two women who were in front of her were really unneccessarily aggressive in my opinion. lisa was upset and appologetic and eventually came down to the other room.

                    • wabur
                      06/25/2010 at 10:38 AM

                      I agree with Des–the women were horribly rude and condescending, and definitely overly aggressive. Lisa was nothing but polite and apologetic. Those women should be ashamed of themselves–even if they didn’t like her/didn’t agree with what she was donig, there was no need for them to act the way they did.

    • can'tstopreading
      06/25/2010 at 12:01 AM

      That raised the hair on the back of my neck!

  6. Bill Orange
    06/24/2010 at 8:13 PM

    Eds,

    Fantastic job!

  7. gina a.
    06/24/2010 at 8:15 PM

    Rachel Carson Lieber is a superstar, IMHO. I love how she brought in the 19 minutes and she dismantled the defense arguments. I feel like the govt ended on an up note and with the judge’s comments, it seems like it will be guilty for at least Joe and Dylan.

    Thank you editors for all your work. This blog drew me in and kept me riveted for weeks. The comments have been outstanding, and I do think this opens up a new era in reporting. Instead of waiting for the “extra” edition of the newspapers of old, I was hitting refresh to get your latest updates! Bravo!

  8. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    06/24/2010 at 8:16 PM

    thank you Doug…..wonderful post. There’s something….touching in your words that has left me needing to reflect. On the post, on the trial, on why I’m here, on so many things. Thank you again….to each of you.

  9. TT
    06/24/2010 at 8:17 PM

    I also want to thank the editors. Words can not express our (most who post here) gratitude. I continue to pray the justice will be served.

  10. Themis
    06/24/2010 at 8:25 PM

    I’m on my iPhone. Original comment was re: 19 minutes.

  11. Turtlejay
    06/24/2010 at 8:27 PM

    You know what’s Kafkaesque . . . Robert Wone waking up dead.

    Thank you editors.

    I have full confidence in Judge Leibovitz.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 8:33 PM

      100% on all three of those comments, TJ.

    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
      06/25/2010 at 12:09 AM

      Turtlejay-

      Very well said. Agree with every point. Also, thank you for your witty observation.

  12. gina a.
    06/24/2010 at 8:34 PM

    “patchwork of suspicious circumstances” and now I am noticing that the icons that are next to each commenter’s post (if they haven’t chosen an avatar) look just like patchwork quilt squares. Weird.

  13. Just Wondering
    06/24/2010 at 8:36 PM

    The editors’ excellent summary of Leibovitz’s lingering questions (which appear to parse carefully things like “willful ignorance” and conspiracy) leads me to believe that she may have made up her mind about Joe and is working through the facts on what charges can survive against Victor and Dylan. Thoughts?

    • Liam
      06/24/2010 at 9:01 PM

      I find it interesting that the Washingtonian article (Jaffe?) interprets the Judges questions as, well, questioning the sufficiency of the prosecution’s case, while, by and large, posters on this site interpret the Judge’s questions as asked to reinforce her already made up mind.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 9:24 PM

        And the truth is probably neither. She’s asking questions for her own purposes, and we can’t do anything but guess at what those are.

        • Cat from Cleveland
          06/24/2010 at 10:01 PM

          You can’t read them. Soemtimes they ask questions to avoid appearing bored. The opinion often bear no resemblence to the argument, and issues that seemed so important during the argument are essentially ignored in the written opinion.
          Has the Judge’s staff attorney been watching the trial?

        • Leo
          06/24/2010 at 10:05 PM

          She was clear in repeating that her “provocative hypotheticals” should not be taken as indications that she had made up her mind or was leaning one way or the other, but rather that it was to help her “focus her thinking” as she does prepare her findings and conclusions. As I said in an earlier post, when she first started doing this to Kirschner (who went first) I could not tell if she was blowing holes in the prosecution’s case or guiding him to close holes she was having trouble with. As the day progressed and she kept up her grilling and hypo’s with all the other attorneys, I concluded that she was simply trying to focus her thinking, as she said. Still, the boldness of some of her assumptions was chilling, as I noted earlier.

          • Nelly
            06/24/2010 at 10:08 PM

            That’s why it’s been a relief to have a judge decide as opposed to a jury. A jury would not have been able to interject and get all this clarification.

    • des
      06/24/2010 at 9:13 PM

      “leads me to believe that she may have made up her mind about Joe and is working through the facts on what charges can survive against Victor and Dylan. Thoughts?”

      that’s what i was thinking – i made it to the trial for a couple of hours this morning. the judge seemed to be asking questions as she was working it all through in her head right there in court. and it did seem like she was referring to victor and dylan and how much they knew or how much the government was able to show what they knew and when with facts. it was very interesting and frustrating at the same time.

  14. AnnaZed
    06/24/2010 at 8:41 PM

    Thank you to our brave and tireless eds, thank you.

  15. Sam
    06/24/2010 at 8:45 PM

    Would love to see the full text of emails between Dylan and Joe! Interesting subtext there on their relationship. Curious as to why exactly emails about Dylan pulling away came up in closing?

    • cinnamon
      06/24/2010 at 8:48 PM

      Yes, I too was curious about that too after all this time would this come up at closing? What does it signify?

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 8:58 PM

        Maybe Joe found an iron clad way to bind the three of them together. Seems to be working thus far.

        • cinnamon
          06/24/2010 at 9:22 PM

          Yes. It does.

      • KatieLady
        06/24/2010 at 9:20 PM

        Perhaps it was mentioned to show cracks in the relationship — if Dylan were thinking of bailing and Joe knew it, what good would it do to continue to protect one another?

        LOVE that ninja reference by Carlson Lieber.

        As others have said, kudos to the editors and those who have contributed here.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 9:28 PM

          If Joe were desperate enough to keep Dylan, and heaven knows a good dom is hard to find, who can say the lengths he’d go to close those teasing seams? It’s probably a good thing those got lobbed in closing so they couldn’t be parlayed into a motive.

          • Bill Orange
            06/24/2010 at 9:31 PM

            Reminds me of a friend of mine who was in an unhappy (not abusive, just unhappy) relationship. I asked her asked why she didn’t just break things off, and she said, “I would, but I need someone to walk my dog when I go on business trips.”

            • Carolina
              06/24/2010 at 9:39 PM

              At least she had her priorities firmly in place.

    • Leo
      06/24/2010 at 10:09 PM

      It came up because Bernie Grimm was trying to answer the govt’s claim in its closing that the family was so close and the bonds so “intense” that all of the defendants acted in concert. Bernie referred to emails between Joe and Dylan, that he said were in evidence as an exhibit, that showed that in fact the family had arguments and disagreements just like anyone else and no one was slavishly or hypnotically in thrall to anyone else.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 10:23 PM

        The trouble with that is, no one said Joe or Dylan were doormats.

  16. DonnaH
    06/24/2010 at 8:46 PM

    Just want to add my thanks to the editors for their imagining this project to begin with, and for their dedication and perseverance in bringing it about. It is great service and tribute to Robert Wone, his family and friends, and a significant contribution to all who believe justice is well served by citizens seeing and learning more (as I certainly have!) about the workings of our judicial system.

    • dcattorney
      06/24/2010 at 9:16 PM

      Really, this was a great public service. Thank you.

  17. Themis
    06/24/2010 at 8:48 PM

    Just as an aside, I would recommend “The Framing of the Constitution” by Farrand for an historical explication of the competing values that concerned the founding fathers. As for the concerns regarding criminal prosecutions specifically, just look at the language of the fifth, sixth, and eighth amendments, and recall that many states refused to adopt the constitution until the bill of rights was added.

    I may be a nerd, but I truly believe that our criminal justice system and the notions that motivate it cannot be understood without a grounding in the constitution and history. People can and will disagree over the import of those things, but that does not diminish the importance of learning about them.

    I would rather have a conversation with an informed person with whom I disagree than with a person who agrees with me but has no knowledge to back up his conclusions.

    • DonnaH
      06/24/2010 at 9:40 PM

      Thanks, Themis, I will look it up. I feel poorly educated, as I believe many Americans to be, as to the various points of view that went into forming our country; this book sounds like a worthwhile read.

    • HKG
      06/24/2010 at 11:09 PM

      Yes, thank for the reccomendation!

    • Michael
      06/25/2010 at 12:21 AM

      Thank you Themis for your informative contributions to this forum.

      I’d like to note that Judge Leibovitz’ undergraduate degree was in history and religious studies, both which were instrumental in articulating many of the rights set forth by our Constitution. Throughout the pretrial hearings and the trial, I developed huge respect for the Judge and her command of Constitutional law.

      Your voice is welcomed always in this discussion.

      – Michael, co-editor

    • Kate
      06/25/2010 at 8:45 AM

      As an historian – I thank you for that, Themis.

      Regards,
      Kate

  18. WillC
    06/24/2010 at 8:48 PM

    Could one of the legal eagles on here promise me that whatever the verdict, I won’t see the boy’s on Bravo this fall in there own show “Three’s Company, Four’s Conspiracy”

    • Kate
      06/25/2010 at 8:48 AM

      Now that’s funny, WillC.

      I immediately thought of the Salahis – the folks that gate-crashed the President’s first State Dinner. They’re going to star in the reality show “Real Housewives of Washington, D.C.”

      I can’t wait not to watch!

      Cheers,
      Kate

    • David
      06/25/2010 at 9:28 AM

      I was thinking more of Roxy and Velma from “Chicago” after they are each acquitted.

    • JAG
      06/25/2010 at 12:21 PM

      Does DC have a Son of Sam law?

