The Scarlet Letter

M Is For Murder

For any associated with this case, there can’t be much joy today.

I Read The News Today Oh, Boy...

For supporters of the defendants, relief at their friend’s acquittal may well be tempered by Judge Leibovitz’ stern findings that it’s “very probable” at least one of them knows more than he is saying.

For supporters of the Wone family, it’s just the reverse.  “Cold comfort”, as Leibovitz termed it, knowing that freeing a man who may be guilty was needed to “…maintaining our criminal justice system as the fair and just system we wish it to be.”

Judging by the heat of a number of comments yesterday, it’s clear many of you are unhappy, angered, or confused, regardless of which side you come down on.

Some have blamed Leibovitz, some blame the MPD and others blame Glenn Kirschner.  Some point the finger at homophobia; others, the editors of this website.  And some few seemingly just want to pick fights.

But it is a new day, and there are new realities all must face. 

The defendants have been found not guilty of obstruction, conspiracy and evidence tampering.  They now face a civil lawsuit that brings with it a jury, a much lower standard of proof, a much wider net of evidence, the pressure to take the stand on their own behalf, and the ominously powerful legal machine of Covington & Burling.

Their families know their efforts helped keep their sons from prison, but it has come at a very high cost.  It’s likely the Zaborskys – not people of great means to start – will never fully recover financially, and the Ward family – of greater means – will still suffer.

The prosecution did not prove its case to the judge, despite their best efforts.  It’s hard to know how much fallout there will be for Kirschner, Martin and Carlson Lieber, but it’s certain this defeat must have hit the team hard.  They know a lot of people were counting on them.

The Wone family will likely never see anyone sent to prison in connection with Robert’s murder.  That must be a hard truth to acknowledge for them, but it’s a truth all the same.  Barring a major break it seems unlikely new criminal charges will be brought.  And while the costs of the civil suit may haunt the defendants until their dying day, this must seem far from justice.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz has made perhaps the most important decision so far of her judicial career, and it can’t be a popular one. 

Barring quibbles about what she found as fact – for example, her finding that “His Blackberry reflected a final email transmission at 11:08 p.m.” seems curious, given that we can’t recall the “unsent” text messages coming into evidence as being sent – although this may have been a stipulation – her ruling seems solid and brave. 

Yet bravery is rarely rewarded in politics, and it’s hard to see any ‘law-and-order’ politician nominating her for higher bench.  The irony is that Leibovitz made spectacles of sentencing grafitti artist BORF and a seventy year-old Code Pink protester to the max, but could not get herself over the moral/evidentiary hump in the Wone case. 

But through all of this, one other fact seems relevant.  Leibovitz all-but-accusation that the defendants are guilty of some crime in connection with Robert’s murder will never be expunged.   Not guilty in this case is clearly not innocent.

They begin the next phase of their lives branded with a Scarlet Letter about their necks.  It’s not an A for Adultery, but is it M for Murder and L for Liar?

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500 comments for “The Scarlet Letter

  1. E. Lane
    06/30/2010 at 10:22 AM

    I just have to post. As a lawyer, I have admired and appreciated your website and accessed it to follow the trial. It has been superb; don’t know why anyone would blame you for the verdict. Am sick at heart for the Wone family, especially his widow. And I don’t know why the judge overlooked a great deal of evidence in her verdict; I think she equated “beyond a reasonable doubt” with “beyond any doubt.” There was a ton of circumstantial evidence completely ignored.

    Please continue to cover this crime and story. Don’t let Robert Wone be forgotten.

    • Ivan
      06/30/2010 at 10:52 AM

      Please explain (if you care to do so)

    • Devin
      06/30/2010 at 11:08 AM

      There have been many people saying that because the editors of this website are in fact gay males themselves, as were the defendants, that they were considerably biased in their telling of things. Which I for one believe to be untrue.

      • 06/30/2010 at 10:18 PM

        I’m a married women with two kids, so you know, you can trust what I say.

    • GL
      06/30/2010 at 2:21 PM

      I have watched the interrogation excerpts and my guess is that at least Dylan Ward is lying – maybe Joe Price too.

      They are not acting like innocent men whose home was invaded by a murderer.

      • Jim
        06/30/2010 at 4:10 PM

        Where can I find the interrogation excerpts?

        • GL
          06/30/2010 at 4:33 PM

          You can google – interrogation and wone.
          They have added additional ones today

    • Bodhi
      06/30/2010 at 9:52 PM

      I am an attorney and an Administrative Judge. I have kept up with the evidence and reviewed Judge Leibovitz’s decision. The only conclusion I can draw is that the privilege of upper middle class America saved these defendants. Judge L cut them slack many times when she did not have too; times when a poor defendant would not have been given a break. This Judge knew these defendants wore suits before the trial, as well as during trial (which is the first time for many defendants), and just decided to hold the Government to a more exacting version of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      To make all the findings that she did and still let, for example, Joe Price off because she did not know exactly what he did at the crime scene was an unnecessary break for Joe. How could anyone know exactly what happened with all of the witnesses coordinating their stories and lieing? Finders of fact draw conclusions from circumstantial evidence each and every day. The inferences she had to draw were perfectly reasonable. What was unreasonable was her unwillingness to draw those inferences.

      The prerogatives of privilege, as exercised in this case, should frighten us all.

      • Liam
        06/30/2010 at 9:57 PM

        It is not the defendants fault that the SYSTEM favors those who can afford a million dollar defense team. It is the SYSTEMS fault that it cannot dole out appropriate justice for those who cannot afford it.

        • DonnaH
          06/30/2010 at 10:42 PM

          My impression is that Bodhi is saying that the judge was giving them a break not because they could afford high-priced lawyers, but because of the class of the defendants: “This Judge knew these defendants wore suits before the trial, as well as during trial (which is the first time for many defendants), and just decided to hold the Government to a more exacting version of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.'” To me, the implication is that even if less privileged defendants had access to expensive lawyers, she would not grant them the same latitude.

          I don’t know what kind of lawyers they had, but Judge Liebovitz was noted on this site for having given particularly harsh sentences in cases regarding a graffiti crime and a Code Pink defendant–hardly likely to have been seen as members of a privileged class. Perhaps a personal bias does unduly inform her judgments.

          That’s not to detract from your point, that poorer defendants often suffer injustice at the hands of the court because of inadequate legal representation and resources.

      • curiousdc
        06/30/2010 at 10:06 PM

        Thank you for that absolutely frightening and thought-provoking perspective. I have no legal background and would be interested to hear thoughts from the legal minds out there who post regularly on this site, ie. Hoya Loya and chilaw79.

      • Ivan
        07/01/2010 at 7:51 AM

        Nicely stated Bohi and I agree it is a bit frightening. Keep in mind that Joe was the only one of the three that had the tampering charge against him. The more I think about it the more I think Judge L let JP off the hook.

        • Sandra Renee Hicks
          07/01/2010 at 9:18 AM

          Greetings –

          Didn’t Joe state on recording at MPD that he removed the knife from Wone or that he handled the knife that was removed from Wone? Is that not tampering?

          If he did, in fact, admit to tampering, I wonder why was he not charged accordingly?

          • Ivan
            07/01/2010 at 9:33 AM

            I believe you are correct. Also, there were no fingerprints on the knife handle. How could that be if Joe handled it?? Then it would follow JP wiped the knife handle clean. Surely, that is tampering. Again, JP was the only one with the tampering charge against him during the trial.

            • David
              07/01/2010 at 10:04 AM

              The charge of tampering includes specific intent. So the government must prove that Joe Price tampered with evidence with the intent to deceive investigators. Just removing the knife is tampering, but if they were never able to prove that it was his intent to decieve, then he would be, as the judge found, not guilty.

        • kiki
          07/01/2010 at 10:24 AM

          Ivan, I agree. She concluded that he had tampered with the knife then proceeded to analyze the intent of his actions. Once she concluded factually that JP tampered with the knife, how could she not find him guilty of that charge?

      • Jackie
        07/01/2010 at 2:35 PM

        Bodhi, Your Honor, thanks for your comments. There are many who agree with you, but are getting slammed as dummies or worse because of supposedly not understanding BARD or because we aren’t educated lawyers. I wish we could see more responses from you on this.

    • at0165
      06/30/2010 at 10:02 PM

      Totally agree with Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Lane, you have done a terrific job of covering an important case that the local paper (we used to have two) has not. They, the WP just keeps copying and pasting the same stuff. I hope that Mrs. Wone gets her day in court, and to those who say there is nothing to go after~ I disagree. These are young men with future incomes. Daddy is going to not be there and the money will show it’s face. GO For IT.

  2. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    06/30/2010 at 10:28 AM

    Just as the Ancient Mariner was forced to wander the earth as pennance for killing the albatross, so will the defendants be forced to carry their burden.

    Victor was correct when he said “life will never be the same.”

    • YournormalJoe
      06/30/2010 at 7:58 PM

      Re-post

      “Though the judicial system has issued acquittal, the guilt in these three’s minds will haunt them forever.

      I hope the three will live life together forever because separate they will live a lonely, sexless, companionless life. Anyone with Google will run far, far away from them. Rightfully so.

      To Joe, Victor and Dylan, your not welcome in DC, move somewhere else…we’re ALL onto the games all three of you play. You may have fooled the judicial system but you haven’t fooled the residents of Washington, DC.

      Your minds will never be free.”

      • thinktheyRguilty
        06/30/2010 at 11:28 PM

        I hate to say it, but nothing is going to haunt the(se) murderer(s) except losing money. They’re not losing sleep over killing someone. Conscience is not in their minds, killing someone and/or covering up for another’s kiling was.

      • sunbather
        07/01/2010 at 8:44 AM

        Well if they show up here at Rehoboth Beach they can count on catcalls from the sidewalks and loud challenges to discuss points of evidence from random strangers anywhere they show their faces. And that’s if people play nice.

        • curiousdc
          07/01/2010 at 2:43 PM

          I’ll make sure to have my iPhone on hand this weekend at Rehoboth…

      • ShawJD
        07/01/2010 at 2:07 PM

        Anybody who assumes these 3 will be haunted by a guilty conscience should see Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Whatever guilt they ever felt did not prevent them from a very cool and calculated scheme concocted in whatever minutes between the murder and the arrival of the cops, to stonewall and decieve. That tiny modicum of conscience has faded since and will only fade more now that they got away with it. The only way to remind them of their guilt is to hound them with the civil suit and garnish their (high) wages for the rest of their lives.
        People this cold-blooded are not going to suddenly grow a conscience.
        You attribute to them feelings you assume you would feel. But you are not a person who could have done all this, are you? Well, they are. They each have something missing in their make-up. They do not care for Robert’s pain, or Kathy’s. They only care about themselves.

    • John Taht
      06/30/2010 at 10:04 PM

      I wish that were true…I think it’s just posturing on Victor’s part. Or maybe he feels that now, but soon he will forgive himself completely. The two others probably have already done so. That great David Mamet movie (House of Cards i think) comes to mind: “What do you do when you’ve done something unforgiveable? You forgive yourself…”

  3. Tumbleweed20
    06/30/2010 at 10:36 AM

    I just wanted to say that I also have appreciated reading your reporting and the additional information that your website provided about this case.

  4. mw
    06/30/2010 at 10:40 AM

    I hope you cover the civil trial process the same way you did the criminal. I hope this website stays active.

  5. susan
    06/30/2010 at 10:51 AM

    Thanks, Editors, for the pics. I was surprised to see todays WaPo with the coverage on the front page–above the fold! This verdict has gotten wide coverage around town.

    Re a posting yesterday by Jonathan from go mama go! First, it’s a nice store, with original merchandise and worth a visit. Second, much of the “speculation” Jonathan complains about seems to be actual fact: M. Price did abuse drugs, did initiate a hostile verbal encounter with a female police officer and vulgarly cursed her out at Mr. Wone’s funeral! He did break into his brother’s house and steal from the three obstruction of justice/evidence tamperers living there. He did live with a man who either he beat up or beat up him (can’t keep track); did hang out with P. Collins, who was arrested by police for the most sickening abuse of animals. In short, he was no sweet cookie.

    I’m glad for the store’s sake that he’s turned out to be a decent employee. But any comments on this blog have likely been founded on M. Price’s own actions.

    • Ivan
      06/30/2010 at 10:53 AM

      I thought Go Mama Go went out of business months ago?

      • susan
        06/30/2010 at 11:06 AM

        It’s my understanding it is still open pending some arrangements with the new buyer. The info., I think, is on their Facebook page.

        • QQS
          06/30/2010 at 5:08 PM

          As a rep who has been in touch w/Jonathan about the state of his biz, my understanding is that GMG cannot get out of their 5-year lease, and to date has not been able to find another tenant to sublet/take over the remaining years on the lease. So they have no choice but to continue for the time being, month to month basis.

    • carolina
      06/30/2010 at 12:09 PM

      I give him immense credit for coming into the hornets nest and saying that whatever else MP might be, he has been a reliable and honest employee. It was an honorable thing to do.

      • QQS
        06/30/2010 at 5:11 PM

        Agree on that point. As ‘distasteful’ as some of us may find MP’s behavior, Jonathan can only speak to his experience with MP as an employee. He is right/brave to do so.

    • YournormalJoe
      06/30/2010 at 8:52 PM

      Was Michael Price employed by Go Mama Go when the original owner died suddenly?

      • AnnaZed
        06/30/2010 at 10:03 PM

        Oh my, I think we need the full story on this tid-bit.

      • Jonathan
        06/30/2010 at 11:55 PM

        No he wasn’t. cute!

        • Prtyboydc
          07/01/2010 at 3:41 AM

          She died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. MP had nothing to do with it.

        • Carolina
          07/01/2010 at 7:40 AM

          Jesus. I’m sorry, I really am. I also want to say I appreciate the fact that you can judge MP on his interaction with you and your business alone. Sometimes that’s the foundation of a person’s recovery. You’re a good person.

    • 06/30/2010 at 9:01 PM

      Pathologic narcissist-imho-is a key factor here
      remember in the canadian Ken and Barbie–Karla’s blond king and her own issues fueled the drugging and accidental death of her sister. The judge’s verdict is like the OJ verdict–IMHO–but she knows the law
      people are convicted on far less circumstantial evidence. But as we see w/ OJ and possibly Van der sloot(MO)-nature always comes forth

  6. new-ish
    06/30/2010 at 10:53 AM

    Have to add to the chorus of praise for the site. It’s been fantastic to follow our legal system. Depressing outcome yesterday, but you cannot construct inference upon inference to reach a guilty decision BARD. Unfortunately.

    I’d like to suggest to the editors that they consider adding a discussion forum to the site. It becomes difficult to plow through hundreds of comments, and day to day the comments are remarkably similar, from the same people. A forum (which are widely available and fairly easy to work) would allow discussions to be followed perhaps a bit more easily and may result in fewer duplicate postings, as well as allowing viewers and commenters the benefit of long term following certain threads.

    • ccf
      06/30/2010 at 11:05 AM

      Good idea. I beleive a forum format is easier to manage and navigate than a blog-comment format.

      • slwapo
        06/30/2010 at 11:22 AM

        Yes, a forum would be good. Wouldn’t have the shrinking width of replies the deeper you go in a thread, you wouldn’t have comments mysteriously being posted in the wrong place, etc.

  7. chilaw79
    06/30/2010 at 10:58 AM

    Today, if history is any guide, a lawyer at Covington and Burling is analyzing the opinion of Judge Leibowitz, line by line. Another is telephoning the lawyers for Joe Price, Victor Zaborsky, and Dylan Ward to set up a discovery schedule, including depositions. Subpoenas are being sent and the videotapes of the police interviews are being reviewed. A summer associate may be writing an epic memo on offensive collateral estoppel based upon the factual determinations made in the opinion of Judge Leibowitz.

    I reviewed the civil complaint last night alleging the wrongful death of Robert Wone, including claims of spoliation of evidence (the civil equivalent of tampering with evidence), failure to provide medical assistance, and other claims.

    The defense lawyers in the civil case should be prepared and forewarned. It is interesting that the only defendant who is using the same lawyer in both the civil and criminal cases is Dylan Ward.

    • Clio
      06/30/2010 at 11:04 AM

      History is always a guide, dear.

    • DW
      06/30/2010 at 12:22 PM

      I agree, the lawyers at Covington and Burling are no doubt at work AT THIS MOMENT, making preparations for this September.

      I am disappointed by the verdict, however it would seem the judge did adhere overall to the standard set for criminal cases in this country, which is good, if not only in the long term. I believe that the Judge was deliberative and made a sound and indeed brave decision. Her comments in the final order were essentially damning however.

      She may not have convicted them and sent them to jail, per se. However in my opinion, and it remains to be seen, but she may have, in fact, sent them all to a life sentence of “financial jail”, with the upcoming civil case, given the lower standard used in that setting. I believe that you are correct CHILAW79 in stating that an intern right now is furiously drafting that epic memo on offensive collateral estoppel based on the judge’s determinations. It has to and must be the keystone of the plaintiff’s civil case I would imagine.

      I think it’s fair to say that although these defendants will walk away from life in prison, they will never again be able to live their lives the way they did before August 2, 2006. Victor was definitely correct.

      Remember, the judge said in her final order “I am satisfied that an intruder did not commit the murder”. And further she believes that one or all of them knows who did commit the murder and didn’t help the police, except, the prosecution couldn’t prove this. With that I believe this will literally haunt them all for their remaining days. Everywhere they go, every job they apply for, every person that they meet, every time they look at themselves in the mirror, every time their families look at them, they will pay for what they did NOT do, which was to just tell the truth.

      That is the only justice that they will ultimately face, beyond the civil complaint and judgment for $20 million dollars which I believe they will be found guilty of and forced to pay somehow. Not to mention the legal costs for this trial, and the forthcoming civil trial. Part of me wonders whether or not justice is better served this way. I guess it has to be…

      • Lu-Lu
        06/30/2010 at 3:55 PM

        The judge’s ruling will “literally haunt them all for their remaining days.” What? Are you serious? PLEASE! The defendants have already made their own bargain with the devil. You think they really care the judge gave them a little finger wag, as if they were school boys who misbehaved? When you consider the boys could have been heading to prison for decades, I’m pretty sure they will take the judge’s little scolding any day.

        • Ivan
          06/30/2010 at 4:53 PM

          spot on

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 7:20 PM

          It has been my experience that sh*t floats to the top. I’m sure they’ll do just fine.

      • 06/30/2010 at 9:05 PM

        I feel if the judge can make that statement then she could have convicted at least one and hoped to use that pending jail time to make at least 1 flip

    • KKinCA
      06/30/2010 at 2:14 PM

      Thanks chilaw79. You have brightened my day, following a day of much sadness and hopelessness for the Wone family and friends. Now that we are turning to the civil case, I have a question for you or any other civil litigators. I assume that Judge Leibowitz’s Verdict is admissible in the civil action, but what will it be deemed evidence of? Can the jury assume that the Judge’s statements in the verdict are “facts” – i.e., one or more of the defendants was involved with the murder/cover up, etc., and the other facts that she felt were true, even though the proof of those “facts” did not meet the reasonable doubt standard? Thanks in advance for your response.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 3:07 PM

        That is a great question and one I am not prepared to answer yet.

        Ordinarily, juries issue general verdicts in criminal cases–either guilty or not guilty–and there is little or no fact finding.

        In this case, Judge Leibowitz made a number of factual determinations. The question of whether the factual findings made by the judge can be introduced as evidence in the civil case is governed by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Application of this doctrine to the defendants depends on whether they had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issues. The findings cannot be used against Kathy Wone since she was not a party in the criminal case.

        Obviously, there are going to be some facts that are going to be relatively easy to carry over: the defendants were present at Swann Street at the time of the murder. Robert Wone died of stab wounds inflicted while he was a guest at Swann Street. The issue of whether the defendants can relitigate whether an intruder is responsible for the murder is not clear to me yet.

        Stay tuned.

        • krf
          06/30/2010 at 3:50 PM

          I have been out of the loop on this and just read the verdict today as well as other reports from this site, was it ever approached that they were participating in some sex act that went horribly wrong?

          • chilaw79
            06/30/2010 at 5:49 PM

            No. I do not believe any of that evidence was addressed in the court’s opinion and, in fact, I do not think much evidence was presented on that topic during the case, although it had been hinted that such a presentation might be made.

        • Hoya Loya
          06/30/2010 at 4:25 PM

          Chilaw:

          “The question of whether the factual findings made by the judge can be introduced as evidence in the civil case is governed by the doctrine of collateral estoppel.”

          Indeed, the million dollar question for the moment. I’ll bet Covington already has some good arguments as to why the intruder issue, etc. were fully and fairly litigated.

          I fact, I wonder if the judge intended just this result? It is one of the reasons I have been measured in my assessment of the decision (plus she’s a fellow GULC alum). If CE applies, she’s really boxed them in.

          This will be a bigger fight in the civil case than the ones over the restraints and Michael Price issues put together.