  19. tucsonwriter
    06/24/2010 at 8:55 PM

    “Why is length important?” she asked in light of the government’s removing from the table any allegation of large scale cleanup. Paraphrasing, she speculated it wouldn’t take very long at all for the three housemates to concoct a story, swipe a knife blade, and call 9-1-1.

    The first line of that, out of context, is very funny.

    Being that I haven’t heard everything that courtroom observers have – when did the govt take the large scale clean-up off the table? And was that because they simply couldn’t prove it due to the lack of evidence?

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

      One would assume that failure to find blood would require them to pull back on the housecleaning, though the lack of fingerprints feels more damning as a few drops of blood would have been.

    • Leo
      06/24/2010 at 10:13 PM

      Wasn’t the “massive cleanup” all the stuff in the original affidavit about hosing down or washing the body, redressing the body and placing it on the bed, disposing of bloody clothes and towels, doing laundry, etc? That stuff hasn’t been in the case in a long while.

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 10:26 PM

        I am assuming that’s correct. I’m still not sure some of that didn’t occur, but as you indicated it was excised before the case went to trial.

  20. Robert Chambers
    06/24/2010 at 9:06 PM

    Thanks for the summary. Excellent job anf hope justice prevails in this case.

  21. long time lurker, first time poster
    06/24/2010 at 9:07 PM

    Just a(nother) shout-out to the Editors and contributors to this website, Thanks!

    • mandyca
      06/24/2010 at 9:47 PM

      Agreed. First time poster also. A big thanks.

  22. Carolina
    06/24/2010 at 9:08 PM

    Can one of our lawyers say whether or not the stipulated information becomes public?

    • Meto
      06/24/2010 at 9:15 PM

      Carolina:

      Subject to redactions, normally the stipulations are a public record that like the transcripts are a matter of public record. Subject to dealing with the byzantine nature of anything related to D.C. government and paying copying costs, those materials should be accessible.

      Respectfully,

      Meto

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 9:15 PM

      It should become part of the public court file.

    • Themis
      06/24/2010 at 9:16 PM

      Stipulated information is evidence and becomes part of the public record.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 9:30 PM

      Thank you to all who responded. I would like to know if there were emails that *were* sent from Robert’s phone, or if the defense was just that sloppy (or clever).

      And yes, I’d like to see what emails passed between the defendants that the defense felt needed to be addressed in closing.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/24/2010 at 10:29 PM

        Carolina-

        The emails are just 1 of the many “stipulations” in the record that exist as a list only right now to us.

        Remember there are a lot of stipulations the contents of which no one who posts here has seen.

        As I have previously pointed out, there may be all sorts of juicy stuff in there, which the judge is now considering & both the defense as well as the prosecution has now referenced (as I predicted the stips would come up) in closing.

        They include the following:

        The weather in July & August 2006
        The October 2006 burglarly
        The 9-1-1 call
        Defendant’s activities on August 2, 2006
        Robert Wone’s activities August 2, 2006
        Fingerprints
        Telephone numbers
        Collection of physical evidence
        Certain testing and serological DNA evidence
        Toxicology testing
        Photographs
        Emails between various members of the Swann Street household
        Grand Jury statements by Ward and Zaborsky
        TV listings for August 2, 2006
        Phone records between Joe Price & Louis Hinton.

        Whose telephone #s?
        What are the contents of the emails?
        Whose fingerprints?
        Photographs of what exactly?
        And so on.

        Speculate away.

        Sometimes, later on, you start worrying, was that a mistake?

        Did I just stipulate to something that is going to haunt me later….

  23. Rich
    06/24/2010 at 9:11 PM

    A Repost From This Afternoon. It might have gotten lost in the frenzy today:

    Clearly, We Will ALL have to meet?

    Once the verdicts are in, there will be WAY MORE to discuss, as we ALL have feelings, opinions and issues pertaining to this matter.

    After 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 recognize one another.

    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?

    • Bea
      06/24/2010 at 9:16 PM

      Too short notice for me here in California. And a gathering would be interesting, though right now it feels a bit too ‘party’ under the circumstances (regardless of verdicts) – not that you intended it to be so – but something to keep in mind.

      • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
        06/24/2010 at 10:54 PM

        Bea-

        Ever the voice of reason.

        Robert Wone was murdered.

        I did not know him.

        From what I have learned about him, I do not think it would serve his memory well to gather for a “Happy Hour”.

        For 1 thing, Robert Wone did not drink himself.

        If you want to do something positive/collective in his memory, it should be in a way that he would appreciate.

        Perhaps 1 of his many friends can make a good suggestion.

        Full disclosure, I have seen counsel for both sides partying together after a very serious felony case.

        It was really not appropriate & photographs were leaked to the media.

        After the acquittal of William Kennedy Smith, famous defense attorney Roy Black partied with the jurors, hooking up with 1 of them. Icky.

        So many of the posters here are fantastic, dedicated, interesting, brilliant people.

        I tip my hat to each & everyone of you, as well as to the amazing grace & fortitude that is WMRW: Craig, David, Doug & Michael.

        Take a bow!

        You have all done your mothers proud.

        • Gloria
          06/24/2010 at 11:54 PM

          I have been recommending, offline, to our editors convening a focus group to discuss the outcome of the trial and considering next steps. If, as seems likely now, a larger group would be interested, then staging a “fishbowl” of a larger group listening in on a smaller (managable sized) group. And I volunteered to (help) organize it. I did not have in mind a “party” atmosphere at all, but an event with a continued seriousness of purpose. Anyone interested?

          • TT
            06/25/2010 at 9:24 AM

            Gloria, I am definitly interested.

            • dcattorney
              06/25/2010 at 9:46 AM

              I was a colleague of Robert’s, and might be interested in discussing this with knowledgeable, serious, and interested people once it is all over. Not a party, of course, but a reasoned discussion. This whole thing has bothered me for years, and I am not sure the trial has helped to clarify very much (although this site has helped far more than have the traditional news media).

              • Carolina
                06/25/2010 at 11:41 AM

                The entire circumstances must be very hard for you to take in, knowing Robert personally. I can’t begin the imagine how one would wrap one’s head around such a pointless act.

                I do have one question for you and I apologize if it seems in any way disrespectful to Robert.

                Many people have come here, speculating about what part Robert’s own actions might have played in his death.

                Is there *any* reason of which you are aware that Robert may have been a target?

                • Nelly
                  06/25/2010 at 11:46 AM

                  Butting in to say: Robert was a very nice person to everyone. Perhaps his kindness was misinterpreted by Joe or Dylan, especially if they were on drugs.

                • dcattorney
                  06/25/2010 at 11:57 AM

                  I can not imagine anything he could have done to contributed to this. He was extremely nice, kind, respectful, intelligent; he was simply an all around good person. He was exactly the type of person that, when you hear something like this, you ask, “Of all people, why him?” It is so sad, and a great loss.

    • Rapt in MD
      06/25/2010 at 10:15 AM

      Rapt in MD is there! Let me know the date.

  24. BadShoes
    06/24/2010 at 9:18 PM

    Thanks and congratulations to the editors for helping to bring into existence an entirely new form of journalism. If you step back for a moment, and consider the product, you will see that you have wrought something extraordinary and unprecedented.

    There is no ‘old media’ outlet on the planet that could have ever brought to bear the depth of talent, real-world insights, round-the-clock coverage, and consistently pertinent commentary that WMRW has done.

    Even in the brave new world of the internet, there are innumerable bloggers and web sites, but few have produced a product so consistently timely, useful and compulsively readable.

    Thanks both to the editors and to the many extraordinary people with special expertise–prosecutors, defense attorneys, ex-jurors, doctors, pyschologists, EMTs, recreational pharmaceutical users, kinky sex practitioners, as well as friends, neighbors, and acquaintances of Robert Wone and the defendants–who have so generously contributed their time, passion, and special knowledge to this venture.

    • Bea
      06/24/2010 at 9:33 PM

      Excellent post, BadShoes.

      FYI, I’ve always loved your ‘handle’ (in reading this, I have the urge to delete given its kum-bay-ah love fest sound – but still it’s true).

      • BadShoes
        06/24/2010 at 9:52 PM

        thank-you for the kind words.

        For a while, I was thinking of changing to “BadHaircut,” which would have been equally apt.

        • Kate
          06/25/2010 at 9:05 AM

          Fear not, BadShoes –

          It would seem in your case that “the carpet matches the drapes.” Not a bad thing.

          However, if you would like to remove the “badness” from your attire, Clio and I would be more than happy to assist … pro bono.

          Unless it’s really, really bad.

          Cheers,
          Kate

    • Gama
      06/24/2010 at 9:33 PM

      My extended and grateful kudos also to the editors for their first-rate accomplishment as well as their time and hard work — but this is hardly the first site or blog to follow a trial and build a community in the process. Extraordinary? Yes. Unprecedented? Groklaw.net comes to mind immediately and there have been others.

      • BadShoes
        06/25/2010 at 9:32 AM

        okay, i’ve been hyperventilating. But now that I’ve breathed into the paper bag a few times, “extraordinary” is probably the more accurate term.

        • Carolina
          06/25/2010 at 11:45 AM

          I think one of the biggest differences is that few of us are in the legal profession or legal groupies. Few of us would have any interest in following another case as we did this.

          • Gama
            06/26/2010 at 12:06 AM

            The sites I’m referring to are not aimed at the legal profession or legal groupies. They are aimed at at the typical person interested in learning about and following a case and exposing injustice, just as this site is. Few of them are of the calibre of this site but whether anyone here is interested in following the egregious shenanigans of SCO at Groklaw, for example, is irrelevant to whether the editors here created something entirely new, which simply isn’t true and was clearly the point I was responding to.

        • Gama
          06/26/2010 at 12:10 AM

          BadShoes, I’ve been an admirer of your posts and I hope I didn’t give the impression I was slighting either you or the editors here. I was just noting a small point. I’d be upset if I thought I offended you. And again, for anyone interested in justice for Robert and his family and friends, this is a superb resource which has brought a grave injustice which was being ignored to light and in a first class, literate and informative way.

    • HKG
      06/24/2010 at 11:24 PM

      I would think even just collecting and printing/publishing the contents of the blog and comments alone would make for fascinating reading, as well as a great reference of how the trial and the events that led up to it transpired. A friend if mine just did that for me for his blog, and it’s great to be able to have that all in one place and in hardcopy.

  25. Bill 2
    06/24/2010 at 9:22 PM

    Thank you to the editors for building and maintaining an outstanding website and huge hugs to everyone who has contributed to this unique and historic experience.

  26. Corcoran
    06/24/2010 at 9:32 PM

    Over the past 3 plus years, I’ve changed my mind about the circumstances of that August night on Swann St., and what might have actually happened, more times than I can remember.

    I suppose the “six degrees of separation” aspects of the case intrigued me first. I attended U.Va. at the same time as Joe Price, although I never recall meeting him. I attended the U.Penn. at the same time as Robert Wone, and I never recall meeting him. I was active on both campuses (or “the Grounds” as we say at U.Va.) and given their involvement in student government, I’m surprised we never met. I lived one block away from 1509 Swann St. at the time of the murder, but I never recall meeting any of the residents, even though they were apparently well-known within the greater Dupont gay community. (Full disclosure: I met some of the editors of this blog, years before they were blog editors, but I am not acquainted with them now.)

    Based upon only what I read in the press at first (Wash Blade, Post, etc), I wanted to believe that the residents were not involved in either the murder or any coverup. None of the residents, nor the victim, had a history of legal or criminal troubles before. All seemed to be held in high regard within their various circles — even Dylan, the most enigmatic of all, didn’t seem to have any known enemies or animus towards him. This may reflect my own naivete, or generally positive faith in humankind, but I was willing to accept their claims of innocence as genuine.

    My opinions changed when some of the inexplicable oddities of the case arose — often thanks to the sleuthing of our blog editors. As has been written many many times, the notion of the mysterious intruder/murderer seems ridiculously preposterous. If one believes the intruder theory, I think one would need to believe in gremlins, killer leprechauns, ninja assassins, etc, as has been well noted on this blog and elsewhere. I was also surprised that the residents did not seem to be aggressively seeking the public’s help with the investigation. (Although this is a poor comparison, even O.J. Simpson appealed to the public for help and posted a reward for any information related to the murder of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. The residents certainly seemed to have the financial means to post a reward.) Given that Robert was a good friend, it seems strange that they did not work closely with Robert’s widow to try to solve this mystery.

    My doubts about the residents’ innocence increased significantly, however, once the particulars of their private lives became known. Because the residents seemed to be somewhat disingenuous, if not hypocritical, given the contrast between their public and private personas, I was inclined to believe that they were not forthright in explaining their actions on Aug. 2, 2006. The revelations of promiscuous behavior and drug use impacted my opinion of them, as I think it did many readers of this blog.

    But as I’ve read this blog intently every day during the course of the trial, and in particular today’s closing arguments, I simply do no think that the government has proven, without a reasonable doubt, that the defendants conspired and obstructed justice. I realize that my opinions runs counter to the mood of the blogosphere at the moment. What troubles me is the lack of a clear motive. I believe that answering the question of “why would they conspire or obstruct” needs to be answered more definitively. Merely supposing that Michael Price committed the crime and the residents’ are conspiring and obstructing to protect the brother of a housemate/partner seems a little weak in my opinion.

    Perhaps it’s unfortunate that this case was not referred to a jury. Many bloggers has suggested that a DC jury that reflected the demographics of the city would be inclined to convict. My experiences on DC juries have always been very positive. I have found that my fellow jurors, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc., were always fair, objective and quite discerning in their deliberations. I have ended each of my jury duty experiences here feeling better about my hometown and my fellow citizens. I wonder if the opinion of 12, instead of the one expected on Tuesday morning, might have carried more legitimacy…. perhaps…

    In sum, I worry that my own opinions of the defendants’ personal lives — polyamorous relationships and alleged drug use — originally clouded my opinion of their guilt. Maybe I’m a little oversensitive, but I’ve witnessed over the past couple decades how destructive and hurtful the drug use and rampant sexual promiscuity among gay men in Washington can be. Or maybe I’m jealous of Joe and Victor’s success? I never made partner at my firm — I followed Robert’s path and opted for a government job instead. And despite decades of dating, I’ve never had a long-term relationship. (And yet Joe seemed to have 2 partners!?!)

    In the end, I sincerely applaud the editors for their vigilance in continuing to investigate this case — too many cases grow cold and forgotten in our city. But I also sincerely hope that this little blogosphere community that has arisen over the past few years can try to remain objective following the verdict. Regardless of the outcome, my gut tells me that Robert’s widow will continue to pursue a civil case against the defendants. And I wholeheartedly support her if that’s her decision — if I were she, I would have so many questions that would torment me. She is entitled to some answers. But I worry that our strong desire to see justice for Robert be impacting our objectivity and our lingering doubts as to whether the defendants willfully conspired and obstructed the investigation of this murder.

    Respectfully, Corcoran

    • Corcoran
      06/24/2010 at 9:48 PM

      Please pardon my grammatical errors — my English profs would be ashamed. It’s been a long day, and my spelling and grammatical skills are rusty after a lengthy red wine dinner — and no, I didn’t burn the steaks on the grill. Cheers.

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 9:52 PM

      Your post is perfectly reasoned and I will say only this:

      I am not in the least offended by the lifestyles of the defendants. I am acutely aware, however, of how well Joe appears to compartmentalize his life, and that is what initially turned me from believing their story. When coupled with the inconsistencies, I stepped over to the Other Side.

      They may well be acquitted, and if so, I trust that the judge weighed the evidence against the law and that was how the scale tipped. But will I ever believe there was an intruder? No, I’m sorry, I won’t.

      • Corcoran
        06/24/2010 at 10:03 PM

        Thanks Carolina. I’ve always enjoyed your posts and, often very witting retorts, over the past few months.

        • MikeDC
          06/24/2010 at 11:01 PM

          I agree. I am not offended by the lifestyles of the defendants and it’s not reasonable for one to jump to the conclusion that they must have done it just because you find their lifestyle abhorrent. And while the defendants may have promoted the theory, they have not said that they “saw” an intruder. They’ve consistently said that they don’t know who killed Robert. I don’t believe that one of them killed Robert because I see no motive. Are folks saying that they killed him during a drug-fueled BDSM ritual and then quickly sobered up, cleaned up, and conspired to cover-up what happened? Sorry, that’s as unbelievable as the ninja assassin theory.

          • commonsensewillprevailihope
            06/24/2010 at 11:05 PM

            How do you explain the various statement discrepancies and odd behaivior –not checking on dylan for example. Something very very weird and illogical happened in that house that night. There is no “sensible” explanation, so whoever was involved in the crime and/or coverup was doing strange illogical things. And the defendants statements and actions suggest they were not playing it straigh t with the police, and they were the only ones for sure in the house, so…..

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 11:18 PM

            *SOME* folks are saying that, but there are other scenarios offered up.

            As for motive, as I said previously, motive is what rational people want to make sense of irrational acts. What was Jeffery Dahmer’s motive? He was hungry?

          • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
            06/24/2010 at 11:52 PM

            Why Do You Have To Know The Motive?

            Someone else previously responded to this issue by asking “What was Jeffrey Dahmer’s motive? That he was hungry?”

            Sometimes terrible incomprensible acts are committed, which are best classified as “senseless crimes”.

            What was the motive of The Green River Killer?

            BKT?

            Ted Bundy?

            When someone in my office would ask me for more lurid details about certain cases trying to understand the “motive”, I would point out that if the person’s thinking starts making sense to you, you are getting really twisted.

            I had a case where an adult male came into my office & started confessing to me. Out of the blue.

            I referred him to the Public Defender’s Office & closed the door.

            He then shoved a hand written letter underneath, addressed to me, disclosing more than I wanted to know about his motive for repeatedly sexually assaulting the 9 year old daughter of his girlfriend in every way imaginable.

            What was his motive?

            The letter was like something you would read in Penthouse Forum about how sexy & seductive this young woman was whenever she coyly dropped her transparent nightie off her shoulder.

            The chubby shapeless 9 year old victim was not exactly Lolita, & she did not ever own a see thru negligee. This other person was just projecting his sick fantasies onto her.

            Does that really make any sense to you? How does an adult male imagine a third grader as sophisticated, sexually mature, seductive & hot?

            Sex Offense Prosecutor Joke:

            A man comes home from work & sees that his girlfriend is packing up her stuff.

            I’m leaving you, she tells him.

            But why?, he asks.

            Why?, she responds, why? Because 1 of our neighbors told me you were a pedophile, that’s why.

            A pedophile? A pedophile?, he stammers,
            Isn’t that kind of a big word for a 10 year old?

            • bonsource
              06/25/2010 at 7:50 AM

              All bad examples FCSOP, each and every one a serial killer of random victims without anywhere near the ‘mainstream’ lifestyles of the three defendants. Yes, we need a motive when someone murders an individual as close as Robert was to Joe.