          • Kate
            06/30/2010 at 4:46 PM

            Hoya and Chilaw – although I know very, very little regarding CE (collateral estoppel), I was wondering if the Judge was indeed offering some ammunition to the civil case.

            In her explanation of why she was offering such a lengthy and thorough finding on the facts, she stated it was important that the public know her reasonings and that they should be part of the public record.

            I’m anxious to hear what your further thoughts on this matter,
            Kate

            • chilaw79
              06/30/2010 at 5:37 PM

              Obviously, Judge Leibowitz knows a civil court case is pending.

              I cannot discern her motives for her lengthy opinion and findings of fact. It certainly was not to preserve issues for appeal by the prosecutors. I think she did want to explain her reasoning, particularly to Robert Wone’s family, the prosecution, and the public. The reasonable doubt standard explains why she found the defendants not guilty, but did not grant the motion for acquittal after the government presented its case.

              The detailed factual determinations must have been presented for a reason, and it may be the civil case. Maybe, she just wanted to give the back of her hand to the defendants.

          • KKinCA
            07/01/2010 at 12:54 AM

            Thanks very much chilaw and Hoya. Hoya – Very interesting idea re: the judge’s motives/intentions. The civil case will be very interesting to follow. I reserve the right to ask more questions! 🙂

    • Roger Sherman
      06/30/2010 at 3:58 PM

      In my previous post, I thanked experts in their fields like chilaw79 for educating and informing us.
      My constructive criticism is that when you use esoteric terms and expressions like “offensive collateral estoppel”, please explain for those of us who are not lawyers…same holds true for doctors, police, etc. Yes, I can (and did) google it, but would be more helpful if you could give an explanation. Thanks!

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 5:17 PM

        I’ll try to do better in the future. I do think it is important to have an understanding of the legal concepts in evaluating the facts and looking at this case moving forward.

        I will consider it part of my pro bono work.

        • Daphne
          07/01/2010 at 8:38 AM

          Will that count toward you billables? 🙂

  8. MacK
    06/30/2010 at 11:14 AM

    The really interesting thinking will be around questions that they cannot invoke their 5th Amendment right to non-incrimination on. Normally in a civil case, if you are asked about a crime you may have committed, you can invoke the 5th Amendment and an answer cannot be compelled, though an adverse inference can be drawn from your refusal to answer (in civil cases.)

    However, these is a lacuna which arises when you have been either tried and convicted of an offense – or tried and acquitted – and double jeopardy applies (i.e., you cannot be charged and tried again for the same offense.) If you can no longer be charged with an offense arising out of your answers, you can be compelled to answer and be held in civil contempt if you refuse (up to 1 year in jail.) Now what is interesting here is that assuming arguendo that only one of the three is the murderer, the other two may not be able to invoke the Fifth anymore. Moreover, there must be some questions that can be asked of each of the three that would implicate the murderer, but might be hard for them to answer since they can no longer be charged with these offenses (i.e., those they have just been acquitted of.)

    So I suspect some very careful thought is going into what really awkward, no-Fifth available questions the Wone lawyers can ask…

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

      Would be shocked if any of the Defendants answer any questions. I expect all will take the 5th. Any of them can still be charged with murder as double jeopardy has not yet attached to that crime.

      • Bill Orange
        06/30/2010 at 11:35 AM

        Like I posted below, that could cause them problems. The burden of proof is MUCH lower in a civil trial. If I were on the jury, and someone was stabbed to death in a house, and all three of the other occupants took the fifth when asked if they killed him, I would be quite comfortable in saying that, for each individual, the preponderance of the evidence is in favor of conviction. And despite the logical problems with this finding, I would have absolutely no trouble sleeping at night.

        • MacK
          06/30/2010 at 12:00 PM

          Try this question –

          Is it correct that you did not stab Victor Wone?

          Answer (1) – I take the Fifth (did it) – no contempt
          Answer (2) – I did not stab Victor Wone – no contempt

          Then which one of your housemates did stab Victor Wone?

          No answer – is that contempt? Having denied stabbing Wone can the witness no longer answer? Is he at jeopardy anymore?

          • Adam
            06/30/2010 at 1:57 PM

            I would expect an answer to that last question of “I don’t know who stabbed Robert Wone.” There were enough lies in the criminal case. What makes you think more lies won’t be told?

      • MacK
        06/30/2010 at 12:09 PM

        My point Joe is that it may be that the only person who can take the 5th and not face a contempt citation and time in the cells to reconsider is the actual person who wielded the knife – you can only invoke the Fifth if you can be charged with a crime as a result of your answer – if you have already been tried and either convicted or acquitted of any charges that might arise out of your answer the Fifth is not available – the Supremes ruled on this in the 1930s.

        So an odd issue that arises out of this acquittal is that the ability of those who did not actually murder Victor Wone to take the 5th may in fact be very limited. The problem is in framing questions in the civil case in the right way so that it is answer or go to jail. That is something I suspect that the Wone family’s lawyers are already thinking about.

        • anotherbill
          06/30/2010 at 1:34 PM

          Aren’t the other two (other than the knife-wielder, assuming a single assailant) also potentially vulnerable to charges as principals or accessories after the fact, depending on their specific actions? Does this make a plausible 5th claim available to all three?

        • Bea
          06/30/2010 at 1:48 PM

          Much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I suspect the 5th will be invoked as to all three, if not based on murder charges then accessory charges. The fear of short jail time for contempt won’t pack enough punch.

          That said, a good judge will push them to respond as much as can be properly done, but at this early stage my guess is that the defendants would rather cede civil liability (and forever be under the financial crunch attaching to future wages) than risk disclosing information that will land them in jail for the long haul.

          I really don’t see Dylan Ward staying “within” the relationship. For all I know he left it a while ago though still relied on the comforts of Aunt Marcia for a roof and meals since he was bound to DC. Perhaps his parents will foot the bill for yet another career in foreign lands.

          It will be interesting to see how long before Joe and Victor split – and the aftermath. Maybe this experience has made Joe a more considerate husband, to save his own skin if nothing else, but if Dylan leaves, will he be able to behave? The prosecutor had early on made allegations of Joe’s fairly extensive drug use (as did people here who knew him) and now that he’s not on the tightrope of a trial, he may spin out of control. Same with the alt dot com persona – has it been extinguished or did it just ‘go dark’ for the duration?

          Joe will have to get used to a very different life than the one he reveled in. No more Prada, no more flashing cash around to interest the younger and prettier guys (and the impact of age and stress on his physical appearance is no small change) and the issue of having become a marked man from the Judge’s opinion, at least in DC circles.

          I checked online using basic real estate tools to see how the Miami Shores property has fared since purchase. Perhaps inaccurate, but the tools show that the house that J & V bought in 2008 for $715,000 is now worth $505,000. While they may still go live there (has to be better than DC in terms of ‘recognition’) it turned out not to be the safe harbor and good investment they hoped.

          I expect that Joe and Victor are resourceful enough to pay their expenses, but my guess is that they can’t some anywhere near paying for the civil attorneys. Are the Zaborskys able to? I wonder if the Wards will want to pay all that money to simply keep Dylan from financial ruin if they’ve accepted that they will be paying for their eldest son’s expenses in any event.

          I do see Joe trying the civil case, at least behind the scenes, as a means to stay busy and look important. I doubt his ego will be sufficiently fed by doing document review for a legal temp agency or getting a position in Florida where he takes the small fry cases for little money. But I may be wrong.

          I wonder if Victor’s job will remain. We’ve heard from at least one coworker that he was loved by the milk marketing company, and we know (thanks to the Eds.) that he held that job off-the-radar well into the criminal case, perhaps still, but I wonder if he’ll keep it. If he does, will he stay with Aunt Marcia? Will he keep Joe with him?

          This morning it strikes me that the defendants must know that while they’ve cleared one very big hurdle, this is far from over.

          • NYer
            06/30/2010 at 2:02 PM

            I think it would be interesting from an employment law perspective if VZ indeed were to be fired from his job following his acquittal. I recently posted about this conundrum with regard to JP and Arent Fox (BillO thought Joe wouldn’t have a leg to stand on). But I think VZ might possibly have a retaliation claim if his job fires him for a crime of which the charges he’s been exonerated in a court of law.

            • Craig
              06/30/2010 at 2:17 PM

              It seemed that it was an easy decision for A-F to unload Price. Porn on the office PC is apparently a no-no in their personnel manual. We heard he was unceremoniously sent packing with no severance shortly after the indictments hit.

              And who knows what the feelings are at IDFA with regards to Zaborsky. Not for lack of trying, there isn’t a soul over there who’s willing to speak about him, even off-the-record. At least A-F folks are willing to have confidential conversations, but there’s no milking the milk guys.

              • EricFormerlyNewbie
                06/30/2010 at 2:52 PM

                Depends on where the firm is incorporated. Virginia is right to work, employment at will. If one would assume negative publicity to IDFA based on VZ’s continued employment(likely), they could let him go without repercussion. Wrongful termination is extremely difficult to prove in VA. not sure about DC or MD. VZ could claim he was fired for sexual orientation but that seems unlikely since it was not an issue up to this point.

                • DCGirl
                  06/30/2010 at 4:49 PM

                  “Right to work” means that a person cannot be forced to join a union in order to get a job and has no impact on this issue.

                  • Timeline
                    06/30/2010 at 7:08 PM

                    But “employment at will” does. Both Virginia and DC are at-will states, which means that an employer can terminate an employee without cause at any time, as long as it is not discriminatory against a protected class.

                    • Bill
                      06/30/2010 at 8:52 PM

                      “Employment at will” clearly states that a person can be fired for “good reason, bad reason, or no reason.” The only exemption is a protect class.

              • Daphne
                07/01/2010 at 8:51 AM

                Yeah, I think the porn on the computer is sufficient cause. I work for the feds and it is here. In fact, a few years ago, a long-time employee was allowed to retire after his porn-surfing at work habits came to light.

          • Greta
            06/30/2010 at 3:55 PM

            My personal belief is everyone in the end gets the justice coming to them. Maybe it won’t be evidenced to most of us, but it will come. I am not talking about vigilantes, I just mean the natural course of Karma. Look at Joe Price, already, in addition to being financially and morally bankrupt, he has obviously gained ALOT of weight in the last 4 years, which for a “fastidious gay man” is a major nightmare. His money was the only thing going for him and it allowed him to get a cutie like Victor. I think the tell-tale heart will get all of these guys: Dylan I see dying of an overdose, Victor, likely to kill himself and Joe, probably will wind up in prison for tax evasion or money laundering. Justice will be served.

            • susan
              06/30/2010 at 6:55 PM

              Greta, I hope they suffer a bit of the picture of Dorian Gray with the Telltale Heart. Only where the evil behavior tracks itself not on a pictures in a closet but on the actual murderers.

              I also wonder if the judge’s ruling doesn’t mean that now VZ has sealed the “bond” he seemed to be pleading for with JP and if the bondage DW was so into isn’t sealed in a more prison-like sense with JP and VZ. Like it or not, it seems they got “life” with each other, if not physically, then mentally.

            • Rebecca
              06/30/2010 at 10:22 PM

              Thank you Greta for putting the current situation into perspective. I also believe in karma. Whomever committed the murder or participated in concealing it will suffer from the appropriate consequences….eventually and perhaps in ways we cannot even imagine.

          • chilaw79
            06/30/2010 at 5:53 PM

            What is the actual status of the relationship between Joe Price and Victor Zaborsky? Did they register as domestic partners or have a same-sex marriage, either in DC or elsewhere?

            • DonnaH
              06/30/2010 at 6:11 PM

              They are registered domestic partners, in DC I’m pretty sure; forget the date this happened but think it was a few years before Robert’s death.

              • chilaw79
                06/30/2010 at 7:19 PM

                Thanks for the info. I tried searching the site and got too many options to examine. DC does provide for domestic partner privilege (as part of the spousal privilege statute). Guess that leaves Dylan on the outside of the spousal privilege.

                • DonnaH
                  06/30/2010 at 11:28 PM

                  Yes, searching can give way too many options. Eds., is it possible to incorporate boolean operators (and, or, etc.) into the search function here?

      • 06/30/2010 at 9:10 PM

        Amen
        they can still be tried for murder
        ????OJ Jury verdict=Judge verdict
        but like OJ and Van der Sloot-imho–true nature eventually shines thru

    • Bill Orange
      06/30/2010 at 11:28 AM

      It’s definitely going to be interesting. I expect to hear some very novel legal arguments. Do they have the option of trying to sever from one another in a civil trial? It would certainly help Victor. But if they do that, there’s a very real possibility that all three could be found guilty of killing Wone.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 12:01 PM

        It is a civil case. No one is going to be found guilty of any crime in a civil case.

        The plaintiffs can be held liable for the wrongful death of Robert Wone and for other civil wrongs. The information revealed in connection with the civil case may produce new evidence for the prosecutors to bring murder charges. However, as the evidence now stands, the prosecutors are unwilling to bring murder charges against the three recently-acquitted defendants because they do not believe they have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

        I do not think the murder case will be unsolved forever.

        • leo
          06/30/2010 at 12:23 PM

          I don’t see why all of the defendants can’t continue to plead the Fifth and refuse to answer any questions that could lead them to be charged with homicide, since that has never been charged. That would significantly limit the information to be gained from civil discovery. I read the Plaintiff’s interrogatories just now and most of them seek to obtain information that would certainly be incriminating with respect to murder.

          • Bill Orange
            06/30/2010 at 1:55 PM

            At a minimum, I would assume that they could be compelled to answer questions about whether or not they tampered with evidence, obstructed justice, or conspired to obstruct, since they can’t be re-prosecuted for those charges. I think that the civil lawyers will have more than enough to work with.

            • Kathleen
              06/30/2010 at 5:56 PM

              Some S.C. language: The Fifth Amendment privilege not only extends to answers that would in themselves support a conviction but likewise embraces those which would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute.

              To sustain the privilege, it need only be evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result.

              Any allowable inference that could be drawn for failure to testify can be rebutted with the facts and circumstances of the defendants’ continuing legal jeopardy.

              If the government were to grant immunity from any further prosecution arising out of the events of that night to any of the defendants then that defendant would lose his Fifth Am. privilege and could be compelled to testify.

              • Cat from Cleveland
                06/30/2010 at 7:28 PM

                Well said. I just want to add this: The defendant can plead the 5th in a civil case. In the criminal case, no adverse inference can be drawn from the fact that the Defendants exercised their 5th A rights. In the civil case, however, a jury could properly find against them based on that fact alone. In the civil arena, a defendant pleading the 5th is usually game over.

        • Babs
          06/30/2010 at 12:38 PM

          you “do not think the murder case will be unsolved forever.” So, you think the murder case will be solved. I hope you are right.

          • Daphne
            06/30/2010 at 2:31 PM

            From your lips to god’s ears.

            • krf
              06/30/2010 at 3:51 PM

              eventually one of them will speak..

              • Daphne
                07/01/2010 at 8:54 AM

                Someone said that the only way 3 people can keep a secret is if 2 of them are dead.

        • Grrr
          06/30/2010 at 10:25 PM

          I tend to think the conspiracy to do something started two weeks before the actual murder. They didn’t have time to have such a pristine crime scene or getting their stories so straight on the night of the murder. But they had the two weeks to plan things.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 5:58 PM

        Dr. Bill,

        Are there any medical questions that you think remain unanswered (other than accounting for missing blood)? One count of the civil action is a claim that the defendants failed to render adequate medical assistance. Presumably, this relates to failing to call 911 quickly, failing to follow the instructions given by the 911 operator, or possibly failing to provide information to 911 and the EMTs.

        My sense of the medical information is that Robert Wone was dead before the EMTs arrived and there was no reasonable hope of his survival, although I cannot fault the EMTs or the hospital for trying.

        • Bill Orange
          06/30/2010 at 9:47 PM

          Off the top of my head:

          The missing blood is a big one. lawmed was more of an expert on this than me, but I’d really like to see the ER record. The “ins and outs” (i.e., how much fluid was pumped into Robert through IV lines, and how much drainage there was from the chest tubes) are key and really should have been discussed at trial. My understanding was that the ER record from nurse Lujan was entered into evidence, but the actual content of the report wasn’t discussed.

          PEA is another big issue for me. I agree with the expert who said that this is a wastebasket term. You really need to see the EKG to know what’s going on. It’s fairly common (though not mandatory) for both EMTs and ER staff to include “rhythm strips” (small printouts of EKGs) in the medical record. If those are available, I’d like to see them to try to figure out exactly what the EMTs and the ER staff were calling “PEA”.

          The “semen in the rectum” issue never came up at trial, but I’d like to see the report of that. If the actual swabs are still available, I’d like to see them tested for traces of lubricant and/or drugs, particularly ketamine.

          In an ideal world, I’d like to see every single hair follicle in evidence tested for DNA, but I don’t think that’s going to happen here.

          And finally, I’d actually suggest running DNA on Robert’s urine. That’s unlikely to show anything, but there were enough bizarre instruments in Dylan’s room that I think someone should consider the (admittedly very remote) possibility that something was inserted into Robert’s urethra that might have had foreign DNA on it.

    • Southern Lurker
      06/30/2010 at 2:08 PM

      I haven’t yet read all the comments in this line on the thread.

      But I have a question. Can the defendants be tried in three or four individual trials? Ie Wone vs Zaborsky; Wone vs Price, etc etc..? Is that possible? Or would the judge say no, wrap it all into one?

      That would be the first question I’d like answered.

      Also, regarding double jeopardy, it would be helpful to look at parallels with the OJ trials.

      • Cat from Cleveland
        06/30/2010 at 4:58 PM

        Since the plaintiff’s claims arise from one fact pattern, its extremely likely that there will be one civil trial. It is very rare for a court to sever claims in a situation like this.

    • Tribe97
      06/30/2010 at 3:04 PM

      I agree with others that they can still plead the 5th because of the possibility of being charged as an accessory after the fact. But, here’s where it gets interesting…you can only plead the 5th as to a statement that would incriminate *you* or, in some states, your spouse.

      So, Issue: Is DC one of the states where you can plead the 5th to avoid incriminating a spouse and, if so, would that extend to a domestic partner?

      *If* you cannot plead the 5th to avoid incriminating your spouse in DC, it seems like it would make strategic sense for the DC DA to provide Victor (as the least likely murderer in the bunch, according to many) with limited immunity such that they agree not to prosecute him as an accessory after the fact or for any charge other than murder connected to the Wone case. This would, in effect, prevent him from pleading the 5th in the civil case (unless, of course, he is the killer or one of the killers) and his testimony in that case could be compelled.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 4:00 PM

        DC has a very broad spousal privilege that extends to both criminal and civil cases. It covers domestic partners (by statute) and common law marriages (by case law).

        There have been some relatively recent changes (2009) to the spousal privilege provisions of DC law. Prior to this amendment, DC did not recognize the joint-crime exception that exists in the vast majority of states.

        I assume that since DC now permits same-sex marriage the spousal privilege extends to same-sex spouses as well as domestic partners, although it is not clear to me that the statute would need to be amended to reach that result.

        Married is married in DC, even if you just hold yourself out as being married.

        • Bill Orange
          06/30/2010 at 9:49 PM

          If you WERE married/partnered at the time of the crime, but have since legally severed your relationship, does the privilege still survive?

          • chilaw79
            06/30/2010 at 10:46 PM

            My recollection is the adversarial privilege (the right not to testify against your spouse/domestic partner) generally does not survive divorce, but the confidential communication privilege (the right not to reveal what your spouse/partner said to you in confidence) does survive divorce/termination of domestic partner status. In other words, if you see your spouse/partner stab someone and then you divorce/terminate, you can testify against your spouse/partner, but if your spouse/partner comes home and says to you in private that they stabbed someone today, you cannot testify.

            Most states do not permit the privilege if the spouses/partners both participate in the crime. However, I think DC takes the minority view. When I get a chance, I will research this a bit, but if anyone else knows the rules, please feel free to expound.

            • Tribe97
              07/01/2010 at 1:42 AM

              One potentially important clarification – – spousal confidential communication requires that there be no third party present for the privilege to attach. So, hypothetically, if V were to walk in on J and D with R’s body, and J were to blurt out that he accidentally killed him or whatever, because D was present, there is no confidential communication and spousal communication privilege does not attach.

              Also, ChiLaw, you have given me hope! According to the version of the DC Code I found, it looks like the exceptions to the spousal privilege will be triggered here:

              District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition Currentness

              Division II. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure

              Title 14. Proof. (Refs & Annos)

              Chapter 3. Competency of Witnesses. (Refs & Annos)

              § 14-306. Spouse or domestic partner.

              (a) In civil and criminal proceedings, a spouse or domestic partner is competent but not compellable to testify for or against their spouse or domestic partner.

              (b) In civil and criminal proceedings, a spouse or domestic partner is not competent to testify as to any confidential communications made by one to the other during the marriage or the domestic partnership.