              • KiKi
                06/25/2010 at 8:36 AM

                I agree bonsource. I represent guys charged with capital crimes, which means everyone of them has murdered someone (or been accused of such). While some of the motives are clear others are not. And maybe the word isn’t Motive – but a reason. Whether it is mental illness or misplaced anger – there is a reason. Your examples FCSOP have a lot to do with mental illness I don’t think anyone would claim that the three had a collective mental impairment. So thus – it is not just our small little brains requiring a motive, it is commonsense to expect if someone has killed their friend of over 15 years (and this is seemingly their first murder) there must be a reason.

              • Carolina
                06/25/2010 at 9:18 AM

                So holding a day job means you must have a rational motive?

          • Firefly
            06/25/2010 at 1:56 AM

            Is it possible there was no motive? The death could have been accidental.

            Perhaps Robert was closeted and was a willing participant in some sexual activities. Perhaps he overdosed by his own mistake. Or, Robert was not a willing participant and was sedated to be part of the evening’s activities. Either way, the death may have been accidental. Many injection sites were found on his body. The lab wasn’t able to do enough drug tests because there wasn’t enough blood.

            Then, what could the housemates do? If they called the police, authorities would see all sorts of sexual paraphernalia and drugs. That would be bad for careers and reputations. And Robert would be “outed” as gay. Knife murder by intruder would clear away all those messy and embarrassing details.

            It seems odd, that Robert didn’t just go home after working late. Oakton is only 19 miles away from his office. A “sleepover” for attorneys in their thirties doesn’t cut it with me. Boston Legal’s Denny Crane and Alan Shore are an exception. Over the years, I’ve met several gay Asian men who are married to women. This scenario is a classic excuse they use to be away from their wives.

            Regardless, the housemates are clearly conspiring and obstructing justice.

            • Bill 2
              06/25/2010 at 5:04 AM

              “A ‘sleepover’ for attorneys in their thirties doesn’t cut it with me.”

              If you knew the facts involving the need for the sleepover, you would understand perfectly. There have been many, many, many discussions here since new people arrive on this site several times a week with thoughts that a “sleepover” doesn’t cut it. Read back through the site and you’ll discover that the sleepover makes perfect sense when you’re aware of the facts. Sadly, Robert Wone didn’t know the real makeup of that household or he would have gone with the option of staying with another acquaintance (female) he had queried about needing a place to crash that night.

              • bonsource
                06/25/2010 at 8:43 AM

                Bill 2, the possibility of an alternative acquaintance with whom Robert could have spent the night has always intrigued me. On the one hand, plans were made to spend the night somewhere (bag packed) and Joe apparently had some level of expectation that day that Robert would be there. On the other hand, did the possibility truly exist that he may have spent the night elsewhere? Was this second person ever interviewed? What were her expectations? There must have been similar emails or phone calls yet the packed bag indicates a higher level of certainty in my mind that he was not going home that night.

                • Carolina
                  06/25/2010 at 9:19 AM

                  Please do at cursory bit of homework.

                  He asked two people if he could crash. Joe responded first.

                  Lots more details are available right here in this blog. Help yourself.

                  • susan
                    06/25/2010 at 9:54 AM

                    Bonsource–Whatever the case, surely you will agree that RW didn’t stay over at JP’s house to be murdered?

                    KiKi, I don’t know if the three guys have some mental disability, but surely you’ve heard of “dysfunctional” families.

                    • KiKi
                      06/25/2010 at 10:00 AM

                      Yes, I think most of us have them. – And they do not usually lead to murder.

                    • Carolina
                      06/25/2010 at 11:47 AM

                      A-freakin-men.

      • Bill Orange
        06/25/2010 at 8:34 AM

        “I am not in the least offended by the lifestyles of the defendants.”

        I wouldn’t say that I’m offended by their lifestyles. But for someone who seems to “compartmentalize”, I have to say that I’m quite surprised by Joe’s apparent ignorance about how certain things are going to look to outsiders.

        1. Keeping porn on your office computer is stupid. Keeping BDSM photos of YOURSELF on your office computer is unbelievably reckless, and it’s going to look really bad if someone finds them, even in the absence of a murder investigation.

        2. If someone is found dead in a house, it’s pretty obvious that the police are going to ask if someone else in the house killed them. If there’s a possibility of sexual attraction between someone in the house and the victim, then the police are probably going to ask about that, too. This is even more true if two of these people are having extra-marital sexual relationships, and this is both known to and accepted by others in the relationship.

        3. If you are heavily involved in BDSM play, and you have a trunk full of gear down hall from a murder victim, you should expect this to raise the eyebrows of the police. You should NOT say that the police are free to search the house, and then say that all they’ll find is pornography. Furthermore, if you stop co-operating with the police less than 12 hours after a murder, and then tell friends and family that you’re being unfairly targeted for being gay and/or in a three-way relationship, you should expect people to drop their support of you when an extensive catalog of your BDSM gear is made public.

        • Carolina
          06/25/2010 at 9:22 AM

          Yes, imagine that, BillO. He is so deep in his own world that he finds it homophobic to ask questions that would have been asked of any straight threesome. He’s so above the rules that he can keep personal porn on the computers at a silk stocking law firm. And he’s shocked, SHOCKED I SAY that anyone might ask questions or suspect him.

    • chilaw79
      06/24/2010 at 10:18 PM

      Thank you for your well-reasoned and supported analysis. While my own opinions differ somewhat, I respect your views. I think almost everyone agrees that any sexual relationships between or among the defendants or others as consenting adults is not relevant to this case. I think the concept of “family” is.

      I certainly understand the need of Kathy Wone to determine what happened to her husband. I wish her well in her search for the truth, although I fear it will be difficult to discern no matter what the result of this case is.

    • Lyn
      06/24/2010 at 10:30 PM

      “What troubles me is the lack of a clear motive.”

      You have the same question that any logical person has. You are trying to make sense of something that simply doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately, many crimes make no sense whatsoever.

      As just one example, why did a then-wealthy Winona Ryder shoplift clothes from a store? She would have no need to do that, right? If we had no videotape evidence and had to get over the hurdle of whether it made logical sense for a wealthy celebrity to shoplift, she would never have been found guilty of grand theft.

      In my opinion, logical motives are helpful, but they don’t always exist.

      • Corcoran
        06/24/2010 at 11:04 PM

        Good point. Perhaps it’s in our nature to seek a rational explanation when, in fact, humans don’t always act rationally?

    • Rebecca
      06/24/2010 at 11:14 PM

      Corcoran,

      You have so clearly my own dilemma. I originally believed all three defendants were guilty of the charges – and murder too. But as the evidence has been presented, I’m not so sure. It is the lack of motive that troubles me. As I’ve said on a couple of previous posts, I can come up with a number of logical HOW scenarios, but no WHY’s. This tortures me!

      It is likely that the trouple did something awful, but I would rest better if the reason was revealed.

      Murder is a crime of passion and without evidence of a passionate reason for the murder, I struggle to wholeheartedly believe any of the scenarios that have been presented so far.

      I, too have confidence in the judge but I am so glad I do not have her job!

      • Carolina
        06/24/2010 at 11:25 PM

        Are you aware that Joe was starting up his own porn business?

        That he stated in his alt.com profile that he was interested in erotic photography and had examples of his own on his law firm computer? And yet, only a disposable camera was found in the house.

        Do you know how many BDSM participants own a playmat? Yet none was found in Dylan’s room or elsewhere.

        What of the two pre mortem wounds on Robert’s ankles that all medical personnel insist were not part of their efforts to resuscitate?

        I can put those together and come up with a good scenario that supplies motive. I’m not saying it’s correct, but to say there is nothing to show motive at all is hard for me to understand.

        • Lurker
          06/25/2010 at 9:07 AM

          It’s inconceivable to me that any high-income household of 3 adult gay men does not contain a single digital camera. That is just strange! And no wet towels from the alleged shower? Plainly there was a cleanup effort. I wish a large scale canvas of trash cans in the immediate area had been done that first night. Even if you bought the intruder theory, it might have been a good thing to do. Who knows what would have been found?

          • emg
            06/25/2010 at 9:16 AM

            I really wish we had a timeline of each of them for the day. As I recall when Victor came home from the gym Dylan was in the shower. Victor took a shower. Assume that if Joe really was at the gym he would take a shower. They then all got dressed and had dinner. Yet when police arrived it appeared they had all showered. 2 showers each in a matter of 5 hours? That’s alot of towels missing.

            • Carolina
              06/25/2010 at 9:24 AM

              Dylan was in his room, working out with the door closed. I assume Victor could detect the workout by sound?

          • Carolina
            06/25/2010 at 11:49 AM

            Especially as there were photos of them in Italy and on other occasions that were obviously taken with an SLR, presumably digital.

  27. Nelly
    06/24/2010 at 9:40 PM

    Wonderful summation, you guys! I hope you all get a good break this weekend to do other things and take a breather. I will try to be on the chat.

  28. Occam's Razor
    06/24/2010 at 9:40 PM

    First things first — I join in the applause for our editors, who have demonstrated balance, objectivity, insight, and thoroughness. We should be so lucky as to have persons of their competence and dedication in so many other of our endeavors.

    Secondly, notwithstanding my personal conviction that the defendants are at least guilty of a conspiracy to obstruct, I came away from the closing arguments today (I sat through all of them, in the overflow room) somewhat despondent. My hat is off to the defense counsel, in particular Michael Shertler and Tom Connolly.

    I would not be surprised to see different outcomes in the seven verdicts that Judge Leibovitz will render on Tuesday morning. My fear is that the Judge’s questions today lend themselves to the proposition that she may not be able to make the findings, to the level of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” necessary to convict, at least on some of the counts.

    I share the view that Rachel Carson Lieber’s rebuttal was effective, especially her reference to the 19 minutes that had passed during the course of her presentation. She missed one vital opportunity, however, and I am wondering if other posters picked it up: in connection with the discussion of the fact that so little blood was found on the towel, the Judge asked whether, if she were to accept the proposition that the defendants (or some of them) had spent some time and effort cleaning up the initial gore in the guest bedroom where Robert was found, why that would necessarily tilt against the defense. Carson Lieber seemed to me to have been caught a bit off guard and offered some generalizations about criminal motivation, where a more effective response would have been to bring up the defense’s own story that an intruder had caused the gore, which would have made the clean-up unimaginable. If a substantial clean-up was undertaken, it would not jibe with the intruder story and would at least suggest in some minds that the defendants (or those who may have participated in the clean-up) had something else in mind.

    Finally, I like the post from Rich — whatever the outcome, we should all gather at a designated place and time with our blog-post names on badges and try to see if any minds can be changed.

    I met several of you over the last three days and want to extend my appreciation to all of you for not forgetting Robert Wone.

  29. susan
    06/24/2010 at 9:44 PM

    Corcoran, thanks for your post.

    You wrote that what troubles you is “clear motive.” But that is glaring–to avoid being charged with murder! If you meant motive re the murder, that doesn’t need to be proved and wasn’t a focus of this legal case at all as far as I understand it.

    Re the rep. of the guys in the community, I’ve heard from some that they were big on the bar scene and have heard that JP didn’t always have the most favorable rep. But that’s only what I’ve “heard.”

    • Corcoran
      06/24/2010 at 10:23 PM

      Yes, my apologies if motive is not really relevant to the charges of obstruction and conspiracy. As I noted in a response to another post, perhaps I, like so many I think, want an answer to the question — why did this happen? Unfortunately, the evidence was lacking to bring forth a murder trial.

      As to community opinion, I thought I was big on the bar scene. Friends have joked that I should have a memorial stool at JRs. I guess that’s another aspect to this case that’s troubled me — the relative lack of defenders or testimonials for the defendants. Friends or even acquaintances of mine who have run into trouble over the years — drug possession, DWI, etc — seem to have tons of friends and defenders who materialize overnight. Yet, I’m kind of surprised that Victor and Joe haven’t had more defenders, or even a legal defense fund started by friends. Quite the opposite, given that they had to create their own defense fund. Yes, the gay community can be vicious at times, but we do seem to come to our friends’ aid and forgive in the end. Again, it’s just a strange paradox…

      • susan
        06/24/2010 at 11:34 PM

        Thanks for your reply, Corcoran.

        Re the lack of “tons of friends” maybe that points to the insularity of the “family.” Maybe it’s one thing to post your profile online and have random encounters with strange men and another to let them into your private world.

        Re judging their lifestyle–I honestly vacillate on that. What if you knew of a man who had essentially married one woman and kept a spare in another bedroom on the premises? I don’t mind myself, I’m on the outside, but I’d think there was some strange understanding that would allow the three to agree to that. And I’d imagine there’d be some jealousies or occasional need to prove my importance to one or the other or their importance to me. And the tacit agreement that keeps you in that arrangement for at least a few years or more–in the face of general convention–might make the participants defensive and maybe strengthen the bond in ways most people would not imagine and make it more impenetrable by the outside. Maybe.

        • Carolina
          06/24/2010 at 11:42 PM

          You will find very few threesomes that are successful in the long run for the exact reasons you have given. It still doesn’t make me uneasy about their lifestyles and I’m not more or less inclined to view them as guilty because of it.

      • YournormalJoe
        06/25/2010 at 12:30 AM

        It’s my firm belief and observation via chat and talk that the gay community in this city is overwhelmingly not in support of the 3-some and without question supports a guilty verdict for the charges that are now in the judges hands.

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/25/2010 at 1:25 AM

          YournormalJoe-

          Thank you for sharing that. I am sure the Wone family appreciates knowing this.

  30. Rich
    06/24/2010 at 9:45 PM

    Bea:

    Had no idea you were in Calfornia.

    Based on your compelling and consistent sound counsel and thoughts, I thought you lived on or near Swann Street.

    Also, assummed you were often in court.

    Didn’t mean to suggest a party.

    It’s just once the verdicts are in, folks are really going to want to talk about it and meet the folks, like you, that have been so helpful throughout the trial.

    Thaks for your contributions.

  31. susan
    06/24/2010 at 9:49 PM

    Editors and others: Excuse my ignorance here but does the judge take the closing arguments as frameworks with which to then look at the written arguments that have been presented by each team? Meaning, if tie was left out during the oral presentation but accounted for in the written argument, does she go with the latter? Not sure how she applies the information she has received and if she must adhere strictly to the verbal presentation first and apply what was presented in writing to buttress that and not, perhaps the other way around.

    Thanks.

    • Meto
      06/24/2010 at 10:10 PM

      Susan:

      The judge is only limited by the evidence that has been presented and has been admitted. The Judge could in her Decision rely on a fact or inference that she makes that neither party referenced today or in written materials submitted. She is the sole fact finder.

      Respectfully,

      Meto

      • Themis
        06/24/2010 at 10:28 PM

        She cannot, however, pile inference upon inference upon inference to reach a final factual finding. I am agnostic about guilt as always. But the law is clear that piling infrence upon inference amounts to impermissible speculation.

    • BadShoes
      06/24/2010 at 10:12 PM

      Closing arguments are not evidence, and the judge, in her role as finder-of-fact, is required to examine the evidence–defined as testimony of witnesses and exhibits entered into the record–and make a determination as to whether the evidence shows the defendants to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or not guilty.

      The arguments by the attorneys are an expression of opinions about the evidence. The judge may decide she agrees with the attorney’s arguments in part or in full, disagree with them, or ignore them completely. Today, for example, one defense attorney mentioned Robert Wone’s supposed cell phone calls–which are not in evidence, and must be disregarded by the judge.

      AFAIK, the attorneys are not required to submit any written arguments–the oral statements are whole enchilada.

      • susan
        06/24/2010 at 11:37 PM

        Thanks for clarifying that, Meto, Themis and BadShoes.

  32. whodoneit
    06/24/2010 at 9:52 PM

    “He (Grimm) 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.”

    Really?? Grimm actually argued that the intruder story is so implausible that it could not be a lie because if the defendants wanted to come up with a lie they could have come up with a better one? That is so weak. If there were a better explanation that exonerates the defendants and is consistent with the evidence, then you think somebody on the million dollar defense team would have posited it, but they haven’t because no one (including the people following this case on this blog) can come up with a plausible explanation that exonerates the defendants. And I think there is a reason for that.

    • Bill 2
      06/24/2010 at 10:29 PM

      When considering what type of story would be created by “three college educated men,” one has to consider if they may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at that time. None of the men were tested for any type of substance by police. If one or two of them were under the influence of drugs, they could have imagined that they had created a marvelous tale that would allow them to get away with murder.

    • Lyn
      06/24/2010 at 10:39 PM

      “He (Grimm) 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.”

      And yet an unseen, unheard, and unlikely intruder is exactly who this “high powered” defense team wants the judge to believe committed this crime. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? A little too ironic…yeah, I really do think.

      • Corcoran
        06/24/2010 at 10:52 PM

        Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree that this defense’s argument today was very weak, and rather circular — my head was spinning.

        But is it enough that the preponderant opinion here (WMRW blog) is in agreement that the defense has been weak? Don’t we also need to believe that the prosecution has been strong and convincing?

        I sincerely wished that the prosecution could have tied together so many of the loose ends and explained so many of the mysteries — if only to bring some sense of peace, closure, and resolution to the Wone family. But in the end, I’m just not sure they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants conspired and planned this albeit implausible explanation that a random burglar/intruder/murdered committed the crime.

        • commonsensewillprevailihope
          06/24/2010 at 11:00 PM

          This is circumstantial evidence generally. By it’s nature this is a case about them not making clear what happened when they were the only ones in the house. The combination of the highly suspicious, implausible counter-explanation [alone not enough to convict] with numerous discrepancies in their stories could arguably make you conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that they obstructed. Among many other issues, I think their account of the start of the evening with Wone when he showered and went to bed is demonstrably false (by evidence of the towels, the strewn about clothes, and the odd position of the body) which calls into question their account of subsequent events.

          • Carolina
            06/24/2010 at 11:28 PM

            It seems the key is that if one is going to obstruct, do it well enough that no one can prove you absolutely did it, which would mean you didn’t obstruct well enough.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/25/2010 at 12:08 AM

        That sounds like the description of a ninja.

  33. Jo
    06/24/2010 at 9:56 PM

    From Day 22 Updates: Judge Liebovitz gave a 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.

    The only person Victor’s mom should be angry at is her own son who made the choice to look the other way. He seems to care more about maintaining his way of life and protecting his “family” than speaking the truth and helping the Wone’s find justice.

    I don’t doubt that Victor was a “kind and gentle person”. However, his comment to the police that “my life will never be the same” showed that he was worried about himself instead of finding justice for the victim’s families.

    Victor has no one to blame for being in the situation he is in today but himself. Even though Victor may not have witnessed the actual stabbing, he had to have witnessed the tampering and the forming of the conspiracy. I think there is sufficient evidence to show that he was a part of the conspiracy although it remains to be seen whether the judge will come to the same conclusion.