              (b-1) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a spouse or domestic partner is both competent and compellable to testify against his or her spouse or domestic partner as to both confidential communications made by one to the other during the marriage or domestic partnership and any other matter in:

              (1) A criminal or delinquency proceeding where one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing:

              (A) Intimate partner violence as defined in § 16-1001(7) if the spouse or domestic partner has previously refused to testify in a criminal or delinquency proceeding against the same spouse or domestic partner for an offense against him or her; or

              (B) An offense against a child, minor, or vulnerable adult who is:

              (i) In the custody of or resides temporarily or permanently in the household of one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

              (ii) Related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption to one of the spouses or domestic partners;

              (2) A civil proceeding involving the abuse, neglect, abandonment, custody, or dependency of a child, minor, or vulnerable adult who is:

              (A) In the custody of or resides temporarily or permanently in the household of one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

              (B) Related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption to one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

              (3) A criminal or delinquency proceeding where one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing a crime jointly with the other spouse or domestic partner.

              (b-2) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, when one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing a crime that occurred prior to the marriage of the spouses or prior to the filing of a domestic partnership agreement, the other spouse or domestic partner is both competent and compellable to testify against his or her spouse or domestic partner as to the crime, communications made by one to the other, and any other matter that occurred prior to the marriage of the spouses, or prior to the filing of the domestic partnership agreement.

              (b-3) The burden is upon the person asserting a privilege under this section to establish that it exists.

              (c) For the purposes of this section, the term:

              (1) “Domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32- 701(3).

              (2) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32- 701(4).

              (3) “Refused to testify” means that the witness spouse or domestic partner has:

              (A) Submitted an affidavit or other writing stating that she or he will not testify before a grand jury or in court;

              (B) Taken the stand in the grand jury or in any court proceeding and asserted his or her privilege under this section not to testify; or

              (C) Intentionally failed to appear in response to a subpoena.

              • chilaw79
                07/01/2010 at 9:16 AM

                I need to read some case law to figure out what all this means. The statutory language is a little difficult to parse.

                My basic understanding of the 2009 changes was that spousal privilege was cut back in DC.

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 7:26 PM

      I don’t think any of these men will have a problem with lying under oath. Why bother to take the 5th if you can lie well enough?

      • Bill Orange
        06/30/2010 at 9:51 PM

        A new crime would open the possibility of new charges, and I don’t think they’re very good liars.

    • DavidR
      06/30/2010 at 8:51 PM

      My question is; if during the civil trial a question is answered that implicates the murderer can the AUSA come back on that person with a new murder charge and if so does the civil trial continue or can the implicated person be arrested and if so how does that affect the civil case.

      Also how is it decided how much of the 20 millionm each has to pay? Say 10 for Joe and 5 each for the other two?

      Thanks

      • Carolina
        06/30/2010 at 8:52 PM

        There was no Old Murder Charge, so yes.

  9. AnnaZed
    06/30/2010 at 11:15 AM

    Well, one thing that Joe could do now that the terrible, frustrating and difficult Catch-22 situation has been removed is do what he told Tara Ragone he would do which is tell the police what he knows. Somehow I don’t think he will do that, but still.

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 8:53 PM

      I’m sure he slept much better.

  10. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/30/2010 at 11:20 AM

    Greetings –

    Has anyone watched the interrogation excerpts on washingtonpost.com (Metro section)?

    • philly
      06/30/2010 at 11:29 AM

      I have. Victor was the only one who felt believable to me. Joe felt defensive, Dylan felt staged and theatrical.

      • Ivan
        06/30/2010 at 11:53 AM

        I felt the same way about Victor. I thought he seemed completely credible (cute, too). Joe and Dylan seemed like they were posturing but in different ways. Notice Joe’s spread legs compared with Dylan’s close together ones. Dylan appeared to be more threatened by the detectives than Joe was. Although I have to say they look and sound pretty good given that it was the middle of the night.

      • CuriousinVA
        06/30/2010 at 3:30 PM

        I disagree. I felt Victor seemed way too blase when describing the sounds he heard coming from a friend who was being stabbed in his house. Far cry from his drama queen 911 call.

      • Kathleen
        06/30/2010 at 6:01 PM

        Those descriptions just seem to mirror who those people are. Joe the defensive lawyer who is wary of any questions, Victor the persuasive PR man, and Dylan the emotional and hystrionic looking “staged and theatrical.” Exactly what you would expect for these people regardless of the topic.

    • ccf
      06/30/2010 at 12:52 PM

      About the interrogation of Joe Price. I would think that, being a lawyer, he would stop talking as soon as it was obvious that the cops considered him a suspect.

      • Daphne
        06/30/2010 at 2:33 PM

        He probably thought he was smarter than the cops and could talk his way out of it.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 7:28 PM

          So far, he’s been correct.

    • GL
      06/30/2010 at 2:24 PM

      Yes – Dylan seems like he is lying and so does Joe.

      If my home had just been invaded by a murderer who stole nothing I would be ranting and raving about who it could have been and why.
      Maybe someone from the Free Asia Radio – I would be thinking non-stop about who it could have been.

      • Southern Lurker
        06/30/2010 at 2:56 PM

        It’s amazing to watch Joe Price push the intruder theory the night of a murder in his own house! And push it so hard. It appears to be a dead giveaway. If it had been me, I would be the one questioning the police (if I were innocent). I would be the one with a thousand questions to the police: IS it possible that someone entered such and such a way? Can you dust for fingerprints? I would have so many questions.

        • Lurker
          06/30/2010 at 3:05 PM

          Bingo. I did just that when my car was broken into. I was all over the police to take prints, call me with updates, get me copies of reports…I drove the cops nuts, and that was just my freakin car. Did the trouple do any of that, post “break-in”?

        • GL
          06/30/2010 at 4:36 PM

          Exactly.

          Price and Ward were posturing and defensive. It is not what an innocent person would do in those circumstances.

          I would be screaming for the cops to go get the murderer

          • susan
            06/30/2010 at 6:59 PM

            I thought Ward’s voice and demeanor were so low key and so blase, he could have been talking about the weather instead of a murder down the hall from him hours ago. It is striking how passive and nonchalant he appears.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 7:32 PM

          Wouldn’t you also have tried to think of who might have been after *you*? It was Joe’s house. Joe’s an attorney. Wouldn’t you be saying things like, “I’m not a criminal attorney. I never put anyone away. BUT I’m active in gay civil rights. I have/have not had hate mail regarding xyz. My partner and I were featured prominently in a piece in the Post…”

          I mean, something, anything to try and piece together some glimmer of who might have wanted one of the RESIDENTS dead?

          • Liam
            06/30/2010 at 9:36 PM

            You would think so. You’d think he’d at least might suggest a reason why an intruder MIGHT intrude. Someone opposed to the extension of rights to gay couples, etc.

            But, some people are not necessarily the quickest thinkers on their feet. On the other hand, they must have thought quickly to cover up the scene of the murder.

            All I’m saying is, nothing in this case makes sense and, as a result, the lack of a few bits of concrete evidence (i.e., evidence which could not be so easily contradicted) makes the result not unexpected (at least to me).

            • Carolina
              07/01/2010 at 7:51 AM

              Nor I, Liam. I chose Acquit in the poll for exactly this reason.

          • cinnamon
            06/30/2010 at 9:42 PM

            Carolina,
            I agree wholeheartedly. They weren’t even trying to help solve this. Right from the 911 call it was all about getting their story out…nothing more.

  11. Legal Beagle the First
    06/30/2010 at 11:22 AM

    I think if anyone is trying to blame you guys they are just silly. This site has been excellent. But I hope you will not take offense that from the start I saw the site more as a catharsis for people than as a journalistic endeavor. Catharsis safely and carefully done is not easy, and I congratulate you, sincerely. But as my partner said at the beginning, and I believe I noted in these pages, there was a likelihood they would get off because of police lukewarmness.

    The good thing is that the judge’s comments have opened the conceptual possibility to responsibly portray the defendants as monsters on the loose. I doubt they will be seen around here anymore, but if they are they should be assessed as such.

    The judge’s comments also helpfully indicate whom to blame ultimately. For the police foibles can only be the proximate cause. The blame lands on a little network of creeps from interior decorators with taste so rigidly predictable as to indicate a willingness to blindly obey orders, to de facto sleazy legal colleagues so enamored of their own powers of argumentation that they were willing to protect one of their own from his own heinous deeds. They all knew more than they said. and they can go to hell for that. By their silence they put all of us through a lot of unpleasantness. I really consider the whole lot of them animals, or not even that.

    • Ivan
      06/30/2010 at 11:54 AM

      WOW

    • ccf
      06/30/2010 at 12:58 PM

      You really should elaborate on your last paragraph.

      • EricFormerlyNewbie
        06/30/2010 at 1:35 PM

        I took that to mean blame the 3 defendants not the police, prosecutors, judge etc. I don’t think there was a broader intention. my 2 cents

    • Bill
      06/30/2010 at 1:44 PM

      Your entire last paragraph is babble with a tinge of homophobia.

      • Clio
        06/30/2010 at 3:19 PM

        I actually agree with you, Bill. Mr. Hixson is a great decorator who apparently no longer follows Culuket’s advice. Kiki dearest and company are just plain wrong: they are not “sleazy”. And, even the trouple retain their human, not animal, status — although, here we should remember Jean Paul Sartre’s famous saying — “Hell is other people.”

        • Legal Beagle the First
          06/30/2010 at 7:07 PM

          Well, poor Mrs. Wone had her beautiful husband taken from her by troubled gay men, but your definition of homophobia is casting aspersions on a decorator whose work has the elegance of the Choice Hotel lobby I stayed in recently. Your attitude does indeed bring to mind Sartre. But I would rephrase his famous phrase for this occasion thus: “Hell is other people’s eclectic knick-knacks.”

        • Liam
          06/30/2010 at 9:50 PM

          Did Jean Paul Sartre also say “Never less alone, when alone”. I don’t remember. Some philosopher did. I think the principle is the same. If hell is other people, why would you want to be around most of them.

          • The Perfervid Inch
            06/30/2010 at 10:54 PM

            “Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.”

            • AnnaZed
              07/01/2010 at 12:06 AM

              I am not following you, who is calling what peace?

          • Kenspeckled Souckar
            06/30/2010 at 11:00 PM

            I think it would be unreasonable to expect any person, gay or straight, on reading and meditating on the facts and travails of this case, not to have a twinge or tinge of homophobia. In a reasonable person such feelings would pass, but that they should appear, given the massive strangeness of this case, is only human.

            • DonnaH
              06/30/2010 at 11:08 PM

              Really. Strange, but I felt a twinge of lawyerphobia. And I suddenly couldn’t stand to drink milk.

              Fortunately, such feelings passed. But then, I am a reasonable person.

  12. philly
    06/30/2010 at 11:35 AM

    Long-time reader (and supporter of this site) and first-time poster.

    My theory: Victor was not supposed to be there that night. Supposed to be at conference; this ended early. Joe and Dylan had been wanting to have a threesome, as determined in the communications between Joe and Dylan, and specified they wanted that to happen when VZ was not around – this would have been a perfect night. I believe there is more to RW’s curiosity and exploration, despite that being a taboo thing to bring up in this highly sensitive case. I think that Michael Price plays a far larger role than we know and someone had to be on hand to assist with disposal of evidence. I believe VZ walked in on something he did not expect, I believe he does not KNOW who did what and who ultimately killed him, and that he has turned a blind eye from the moment in happen out of pure fear. I do not believe it warrants him guilty of anything, other than being so far in over his head in his relationship.

    Conclusion: sad all the way around, and I hope that some peace can come to the Wone family.

    • Devin
      06/30/2010 at 11:38 AM

      I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      • philly
        06/30/2010 at 11:39 AM

        Thanks Devin

    • philly
      06/30/2010 at 11:38 AM

      AHH i meant peace to the *WONE family

      • Devin
        06/30/2010 at 11:40 AM

        I figured as much.

      • Craig
        06/30/2010 at 12:00 PM

        Thanks Philly. I invoked the editor’s prerogative and corrected your comment. Now if someone can correct all my typauxs.

        • philly
          06/30/2010 at 12:01 PM

          thank youuu!!

        • Doug
          06/30/2010 at 12:07 PM

          Craig: that’s my job. – Doug, co-editor

    • mw
      06/30/2010 at 11:48 AM

      Reasonable theory.

      If I walked in on my girlfriend, someone else, and a dead man on a sofa, and I knew that they had planned whatever this “event” was specifically because I wasn’t supposed to be there – I’d probably leave the relationship at that point.

      It’s too bad Victor doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing. Get the hell away from these people, and try to help solve the murder.

      • Ivan
        06/30/2010 at 11:56 AM

        Victor needs to get out, I agree.

        • Corgivet
          06/30/2010 at 1:12 PM

          Craig’s spelling has always been in need of help

          • susan
            06/30/2010 at 7:01 PM

            -And yet you missed a period at the end of your sentence.

    • Vandy
      06/30/2010 at 11:56 AM

      I have to agree with your theory. I think Victor was in fear and still is, considering all the “shady” characters that JPrice surrounded himself with.

    • Dr20854
      06/30/2010 at 12:05 PM

      I can’t give any credence to these guesses about Robert’s curiosity and exploration. I knew him and he was completely and utterly dedicated to his wife, career, public service, helping others. He did not have any hidden or secret agendas. He would never have creeped on Kathy, with a male or female.

      As someone who has been practicing law for 20 years, I can’t square Judge Leibovitz’s bold conclusions and her decision.

      It was cowardly and NOT courageous.

      • Sandra
        06/30/2010 at 12:48 PM

        I agree w/you on not buying into suggestions of Robert being “curious”–if he was curious, would there have been a need to incapacitate him by injecting him w/some kind of chemical? This sounds more like at attack–was someone (Dylan) in the house overcome w/some sort of compulsion to rape Robert? And once that occurred, did he then have to kill him b/c Robert saw his attacker? (I’m assuming that the drug used made Robert physically unable to defend himself, but didn’t necessarily render him blind–but I could be totally wrong b/c I honestly don’t know anything about the effects of drugs like this). I’m not completely convinced Joe and Victor were involved, maybe or maybe not. But I definitely think both are obviously guilty of covering up the murder. I tend to agree w/Phil’s comments above about Victor not being in on this, except that he was also in a bathroom when the police arrived (perhaps he helped clean up the crime scene?). I kind of wonder whether this would have turned out differently if they had solely focused on Dylan.

        • Sandra
          06/30/2010 at 12:50 PM

          oops… “except he was also in a bathROBE when police arrived”

        • Bill
          06/30/2010 at 1:49 PM

          @Sandra: ” But I definitely think both are obviously guilty of covering up the murder. ”

          Wasn’t the entire point of yesterday’s verdict that the judge found all three not guilty of a coverup?

          • EricFormerlyNewbie
            06/30/2010 at 2:10 PM

            that’s correct the point of yesterday was that the judge found all three not guilty. the point of yesterday was not the judge changing Sandra’s mind. this case is not unique in creating opinions that differ from the legal findings. She did start with “I think….”

      • Lurker
        06/30/2010 at 1:08 PM

        Agree… from another lawyer who thinks the judge didn’t apply the BARD standard, but instead insisted on legal certainty. Particularly with regard to JP’s tampering charge, I cannot see how BARD was not met.

      • Devin
        06/30/2010 at 1:11 PM

        I am sorry to say but that means nothing when it comes to a persons sexuality. You would have to know both Robert’s and his wife’s personal sexual habits.

        For example a co-worker of mine was happily married for 20 years with 3 kids. He fell in love with his wife at a young age and got married even though he wasn’t quite sure about his sexuality. While married he was completely devoted to his wife and kids. His wife died in her early 40’s suddenly (enlarged heart). Shortly before she died he had began looking at male on male pornography but did not ever act on his desires. Now that she has been dead he has explored his forbidden desires and met a new male partner that he as been in a commited relationship with for sometime.

        I am not saying Robert did cheat but you never know what goes on in someones head. There are plently of married men who are gay or bisexual.

        • DonnaH
          06/30/2010 at 4:32 PM

          Despite the fact that there is no evidence, in emails with Joe or in other material on his computer, that Robert was interested in trying out gay sex that night, or that he ever had before–let’s consider this for a moment. If Robert wanted to try having sex with Joe, does it then make sense that Joe would prefer to render Robert unconscious with no memory of what happened (and please, no conjectures that Robert at some point changed his mind, infuriating Joe (and/or Dylan) so much that they decided then and there to drug him and have their way with him–despite no previous known history of such violently impulsive behavior on their part, and especially despite lack of any signs of a struggle). But even if that hypothesis tempts you–let’s go back to some more basic considerations, starting with the at least remotely conceivable.

          If Robert wanted to experiment, would it be likely that he would choose to do so with an old friend and possibly endanger that friendship if the sex was awkward or if he wound up being turned off by it? Would he be likely to do it with someone who already knew his wife, increasing the possibility that she would inadvertently find out, as opposed to finding a stranger to the family? And is it likely that Robert, knowing Joe had a domestic partner whom Robert also knew, would encourage Joe to commit adultery and would be comfortable doing so downstairs from that partner? Can you honestly imagine, by comparison, a heterosexual virgin young man with Robert’s character and lack of self-destructive risk-taking history being eager to have sex for the first time with a married woman while her husband was in bed upstairs?

          Seems pretty much BARD to me.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/30/2010 at 5:33 PM

            Excellent points. Why does this have to be refuted daily or hourly on this site?

            • DonnaH
              06/30/2010 at 7:50 PM

              Good question, tucson. I think there are a number of reasons: (1) The site has seen a lot of new visitors in recent days. (2) The sexual aspects of this case draws many who are intrigued by that in particular, and ready to project their own views–and issues–onto the situation. (3) There’s also the “blaming the victim” response to crimes and abuse of all sorts. (4) The open posting process makes it easy to comment–so many new people do, without reading much beforehand and coming across the many previous discussions of this issue. (5) As someone here once observed, many DC residents are accustomed to frequently hosting out-of-town visitors, who come for reasons other than sexual liaisons with their hosts. That seems to be an unfamiliar (incomprehensible?) situation to a number of site visitors. (6) Then, very much more generally (and my personal view of course), there’s the whole repressive/obsessive attitude of many Americans regarding sexuality, including homosexuality in particular, which leads many to project their own sexual attitudes onto any person or situation however appropriate (or not)….

        • Cat from Cleveland
          06/30/2010 at 5:14 PM

          With all the people who have whispered everyone’s secrets on this blog and around town, don’t you think SOMEONE would have come forward to say they had a sexual encounter with RW at some point in his life, if, in fact, he was in the closet? Difficult for me to believe there are any secrets left, except, of course, the BIG one – who murdered him.

      • Flint Hill Resident
        06/30/2010 at 1:27 PM

        To the editor/creators of this site & all the regular positive contributors, Excellent Job!!! If nothing else, this website has been a great support tool for all who are feeling bothered by the murder of Robert Wone.

        Doc, I agree with you on the Judges decision. She took the easy way out and blamed the law, prosecution, & police for HER decision on this case. Yes there is enough blame to go around for letting 3 murdering creeps loose on our great city, but at the end of the day she was the Judge and she should have done just that instead hiding behind the legal system. I think she was scared to take the fall for possibly send 1 not so innocent person to jail. I am sorry if my opinion is not a popular one, but it is just that “my opinion”. And again in “My Opinion” I think it is the judge’s responsibility to interpet the law but also to judge and ensure that justice is served. Sometimes as a judge you have to take a risk and do what you know is right in your heart. If she felt so strongly that these 3 did know more than they offered and that their “unknown intruder story” was false, that is clearly enough for them to be convicted of obstruction. Again this is just my opinion.

        As for Robert Wone (may he somehow rest in peace), I think there is more to the story about his sexuality. I didn’t know him, but I lived not far from him. I too worked in downtown DC and can’t understand why he would have stayed a night when the ride home is less than 40 minutes door to door. Not only that, but why would you choose to stay in an already confussing home setup (Victor & Joe lives there but also having Joe’s houseboy living there and another person living in the basement). There is no way he expected to get a good nights rest somewhere with all those people occupying it. Just a thought.

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

          My thoughts exactly on the car ride. Its not like he went partying, or even drank for that matter. Maybe his wife let him experiment. Most people keep open relationships private so his wife could have been cool with the whole idea. EVen if it was open doesn’t mean they weren’t happy and in love.

          • Hoya Loya
            06/30/2010 at 3:07 PM

            Robert and Kathy took the Metro. Ever wait for the Red line after 10:00 late on a weeknight? And then try to connect with the Orange line without another unreasonable wait? And then ride all the way out to Vienna? And then Kathy, recently over hip replacement surgery would have had to wait up and get out to the end of Nutley street around midnight, timed to meet Robert’s train so she wouldn’t be sitting out there if she was too early or Robert waiting around if she was late. And both had to get up and go to work again early the next morning.

            It’s not like New York where “there’s always another subway” and Metro North runs roughly every 20 to 40 minutes on a set schedule. Unless Metro service has improved drastically since I left D.C., I would have found a way to stay in town as well.