    • susan
      06/24/2010 at 11:45 PM

      When I hear of someone being “nice” in cases like this, I am reminded of that quote by British statesman Edmund Burke (there’s a statue dedicated to him near 11th and L Sts):

      “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  34. novamomwithjd
    06/24/2010 at 10:03 PM

    I’d also like to express thanks to the editors. They have done amazing work here.

    Props also to Judge L, because in order to render a verdict Tuesday, I imagine she’s working all weekend.

    Corcoran, I disagree with you that failure to show motive is fatal to the prosecution. Juries tend to convict when they can see motive. Showing motive also makes what would otherwise be an inexplicable horror understandable. Since the murder charge is not on the table here, I suspect motive is legally irrelevant.

    I continue to feel stongly that when four people go into a house, and only three come out alive, the three remaining need to come up with something more than “we think there was an intruder.” It isn’t a very strong statement in favor of your clinet , IMHO, to suggest that the client and his companions are bright people, and if they really wanted to make up a story, they could have come up with a better one than this.

    I don’t know how this will come out.

    • Corcoran
      06/24/2010 at 10:11 PM

      Good point that maybe motive is legally irrelevant. Perhaps it’s my own wish to answer the “why did this happen?” question that impels me to seek a motive.

      And, yes, I fully agree with you that one of the defense team’s arguments today that the defendants are bright people and would have concocted a better story is not a strong defense.

      Cheers.

      • Bill Orange
        06/25/2010 at 8:52 AM

        I can posit a motive for a variety of different scenarios here, but all of them involve making a “leap of faith” in terms of saying WHO the killer was and WHAT the original plan was. I think that Joe Price was involved in some sort of “Plan A” that involved drugging Robert Wone. I don’t think that Joe’s intention was to kill Robert. But I think that there were other people involved (Dylan and possibly Michael Price and/or Louis Hinton), and they may have had different plans from the outset, or someone may have done something impulsive that night. Unless and until someone decides to come clean, we aren’t going to know what the motive for the murder was.

    • david
      06/24/2010 at 10:14 PM

      In fact, Glenn Kirshner said that they don’t need to show motive in his closing argument today, so clearly, it is far from fatal. What they need to show is that they covered up, for what ever reason they did.

      David, co-ed.

      • Themis
        06/24/2010 at 10:22 PM

        All charges are specific intent crimes. So they have to show specific intent though not motive 0

  35. Occam's Razor
    06/24/2010 at 10:18 PM

    Corcoran, I appreciate your comments on your positive experiences as a juror in D.C. Superior Court. Mine (several years ago) was quite to the contrary — a case of simple possession of crack cocaine, single defendant, I was the jury foreman, and no sooner had we begun to deliberate than the more extroverted and talkative of the jurors began to dominate the discussion with entirely extraneous opinions on the sociological impact of crack on the African-American community in D.C., recollections of their relatives’ experience with drug dealers, personal observations of the behavior of total strangers in their condominium’s laundromat, etc., none of which related to the evidence in the case that we had just heard or the duty we had to reach a verdict on that evidence and the court’s instructions to us. My experience was enlightening, but frightening. Were I ever to find myself a defendant in the criminal justice system in the District, I would have to think long and hard about allowing my case to go to a jury.

    • Corcoran
      06/24/2010 at 10:33 PM

      Sorry to hear of your experiences. I only served on two juries, so perhaps I shouldn’t apply my experiences to the entire DC jury pool realm of experiences. Although the judge in this case seemed to be sharp as a tack, judging by the press and blog reports, I guess I only speculated whether a jury verdict would have carried more credibility — i.e., 12 opinions vs. 1, not that quantity always outweighs quality. Maybe it’s the opposite — that an educated judge will render a more objective verdict than a jury? Interesting that somewhat European notions of trial by judge contrast here with Anglo-American notions of trial by peers. It seems that this trial has spurred many debates — e.g., the references to Kafka today…

      • Bill Orange
        06/25/2010 at 10:16 AM

        I confess that I don’t understand the references to Kafka. Kafka’s characters tend to end up in horrible situations for no apparent reason. Here, the principal reason the defendants are on trial is because someone was stabbed to death in their guest bedroom. Even if you believe the Ninja Intruder Assassin Theory, this trial is not “The Trial”.

    • YournormalJoe
      06/25/2010 at 12:43 AM

      here here.

  36. thinktheyRguilty
    06/24/2010 at 10:22 PM

    19 minutes is a long time. Someone once told me that a housekeeper that work in a hotel have 30 minutes to clean out a room…cleaning the toilet/sink/bathtub, changing the towels, vacuuming, changing the sheets…the whole nine yards for one person to do. Imagine what 3 men could do in 19 minutes…

    • Carolina
      06/24/2010 at 10:42 PM

      I have a superior who worked her way through college cleaning rooms in a Miami Beach resort, and I can tell you that they do not have anywhere near 30 minutes, even in 5 star hotels.

      • Ivan
        06/25/2010 at 8:25 AM

        That’s why I always leave a tip for the maid.

        • Carolina
          06/25/2010 at 11:55 AM

          Joe and Gang might keep this in mind, should they need new careers. Many of us would happily pay for a full hour of such fastidious housekeeping. They wouldn’t even have to wipe down the fingerprints.

    • Lyn
      06/24/2010 at 10:42 PM

      what ^^^he said!!

  37. WhatACase
    06/24/2010 at 10:36 PM

    Bravo, Eds. Thank you.

  38. Carolina
    06/24/2010 at 11:33 PM

    Dear 310 Observer,

    She was there to support the defendants, not the Wone family, but used Robert’s name rather than Joe’s in hopes of gaining access.

    It is nigh impossible to believe she didn’t chose her “friend” carefully when approaching the gatekeeper, and that’s disgusting in my opinion, to which I am entitled as you are to yours.

    • Mush
      06/25/2010 at 6:26 AM

      Well put, as always, Carolina.

      I also believe that at this point you really can’t be both Joe’s and Robert’s friend. I know I am biased as I was Robert’s friend, but even if I weren’t, what kind of friend:
      -mimics stabbing and groaning noises when explaining to a freshly grieving widow what happened;
      -calls the same freshly grieving widow to ask her to waive attorney-client privilege;
      -basically, never lift a finger to try to find the “real killer” (Even if you felt you couldn’t talk, I think at minimum a real friend who had a friend murdered in his house would establish a reward).

      Maybe it is just me, but when one friend betrays another in such a gross manner as Joe betrayed Robert — as documented clearly after the murder– you cannot stay on the sidelines. Picking one friend means you are automatically shunning the other.

      • Boltz3000
        06/25/2010 at 8:44 AM

        Didn’t Joe and his “family” at one time offer a monetary reward for information related to Robert’s murder? I live in the neighborhood and remember seeing reward posters hanging up all over the place. It seemed to me like a pretty transparent smokescreen but I am pretty sure they did try to establish a reward.

        • Leo
          06/25/2010 at 9:20 AM

          Those were put up by the co-editors of this blog!!

        • Carolina
          06/25/2010 at 9:29 AM

          This actually made me laugh.

          To give the short answer, no.

        • Nelly
          06/25/2010 at 9:50 AM

          No, they most certainly did NOT offer a reward or do anything to “help find the killer.” They didn’t even show up at the press conference in August 2007, where Eric Holder, Kathy Wone, and Robert’s friends made a public appeal for help in solving Robert’s murder. The $25k reward was offered by the police, and the men who created this blog later made flyers and posted them around the Dupont Circle area.

  39. proudpapa
    06/25/2010 at 12:13 AM

    When our daughter was growing up in St. Louis, she was very bright and very verbal–with, at times, a sarcastic streak. She also was quite idealistic and she poured herself into any cause in which she believed. Her mother and I tried, with limited success, to curb the sarcastic streak; but we of course encouraged the rest.

    It has been nice to be able to follow her work, and that of her colleagues, on this site over the past month. Thanks to the editors and to the many contributors who have made this a remarkable educational, cultural, and–as others have pointed out–virtual communal experience.

    Finally, in light of the above remarks, you will not be surprised to learn that I found the editor’s account of Rachel Carlson Lieber’s rebuttal today to be entirely believable.

    • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
      06/25/2010 at 12:24 AM

      Proudpapa,

      You have a lot to be proud of, what a wonderful job she did with this very difficult case, full of pitfalls for the unwary.

      You, too, should take a bow!

      Rachel, you have done both your mother & father proud.

      Also a personal thanks from me in proving me right when I pointed out to the blog that the stipulations would come out in closing, although they were not being considered off of Hoya Loya’s list.

      Sounds to me like Rachel hit the ball out of the park.

      • Hoya Loya
        06/25/2010 at 8:32 AM

        FCSOP:

        Believe I gave you credit for remembering the stips, but if I didn’t I’m doing so now. Thanks also for pointing out their significance and congrtas on predicting their use in closings.

        Surprised more of us haven’t responded to ProudPapa — great that this blog helped him follow Rachel’s trial and cool to hear from him and get a little insight into her background.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/25/2010 at 12:31 AM

      Papa:

      You should be proud. Her rebuttal sounds impressive just reading. Wish I could have seen it. She really tied things together. Congrats.

    • Bill Orange
      06/25/2010 at 8:57 AM

      Good job, Papa!

    • Carolina
      06/25/2010 at 9:32 AM

      Congratulations for your success as a parent. She certainly showed her skill yesterday. Please pass along to her our thanks for trying to make sense of a senseless crime.