            • Wulfila
              06/30/2010 at 3:51 PM

              THANKS Hoya Loya! I really don’t understand when there are enough people on here who knew Robert and Kathy who are sure Robert was nothing but completely straight and devoted to his wife. He was a completely innocent victim (no one puts in their night guard before sex, so that was obviously not on his mind). The commute to his house was not a simple one, especially non-rush hour (and if anything Metro service has turned for the worse the past decade). If I had friends living near my work and had to stay late, why not stay with them? (Though I wish he had taken the other opportunity I believe he had that night, and we wouldn’t all be here second guessing a very honorable, decent man and his wife.)

            • ML
              06/30/2010 at 8:23 PM

              I am still living in northern Virginia and commuting downtown — precisely as you describe. You are right. And nothing has changed since you left DC. Or, to be more accurate, metro has just gotten worse and worse. I’ve been riding it periodically since the mid-1990s and every year I’m surprised by how much worse it gets.

              • addicted lurker
                07/01/2010 at 9:21 AM

                I live in far SE, and there are nights I’ve wanted to stay over in NW rather than wait 15 minutes for one train and another 20 (!) for the next at L’Enfant Plaza.Or take an hour-long bus ride. Or spend $20 for a cab.

                Indeed, ironically, my occasional sleep-over is in the guest room of friends who happen to be a gay couple. Does this make me sexually curious? Sigh, no. Just tired.

            • Bill Orange
              06/30/2010 at 10:00 PM

              “It’s not like New York where ‘there’s always another subway’…”

              I know this is WAY off-topic, but even in New York, you’re going to wait a while if it’s after 10 PM.

        • Daphne
          06/30/2010 at 2:38 PM

          Bur didn’t RW email 2 different friends to see if he could stay over? And VP responded first.

          • Daphne
            06/30/2010 at 2:39 PM

            Sorry — I meant JP

        • ML
          06/30/2010 at 8:19 PM

          I disagree totally. I am fairly sure I live very close to where Robert lived. I hate the commute with a passion (it’s not 40 minutes in traffic or on metro) and whenever I’m downtown late and have to be back the next morning, I am happy if any circumstances present that allow me to cut 2 wasted hours out of my day.

          Something I found troubling (though, probably, inevitable) is the certainty so many people express with regard to what they think is “normal” in a given situation — what they would have done. Are you a morning person? Haven’t you met total night owls who can’t go to bed until the sun is coming up? Compulsively neat people versus slobs? If a half-eaten pizza left out on a coffee table had been a critical piece of evidence, it might make sense to suggest that the trouple didn’t seem like the types to leave messes lying around, based on what you know about them. It wouldn’t make nearly as much sense to say, “I would never leave a half-eaten pizza sitting on the coffee table, therefore no one else would either.”

          People are very different from one another. To assume that there must be something more to Robert’s sexuality because he stayed with friends downtown when you definitely would have gone home assumes that everyone is just like you: shares your routine, preferences, priorities, etc. Robert’s choice to spend a little time with old friends, avoid a late-evening commute, and enable himself to be downtown early for a breakfast meeting strikes me as perfectly reasonable.

      • Suzukigurletoo
        06/30/2010 at 3:05 PM

        Dr20854 – I had to smile – I haven’t heard the word “creep” in a while! As in “he would never have creeped on Kathy”….I love
        that word. I feel so sorry for Kathy Wone and Robert’s parents, I I couldn’t even cry yesterday it hurt so bad.

      • Kathleen
        06/30/2010 at 6:07 PM

        “Dr20854 on 06/30/2010 at 12:05 PM
        I can’t give any credence to these guesses about Robert’s curiosity and exploration. I knew him and he was completely and utterly dedicated to his wife, career, public service, helping others.”

        All those qualities you attribute to Robert Wone are hardly incompatible with being in the closet or being conflicted or curious about sexual preferences. Many gay men who were once married were dedicated to their wives.

        As for Robert’s secrets and innermost thoughts, I am sure no one here was privy to them and should not presume to be.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:45 PM

          No one can stay in the closet after they’re dead. It doesn’t happen. The emails, the bars, the tricks, they come out of the woodwork. Someone, somewhere in four years would have given evidence.

          Not a peep.

          So as such a good friend, I question your reasoning. If Robert was there to get laid and Kathy was about to hit the Trouple with a $20 million dollar club, they’d have rolled faster than a $90 an hour whore.

          • QQS
            07/01/2010 at 12:27 AM

            Ha! You nailed it. Hope this ends any more of the closet-case speculation.

    • gina a
      06/30/2010 at 3:23 PM

      Does anybody know if this business trip was the first out of town trip that Victor had taken since the idea of a threesome had been brought up by Joe? I believe the crime went down as suggested above, but this is another piece of the puzzle that I wondered about when I saw the communications from Joe to Dylan.

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 7:39 PM

      Come up with some evidence. Good luck, because in four years of every Tom, Dick and Harry looking for something to prove Robert was on the downlow, there hasn’t been a whisper. Yet, people keep trying. If that’s what you need to make sense of the world, so be it. Sad, though.

  13. JeffB
    06/30/2010 at 11:59 AM

    Just curious. Are any of these three currently employed? I’d have to think that Price’s firm would have dropped him at least. Probably same for the Association Zaborsky worked for.

    • curiousdc
      06/30/2010 at 12:03 PM

      I think Victor is still employed by the milk association but
      with a different position.

      • Bill Orange
        06/30/2010 at 2:00 PM

        I think that he’s going to have a harder time regaining his former stature than Joe is. He’s in advertising, after all, and his employers are no doubt quite sensitive to public appearances. I don’t see him keeping his job for very much longer.

        • Daphne
          06/30/2010 at 2:44 PM

          I don’t see Joe ever “regaining his former stature.” Lawyers are a dime a dozen, even good ones, and employers can afford to be choosy. Would you want a lawyer working for you — and working with clients — whom a judge basically called a liar?

          • Cat from Cleveland
            06/30/2010 at 5:23 PM

            Does anyone know if there are any proceedings with regard to his license? “Conduct involving dishonesty” is grounds for disbarment.

            • NYer
              06/30/2010 at 5:49 PM

              Cat –
              According to the DC bar site, there is no disciplinary action on record for Joe Price- though the site advises contacting the Office of Bar Counsel and/or the Board on Professional Responsibility directly for “pending matters.” I am not sure if dishonest conduct is grounds for permanent disbarment in DC- it might simply be grounds for temporary suspension.

              http://www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/ethics/discipline/discipline01.cfm

              • curiousdc
                06/30/2010 at 6:45 PM

                Here’s hoping he’ll at least be temporarily suspended!

                • Daphne
                  07/01/2010 at 9:03 AM

                  Maybe someone in the DC Bar will file a complaint.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:47 PM

          He’s a behind the scenes guy. No one cares who markets their milk.

    • Ivan
      06/30/2010 at 12:09 PM

      Dylan is a massage therapist.

      • Greta
        06/30/2010 at 5:06 PM

        Note to self: Don’t schedule a massage with him.

        • curiousdc
          06/30/2010 at 6:46 PM

          Greta: Absolutely hilarious!

      • Carolina
        06/30/2010 at 7:40 PM

        At least that’s what he tells him mommy.

        • AnnaZed
          06/30/2010 at 9:48 PM

          Indeed, Dylan is a prostitute, that much is obvious to me at any rate.

  14. cinnamon
    06/30/2010 at 12:15 PM

    I just read on Rend Smith’s Twitter feed that Kathy Wone ran from the courtroom after yesterday’s verdict was read. I can’t even begin to comprehend how profoundly awful this must be for her. I don’t think I’d be able to be as graceful as she has been under the circumstances. In fact, I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t even come close.

    While I understand the judge’s verdict, I’m deeply saddened by how difficult this has to be for Kathy and for Robert’s family. Cold comfort indeed.

    • curiousdc
      06/30/2010 at 12:30 PM

      Shortly thereafter you can see on Fox5 a video of Dylan Ward leaving the courthouse with a smirk. It’s totally disgusting.

      • curiousdc
        06/30/2010 at 12:31 PM

        Not to mention the smirk on Joe Price’s big fat face.

        • cinnamon
          06/30/2010 at 12:37 PM

          I saw Joe’s big smile. He’s so proud of himself. It seems so inappropriate to me that he can smile like that a trial that involves the murder of a so-called close friend. Ugh. There is so much to be unhappy about today.

          • Vito
            06/30/2010 at 1:47 PM

            JP sees himself as part of the defense team, not as the defendant.

      • Lurker
        06/30/2010 at 1:09 PM

        The WaPo photo of Dylan smirking after the verdict turned my stomach.

        • addicted lurker
          06/30/2010 at 2:31 PM

          My odd thought: Dylan was reported to be agitated on the way in to verdict, Victor and Joe relaxed. Perhaps it had been decided that if convictions came down, Victor and Joe would turn on Dylan prior to sentencing? The acquittal, of course, fails to rock the boat, and perhaps even lends confidence going into the civil phase?

          And yes, I’m now a self-diagnosed tea-leaf reader on this site. Thanks to the editors and commentators for providing such a rich brew.

          • Sandra
            06/30/2010 at 2:38 PM

            I don’t think your thought is odd at all–I actually think it’s a very interesting observation and seems plausible. Plus, Dylan is the one I am most suspicious of. I still wonder whether their united front will start to falter as they go through the next phase.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/30/2010 at 5:01 PM

      Kathy’s emotions are perfectly understandable. But let’s not underestimate her. She is an intelligent lawyer (as is Robert’s brother, I believe). She didn’t file that civil suit because she was sure the government would win this case after all — very smart move to file when she did (of course with credit to Covington as well).

      Every time I updated my “scorecard” list for this site, I had a pit in my stomach when I saw that despite the 50-odd points the prosecution had made, there was precious little direct evidence against any of the three individually, particularly with regard to Dylan and Victor. I could sense this coming on an unconscious level, but really thought this non-nonsense judge would find a way to find them guilty if she thought they were or simply let them go if the case hadn’t been made.

      This non-acquittal acquittal caught me off guard. But if it has the effect I suspect it might on the civil trial, Kathy (and her lawyers) may find themselves with a shrewd analytical view of the decision once natural emotions have stabilized and its real import sinks in.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/30/2010 at 5:40 PM

        I went for a long walk yesterday. As a non-lawyer it is hard to make sense of the judge’s decision. It certainly is a highly controversial case. The only comfort I got out of it is that Katherine Wone went to law school so at least she is following the legal twists and turns.

  15. CC Biggs
    06/30/2010 at 12:36 PM

    I respectfully DISAGREE with those who say the verdicts were correct in light of the high standard imposed by reasonable doubt. It seems to me that the verdicts resulted from a needlessly rigid and hyper-technical application of the reasonable doubt standard, making it impossible to convict these defendants given the bizare facts of the case, absent a confession or actual eyewitnesses to the killing. But reasonable doubt doesn’t require absolutely zero doubt, and any set of facts always has a potentially innocent explanation which could create a sliver of doubt. But so what? In this case, any single fact could be explained away innocently, but the cumulative weight of fact after fact after fact pointing to their guilt was overwhelming.

    I ask you: Under the strict standard of reasonable doubt applied in this case, what additional facts (short of confession or direct eyewitness testimony) would have established guilt beyond reasonable doubt in this case?

    • Sandra
      06/30/2010 at 12:49 PM

      I agree!

    • Eagle
      06/30/2010 at 1:04 PM

      I just wish that so many posters would reconsider their evaluation of Victor as almost like a victim.
      To begin with, he is not a “boy”. He is a grown man and therefore responsible for his behavior..
      This outcome would have been totally different if any of the three told what he knew.
      He is equal in responsibility to each of the other defendants.
      Victor, by his emotional outpourings, presents a very sympathetic picture which throws off one’s judgement.
      It is quite possible that one, two or three violent people are now walking our streets because each and every one of this trouple refused to say what they knew.
      Victor is every bit a part of this coverup as is each of the others.
      Who knows, he may have murdered Robert. He had reason to hurt Joe. He succumbs to his emotions very easily We do not know. That fact-that we do not know- is as much Victor’s doing as the doing of the other two.
      Does crying easily and effectively make sainthood?

      • Ivan
        06/30/2010 at 1:20 PM

        I don’t think people see him as a saint – patsy more like it.

        • Liam
          06/30/2010 at 10:40 PM

          Isn’t a patsy more like what Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of being…that is, someone who is set up to take the fall for the real killers (i.e. the CIA in the killing of Kennedy).

          I don’t see Victor as a patsy. Nobody was setting him up. And, I want to see him as he’s been portrayed by the defense…a kind and decent guy, though I have no evidence either way. Somebody in this story has to be kind and decent (and unknowing and innocent). I find it difficult to accept that all are, well, apparently so cold.

          • Ivan
            07/01/2010 at 8:15 AM

            Yes, Liam, I think you are right about patsy. I guess it’s mostly used for fall guy. Victor has been drawn into this web of deceit.

      • Flint Hill Resident
        06/30/2010 at 1:35 PM

        Eagle I completely agree and think he may have done it in a jealous rage (finally feed up with Joe’s sick slutty ways).

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 7:44 PM

          That is too far-fetched for words.

        • Nelly
          06/30/2010 at 8:10 PM

          I agree. Imagine Victor sulking upstairs without even going downstairs to say hello to Robert. No one even bothered to let him know that Robert was coming over until he happened to see Dylan making the guest bed. Joe tells him to keep the door shut, supposedly because of the air conditioning problems. Maybe Victor thought that Robert was there to have some hanky panky with the swinging boys and went in to stab Robert while he was immobilized. This could be why Victor has been such a bawling mess, and none of them will tell the truth. I hope these guys’ lives are ruined forever! They can be out of prison but will have this crime hanging over their pathetic, criminal selves for the rest of their lives.

      • tucsonwriter
        06/30/2010 at 5:43 PM

        I agree especially after reading his testimony that he watched Project Runway until 11:10 pm. I don’t think he was involved in the murder but 100% in the cover-up.

    • Goose
      06/30/2010 at 1:11 PM

      I completely agree. I couldn’t believe that she said that she couldn’t find intent to tamper beyond a reasonable doubt because Joe’s purpose in not telling police that he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest could be because he was covering for an act that made him look foolish. This said soon after she called him “consistently arrogant, unconcerned, flippant, aggressive, self-centered and dismissive.” At what point was Joe the type who would be concerned about how others perceived him? She attributed characteristics and actions to Joe that were wholly inconsistent with her findings.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/30/2010 at 1:13 PM

      It’s not just reasonable doubt that caused the judge to rule as she did — it was also the high bar set by the D.C. Conspiracy and Obstruction laws which had to be surmounted BARD. Had she found the men guilty, the decision surely would have been reversed on appeal for misapplication of these laws — and the “wrongful convictions” due to “anti-gay bias” would have become a cause celebre in the meantime.

      A bitter bitter pill to swallow but the more I reflect the more certain I am that she was right.

      • NYer
        06/30/2010 at 1:44 PM

        Hoya Lawyer:
        My initial reaction to your post is skepticism. When I think of criminal cases that are overturned on appeal- they by and large have to do more with the constitutionality and interpretation of a law (e.g., the federal law in question in the Stevens animal cruelty case, or youth sentencing for non-homicide crimes, both recent Supreme Court cases). Not, in contrast, something as subjective and open-ended as a judge’s application of the BARD standard. If I were judging the case, I would have ruled Guilty and say let them appeal…

        • Hoya Loya
          06/30/2010 at 3:16 PM

          That’s my point — it would have been overturned based on the application of the law to the facts, not on the facts she found or her views on the credibility of the experts (which is always in the unique province of the trier of fact, whether it be judge or jury).

          I think for this judge, handing the Wones a sure-to-be phyrric victory may have seemed as cruel in the long run as helping them face the awful truth up front. I think she faced an agonizing choice and chose a very tough road, sure to disappoint and cause villification, but one that eventually will be seen by more and more people as the right one.

      • mstewrt
        06/30/2010 at 2:05 PM

        She acutally applied scottish law and rendered a not proved verdict rather than a not guilty as she indicated her suspicion of their guilt. Should have stuck with American jurisprudence and had the courage to say either guilty or not guilty.

        • Just Wondering
          06/30/2010 at 11:18 PM

          Regardless of whether I agree with her findings of fact and ultimate legal conclusion, I don’t think Judge Leibovitz’ ruling was not “courageous,” as you say. I believe there is a reason that she wanted her findings of fact and legal conclusions (in narrative form) made public. There is also a reason behind her specific wording in many places, her references to evidence that was omitted or that she was unable to consider, etc. Judge Leibovitz is a very smart and precise jurist – she knows that the civil suit will follow this case, and she knows that Kathy Wone’s counsel in the civil case will read her verdict over and over and over . . .

        • 07/01/2010 at 12:56 AM

          Agree–no guts no glory but I’m not a lawyer

      • 07/01/2010 at 12:54 AM

        disagree–her verdict isn’t consistent with her closing statement. U can’t have it both ways–don’t raise the candy to the family that feel something ain’t right and the acquit–it doesn’t fit-it makes no sense-imho

    • Ivan
      06/30/2010 at 1:18 PM

      I’ll throw out one: a note or e-mail that specifically directed one or all of the defendants to keep up with the intruder story in order to throw the police off the trail. for example, Joe sends Dylan an e-mail telling him what to say and not to say but inadvertently sends it to Sarah Morgan who then turns it over. Frankly, I don’t comprehend the decision specifically the tampering charge against JP.

      • curiousdc
        06/30/2010 at 1:30 PM

        I think they need to turn up the heat on that cow Sarah Morgan
        and get her to divulge–she must be hiding something.

        • Vito
          06/30/2010 at 1:48 PM

          and Scott Hixson……there is definitely more to that “story.”

        • SheKnowsSomething
          06/30/2010 at 2:45 PM

          I’ve always thought Sarah knew more than she was willing to say in court. Very soon after the murders, she seperated herself from a good number of friends … probably to keep a close check on the folks to whom might blurt out out facts about the murder and her “family members'” involvement. I’m also in favor of turning up a little heat on Aunt Marcia …

        • AnnaZed
          06/30/2010 at 3:12 PM

          While I certainly wouldn’t frame it that way (I am very tired of the perpetual nastiness about Sarah Morgan’s weight, it cheapens the discourse) I would certainly like the cops to have a very serious sit-down with Ms. Morgan. I have a firm conviction that she perjured herself with respect to having been specifically asked to make herself scarce that fateful night (as the toothbrush would indicate) and to very likely having been asked to get lost on more than one previous occasion. I think that the cops should offer her immunity from prosecution for perjury in exchange for her telling everything she knows, everything. In other words, yes ramp up the heat.

          • ccf
            06/30/2010 at 3:30 PM

            I have the same feeling about Sarah Morgan. I believe she knows more.

          • SheKnowsSomething
            06/30/2010 at 4:01 PM

            If I were running this investigation, I would turn up the heat on Victor by turning up the heat on everyone close to him … Aunt Marcia, Sarah, Kim, the folks at IDFA and MilkPEP … on any and everyone and by whatever means I could come up with that was just within the realm of being legal, I’d launch on them …

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/30/2010 at 5:14 PM

              I hope the results of the conspiracy trial will gave the MPD a little kick in the butt. Tighten up that ship.

              • DonnaH
                06/30/2010 at 6:02 PM

                Yes, indeed; I’m no forensics expert, but I would think proper use and application of Ashley’s reagent would be so basic to a forensics department procedure that some kind of disciplinary measure might have resulted, and some efforts made to avoid a duplication of that error in the future. I wonder if any such events occurred. That said, it’s apparently the case that many forensics departments across the country are underfunded, contributing to a 37% rate of unsolved murders nationwide. If this case could possibly contribute to better running and funding of forensics departments so that fewer people would have to suffer the injustice that results from such unsolved crimes, it would be, in my opinion, a fitting tribute to Robert’s memory.

          • Carolina
            06/30/2010 at 7:48 PM

            All I want to know is what she wore the next morning to work if she only took her tooth brush.

            • AnnaZed
              06/30/2010 at 9:49 PM

              Indeed, and in that heat (yech).

            • evilone
              06/30/2010 at 10:15 PM

              probably something along the lines of a circus tent

              • Ivan
                07/01/2010 at 8:18 AM

                I was thinking more in terms of undergarments. (Evilone-shame on you)

    • Lynn
      06/30/2010 at 1:37 PM

      Physical evidence of a cleanup beyond wiping the edge of the knife and the stomach. Blood spatter, blood in drains, or bloody towel found in someone else’s trashcan — that would have tied Joe to a clean up and Victor as well since he says he came down the stairs with Joe.

      I think the key problem was the inability to use available evidence to pin it on any one person. Collectively, they appeared guilty, but individually, the proof wasn’t there.

      And, in thinking about it further… maybe blood evidence wouldn’t do it either. Joe and Victor could have come downstairs and discovered a scene already cleaned up by Dylan.

      • CC Biggs
        06/30/2010 at 1:53 PM

        The physical evidence of the cleanup was already beyond reasonable doubt: Robert was missing many liters of blood and very little was found at the crime scene. It is beyond reasonble doubt that blood evidence was removed (tampered with). And once you accept that someone tampered with the blood prior to EMS arrival, then the stories of the defendants cannot be true (lying/obstruction).

      • slwapo
        06/30/2010 at 3:37 PM

        Is this the blueprint now on how to get away with murder? Just make sure you do it with someone else, so they can’t be sure if you or the other person did it.

    • slwapo
      06/30/2010 at 3:29 PM

      It would surprise me if the prosecution has EVER won a case in Leibovitz’s court.

    • Anonymous
      06/30/2010 at 10:15 PM

      DNA from one of the defendants. A tox report showing specific metabolites for a drug also found in the home. There are a gazillion items of forensic evidence that could have sent someone to prison for a long time had they been found and catalogues correctly.

  16. Brad
    06/30/2010 at 12:46 PM

    Can someone post a link to the complete videos of the interrogations? Many thanks.

  17. alithere
    06/30/2010 at 1:20 PM

    Only winner here is the trouple’s decision from the start to hang together or hang separately. There must have been moments of near despair when each must have thought to reconsider, but they stuck it out. Admiration is not appropriate here, but some type of respect is warranted. As Churchill said of Rommel, the prosecution may say of these three: they were “worthy of our steel”. Unfortunately, here the Rommel team won.

    • Vandy
      06/30/2010 at 1:33 PM

      Which makes me believe that they have been involved in other rique (and maybe criminal) activities in the past…they just almost got caught in this one. But maybe not the next one.

      • Greta
        06/30/2010 at 5:12 PM

        And exactly my point that they will be caught doing something else in future, a la OJ — maybe not commit murder, but they will do something shifty.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 7:51 PM

          They’re not as dumb as OJ. They’ll be more than fine.

  18. Jackie
    06/30/2010 at 1:31 PM

    I can’t shake this feeling that Judge Leibovitz may have gotten a big head over the attention she thought this case brought her (if she didn’t already have one before). I noted her attention grabbing, very ridiculously stern at any opportunity, court room demeanor. Therefore, she wanted to do something absolutely daring, headline making, and shocking all the way around (“acquitted, but guilty determination)”, especially something that those in the legal field would have a hard time verbalizing disagreements. This is no Republican hanging judge. My impression now looking back; this is a judge looking for headlines every day. That might be how she got that job. Only in DC kids, only in DC. I don’t think this behavior would be tolerated in many court houses. They’d figure out something to make a change.

    • Bill
      06/30/2010 at 1:57 PM

      I don’t know about “only in DC.” No one questioned the judge’s abilities during the trial. Recall that she was uniformly praised as an outstanding jurist. Your criticism of the judge reminds me of the post-trial criticisms of Judge Ito at the OJ trail.

      • Carolina
        06/30/2010 at 7:53 PM

        There was much to criticise about Lance Ito. Not here. I think a lot of the problem here is not only do people not understand the law, they really don’t wish to.

    • gertiestn
      06/30/2010 at 2:45 PM

      Yeah. I couldn’t tell Judge Leibovitz from Judge Ito without a scorecard, either.

  19. Denimama
    06/30/2010 at 1:39 PM

    Why not just rename your website “let’s get those bastards”? Everyone on this site (including the editors, at this point) have made up their minds that the three men who were acquitted yesterday are guilty. Calling the website “Who Murdered Robert Wone?” is disingenuous at best.

    And before you pile on, calling me a troll or a hater, note that the general negativity of this site toward anyone who believes that the three men are innocent has driven most people who don’t agree with you away, creating an echo chamber where the rhetoric gets more and more hysterical and ridiculous.

    None of this would bother me except that this site gets significant media exposure since you have attempted to cover a case that up until recently wasn’t covered in the main stream media. I just wish that you had managed to do so in a more even handed manner.

    Finally, let me just say that I know one of these men well–I at least am speaking from a position of direct knowledge, not conjecture or second-hand guessing.

    Good luck in your continued coverage. I wish you could go back to your original open mindedness and curiosity but I guess that train left a long time ago.

    • cinnamon
      06/30/2010 at 1:49 PM

      Have you read the judge’s order? Just curious.

      • Denimama
        06/30/2010 at 1:56 PM

        I have, and I understand that the judge thinks they might know something but it didn’t meet the burden of proof.

        The problem, for me, is that I cannot construct a situation where Wone was murdered in that house that is reasonable–either with the three of them doing it or with an intruder doing it. So given that, and given that the person I know is simply not capable of either having anything to do with it or having anything to do with covering it up, I am going to have to say “I don’t know what happened.” Which is where this website started, but not where it is now.

        • cinnamon
          06/30/2010 at 1:59 PM

          Since the judge determined that there was no intruder, that leaves 3 people that either did it or know who did.

          • Denimama
            06/30/2010 at 2:03 PM

            The judge certainly doesn’t believe the intruder theory. And I can understand why she doesn’t — it’s pretty hard to construct a way for that to have happened in any reasonable fashion. But I don’t believe they had anything to do with it. Nor do I believe they know who did it. As I said, I can’t construct a reasonable explanation of how that could be either.

            • cinnamon
              06/30/2010 at 2:08 PM

              Denimama,
              I’m sure it’s incredibily difficult to be in your situation and have to take a harsh look at a friend, but I think with time you will see that they had to know more than they are telling.

              • Denimama
                06/30/2010 at 2:14 PM

                I went through the “harsh look at my friend” stage some months ago and am still in the same place. I don’t believe they had anything to do with it.

                I don’t deny you the right to believe otherwise…I just wanted to point out that this site started out as an unbiased place to try to figure out what happened. Now that everyone has made up their mind, they need to rename the site appropriately so that folks who aren’t familiar with it and are pointed to it by the many, many MSM sites that mention it will know that it is no longer a place simply to gather information about the murder. It has reached a conclusion and should state it explicitly.

                • cinnamon
                  06/30/2010 at 2:26 PM

                  I think you’ll see that there are varied opinions here.

                  • Carolina
                    06/30/2010 at 7:55 PM

                    No, he won’t. The defendants and their supporters like their victim cards too well.

                • Bill Orange
                  06/30/2010 at 2:35 PM

                  Have you tried simply asking your friend what happened that night?

                  • Denimama
                    06/30/2010 at 2:55 PM

                    Bill, I have and he is pretty adamant (and convincing) that he doesn’t know what happened.

                    • Just Wondering
                      06/30/2010 at 11:29 PM

                      Do you think it is possible that

                    • Just Wondering
                      06/30/2010 at 11:30 PM

                      Sorry for the unfinished post – My question is do you think that your friend is 100% sure that the other two housemates also do not know what happened?

                • Craig
                  06/30/2010 at 2:35 PM

                  Deni – We’ll rename the site when the question is answered. Judging by your past critical comments (going as far back as April 2009 when you posted under another screen name), where you claimed Ward as “a good friend,” you never gave this site the benefit of the doubt in terms of your perceived bias(es). You made your mind up and reached your own conclusions a long time ago.

                  • Denimama
                    06/30/2010 at 2:54 PM

                    As have you, Craig.

                    I think I’ve made it clear where my frustration comes from.

                    Good luck.

                    • Wulfila
                      06/30/2010 at 4:21 PM

                      Obviously, no one wants to believe their friend is a murderer (just look at Joran van der Sloot’s parents who were also adamant about his innocence, as was he). But since it is a near impossibility that there was an intruder (a burglar who didn’t take the most obvious things?; a killer who didn’t bring a murder weapon?), at the very least THEY MUST KNOW MORE THAN THEY ARE ADMITTING. If the people of this site have turned mostly into believing in the trio’s guilt, it’s not because of the editors; it’s because, over several years, we have looked at the various arguments and theories and come to the obvious conclusion. It is the friends of the trio (I don’t call them a trouple–it was 2 separate couples at best and obviously not “committed” in any sense of the word) who seem to have made up their minds and are in denial, IMHO.

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                  06/30/2010 at 2:48 PM

                  Denimama, I think I should point out that I’m one person. And I’ve drawn my conculsions based on the evidence. I don’t know the defendants at all. Which shows that *I* an unbiased. I have no pesonal relationship with any of them. Do you understand that by way of your “friendship” with dylan YOU come here with a biased view?

                • mia
                  06/30/2010 at 10:14 PM

                  I don’t believe they had anything to do with it.

                  Hmmm, you said you know ONE OF THEM, but now it seem you’re speaking of ALL OF THEM.

            • Bill 2
              06/30/2010 at 6:58 PM

              Denimama – You should sign up for a special massage session with Dylan. He would probably be willing to cut you a special deal.

              • Carolina
                06/30/2010 at 7:57 PM

                Ow.

        • Hoya Loya
          06/30/2010 at 3:24 PM

          How’s this for argument’s sake — based, except for the identity of the killer, entirely on the defense:

          Robert was killed by one of the three shortly before 11:45 with the kitchen knife and died almost instantly from tamponade. Joe wiped up some blood because he was freaking out, quickly coordinated storied with the other two (the glass of water, bug, shower leak, burnt steaks, Project Runway etc, all being true they only had to agree on intruder-related “facts”) and coached Victor on the 911 call.

          Voila. No drugs, no e-stim, no restraints and entirely possible according to the defense’s own case. Motive? Who cares. People kill each other every day for any and no reason.

          I recommend you talk again with Dylan — then again, maybe you’d better not.

          • SJinNYC
            06/30/2010 at 9:57 PM

            Ok, but how do you account in this scenario for Robert’s semen in his rectum? Or, at the very least, his own semen in his groin area? This man was the victim of a sexual assault, the evidence is pretty clear in my opinion.

            • Hoya Loya
              07/01/2010 at 12:14 AM

              SJ:

              I was responding to Demi (way) above who said he could supply no reasonable explanation for the crime, so I tried to supply one on facts consistent with the defense.

              Not really trying to cover all the possible bases with this particular post. Plus the semen evidence is hotly disputed.

    • Vito
      06/30/2010 at 1:50 PM

      I believe the Judge mentioned that she too believed they were guilty, unfortunately the Government wasn’t able to meet the burden of proof.

    • curiousdc
      06/30/2010 at 1:54 PM

      Denimama: If your friend happens to be either Joe or Dylan, you may want to tell him that leaving the courthouse yesterday all smiles and smirks is totally outrageous given the grave circumstances. How you could be friends with either one is beyond me.

      • Denimama
        06/30/2010 at 1:57 PM

        I must be a monster, since clearly they are monsters.

        • curiousdc
          06/30/2010 at 2:03 PM

          Not saying you’re a monster at all–I’m just surprised that
          anyone would associate with these guys considering how they
          have acted throughout this entire ordeal.

          • Denimama
            06/30/2010 at 2:08 PM

            I actually don’t know what you mean by “how they acted throughout the entire ordeal.” I know that I’ve read a lot of interesting (and negative) interpretations to what I would consider reasonable reactions to what they have faced. But if you assume they are guilty, then those interpretations probably make sense. If you assume they are innocent, you come to very different conclusions.

            • curiousdc
              06/30/2010 at 2:29 PM

              I’m part of the group that finds their initial
              reactions to the murder incomprehensible. Then,
              let’s move on to their hugs, kisses, smiles and
              waves to their supporters in the courtroom that
              were widely reported here and in the press.
              Perhaps they could have been more solemn and
              low-key considering Wone’s distraught family, not
              to mention they were on trial. Finally, I felt
              ill having heard about Kathy Wone fleeing the
              courthouse in tears and then seeing Joe smiling
              and Dylan smirking.

              • Jamer
                06/30/2010 at 2:48 PM

                curiousdc: I agree.. it was so heartbreaking to see Kathy Wone’s pain, and see that smirk on Dylan’s face. They are pure evil.

              • Jackie
                06/30/2010 at 3:34 PM

                These people apparently aren’t capable of showing the tiniest bit of respect for Robert Wone or his family members, as far as I can see.
                Never have.

                • curiousdc
                  06/30/2010 at 7:21 PM

                  That’s right Jackie, they’re disgusting.

              • mia
                06/30/2010 at 10:22 PM

                I guess Denimama would say the smiling and smirking are all just “reasonable reactions”. Even tho during the trail, they keep telling the audience that Robert was such a dear friend of them.

        • Flint Hill Resident
          06/30/2010 at 4:01 PM

          You endorce the behaviour, so therefore you are!

    • WDG
      06/30/2010 at 1:58 PM

      What were your experiences like sleeping at the house?

    • Bea
      06/30/2010 at 1:59 PM

      Hey Denimama,
      I’d be interested in knowing if you believe the unknown intruder theory. I can’t promise that others will behave, but I’d like a discourse on that topic. Also, since you know one of the men well, do/did you ever wish that he’d have disassociated with the others to ‘save himself’? I have no way of knowing which of the three you know and I’m not asking you. Just would like to know your perspective on what happened and whether the Judge’s findings about what the three “likely” knew/did that didn’t meet the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ demarcation.

      • Denimama
        06/30/2010 at 2:06 PM

        I don’t know if I believe that it was a random intruder, but I do believe the guys don’t know who it was. I can’t construct a situation in which a random intruder comes in and kills Robert then leaves. Perhaps someone followed him there that night? I don’t know. I keep coming back to “I don’t know.”

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/30/2010 at 2:26 PM

          Do you have any thoughts about the lack of evidence of an intruder? Undisturbed dust on the fence. Unbroken cobwebs. No foot or fingerprints. No eyewitnesses. Nothing taken. Nothing broken. Nothing missing. Nothing.

        • Jackie
          06/30/2010 at 3:18 PM

          Denimama, you can’t have it both ways in life. Reality says there are only 2 choices. Intruder or some combination of the trouple. Take your pick. Unless you believe it was a ninja, and in that case, a ninja would have been an intruder too.

          • Denimama
            06/30/2010 at 3:25 PM

            I didn’t say I didn’t believe it was an intruder–I said I didn’t think it was a random intruder.

            And CDinDC, I think the MPD botched the investigation in many ways so I’m not convinced that there was NO evidence of an intruder. What about the dented sandbox cover? The MDP didn’t get that evidence, a neighbor did. They don’t leave me feeling convinced they fully investigated everything.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
              06/30/2010 at 5:28 PM

              The judge covered the dented sandbox cover…..if someone had tried to scale the fence on that side, they would have fallen into a deep stairwell (i.e., they would probably have injured themselves).

              But, again, the pollen and dust was undisturbed and there are photographs to back that up. This stuff can’t be overlooked.

              It’s like saying an intruder threw a rock through a window. But if the window isn’t broken, there’s no way it could have happened. Same thing with the fence. There is evidence that there was no intruder. The evidence being accumulated pollen, cobwebs, no finger or foot prints, etc. This cannot be overlooked as much as you want to turn a blind eye to it.

              May I suggest you accept the fact that there was no intruder and hope and pray that your friend Dylan was NOT the person that inflicted the wounds. There WERE two other people in that house.

              • Carolina
                06/30/2010 at 8:01 PM

                I’m waiting for the reply to this.

                Meanwhile, I shall read Tolstoy.

                • AnnaZed
                  06/30/2010 at 9:54 PM

                  Interesting, I was re-reading “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” just today, seriously.

              • Bea
                07/01/2010 at 2:35 AM

                To be fair to Denimama, she’s saying that she doesn’t believe there was a random intruder (meaning, I think, ‘unknown’ intruder). Presumably (and Denimama, correct me if I’m wrong) she believes that a trick of Joe’s, a bad-intentioned neighbor, Michael Price or Phelps Collins, or any of a host of individuals got in to Swann that night and murdered Robert. Someone who had a key, presumably, or was let in by one of the inhabitants for reasons other than to murder.

                My problem with that theory is still very much the same as with the unknown intruder – actually worse as to conspiracy/obstruction. If any of the defendants knew that they’d let someone in the door, the info is critical. If someone with a key was inside, it would be likely that his presence would be known – totally ridiculous to think that person just ran in and stabbed him to death and ran out. If someone is torturing another, there are noises. If there is sex (without consent or with), there are noises.

                And even if they weren’t SURE of the person’s identity, they’d have told the cops what they suspected. One of them would have seen him running away or recognized “his” noises or “his” gait or simply have seen what happened and have assumed it to be the actions of that particular person. None of us has THAT many friends who are capable of stabbing a man to death.

                Denimama, did you watch the interrogation video tapes? While I thought the written transcripts of Dylan Ward showed him to have the most reasonable responses, when I watched him in action, I found his behaviors of the three to be the most laden with the appearance of abject lying. It’s almost as if he can’t bother to try to sound believable. I don’t know him, so I really would be interested in hearing how you interpret his demeanor and the answers he gave after just witnessing a man with whom he was friendly (if not a ‘friend’) lying dead of stab wounds on a bed he’d just made up for him.

                A number of years ago when I arrived home from work, there was an ambulance outside my elderly neighbor couple’s house. I went over and saw the woman sitting alone in her living room just as the ambulance door was shutting. I asked if I could help, what was wrong. Her ninety year old husband had just died of a heart attack and was being taken away. I really didn’t know them but to wave at them from a distance, but I sat with her until her daughter arrived. It wasn’t unexpected but it was still a shock. There is something about being NEAR someone’s death and thinking of the blow of it on the loved ones – I was shaken and moved by it. After the daughter arrived and when I went in my own door, I was practically in tears as I told my partner about it. If I’d then been interrogated about what I’d witnessed I feel fairly confident that I’d have shown more emotion than Dylan did during his interrogation, and I didn’t even SEE the dead man, let alone find him covered in blood in my home.

                • John
                  07/01/2010 at 6:41 AM

                  What a moving story to prove your point! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Yes, “the real problem is in the hearts of men” Albert Einstein. And you have shown it well.

                • Kate
                  07/01/2010 at 9:48 AM

                  Very moving. Bea –

                  Thanks for your thoughtful post.

                • cinnamon
                  07/01/2010 at 10:19 AM

                  This really drives the point home for me that they (Dylan & Joe) didn’t appear to be shaken up or freaked out very much at all…by the “intrusion” or the murder of their friend.

        • Vandy
          06/30/2010 at 3:22 PM

          Thanks for you post Denimama. I often wondered that it was a random intruder — especially, considering that in the past few years, there have been a number of Asian professionals (although all women, I believe) that have disappeared from the Dupont Circle area and never found and in one case (I believe) the victim’s body was found the Anacostia River. Having said that, I think anything’s possible. I based my decision on the evidence that was presented and the 3 housemates’ behavior during the investigation/trial.

          • Ivan
            06/30/2010 at 3:53 PM

            I remember that case to which you refer. It was a young woman who left the Starbucks at R and Connecticut. She told her friend she’d rather walk the half dozen blocks home than get a lift. She was never seen again until spotted by a boater on the Potomac south of DC several months later. That didn’t add up either.

            • mw
              06/30/2010 at 4:43 PM

              There’s a big difference between being abducted off of a street and being murdered in the second floor of a house.

              The first one happens all the time. The second one generally isn’t a “random” crime.

              • Nelly
                06/30/2010 at 10:36 PM

                That was Joyce Chiang. Entirely different circumstances.

          • tucsonwriter
            06/30/2010 at 5:54 PM

            How many is “a number”? That is the first interesting new information I have come across on this site in a while. Due to the “surgical precision” of the wounds I would be surprised if, whoever the murderer is, it was their first time.

            • Carolina
              06/30/2010 at 8:02 PM

              It’s pretty easy to stab a stationary target. No real secret where the heart is.

            • DonnaH
              06/30/2010 at 8:38 PM

              BadShoes made the very interesting conjecture, on “The Simmering Cauldron” post, that “maybe somebody with a lot of experience meat cutting–a cook, perhaps–would be more likely to subconsciously judge the force required and produce a cleaner, more “surgical” wound than an amateur.”

        • gina a
          06/30/2010 at 3:40 PM

          “Perhaps someone followed him there that night?” This intrigues me. Did your friend suggest that Robert came into the house with someone, perhaps for a tryst, no one asked him about it, they all enjoy a nice glass of DC water, all go to bed and then this other person committed the crime? Why then wouldn’t any of the three say that this is what happened? Surely keeping Robert Wone’s adultery a secret wouldn’t mean this much to the trouple? I guess I just don’t see, as others note below, how you can say no intruder but no to any of the three as well?

          • Denimama
            06/30/2010 at 3:55 PM

            My friend suggested absolutely nothing of the sort. He told the police everything he knows.

            I’m offering my best guess on what could have happened, nothing more.

            And, again, I didn’t say no intruder. I said no random intruder. There’s a difference.

            • tucsonwriter
              06/30/2010 at 5:55 PM

              Actually, it has been mentioned that RW took a cab to the house. Not sure if that is a fact that was in evidence. Editors might know. If he took a cab I doubt he was followed by some random person, or anyone for that matter.

              • Leo
                06/30/2010 at 6:58 PM

                The cabdriver?

              • mia
                06/30/2010 at 10:34 PM

                I believe Robert called Joe at 10:22 from his RFA office and told him he’s going to take a cab. He then arrived the house at 10:30. I just checked google map and it says it’s approximately 1.3 mile from RFA to 1509 swann street and usually would take 5~6 min’s drive or 20min’s walk.