    • cinnamon
      06/25/2010 at 9:35 AM

      You should be proud. She was brilliant, in my opinion.

    • Kate
      06/25/2010 at 9:41 AM

      Thank you, proudpapa!

      Your daughter did a great job!

      Warmest Regards,
      Kate

      • Meto
        06/25/2010 at 9:51 AM

        ProudPapa:

        I just noted your comment and the responses by others. Sir, you genuinely should be proud. I for one was more than delighted to hear that your daughter was handling the rubuttal. And I was certainly not surprised to hear how she did.

        I can be a tough critic of myself and other attorneys, but from what I saw personally of your daughter on Wednesday and the reports throughout and as to yesterday, she is a real credit to the legal community and our D.C. prosecution office is darn lucky to have her on board.

        Thank you for sharing.

        Respectfully,

        Meto

      • Nelly
        06/25/2010 at 9:53 AM

        Same here! Thanks, proudpapa, for doing a great job raising your daughter & sharing your comments here, and to the prosecutors, who must be extremely exhausted, for doing what they could to bring some justice to Robert. Having a sarcastic edge makes for a good litigator, IMHO!

    • Lee
      06/25/2010 at 9:53 AM

      I would like to add to this approbation of Rachel Carlson Lieber. I think she did an amazing job. She was logical, articulate, and made her points well.

    • chilaw79
      06/25/2010 at 10:07 AM

      It is no surprise that her father is so eloquent.

      Congratulations; you should be proud!

    • gina a
      06/25/2010 at 2:44 PM

      I said a few days ago that I loved Rachel Carson Lieber and that she is a total rock star! I have two girls, one is the middle child of three, and who is exasperating, sarcastic, funny, always on the lookout for the underdog, smart and kind of ruthless, sometimes actually, but always interesting. I dearly hope that she could turn out like your daughter someday! What a good job you and your wife did!

  40. Hoya Loya
    06/25/2010 at 12:18 AM

    Coolest comment ever.

    • can'tstopreading
      06/25/2010 at 12:45 AM

      Agreed! I laughed, I cried.

      • YournormalJoe
        06/25/2010 at 12:48 AM

        I’m exhausted.

  41. slwapo
    06/25/2010 at 1:02 AM

    Are audio files available for any of these court hearings? I am following a bankruptcy case in which someone uses a service called CourtCall to dial in and record the hearings. Wonder if anything similar has been set up for this trial?

    • Michael
      06/25/2010 at 1:22 AM

      DC Superior Court does not permit cameras or other electronic recording equipment to be used during hearings. Unfortunately, CourtCall would most likely fall under that restriction.

      We are limited to written transcripts, which are expensive if you obtain them right after a day’s proceedings, and later on, incur photocopying and paper fees.

      – Michael, co-editor

      • slwapo
        06/25/2010 at 1:29 AM

        Thanks for the reply. And thanks to you and your fellow editors for all the time and energy you’ve spent on this site. I wouldn’t have minded seeing some ads on this site – you guys deserve to try to get a little something out of your efforts. (Although I’m not exactly sure what sort of ads could be served on a site like this…)

        • Former Criminal Sex Offense Prosecutor
          06/25/2010 at 1:45 AM

          Slwapo-

          I don’t know how this site has been funded/monetized to date but the Editors certainly have distinguished careeers in Journalism/Advertising/Marketing.

          They should soon be on talk shows,discussing this trial as well as the upcoming civil proceeding.

          I can well imagine pitching this blog experience into a time slot on CNN, or a reality series on cable.

          There is certain ample material for a non fiction book, & perhaps a documentary as well.

          I wish them the utmost success, as a true admirer as well as a fan.

          • Bea
            06/25/2010 at 2:38 AM

            See (too damned long) post below that I was writing as you were writing – skip to the end about ‘giving’ green light to Editors to use our posts. Because it’s anonymous I don’t think they need it, but I suspect there will be a rousing show of support!

        • Nelly
          06/25/2010 at 8:36 AM

          Why, Mr. Clean of course! George Foreman lean mean grilling machine. Erostek products.

  42. Bea
    06/25/2010 at 2:13 AM

    General ramblings after a long drive and rereading these posts. Corcoran, thanks for sticking your neck out – not easy, and I remember your postings and know you’ve given your effort to be fair. One thing struck me from what I read (I believe from the Judge) about how different this case would be if Robert Wone had visited Swann Street, same circumstances entirely, but only one “host” was home. Not that this was entirely her point, but I have little doubt that that host would have been brought up on murder charges (and absent something remarkable) would have been convicted. These men have been able to maneuver in part because we don’t/can’t know who did what. We know that Joe has been caught in direct and relevant lies, which suggests that he knows there was no Ninja Assassin.

    It does stun me, and I suspect the Judge, that none of the three “talked” or “turned prosecution evidence,” not even the least culpable among them. Yet I think this will be in the back of the Judge’s mind as she contemplates THESE charges (which are not murder charges) – will she really let common sense assist her in drawing the logical inferences as she determines what is ‘reasonable doubt’?

    I hope so. Her comments strongly suggest that she does not believe in the Ninja Assassin. Likewise, I sense like many of us, she sees Victor as the “mother” who was asleep upstairs and wishes she could sleep easier by having him simply step forward. I don’t envy her her job as “very likely” isn’t a warm and fuzzy degree of satisfaction of being correct, and three men’s lives do hang in the balance. She is a former prosecutor, though, and that colors her view whether she wants it to or not, knows that it’s a damned shame that there will not likely be a murder trial.

    I’ll say it once more – I don’t know how she’ll decide this case, but I will be stunned if Joe Price is acquitted. Ward and Zaborsky, I won’t be surprised (again, ‘oh, the irony’ if Victor is convicted and Dylan is acquitted primarily because he was not cast in a larger role in the “play” I believed was the cover up.

    Odds and ends. Kudos to the parents of Rachel! I suspect you can’t say but like many I’d love to know if she ever read this blog and what her thoughts are about it.

    Rich, I would actually love to meet the folks here (I did live in Dupont many years ago – that and being a trademark lawyer and law firm partner originally drew me to follow this case) if an ‘appropriate’ gathering could be figured out – like many, I will be having some serious withdrawals once this is finished.

    FYI, I don’t remember who was the originator of “Ninja” (CD was it you?) much as I relish the thought that maybe, just maybe, we as a group were able to give the prosecution some assistance in seeing what ‘played in Peoria’ (and I’ll always dig that some of my thoughts were in keeping with what played out – independently, of course, not through my comments).

    As for Bernie’s comments that these three smart guys would have had a better lie, what if there was “a scream” after the clean-up? Not a good argument, and same with his rebuttal to why Price didn’t go check on Dylan – he should have skipped it rather than have such an absurd comment (that he didn’t want to leave Robert? Couldn’t yell or send Victor?).

    Yet another long-winded post – yet again singing the praises of the Editors, I would suggest we all give our agreement to allow this blog, its contents, and our posts, to be “used” by the Editors as they see fit, be in in a book or whatever ‘deal’ may come their way. They are gentlemen, and I think it’s in the interest of getting the word out about the life and death of Robert Wone (and citizen journalism and investigation). I’m sure that they’d handle putting some of the money to good use to honor Robert, and I for one think they deserve to make a buck. Undoubtedly they invested a lot of money and resources never expected reimbursement – from using their vacation time to paying for endless copy jobs and slaving over computers (any undoubtedly many IT issues) – and by the same token, they should take this project to its logical conclusion. Frankly, they likely don’t need “us” to sign on given anonymity, and I do apologize in advance for thinking like the intellectual property lawyer that I am!

    I feel like I “know” many of you, and I kind of miss you all already. Butch as I may be, I feel like such A GIRL right now – and so very strange that I wouldn’t know any of you if we passed on the street, and if we met on an airplane and had a lengthy conversation, I well might not know that I was talking to WhatACase, Hoya, AnnaZ, Clio (where IS Clio?), BadShoes, Ginny, any of the many Bills, Carolina, Susan . . .

    • YournormalJoe
      06/25/2010 at 8:39 AM

      Bea,
      No matter how hard you try, I’m not moving to California, you’ll have to move here.

      …unless you force me.

      giggity

      • Kate
        06/25/2010 at 10:35 AM

        Funny, Joe!

        And Bea – you’re a treasure to one and all.

        I happen to like when you get Girlie!

        Warmest regards and thanks,

        Kate

    • chilaw79
      06/25/2010 at 8:55 AM

      Bea,

      As someone who normally is a big fan of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, do you think there is a danger here that a finding of guilt against one or more of the defendants goes a long way toward gutting that right? In a perfect world, I suppose, the defendants would simply have made simple factual statements to the 911 operator (“send an ambulance, a man has been stabbed in our home”) and then refused to speak with the police. This would set the issue up clearly.

      Does a finding of guilt mean that if you speak with the police at all, you must be honest with them or risk being found guilty of obstruction? Or, is it the fact that the defendants all claimed that an intruder was responsible and none of them could have done it because they knew the other defendants better than their own mother and knew they could not harm anyone, throw the Fifth Amendment out the window?

      I know the title of this blog is “Who Murdered Robert Wone?” and not “Can A Possible Murderer Spin A Story About Who Murdered Robert Wone to the Police?,” but this is a question I am stuck on this morning.

      • Bill Orange
        06/25/2010 at 9:06 AM

        “Does a finding of guilt mean that if you speak with the police at all, you must be honest with them or risk being found guilty of obstruction?”