            • Carolina
              06/30/2010 at 8:03 PM

              He told police everything he knows.

              I wish this weren’t so funny.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/30/2010 at 2:24 PM

      I remember Denimama. She popped her head in for the “Trick or Treat” article on 09/04/09. Expressed “moral outrage” and then disappeared until now. Probably similar to her friendship with Dylan. I bet they haven’t talked in years. Perhaps they went to high school together. Or their families know each by way of a working relationship. Who knows. In any event, Dylan’s been in DC for many years and has even lived overseas. His lifestyle is incredibily different than Denimama. So how well can se really know him?

      • Denimama
        06/30/2010 at 2:28 PM

        How nice of you to assume so much about me. You are wrong.

        This is why I stopped posting.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/30/2010 at 2:43 PM

          Well, then by all means, share with us. How do you know Dylan? School friend? Work friend? What was he like? Share an antidote or two to allow us to see something other than what is out there in the world to see.

          And, by the way, I’m sure you haven’t read every post on this website, but there have been many times when I’ve looked at Dylan in a different light than other people. So many people accused Dylan of being a mastermind of this horrible crime. I don’t see that. I honestly believe he was coerced or pulled into something.

          I don’t think you should take such a defensive position, either. We’re all willing to talk. But remember, you may not hear what you want to hear.

          • Hoya Loya
            06/30/2010 at 3:27 PM

            Indeed CD.

            Demi, if you check any of the discussion about the interrogation transcripts, a surprising number of us found Dylan’s the most credible of the three and queried if he indeed might have slept through the whole thing.

            • cinnamon
              06/30/2010 at 10:39 PM

              I’ll agree that Dylan’s transcript came off as more credible than the others but now seeing the video tape…not so much.

              • Just Wondering
                06/30/2010 at 11:20 PM

                Agreed.

              • Hoya Loya
                07/01/2010 at 12:11 AM

                Point here was that many of us tried to be open minded during the trial, often cutting the defendants some slack or benefits of the doubt and not acting out of bias.

                No comment on the video of the interrogations and whether I still feel the same way now.

                • AnnaZed
                  07/01/2010 at 12:20 AM

                  Why no comment Hoya? I for one want to know what you think.

                  Not only was I not convinced by Dylan’s performance but (**warning** gratuitous snark alert) I was a bit surprised by Dylan’s womanly thighs and hips.

                  • Hoya Loya
                    07/01/2010 at 12:28 AM

                    Well, though it may not seem like it, I’m on vacation and my loaner laptop doesn’t have any sound. So all I can comment on is the “little boy lose” body language divorced from the content of the questions and responses.

                    I actually delayed listening to the 911 call for eight months and when I did it freaked me out.

                    Right now watching these vids, if I could, would surely spoil my vacation even more than it has been already by yesterday’s news. Have not looked at the “smirk” photos either for similar reasons.

                    I spent a beautiful day with my family, grateful that we were alive together to enjoy it and saying constant prayers in my mind for Robert’s family which will forevermore be incomplete.

                    Best to you AnnaZ and all the regulars and of course our eds. This site is more important than ever. Keep the faith.

                    Good night!

                    • AnnaZed
                      07/01/2010 at 12:34 AM

                      Good lord Hoya, go have fun with your family and by all means do hold off on beholding Dylan’s smirk until later.

          • Denimama
            06/30/2010 at 3:37 PM

            I haven’t shared the nature of my relationship because I don’t think they would want me to. They would probably prefer I stay away from posting here altogether, but every time I see a reference to this blog in an article as a source for unbiased views on the murder, I become frustrated.

            You are correct that I haven’t read every post on the site, so I shouldn’t assume everyone takes the same position. Point taken. I will say that I have seen a few folks who disagree with the primary point of view of “guilty as charged” and they tend to get slammed (like I am right now).

            Finally, you are correct that I am feeling somewhat defensive and I’m sure that is showing. I’m sure you can appreciate the reason I’m feeling defensive–one of the editors jumped in here–Craig–and relayed the fact that I posted under a different alias a year ago with the same email address -a simple oversight on my part but it could have been for a reason- (and a violation of the site’s privacy policy–“As administrators of this site, like anyone who operates on WordPress, we are privy to information hidden from other users including email addresses given and IP addresses. We value reader contributions and will jealously guard and protect any information on here.”).

            • Denimama
              06/30/2010 at 3:39 PM

              I just reread my reply and it sound significantly more combative than I meant to be. Thank you for your reasoned response.

              • Greta
                06/30/2010 at 5:22 PM

                Tell your friends to show some respect — assuming they are completely innocent, their very good deceased friend’s wife and family are in tremendous pain. Smirks, winks, back slaps, and huge smiles are grossly inappropriate in a public setting. Celebrate, if they must, in private.

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                06/30/2010 at 5:36 PM

                We’re cool Denimama. I would HATE to be in your position. Truly. It would tear my soul to pieces if someone I knew and cared for were in this situation.

                And if I went to my friend and that friend swore up and down that s/he didn’t do anything, well, I’d probably feel the same way you do.

                It just goes to show how the pain caused by crimes of this nature reverberate into the deepest corners of our relationships. And I’m sorry you have to experience that.

                • Kate
                  07/01/2010 at 10:00 AM

                  Well said, CD – Someone very, very close to me was once charged with a crime they did not commit.

                  It was a living hell.

                  Thankfully, that hell ended and charges were dropped – but the ripples of the suffering still hit the shores from time to time in my life.

                  I completely understand Demimama’s perspective.

                  Many thanks,
                  Kate

            • susan
              06/30/2010 at 7:26 PM

              I don’t know if Denim is still online but she/he wrote:

              “I haven’t shared the nature of my relationship because I don’t think they would want me to. They would probably prefer I stay away from posting here altogether…”

              I am wondering why “they” are factoring in your decision. Did you consider “they” have been acting in unison from day one? How well do you know the other two, since they are factoring into your actions?

            • mia
              06/30/2010 at 10:41 PM

              I wonder if you really know the meaning of “bias”. Most of the commentators on this blog know neither of them (Robert and the three defendants). This makes them unbiased in nature, and many people reached their own conclusion based on the known evidence and common sense. This doesn’t contribute “bias”.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:06 PM

          I would wager you stopped posting because it’s really hard to keep refuting evidence and keep your head in the sand.

          Listen, you’re a good friend. I’m sure Dylan is appreciative. I’m sure you will spend many nights in his company and never once worry or sleep with one eye open. But don’t expect everyone to buy the bullsh*t they peddled. Even the judge called them out on their guilt.

    • Lyn
      06/30/2010 at 3:53 PM

      Denimama said: “Everyone on this site (including the editors, at this point) have made up their minds that the three men who were acquitted yesterday are guilty.”

      Are we not all individually entitled to our own opinions? The fact that the majority of readers of this website share an opinion of guilt speaks more to the good sense of the masses than to the notion that this website is designed to “get” the trouple.

      • Denimama
        06/30/2010 at 3:57 PM

        You are absolutely entitled to your opinion. I don’t begrudge you that right. My point is about how this site is presented in the media, as an unbiased place to gather data about the Wone murder. It is a great site to gather that data, but it is not unbiased.

        • Lyn
          06/30/2010 at 4:15 PM

          I may not have paid as close attention as you, but I don’t recall seeing any media refer to this site as unbiased (whether it is or isn’t). If you have an example, please feel free to share.

          Also, if what you say is true (“how this site is presented in the media”), then it seems your frustration should be with the media and not the site itself.

          Although I don’t share your opinions about the trouple, I appreciate the courage it takes to open yourself up to criticism by posting here.

        • tucsonwriter
          06/30/2010 at 5:58 PM

          The site is unbaised. The comment section is not.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:08 PM

          No one is stopping you from posting. I think that says all that’s necessary.

          Are we to monitor the responses? One for the defendants, one for the Wones. Or would we have to give each defendant a supporter post for every post believing in their individual or collective guilt?

      • Sandra
        06/30/2010 at 4:16 PM

        I think the only one here who is biased is Denimama, since he/she knows one of the trouple. From what it sounds like, most of the rest of us have no connections to the people involved and are basing our opinions on the facts of the case. I only came across this case this morning, read the relevant articles and posts, and came to the opinion that one, two or all three are guilty of the murder and covering it up.

    • Wulfila
      06/30/2010 at 4:22 PM

      (sorry for the repeat, my post was too hard to read in the thread below)

      Obviously, no one wants to believe their friend is a murderer (just look at Joran van der Sloot’s parents who were also adamant about his innocence, as was he). But since it is a near impossibility that there was an intruder (a burglar who didn’t take the most obvious things?; a killer who didn’t bring a murder weapon?), at the very least THEY MUST KNOW MORE THAN THEY ARE ADMITTING. If the people of this site have turned mostly into believing in the trio’s guilt, it’s not because of the editors; it’s because, over several years, we have looked at the various arguments and theories and come to the obvious conclusion. It is the friends of the trio (I don’t call them a trouple–it was 2 separate couples at best and obviously not “committed” in any sense of the word) who seem to have made up their minds and are in denial, IMHO.

      • slwapo
        06/30/2010 at 4:48 PM

        Whenever someone commits a murder, you ALWAYS see a friend/neighbor/whoever who says something like “I am totally shocked. He was always a nice guy, I never thought he was that kind of person.”

    • AnnaZed
      06/30/2010 at 6:04 PM

      Deni, what did you think of the disconcerting deaths-head grimace/smirk that Dylan produced for the cameras upon leaving Moultrie yesterday?

      • curiousdc
        06/30/2010 at 6:54 PM

        I watched the video again at work with colleagues—we all agree that it looks like the smirk of someone who knows that he has just gotten away with murder

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:11 PM

          He’s never been held to anything in his life. He wanders willy nilly from school to school, career to career, continent to continent, and his daddy’s still paying the bills. Why should he think the world would treat him otherwise?

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

          As Dyl has no property of his own to speak of, he truly is off the hook. The civil case will probably do in Mr. Price and Mr. Zaborsky, but Mr. Ward, by virtue of his lack of accomplishment, will plead poverty.

          I do wonder, though, if Dyl will now write more children’s stories, this time with murder mystery/horror themes. At any rate, this sparkly cat, however tres chic, has more than nine lives and will land solidly on his feet. And, that cheery prospect underscores the injustice of Lynn’s justice — her absolutist interpretation of “no doubt whatsoever”. For her “brave” decision, I hope she never gets an upgrade from Room 310, but I am not bitter.

          • Carolina
            06/30/2010 at 8:50 PM

            I am not so convinced Dylan is without funds.

        • CuriousinVA
          07/01/2010 at 9:15 AM

          Where is there video? I’ve only seen a picture. Is there a pic of Joe somewhere? I’ve seen talk of his big smile but haven’t seen any yet. I probably shouldn’t even look. It’ll only piss me off more.

      • Liam
        06/30/2010 at 8:33 PM

        Yes. Ward’s facial expression certainly wasn’t appealing.

        Maybe he was happy that he wasn’t going to spend 30 years in prison, but his attorneys advised him not to smile as that would seem inappropriate. So maybe his smirk was his trying to suppress a big thank you [insert your deity here] I’m not spending the next 30 years in prison grin.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:38 PM

          Except it would have been nowhere near 30 years.

          • Liam
            06/30/2010 at 10:05 PM

            Regardless, the principle is the same. Whether 1 year or 30 years.

            • christy love
              07/01/2010 at 1:46 AM

              Can I play devil’s advocate? You just found out you aren’t going to jail for 64 years, can’t a mofo crack a smile?

              • cinnamon
                07/01/2010 at 8:38 AM

                A murdered man was found in their home. A supposed friend, whose wife went running from the courthouse in tears. So to come out behind her smiling…I’m thinking, NO is the best answer to your question.

                • christy love
                  07/01/2010 at 12:57 PM

                  You are bugging! I would have come out the court moonwalking. I’d feel sorry for Robert later, today would be about me!!! Rejoicing my freedom. If I was innocent or guilty.

                  • cinnamon
                    07/01/2010 at 1:10 PM

                    We obviously have defferent standards of taste and class.

                  • evilone
                    07/01/2010 at 1:12 PM

                    let me guess, a comment from a trouple
                    supporter? Perhaps a big fat fag hag like
                    Sarah Morgan?

                    Ed. note: This really isn’t helpful evilone. I’m all for throwing sharp elbows, but this doesn’t help whatsoever. You’re dirtying up our house that was kept remarkably tidy for the last year and a half. And you know how much I hate house work. -Craig

  20. Jackie
    06/30/2010 at 1:47 PM

    Maybe we need to change the law, and allow for prosecution Appeals also, to look for errors in Judges reasoning.

    • Devin
      06/30/2010 at 2:27 PM

      Thats a can of worms you don’t want to open. Plus you have to take double jeopardy into account.

      • slwapo
        06/30/2010 at 3:21 PM

        This wouldn’t be double jeopardy, because it’s the same case, just being appealed.

        • slwapo
          06/30/2010 at 3:21 PM

          Also, apparently Canada had no problems opening that can of worms, since they allow the prosecution to appeal.

          • Jackie
            06/30/2010 at 3:42 PM

            Someone needs to hold judges accountable for any and all errors. We’ve seen a few already.

            • Carolina
              06/30/2010 at 8:17 PM

              There are no errors. You might not like it, but any and all errors that you have pointed to would not change the laws by which they were acquitted.

              • Jackie
                07/01/2010 at 1:26 PM

                Carolina, I haven’t pointed out ANY errors. WTF!

                • carolina
                  07/01/2010 at 1:57 PM

                  Then to what were you referring in the post to which I replied? What had you seen many of if not errors? To what judge were you referring as well? Or was it a generic rant against incompetant judges, none of which were involved in this case?

            • Liam
              06/30/2010 at 10:12 PM

              Perhaps this country’s founders should not have “rigged” the system such that it prevents an innocent man from going to jail moreso than a guilty man going free.

              It apparently wasn’t fun in jolly old England.

              • Liam
                06/30/2010 at 10:19 PM

                I probably should have more accurately said that the system is skewed to prevent instances of an innocent man being convicted than to prevent a guilty man from being set free.

    • Daphne
      06/30/2010 at 4:41 PM

      That’s the Constitution.

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 8:16 PM

      Jackie, get some books on the bases of the Constitution and where these laws came from.

      To be honest, your posts are the kind that are getting us the lynch mob tag, and I’m offended that you think your little country corner would have treated the defendants not only differently, more more correctly. I know you don’t intend it to sound so, but it does feel there’s a rope and a limb in the background.

      • ebgodard
        06/30/2010 at 10:13 PM

        The Constitution and the court’s interpretation thereof are two different matters entirely. There is a fair amount of case law put on the books by bleeding heart liberal judges that should have been overturned by higher courts. Instead they are used as precedent cases resulting in offenders walking free on “technicalities.” Spare me the lectures of “it’s the law” and “better that 10 guilty go free….’ from what I see that is happening far too often.

        Time to clean some house and balance the rights of the accused with the rights of the victims.

        • carolina
          07/01/2010 at 3:05 PM

          Let us see how you feel if you and yours find yourself falsely accused.

        • KiKi
          07/01/2010 at 3:23 PM

          Yes those pesky liberals of 1791 and their 5th amendment rights to process. What were they thinking? And all those judges for the last 2 centuries carving out due process advocating for their secret liberal agenda.

          Oh wait. William Blackstone was an 18th century British Jurist and the reasonable doubt standard was the standard used in English common law. Must be the damn Brits and their liberal medieval technicalities.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          07/01/2010 at 3:59 PM

          ebgodard says: “There is a fair amount of case law put on the books by bleeding heart liberal judges that should have been overturned by higher courts.”

          Thank your lucky stars for those “bleeding heart liberal judges,” ebgodard. It’s the bleeding politicians that made sure mouthy conservatives get constitutional rights. Otherwise, speaking an opinion would have gone the way of hoop skirts.

          • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
            07/01/2010 at 4:00 PM

            “bleeding heart liberal politicians” it should say.

          • KiKi
            07/01/2010 at 4:06 PM

            Not to mention the “bleeding” soldiers on the battle field who fought and continue to fight so that we can have the rights and liberties ebgodard is willing to throw away.

  21. cat
    06/30/2010 at 2:06 PM

    “The defendants have been found not guilty of obstruction, conspiracy and evidence tampering. They now face a civil lawsuit that brings with it a jury, a much lower standard of proof, a much wider net of evidence, the pressure to take the stand on their own behalf, and the ominously powerful legal machine of Covington & Burling.”

    Note to self: When committing a “perfect crime,” do not select a victim who was an attorney at Covington & Burling.

    • tucsonwriter
      07/01/2010 at 1:24 AM

      Brilliant. Doesn’t that suggest a non-lawyer selecting the victim?

  22. galoon
    06/30/2010 at 2:14 PM

    “Some have blamed Leibovitz, some blame the MPD and others blame Glenn Kirschner. Some point the finger at homophobia; others, the editors of this website. And some few seemingly just want to pick fights.”
    The “blame” rests on the shoulders of three men only.

  23. Greta
    06/30/2010 at 2:35 PM

    Thanks so much to the editors. I am grateful there is some place to read and reflect and try to come to terms with the events of yesterday. I am really sad about the verdict and I wish I could point the finger at the judge, but I am not sure…I feel like I need to be in a discussion group – to meet for coffee or a glass of wine and discuss this among a community that cares and is open-minded, like many of you here. What is going to happen next? Is this DC’s “OJ” case – certainly the star expert defense witness was the same, the defendents were well off, accused the police of prejudice, were acquitted of the criminal charges, and are certain to be liable in the civil case. I hope justice comes for the Wone family, but that probably won’t be in a criminal court. I wish I knew where to send them condolensces – I will keep them in my prayers.

    • ML
      06/30/2010 at 9:03 PM

      I don’t know what “justice” means, but I know that the Wones will never have their son, brother, nephew or husband back. Perhaps, in the long run, the best thing this community of can do is remember him, remember what made him special.

  24. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/30/2010 at 3:04 PM

    Does anyone know when and where the civil trial will be held?
    Do they hold civil trials in the same court house – Moultrie?

    Also, is the public allowed to spectate at civil trials as we are at criminal trials?

    • chilaw79
      06/30/2010 at 3:21 PM

      The civil trial should be a Moultrie and should be open to the public.

    • leo
      06/30/2010 at 5:04 PM

      The original case was before Judge Brook Hedge, who granted the defendants’ motion to stay the civil case pending the criminal trial. Her courtroom is also in Moultrie.

  25. WIGuy
    06/30/2010 at 3:07 PM

    Some in this forum seem to confuse the desire to have a threesome with rape. Finding a willing third consenting adult, as communicated in an email, is completely different from planning to rape and then murder someone.

    • Jackie
      06/30/2010 at 4:09 PM

      I have participated in various Forums on the Net, and as I have stated before I have never seen a Forum with so many smart and educated posters as I have on this one, Never. I can assure you no one here is confused about what the terms threesome or rape mean.

    • Wulfila
      06/30/2010 at 4:29 PM

      I agree WIGuy, a consensual threesome has nothing to do with rape. What I did find compelling in those email discussions was “fear”. Was it really referring to fear of a 3rd person? For 2 guys who have a fairly wild sex life (given the S/M paraphernalia, Culuket ads, and porn site plans), I have to say I find it a little bizarre that either of them would be “afraid” of having a threesome (I mean, shouldn’t we at least assume that the trio had had sex together if they were a “committed family” as they maintained)? So I can’t really imagine the “fear” was about a 3-way, but rather something else. It would certainly cause some fear to think about drugging someone and taking pictures, or worse, though of course that is just speculation. But what was it they both “feared”??? Any ideas???

      • Cecily
        06/30/2010 at 5:04 PM

        I think I have read several times that only Price and Ward had a sexual relationship and Victor did not. I think Victor stated as much also, but can’t be sure. That’s why I can’t figure out why Vic would be in agreement with this whole thing. But, I also wondered why the idea of a threesome would have been so “out there” for them. A threesome seems very tame compared to what they were into.

        • Bill 2
          07/01/2010 at 1:42 PM

          I wonder where you got the idea that threesomes would have been “out there” for them. Scott Hixon said one of his tricks had been to bed with Price and Ward. I don’t think either of them had any reluctance to having a threesome. If you’re referring to e-mail between Price and Ward, that could indicate possible apprehension about drugging a third party for sex and photos.

          • curiousdc
            07/01/2010 at 3:30 PM

            That’s exactly what I think, especially considering that laundry
            list of “toy” found in the house. I’d be interested to know if additional emails shed some light on this. But I assume whatever emails exist, they have all been examined? Right?

  26. Lyn
    06/30/2010 at 3:58 PM

    Legal folks, help me out!

    If two hitmen go and do a hit on someone, my understanding is that both go to jail for murder even if only one of them pulled the trigger.

    Why didn’t this apply in this case?

    • CC Biggs
      06/30/2010 at 4:03 PM

      In your scenario, both hitman had the intent to commit the crime. In the Wone case, the court did not find that all three had the intent to obstruct/tamper/conspire. And without knowing that all three were guilty, the court could not determine which of the defendants did it, which led to reasonable doubt as to any one defendant.

    • chilaw79
      06/30/2010 at 4:12 PM

      It often is the case that just admitting you were present when the murder occurred is sufficient. However, assume you were standing in a crowd of people at a cocktail party, when someone you did not know before the party and did not know had a gun, suddenly shot the bartender at the party.

      You would not be guilty of murder even though you were there because you had absolutely no intent to do any criminal act; you were just at a party.

      The judge basically decided she could not tell who wanted to murder Robert Wone and who might have just been in the house. There is no eye witness and no physical evidence (e.g., gunshot residue, bullets, etc.) to say who committed a crime and who may just have been in the same home.

    • Jackie
      06/30/2010 at 4:14 PM

      At least that is the law in Virginia, I agree. When the Snipers went on trial they were both charged with murder. Only one got the death penalty (deceased already) because one was a juvenile so he got LWOP.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 5:27 PM

        Virginia has the so-called “triggerman” provision that permits imposition of the death penalty only on the person who actually pulls the trigger. There was some thought at the time of the sniper murders in Virginia that it might be difficult to impose the death penalty because there were two possible triggermen. One of the Virginia judges said the car was a killing machine.

        Since then, Virginia has tried to change the statute, but I do not think it has been amended yet.

        DC does not impose the death penalty.

  27. Bea
    06/30/2010 at 4:50 PM

    A total aside and off the subject, but was the PHOTO on the alt dot com Culuket ad ever captured? I know the ad was, but whenever I’ve seen it, there’s no photo. Did it have a photo? Frankly I don’t want to SEE the photo but would like to know if it showed Joe’s face. The audacity of it blows my mind – button downed law partner who lists a number of “likes” in an explicit way. It does always make me smile that he was coy about whether he used drugs (“rather not say”).

    • Craig
      06/30/2010 at 5:15 PM

      Bea: We mayyy have the unredacted alt dot com pic in our archives, but obviosly NOT on our work PCs. Price’s face may not ever have been in the pic. We’ll check.

      So what exactly happens civil discovery-wise? Does Cov just ask the DoJ to send over the hundred banker’s boxes? Beyond what we already know, what could possibly be left out there to find? More emails, docs, etc.? Or do the interrogatories/depositions obviate the need for more discovery?

      • Bea
        06/30/2010 at 6:42 PM

        Am curious if his face was out there. (That sentence seems to be begging for a joke.)

        In the civil case, the plaintiffs have already propounded its first set of written discovery – Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents (lawyers call these two things “Rogs” and “RFP”). I don’t recall if there’s a set of Requests for Admissions or not. Anyway, once the suspension has been lifted, the defendants will have 30 days (plus minor extra time depending on mode of service in most jurisdictions) to answer (or object) to each question in the interrogatories and to allow the plaintiffs the opportunity to copy relevant documents/materials covered in the RFP. Right away will likely see the first objections relating back to the 5th.

        During discovery, both sides can engage in this form of ‘written’ discovery and in depositions in which a court reporter (and often with a video camera) records the questions and answers of the witness – my guess is that Covington will seek to depose each of the defendants after they’ve covered baseline information in written discovery.

        There will be new experts from the plaintiffs (and likely from the defendants if there is money). Whether the defendants will be able to rely on the experts from their criminal trial (meaning the trial transcript) is unlikely – will likely need a do-over, and the plaintiffs will depose each expert AND have their own experts assist on this so that by the trial, there are no real surprises.

        The civil case will cost a tremendous amount to defend what with all the depositions and experts and the likely full court press of Covington. Since Kathy Wone is getting this services gratis, I anticipate what we call “scorched earth” – leaving no stone unturned, forcing the defense to either pony up loads of money or fall by the wayside.

        And that’s just the discovery portion outline of events.

        • curiousdc
          06/30/2010 at 6:58 PM

          Do you think this case will get off the ground quickly? I’m wondering if you anticipate significant delays in the beginning.

          • chilaw79
            06/30/2010 at 7:39 PM

            A lot of what happens during the discovery process will happen outside the public eye, unless one of the parties wants to provide information. Depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents can produce huge volumes of information that never reach the courthouse. Similarly, settlement negotiations often are not disclosed in any way.

            As a result, it may well be the case that a lot will be happening, but it will be difficult to obtain the information.

            The basic issue is whether the defendants now will take the position that they deserve a further stay of the civil proceedings to protect their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination or to protect spousal/domestic partner privilege. This issue could be litigated before any discovery is conducted so the guidelines for discovery are clear. Given the judge’s opinion, the defendants are likely to make their stand early. I would, if I were in their position.

            • curiousdc
              06/30/2010 at 8:03 PM

              thank you so much chilaw79 for that info!

              • Three Strikes
                06/30/2010 at 9:55 PM

                Thanks to Bea and Chilaw for all of your wonderful posts!!

            • DavidR
              06/30/2010 at 10:26 PM

              Why can’t they just stay silent and let Kathy get what she can out of them? The have the house in Florida that can’t be touched and massage is a cash business so what is there to attach? Also Joe and Victor I am sure can come up with ways of getting money under the radar as did OJ.

              I mean is the trial necessary? Just say I give up you win. Collect what you can.

              • Bea
                07/01/2010 at 1:42 AM

                They may, sooner or later, simply allow a default judgment to be entered. They would not want even a civil entry of judgment “on the merits” to have them admitting that they were “liable” for Robert Wone’s death. The former is like a no contest plea where the latter is akin to pleading guilty (in a very broad brush – remember, this is a civil action, not criminal, but they will take measures to ensure that there’s no ‘evidence of guilt’ that could be translated to the criminal side here. It differs from the OJ case in that he’d been acquitted of murder – here, the defendants could still be charged with murder. OJ fought the case and still lost.

                But the question isn’t just one of what money or house equity do they have now – an entry of judgment would allow Kathy Wone to attach/garnish wages from now until the debt has been paid, put liens on any homes they may have decades from now, take ownership of any cars they pay off, for example. If the men expect to try to get some semblance of financial success, then they won’t want the judgment (she’d have a piece of every dollar they make for a VERY long time). Don’t forget that the civil judgment in the OJ case was a part of his later robbery case for which he’s now in prison in that he’d been trying to avoid paying the Goldmans their share of “memorabilia” and was selling it under the table. When one deals with shady characters, it’s not surprising that he later alleged that his “distributors” were ripping HIM off, thus his “need” to steal back from them.

                The civil judgment allowed the Goldmans to take OJ Simpson’s Heisman trophy (or have it auctioned off for the proceeds). While he had a pension that was not subject to attachment from the civil judgment, his earning capacity was considerably smaller (having to give a large chunk to the Goldmans with any paycheck). They even won the right to all proceeds to his (despicable) book “If I Did It” with the right to package it as they saw fit.

                I’m sure while it was a very minor victory for people who lost their son, taking away OJ Simpson’s Heisman was likely one of their better days in terms of exacting a meaningful ‘revenge.’

            • Bea
              07/01/2010 at 1:44 AM

              It would seem to me that the documents should be a public record – I don’t see any reason for the defendants to be able to get it put under seal or to have a protective order (and no reason for Kathy Wone to voluntarily allow it). What do you think, Chilaw?

              • chilaw79
                07/01/2010 at 9:29 AM

                My views may be colored by my experience, but courts in DC often put cases that are settled under seal. I have tried arguing against it in particular cases, including one where my client successfully sued a fairly prominent attorney, to little avail.

                Motions and related papers will be available and I think that is where a lot of the early action will be. Since some of the motions will involve interrogatories and document production requests, there may be a little more transparency in this case.

                If the case goes to trial, most evidence will be available for a while.

            • Bea
              07/01/2010 at 1:54 AM

              I agree with Chilaw that if the defendants don’t simply default that they will be fighting the implication of the 5th Amendment right away and with vigor.

              Too, I expect (as was noted) that Covington will be moving with equal force to push collateral estoppel (if there is a viable position) in order to put to use SOME of Judge Leibovitz’s opinion.

              In other words, and only as an example, if the plaintiff is allowed to have accepted as fact that there was no unknown intruder then the proofs necessary for victory are fewer – to not allow the defendants to argue that there was one would be a major (and expedient) blow to the defendants. Whether that will be so will depend on the law in the jurisdiction and how the civil court judge rules on what the lengthy (and expensive) legal briefs required from both sides.

        • Bill 2
          06/30/2010 at 7:05 PM

          “Scorched earth” sounds good to me. It helps lift the spirits after yesterday’s disappointment. Thanks, Bea. You’re totally fabulous!

  28. PaulVincent
    06/30/2010 at 5:22 PM

    Perhaps this has been asked and answered before, but I’m still asking: Will JP’s home owners insurance carrier (for his 1509 Swann Street residence) be liable for the damages from the civil suit?

    • John
      06/30/2010 at 5:56 PM

      If JP and Victor had an umbrella policy, it would probably pay out. Pres. Bill Clinton’s umbrella policy paid out in the Jennifer Flower’s case.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        06/30/2010 at 7:15 PM

        I think most home owner’s policies have an exclusion list….”intentional” acts are usually excluded.

        Ummm…my mind is not wrapping around calling an insurance agent and saying “hi, my college buddy was murdered on my pull-out. I’d like to file a claim.”

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          06/30/2010 at 7:16 PM

          oops…bea has covered the intentional acts.

          War is excluded too. 🙂

        • chilaw79
          06/30/2010 at 7:30 PM

          I would if an unknown intruder came through a door I might have left unlocked and my friend had been stabbed to death as a result.

          Of course, I am speaking hypothetically.

        • John
          06/30/2010 at 8:18 PM

          Well, don’t you think that Bill Clinton’s act was intentional with Jennifer Flowers?

    • Bea
      06/30/2010 at 6:48 PM

      Not if the actions by the defendants was an “intentional” act. Homeowners’ policies cover negligence. If I fall down the stairs at your house, there is coverage. If you intentionally push me down the same stairs, there is not – the reason being that insurance isn’t available for the bad actions of the policy holders. If there’s a mixed bag (say one defendant was not ‘in the know’ though the other homeowner committed an intentional act) then perhaps there will be coverage, or at least that the insurer may kick in with some defense costs, but my guess is that coverage will be denied based on the the four corners of the civil complaint, that negligence is not alleged.

      And I doubt they had anywhere near $20 M worth of coverage, even with an umbrella.

    • AnnaZed
      06/30/2010 at 9:15 PM

      Well, I would certainly be interested to know if anyone did any sleuthing to find out, If the men take the position that Robert’s killer entered through an unlocked door (negligence) then they should make a claim, but I’ll wager that they didn’t.

  29. Sandra Renee Hicks
    06/30/2010 at 5:43 PM

    I believe that Dylan is a native of the state of Washington.
    Does anyone know the origins of Joe and Victor? Is Victor’s home state PA?

    • Nelly
      06/30/2010 at 10:45 PM

      Joe was a military brat who even lived in Okinawa for a while, during his childhood. I recall Victor is from Kentucky, but his parents are living in PA now.

      • Ivan
        07/01/2010 at 8:23 AM

        Victor was born in Philadelphia. Then his family moved to Tulsa where he graduate high school and the University of Tulsa. then he got a job at some banks and in the mid-90s came to DC and then got a job with the milk group. As far as that “GOT MILK” campaign goes. I ‘m tired of people in the media giving him credit for it. From research I did it was created by an advertising agency in San Francisco or New York City. Then the dairy association assumed the rights to it or something. It wasn’t Victor’s brainchild.

        • curiousdc
          07/01/2010 at 8:45 AM

          I agree Ivan. While we’re at it, I’d also like to see the media and many individuals on this site stop describing Victor as a kind, gentle, and sensitive soul. A person with those attributes would not have participated or witnessed the events of Aug. 2, 2006. Period.

          And, Victor, if you are reading these posts (I truly hope you are), just remember, you may think that you’re temporarily off the hook but someday you’ll discover that there is a hell and it’s still hot!

    • evilone
      06/30/2010 at 11:03 PM

      He’s from Tacoma, Washington and evidently a number of people have notified the local media given the prominence of his father in the community.

  30. John
    06/30/2010 at 5:53 PM

    Curious- is this next trial something that could be settled out of court? Would the three of them collectively give 5 million and Kathy walks away? I am sure that she does not want money but justice, but I am curious.

    • Craig
      06/30/2010 at 6:04 PM

      Five Million? I wonder if between the three of them, that they even have two nickels to rub together.

    • Bill Orange
      06/30/2010 at 10:28 PM

      “We killed your husband. Here’s $5 million. Now leave us alone.”

      No way. I doubt she needs the money to begin with. Even if she did, I can tell you that if it were me, I’d live in a tent and eat cat food for the rest of my life before I took a deal like that.

      • ccf
        06/30/2010 at 10:40 PM

        Dog food tastes better.

  31. NYer
    06/30/2010 at 5:59 PM

    I doubt that Kathy would agree to that, out of sheer principle. And what is the basis of your belief that the troupe collectively even possesses an amount of money anywhere near $5 million?

    • AnnaZed
      06/30/2010 at 9:28 PM

      They may not, but a wealthy Cardiac Surgeon like Dylan’s father could get a loan for that amount I would imagine. What then? Here’s a check, now go away.

  32. Rick
    06/30/2010 at 6:18 PM

    My commute home in the afternoon is about 40 minutes. I’ve been thinking about the outcome of this trial and came up with an easy way to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Now, please don’t trash me or ban me, but just thinking how or if we will ever learn the real story…my suggestion, although a little late would be quite simple…Waterboarding…the military says it works and they got a lot of information…

    Just trying to learn the truth!

    • Rick
      06/30/2010 at 6:32 PM

      meant to say I was thinking about this for 40 minutes on my drive home…always pondering!

    • ccf
      06/30/2010 at 6:35 PM

      I had a sinus infection a couple weeks ago. I took some antibiotics and used the Neti Pot for the first time. It felt a bit like waterboarding; perhaps we should try Netipotting first.

      • DonnaH
        06/30/2010 at 8:15 PM

        While Joe is dressed in one of his good suits.

    • Leo
      06/30/2010 at 6:39 PM

      I can’t believe your mind went there! I just got home via bicycle from my office and found myself wondering whether, had CIA/military intelligence thugs conducted an “interrogation” of the trio, information would have been forthcoming. I was musing on our system of justice, reasonable doubt, “moral certainty vs. evidentiary certainty,” etc. and that same scenario that you imagined suddenly played out in my head. I actually wondered whether torture would even be effective on Joe. I don’t believe we will get a fount of information out of the civil trial.

      Craig asked above how discovery works–you don’t just ask the prosecutor to send over his boxes! You have to ask the defendants to turn over the answers to your questions. Mrs. Wone’s first set of interrogatories appears as one of the linked items in the Legal Documents tab at the top of the blog page. One thing she asked for, that I didn’t see referenced in the criminal trial, was a subpoena of Verizon’s phone records for all calls that night.

      • chilaw79
        06/30/2010 at 7:43 PM

        I cannot condone water boarding in any context. It is the one sure way to get any possibility of a criminal conviction to be thrown out and it undermines the system of a rule of law. There is absolutely no evidence that water boarding produces accurate information. It may produce confessions, but not admissible confessions in the American criminal justice system.

        • Carolina
          06/30/2010 at 8:31 PM

          Plus, you know, they might like it. I won’t reference the pee mask again after this, I promise.

          • DonnaH
            06/30/2010 at 8:50 PM

            Funny, Carolina!

            And thanks for all the humor you’ve provided (along with helpful insights) during these somber days–

            • Carolina
              06/30/2010 at 8:51 PM

              It’s my defense mechanism. And thank you.

        • NYer
          06/30/2010 at 8:36 PM

          Agreed. This was established by the Supreme Court in the 1930s – “confessions shown to have been extorted by officers of the State by torture of the accused are void under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

          Or, to quote Nice Guy Eddie in the film Reservoir Dogs: “If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!”

        • CC Biggs
          06/30/2010 at 9:01 PM

          “There is absolutely no evidence that water boarding produces accurate information.”

          I don’t support water boarding, but your assertion is not true. The intelligence community is on record saying that the waterboarding of KSM led to significant actionable intelligence. It would be easier to believe that such a brutal practice never produces accurate information, because then our moral sentiments would be in line with practical results. But life is messier than that, and sometimes we need to make hard choices.

          • DonnaH
            06/30/2010 at 9:29 PM

            That may be the exception to the rule. In general, the intelligence community has found waterboarding to not be useful, and that developing a relationship with a potential informant is generally much more productive–a technique which the MPD detectives would gain from employing more of, as well.

            • ccf
              06/30/2010 at 10:25 PM

              I agree.

              We could hire a hooker for each of them. We would have a confession by morning.

          • chilaw79
            07/01/2010 at 9:34 AM

            What are they going to say? The intelligence community is not going to admit that they water boarded KSM because they thought it was fun or they just wanted to see him suffer.

            Frankly, I don’t think the US should do anything we do not want done to our soldiers, intelligence agents, or tourists who blunder into the wrong country.

    • curiousdc
      06/30/2010 at 7:10 PM

      Let’s hope that the increased media interest and the impending civil trial might cause one of the trouple (or someone close to them) to crack. I’d be interested to know if the their respective hometown papers and news stations have picked up this story, particularly in Dylan’s hometown of Tacoma. Within reason and legal bounds, the heat really needs to be turned up underneath these guys.

      • Carolina
        06/30/2010 at 8:32 PM

        I don’t think this will ever happen. They hung tight and won. Why mess with a winning strategy?

    • Craig
      06/30/2010 at 7:30 PM

      I thought I banned Dick Cheney from this site months ago! 🙂

  33. Mike
    06/30/2010 at 7:19 PM

    I must agree with E.Lane regarding the Judge applying a standard of “any doubt.” I just don’t understand how she can say on the one hand “I am persuaded…” over and over again, and then say but “there’s a reasonable doubt, so I can’t convict.” Cold comfort indeed. Why didn’t she just grant summary judgment? The whole thing is like one big fraud.

    Mrs Wone, her family, and the community deserve truth and justice. Hopefully C&B will be able to obtain it for her.

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 8:33 PM

      Because with three of them in the house, she cannot say who is and who is not guilty. None of the evidence weighs more heavily toward one or the other.

  34. DW
    06/30/2010 at 8:10 PM

    I just discovered this video from William & Mary’s GALA Oral History Project, of an oral history of Joe Price, William & Mary Class of 1993, which was recorded on OCTOBER 25, 2008, one day following the indictment of Dylan Ward….

    http://dspace.swem.wm.edu/handle/10288/1633

    It’s an interesting look at an in-depth interview with the key co-defendant in this case. Please note that this interview was recorded just over two years following the murder of Robert Wone.

    I found this VERY interesting….

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 8:34 PM

      You’re a couple of months late, but thank you for reposting. It’s always interesting to see him claim he didn’t date and wasn’t out when he was at W&M, which, btw, is when he met Robert Wone.

      • DW
        06/30/2010 at 9:10 PM

        Sorry about that! I didn’t realize that someone had posted previously. I will try to be more thorough before I post other items that I might find.

        I know what you mean about him saying he didn’t date. As if! BTW there was NO mention of Robert Wone in the oral history he provided at W&M!!!

        • Leo
          06/30/2010 at 9:30 PM

          Or of Dylan Ward, his other “family” member.

        • DonnaH
          06/30/2010 at 9:36 PM

          Don’t worry–there’s so much material here, that I’m glad to be reminded of something particularly useful which I might have missed.

  35. 06/30/2010 at 8:26 PM

    My opinion is that this trial showed one thing: the judge is typical of a person who delights in her own intellectual brilliance missing the fact that she is in fact a bore and world class idiot. I stated when she made the insulting joke about jumping over the fence with pork that this did not bode well. The editors indulged her and characterized it as much needed humor, but I felt it was a red flag that she is that type of bore who loves to mentally masturbate in public. Her ruling is trash and an insult to justice. She can intellectualize all she wants but in doing so she is intellectually dishonest; either the defendants were guilty or not and he meally mouthed ruling was simply a pile of crap. Brilliant playon the defense to forego a jury (as I said they should) I just never could have guessed they end up with a judge so incompetent (not to mention the police and DA).

    • Carolina
      06/30/2010 at 8:37 PM

      And she’ll raise a passel of mealy mouths brats just like her!

      Okay enough Scarlet. It’s the law, and that law was meant to protect the innocent. Sometimes it works to protect the guilty, too, but if you were innocent and wrongly accused, would you be so anxious to throw that law away? You’d be damned thankful to have a judge with a brain and not some halfwit in a shiny suit.

      • Jackie
        06/30/2010 at 9:23 PM

        Carolina, I think if this is how she routinely reasons, I don’t see her doing much actual judging. If she spends her days just looking for mealy excuses for certain people’s behavior, she can always find some way to do that. I think she likes to shock people with whatever her determinations. I wonder if she gives the little guy the same kind of breaks.