        I’m pretty left-wing, but I really don’t have a problem with this. If you want to invoke your right to remain silent, then do so. If you want to invoke your right to counsel, then call a lawyer. But if you’re going to make a statement to the police, then tell them the truth. If you make a mistake or omit a key piece of information, then you should re-contact them and amend your statement. I don’t see why anyone would find this terribly difficult to do.

        • chilaw79
          06/25/2010 at 9:19 AM

          Bill,

          I don’t have a problem with your formulation of it (especially as applied to an attorney and other educated individuals). I don’t really think the Fifth Amendment gives you a right to lie; it is simply a right against self-incrimination. If you lie, anything you say can (and will be) used against you, especially if you acknowledge that your statements are completely voluntary.

          Like many lawyers, I am a little prone to playing Devil’s Advocate.

          I think the prosecution has shown that there was no unknown intruder. The murderer either resided at Swann Street or was an individual known to the defendants. I suspect the civil case will establish this under a preponderance of the evidence standard.

          • William
            06/25/2010 at 9:55 AM

            But don’t forget that the police have an absolute right to lie to you. As much as I think (in my gut) that the defendants are guilty, despite the problems with the evidence and the investigation, this case has taught me never to go to a police station for questioning without a lawyer, even if I want to be a helpful citizen. There’s nothing wrong with refusing to go to a police station. Everything you say WILL be used against you, even if they haven’t read you your rights yet. Innocent people get arrested (and convicted) every day. Innocent people (particularly minorities) are sentenced to death frequently. And eye (and ear) witnesses are unreliable.

            • chilaw79
              06/25/2010 at 10:13 AM

              I agree with everything you say. When the underlying crime involves a homicide, the stakes are higher.

              I assume a prosecutor would not go to these lengths in a shoplifting case, but an unsolved homicide may justify the actions of the prosecutors in seeking convictions for obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and tampering with evidence.

    • susan
      06/25/2010 at 9:37 AM

      Bea,

      Next to the editors, this site wouldn’t be what it is without you and the spectre of Patti Smith reminding us that “People Have the Power.”

      Maybe I’m in denial, but didn’t the Eds say they’d be keeping this site open indefinitely? I wouldn’t expect them to keep up at this pace, but until WMRW is determined and until 100% justice is meted out, I’m sure we’ll all have a lot to say, as we think back over the facts and new things come to us-

      Such as–
      I remember reading that Sarah Morgan stated that she went to watch TV at her friends house “and then,” while there, watching TV, they invited her to stay over. But earlier, she told police that she phoned JP and told him “not to wait up” for her since she’d be away that evening. Odd too, that she only “took a toothbrush” with her. Wonder if any calls took place btw any of them after 6 pm.

      • Ohio
        06/25/2010 at 4:00 PM

        I sure would like to know what any phone records showed. It was not included in the stipulated list but no mention of any records entered. jmo

        • Craig
          06/25/2010 at 4:20 PM

          Ohio: Phone records we can’t help you with, but David just returned from (his last trip to?) the clerk’s office. Although slightly ripe, the G and D paper on the motions to acquit (60+ pages each) are illuminating.

          We’ll get them up tomorrow and you’ll see several pages of characterizations of the Price – Ward emails which go further than anything we’ve seen that speaks to their relationship; the one Zaborsky seemingly had no part of whatsoever. And they called themselves a family?

          One key case watcher told us days ago to pull them since they’re basicaly the blueprints for the closing statements. Better late than later….

          • Carolina
            06/25/2010 at 4:37 PM

            I cannot wait to read these. I said in today’s post that I wondered if the emails would reveal that Dylan was tired of yet another career and was ready to move on from being Joe’s Dom.

  43. Jo
    06/25/2010 at 4:45 AM

    I was searching for evidence of tampering and two things came to mind.

    Did any of the expert witnesses opine on the lack of blood castoff – whether it seemed reasonable in this particular case (mutilple stabbings with substantial force and speed)?

    Was the lack of fingerprints on the patio door entered into evidence? Since the defendants claimed that they used the patio door throughout the evening, can prosecution make an inference from the lack of prints on the patio door as evidence of tampering?

    I guess my question is whether prosecution made any specific inferences from these “missing” evidence as support for tampering. Did prosecution have to prove who wipe away blood and fingerprints in order to enter such as evidence of tampering?

  44. gertiestn
    06/25/2010 at 6:22 AM

    Just a note to those who are reading about the trial from outside the DC area: We’ve had heat and humidity up the wazoo for much of this week, and on Thursday the high temp of 100 set a record. Now that closing arguments are over, we get a slight break on Friday (reduced humidity and temp around 90).

    But there’s real relief coming next week, with a whole string of days of low humidity and temps in the 80s. That relief is due (and I am not making this up) on Tuesday.

    • Carolina
      06/25/2010 at 12:00 PM

      I am not a believer in any kind of sign or for a higher power, for that matter, but sometimes life gives us glorious coincidences. I hope this is one of those. Thank you for sharing.

  45. readingfromafar
    06/25/2010 at 7:04 AM

    Will the transcripts of the closing arguments be released on here like the opening statements were. I would love to read them. I hope the boys take a long hard look and consider a plea deal at this point. I am surprised that they also dropped a wipe spread clean up. Based on the charges that have been dropped-what is the max time the 3 are facing now?

  46. dsquared
    06/25/2010 at 7:20 AM

    Thanks to the Eds for the great job. If the judge renders a guilty verdict for any or all on Tuesday, is sentencing immediate? Or will that be scheduled in the future? If that’s the case, can any or all come forward and cooperate in return for a lenient sentence? AND, is it possible that something has come out at the trial that enables a charge or charges to be filed for RW’s death? If they discovered the candlestick in the conservatory during the trial, would they sit on it until after the trial and then arrest Colonel Mustard?

  47. Bob
    06/25/2010 at 8:34 AM

    I have a question. There has been discussion of whether, on Tuesday morning, the judge will simply announce the verdict, or whether she will provide a detailed opinion, possibly in the form of findings of fact and conclusions of law, and questions of whether she will have time to do the latter. Does the judge have a law clerk? If so, is there any reason why she and the clerk cannot, between them, write findings of fact and conclusions of law in four days?

  48. Ohio
    06/25/2010 at 9:22 AM

    Thank you so much to the editors of this site and all their hard work. Waiting for Tuesday.

  49. Lee
    06/25/2010 at 9:23 AM

    To FCSOP and Kate,

    I entirely missed your posts from yesterday evening about “flirtatious rocket scientists” and agent provocateurs. I have to claim total innocence. There was this intruder who came into the house and wrote those posts then disabled me but did not clean house. The ketamine has just worn off and now I’m up and I can see what damage the intruder has done.

    Thanks for noticing the flirtatious part. One of the best things about getting older is that I can call women “honey” and flirt without risking attack or anger. With that said, I have to admit that I appreciate being with women, and that is one of the things I have most enjoyed about this site.

    Oh, it’s even worse than that, I guess. I’ve always liked strong articulate women who, if they were going to rip off my balls, would reach down my throat to do it.

    So, thanks to you and to all the other wonderful, articulate, and intelligent women who participate in this blog. You offer a unique perspective.

    From an old (but not yet dead) white straight male in Southwestern Virginia,

    Lee

    • Lee
      06/25/2010 at 9:31 AM

      Incidentally, I am not nor ever have been a “rocket scientist.” I do know some and I could name names but I’d rather take the fifth on that one. In fact, I’ll take a fifth of just about anything. (I suppose that talking about a “fifth” as a measure of alcohol really dates me.)

      I worked in aeronautical research. With aircraft. The first “A” in NASA as we used to say. That was after spending most of the sixties in San Francisco conducting numerous chemical experiments on myself.

      • Kate
        06/25/2010 at 10:04 AM

        Morning Lee (an engineer, if I remember correctly) – next time you have an intruder, please leave a note for them to clean up after themselves!

        You made my husband’s day yesterday – the story, as follows:

        My husband works closely with the Chief Counsel of his corporation, by all accounts, a very nervous and rather dramatic gent. Husband always tries to calm him down with humorous asides, such as, “what’s the matter, are your drawers in a bunch, today?”

        The next time Mr. Chief Counsel goes on a rant, my husband has decided to say, “What’s the matter, wearing a burlap thong, today?”

        Cheers and Blessings,
        Kate

  50. EricFormerlyNewbie
    06/25/2010 at 9:31 AM

    I would like to join the chorus thanking the Eds for a wonderful job. I was a classmate of Robert and Joe at W&M and found this blog after reading the affidavit for the first time.

    I hope justice is served in some fashion on Tuesday. While convictions on tampering, conspiracy and obstruction, if justified, would be nice, I hold out hope that the next 3 days will produce some fissure in the family and we get closer to the truth about the actual murder.

    I have read many of the postings but had one question about evidence. Did the police follow up on the chimes reported by the defendants? I am making a general assumption about technology these days, but wouldn’t the system log all activity. Couldn’t the manufacturer tell police exactly what sensor registered activity and at what time?

    • Carolina
      06/25/2010 at 12:02 PM

      Apparently not, Eric. If it had, not only would the police have been all over it, but the defense, as well.

    • emg
      06/25/2010 at 12:09 PM

      Most security systems, when they are not activated, will chime when the doors are opened. Consequently no monitoring station would have records.

      Had the system been activated, they would also have had to have the shunt on so they could walk around inside the house without
      tripping the alarm.

      One of the defendants said they rarely activated security when they were home because it was too easy to trip. It was only activated when everyone was gone. Consequently when the “intruder” entered they only heard the chime rather than an alarm which would have automatically called the police.

Comments are closed.