    • Rick
      06/30/2010 at 9:15 PM

      Wentworth…you speak my mind. I have tried to understand the explanations of the laws the Judge had to followed, but at the end of the day, your comments and explanations say it all for me!

      Thanks for your comments!

    • 06/30/2010 at 9:22 PM

      Preach–it was a wimp verdict-imho= to OJ verdic

    • emg
      06/30/2010 at 9:57 PM

      I had higher expectations of the judge, and was disappointed in the ruling. In addition to several factual errors, I did not find it particularly scholarly, nor will those reading it years down the road be impressed with her logic and conclusion of “not guilty.” She wimped out.

      It was within her scope to find at least Joe guilty of tampering and obstruction, and Dylan & Victor of obstruction. Then someone might have flipped.

      • onreflection
        06/30/2010 at 11:20 PM

        I have a legal education, and have worked with lawyers my whole professional life in some capacity or other, and this judge seems like a person with smarts but little practical sense. She made such an awful misjudgement, it is sickening. There was so much evidence of misstatements and impossible stories that she could have crossed the line on reasonable doubt. Foolish really….

        • MarkF
          07/01/2010 at 1:00 AM

          I know that the defendants made some misstatement, but to play devil’s advocate, couldn’t it be that that person had been lied to by another of the defendants and made the erroneous statements in good faith?

          What many are missing here is that the very uncertainties of the case are what made it so interesting. These same uncertainties are what made the judge toss it all out. I think we can see in a general sense that something is very amiss here, but can any of say with certainty who exactly did what?

  36. Jackie
    06/30/2010 at 9:34 PM

    I guess a Judge can claim during any case, ‘Oh well, the prosecution didn’t prove it to me’. No one can do anything about it no matter how overwhelming the evidence was.

  37. Adam
    06/30/2010 at 10:38 PM

    Can someone explain what the technical legalities are that possibly resulted in the prosecution not placing the defendents on the witness stand? While the defense attorneys may have chosen not to put their clients on the stand, does that prevent the prosecutors from calling the defendents to the stand? And if the answer to this is no, why wouldn’t the prosecutors call the defendents to testify under oath?

    • Nelly
      06/30/2010 at 10:51 PM

      The defendants had the Constitutional right not to take the stand and incriminate themselves. Since their own attorneys did not put them up on the witness stand, the prosecutors could not grill them during the trial.

    • DW
      06/30/2010 at 11:00 PM

      See this article on Self Incrimination – it’s a good summary…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-incrimination#United_States_law

  38. evilone
    06/30/2010 at 10:59 PM

    Greetings to the truly awful parents of Dylan, Victor, and Joe! I hope that all six of you spend the rest of your days tormented by the disgusting actions of your sons. Talk about crappy parenting skills. Have fun spending your retirement funds on these ghouls. Think about that when you’re reduced to eating cat food.

    • chilaw79
      07/01/2010 at 11:42 AM

      This is not a fair comment.

      The parents showed much more emotion than their children. Mrs. Zaborsky, in particular, expressed concern for Kathy Wone following the verdict.

      While I do not know if Joe Price’s parents attended court (or are able to do so), the Zaborskys and the Wards supported their children. I hold men in their 30’s responsible for their actions, not their parents.

  39. PaulVincent
    06/30/2010 at 11:35 PM

    For all of you who are all to eager for “justice by whatever means”, please Google Jon Burge and see the ugly reality of such methods. Here’s one for starters: http://www.bvblackspin.com/2010/06/29/ex-chicago-cop-convicted-of-lying-about-torture/

    • AnnaZed
      07/01/2010 at 12:08 AM

      I believe that the pro-waterboarding is here (as it is in the larger community) a very small minority.

      • Rick
        07/01/2010 at 4:08 PM

        I started the “waterboarding” comment, and actually just used it in frustration because we can’t make the trio come clean with what happened. I’m not into torture or condone Jon Burge…I just want to know the truth!

        Now, I do condone putting slime balls in prison and let them rot before entering Hell…if they aren’t willing to confess the facts of their actions. If anyone believes that these guys are totally innocent of actions or knowledge in Robert’s death, I disagree with you. They know something and it’s bugging the hell out of me that they are walking free!

        No Waterboarding…I was just trying to make a lite moment in a very heavy subject!

  40. aka Karen Walker
    06/30/2010 at 11:40 PM

    Many thanks to the editors of this site who provided both a virtual front-row seat to the trial, as well as a forum for the exchange of expert and layman perspectives. For me personally, this site has served also as an unwanted, bizarre reunion of sorts with someone who was very, very dear to me for a substantial time of my life, long ago. To “reacquaint” myself with Mr. Zaborsky through the legal documents, interviews, photos and personal correspondence I have accessed through this site has been at once shocking and heartbreaking. I have said before that I am deeply saddened by the state of Victor’s personal affairs leading up to this event and certainly during these four years of silence. Knowing him to have been a person of unwavering ethical standards and good moral character, it troubles me to see that he has sold out his values and decency in what appears to be a desperate attempt to cling on to a partner who is clearly not devoted to him.

    Over the past year, I have regretted my initial description on this site of VZ as “kind and gentle” (actually think I said “gentile”) because I have seen it bandied about as a pat and convenient label for who he is. I fear that it has enabled people to automatically view him as less culpable and more sympathetic, when in my opinion it only makes him that much more twisted for not speaking up, not doing the right thing to facilitate justice for the victim and his family.

    • MarkF
      07/01/2010 at 1:15 AM

      You said that Victor Z. is a man of “good moral character.”

      Would a man of good moral character force a child to be born of lesbian women, thus intentionally making a child distant from his own father? Would a good moral man force in child into the world only to hear that he exists due to homosexual masturbation and the insertion of said sperm into a lesbian, so that both parties could fool nature into producing a child?

      Would a good moral man live in an sadomasochistic trio? Would a good moral man than work to whitewash his very lifestyle in order to fool the people of Virgina? I’m speaking about his work with Equality VA.

      A recent study showed that the poor kids born through sperm donation have twice the rates of drug abuse as kids who live with their natural parents or who live with adoptive parents. Kids it turns out don’t like to be produced through lab experiments like Frankenstein. This should be common sense, but it’s not given the media deification of anything homosexual.

      Would a moral man let these poor kids read that Dad was there when a man was killed, cried like a woman, but then lied to police? His morality is lousy at best and he only looks good when compared to the morality of the man of his life, (Price) and when compared to the man of the man of his life (Ward) I wonder who it was that Ward was chasing after at that moment?

      The only mitigating factor in this is that all three are certainly suffering from many psychological problems that diminish their culpability.

      • AnnaZed
        07/01/2010 at 1:20 AM

        Wow, you don’t see this kind of loony blathering on this site very often. It’s like a window into some bizarre social science experiment or a peek under a knarly rock in rural Arkansas. Who even knew that such people really exist?

        • QQS
          07/01/2010 at 1:34 AM

          Agreed. How nice for a spokesperson of the religious far-right to pop up on this site (for probably the first time) tonight and deliver a sermon for us all on morals. Twisted thinking, scary stuff…

        • MarkF
          07/01/2010 at 3:01 AM

          Do you know that it’s become a common thing to expect from liberals not arguments but just personal insults?

          You hurl around a lot of personal insults yet you don’t defend the lack of morality in forcing a child to be born through sperm donation? About the hypocrisy of working for “equality”, an organization that likes to foist the myth of the “monogamous gay couple” on us, while living in a drug taking, sadomasochistic trio?

          • cinnamon
            07/01/2010 at 7:36 AM

            With all due respect “liberals” are probably not responding to you with “arguments” because they just don’t know where to begin and/or choose not to engage because it most likely won’t lead anywhere. You have some pretty strong views that most people would probably rather just leave alone.

          • DCGuy
            07/01/2010 at 12:02 PM

            What relevance does monogamy have on granting all people the same rights. How can you take the actions of these three and impart some judgment on the whole gay community. Is it fair to judge all heterosexuals on the actions of Tiger Woods, David Vitter, John Edwards, etc…Based on this logic it seems all marriages should be illegal. Judging any group of people as whole rather than as individuals is a slippery slope to prejudice and bigotry.

            Additionally, no child “chooses” to be born they are created by sperm “donation” in one form or another.

      • aka Karen Walker
        07/01/2010 at 1:46 AM

        My comments regarding his character were based upon a very close, longterm relationship which ended decades ago, long before he came out of the closet and certainly years before his foray into parenthood, etc. I can only speak to the kind of child, adolescent and young adult he was, from my firsthand knowledge. My point was that he clearly had strayed from that person I once knew. It seems you didn’t read my post carefully or perhaps I was not clear in my communication. You have given ample evidence to support my point, which is that the VZ I knew seems to no longer exist. Idealogically, I actually agree with you but your tone is off-putting. PS: AZ, have always appreciated reading your contributions, but I must add… Rural Arkansas is a lovely place with fine people.

        • AnnaZed
          07/01/2010 at 2:03 AM

          Hi Karen, thanks for all that you have posted. I think Victor’s story is a love story gone terribly, horribly wrong and that the character traits of loyalty and profound ability to give love that exist in him have been perverted by a master manipulator (Joe). That said, Victor is an adult man and must take responsibility for his actions, which he is not doing as of now.

          As for rural Arkansas, my Dad was from Pine Bluff (I know!). So I know that there are some good people there, but I have seen the side represented by the previous vitriolic and homophobic poster peeking out from under some rocks there as well, not pretty.

        • MarkF
          07/01/2010 at 3:07 AM

          Karen, thank you for you support and yeah, it is hard to find the right tone. The truth that I have found though is that you can only agree with homosexuals unless you’re prepared to be insulted by them. They cannot bear one whiff of criticism of their lifestyle. I wish I could express myself less bluntly, but you also have to admit that they accept nothing other than praise. Look at that poor Miss California, who gets called a bitch for saying with some humility her position on same-sex marriage. This is tolerance?

          I ask you this with all sincerity…can you explain in better terms what you believe about the immorality of sperm donation? It’s downright nightmarish and now we see that the kids born through this hate it, and have all sorts of problems due to it. It’s just plain selfish to produce a kid like this.

          • Ohio
            07/01/2010 at 9:19 AM

            So, you are saying that these children would prefer to have not been born? There is a study on this?

            • Daphne
              07/01/2010 at 1:23 PM

              Seriously, why engage with assholes like this? He’s being deliberately provocative and giving him any kind of attention is what he wants.

          • Craig
            07/01/2010 at 11:07 AM

            Dood – I hope you realize that you’re being hosted here by four gay guys. It’s not political for us in the least; it’s not about Left v. Right, but truth and justice… Whatever justice is.

          • friendofMoms
            07/01/2010 at 2:15 PM

            Ok, like the girls said, “liberals” would probably like to not respond to you and your far right rhetoric. Somewhere, you decided that it was your place in this world to make such hideous statements about “sperm donor” children; you truly are twisted, and have no facts to back up and to prove your ridiculous claims here. The purpose of the web site, was to in all ways possible answer a question to a very intriguing and mysterious circumstance about a Human Being that was murdered for no apparent reason.
            Now I know that you will come back and try to desperately trash and hurt all the people who believed and love Mr. Robert Wone, and you will try to call him a Homo, because you cannot imagine a straight man that would actually be friends with or stay over at a gay man’s house, who was by all accounts a friend.

            What is truly despicable is your unwavering claim that “all sperm donor” children will turn out to be drug addicts etc. I have never in my life heard such BS! And it is getting rather deep up in here.
            Now we all on this blog agree that is is truly your constitutional right to free speech and say what you want, however, I can and I will truly believe that you are so alone in what you are preaching on this site.
            So with that said, please take your homophobic, and holy than thou rhetoric to another web site where you have plenty of company who believe in what you believe in because over here you are just spewing words to advance your own and the very far and extreme right view on life and no one here gives a F__K! So to phrase a quote from the ever so beautiful and witty Bea, PISS OFF!! And do it fast.

  41. susan
    07/01/2010 at 12:26 AM

    In the current videotape posted by the WaPo during D. Ward’s interview, he says he didn’t go into the room, didn’t see a knife, but when asked about blood says he saw two drops of blood and that he saw some blood that looked like it had “slipped under the sheet.” He saw “under the sheet” from outside the room?

    Of course, he also said he saw no life saving measures and that he came out of his room because he “heard a scream.” He says that when he came out of his room he saw VZ at the door of R. Wone’s room on the phone with 911. Must’ve taken him a bit of a while to walk down the hall following “hearing” the scream. Long enough for JP and VZ to come downstairs, see Mr. W, note that one of their kitchen knives was “on” or “in” Mr. W (depending on which of JP’s stories you believe), long enough for VZ to go upstairs call 911, talk to 911, come downstairs, etc.” How long a hallway is it?

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/update-on-the-news/more-wone-interrrogation-video.html

    • cinnamon
      07/01/2010 at 7:53 AM

      That part about noticing that the blood had “slipped under the sheet” stood out to me too. I think Joe said something about this also. For someone who couldn’t get in the room, he sure noticed some very specific things from way out there in the hallway.

      There are so many of these offered up bits of info that to me are telltale signs of covering their tracks.

  42. susan
    07/01/2010 at 12:44 AM

    Oh, DW does say later on in the tape that he stayed in bed at first after hearing the “high-pitched” sound.

  43. 07/01/2010 at 1:08 AM

    there have been brothers convicted on much less circumstantial evidence–pleez
    her verdict may wind up being the eqivalent of the OJ jury
    but remember in the Ken and Barbie murders–Paul and Karla got away with her sisters death for a long time. It defies logic that this person winds up dead with nothing stolen. Why even touch the knife–I wouldn’t have especially since as a lawyer you would know the law

  44. Tribe97
    07/01/2010 at 1:55 AM

    I *just* finished posting something here and went to log into AOL and discovered that AOL is now posting the Wone Trial as one of its headline news articles:

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/29/robert-wone-murder-case-conspiracy-trial-ends-with-not-guilty-v/?ncid=webmail

  45. Prtyboydc
    07/01/2010 at 3:46 AM

    For all those who find fault with the judge’s ruling, read the very beginning of her order. She, by law, starts with the presumption of innocence. Most posters to this site–it seems–start with the presumption of guilt. The difference in the perspective is stark.

    • Prtyboydc
      07/01/2010 at 4:07 AM

      In other words, many of us–posters to this site–assume the three are guilty and look for evidence to support that position. The judge, in contrast, assumes the three are innocent and must find substantial, credible and factual evidence that PROVES they are not. From this perspective, it seems, her ruling, as Harry Jaffe predicted, was a forgone conclusion.

    • cole
      07/01/2010 at 7:05 AM

      Dear All:
      I find the presumption of guilt on the part of many of those who comment troubling. I suggest watching “Twelve Angry Men.” Also, for your reading pleasure, I quote below from the Washington Post concerning another murder where many assumed guilt, the reaction of the prime suspect seemed counterintuitive, the police botched the investigation and most thought justice would never be done. Ooops…turned out a little different, didn’t it now.

      “The murder of Chandra Levy remains Washington’s most famous unsolved crime. Many people, including police and prosecutors, suspected that a congressman was responsible. But a year-long Washington Post investigation reveals new information showing that critical leads were ignored and the killer may never be brought to justice.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/

      Cole

    • ebgodard
      07/01/2010 at 7:21 AM

      In order to convict the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is drawing a conclusion when there is no other logical explanation. The judge, by her own words, indicated there was no other logical explanation- no intruder; Joe probably pulled out the knife, etc, etc.
      She could have convicted and did not.

      • Hoya Loya
        07/01/2010 at 8:02 AM

        The facts supported the conclusion that Joe pulled out the knife but there were insufficient facts for her to draw the inference that Joe’s intention in so doing was to tamper with evidence, therefore she could not convict on that charge. Likewise, the intruder theory was not credible, but there was not enough evidence against any particular one of the three to conclude which role each of them played and their intent in playing it. And she pressed the prosection to give her more and the prosecution threw in everything they had — it wasn’t the fault of the judge or prosection — there just wasn’t enough.

  46. Danali
    07/01/2010 at 4:00 AM

    CC Biggs wrote: “The intelligence community is on record saying that the waterboarding of KSM led to significant actionable intelligence.”

    The CIA is also on record as having had custody of KSM’s children – a fact they did not keep from him.

    John Yoo- architect of the Bush Torture Policy – is also on record as saying that a President may have the legal authority to order the crushing of the genitals of a child of a suspected terrorist, if such an act might help gain actionable intelligence.

    They are also on record as having known of KSM’s mass plane crashing plans as far back as January of 1995 (see “Bojinka Plot” details at wikipedia for more).

    WMDs in Iraq? Al Qaeda / Hussein connections? Kuwaiti babies being thrown out of incubators by Evil Iraqi madmen in the run-up to Gulf War I? Jessica Lynch’s single-handed dispatching of a small army of baddies during Gulf War II? They are on the record supporting all of those since repudiated notions, as well.

    The fact that the intelligence community *claims* waterboarding KSM produced actionable intel is reason enough for you to discount the possibility.

    Fantasies about it’s usefulness in extracting confessions should be retired. So too should any hopes that the Trouple might crack down the road and spill the beans out of guilt.

    (sorry- I just really hate reading about waterboarding here!)

    • AnnaZed
      07/01/2010 at 11:46 AM

      I agree with you here Danaali, I think this may have started as some sort of exceedingly tasteless joke and then taken on a life of it’s own. In any case, expressions of desire to see any harm come to these (now former!) defendants are abhorrent.

  47. Jeana
    07/01/2010 at 9:42 AM

    I agree wholeheartedly with PrtyboyDC’s posting re the presumption of innocence as well as Hoya Loya’s point that, despite the prosecution’s effort, there just wasn’t enough to convict any – and certainly not all – of the defendants. Addressing Cole’s concern that contributers to the site evidenced a ‘presumption of guilt’, I’ll go back to the point I made in a previous (and my very first) posting here: because this extraordinary website gave us a window into not only the evidence produced at trial, but also into evidence later deemed inadmissible, we had more information – reliable or not – than a jury would have had. Those of us rooting for the prosecution hoped against hope they would have enough.

    Danali comments that “Fantasies about (waterboarding’s) usefulness in extracting confessions should be retired. So too should any hopes that the Trouple might crack down the road and spill the beans out of guilt.” I agree. I think the time for any one of the Trouple cracking has passed. The best hope for that was before this trial began.

  48. Bill 2
    07/01/2010 at 9:52 AM

    Robert Wone’s killer has remained free for nearly four years. He could continue to be free for the rest of his life without the slightest chance of murder charges if nobody else knew that he was the one who committed the murder. The only way he can be free of that worry is with the death of anyone who knows what he did.

    It seems to me that anyone who knows the identity of the killer needs to be aware of the following?

    1. Sleep with one eye open

    2. Don’t turn your back on the killer

    3. Don’t accept any food nor drink from the killer

    4. Don’t stand near the edge of a cliff if the killer is near

    5. Before driving a car, check the brakes

    6. Don’t expect the killer to allow you to go home to visit family

    7. When in the kitchen with the killer, if he picks up a knife make sure you have a bigger knife in your hand

    8. If the killer is behind the wheel of a car, don’t stand where he can run you down

    • Jackie
      07/01/2010 at 2:13 PM

      I definitely feel the same way, Bill 2. That would be one scary relationship for me. Can’t imagine living like that, but “denial” can make people believe anything: ‘It won’t happen again. Was all a big mistake, and he’s not really that kind of person,’ I guess is what they tell themselves. Wouldn’t even want to live in the same neighborhood with them. I feel sorry for the people in Miami Shores, who all have lost home value because of this economy anyway and probably can’t afford to sell.

  49. Daphne
    07/01/2010 at 10:04 AM

    I just watched the police interviews of the trouple. Not to be sexist (well, maybe just a little bit), but I think a woman detective would have done a much better job than those macho, homophobic,semi-literate bullies.

    • AnnaZed
      07/01/2010 at 12:00 PM

      I took that way from watching these interrogations as well. These educated articulate men had entered another world and the slouching semi-literate officers are embarrassing. There were so many elements of the situation that the police just could not grasp, and their ham-fisted questions were often absurd.

      • ccf
        07/01/2010 at 12:29 PM

        I have been interrogated by the a detective before. Nothing serious; they wanted to know something about my friend. I told him from the start that I will not lie to them but I won’t tell him anything that might me incriminating to me, and I kept that promise. My sense was that he was not used to interrogating more educated, more intelligent persons. He told lies that I didn’t believe and made threats that I knew he can’t carry out. I just shrugged my shoulders and rolled my mind’s eyes.

      • Daphne
        07/01/2010 at 1:28 PM

        “Ham-fisted.” I love it. That’s exactly the word I was searching for.

        • Daphne
          07/01/2010 at 1:30 PM

          Also, a hyphenated word that ends in “-wagging.”

  50. krf
    07/01/2010 at 11:55 AM

    I truly believe this was a sex act that went horribly wrong, I don’t think they meant to kill Wone. But when they did, they freaked and came up with a plan. So far their plan has worked, but eventually one of them will speak the truth.

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