Scottish Right

A Better Way Of Doing Business?

A smart legal beagle reader chimes in on two aspects of the Wone obstruction trial and verdict.  

In a lengthy blog entry on his own site,  Holy Prepuce!, this “D.C. attorney who writes anonymously out of deference to his employer,” dissects the Prisoner’s Dilemna theory and how it applies to this case, and perhaps a better way of doing criminal trial business, the Scottish Verdict, which falls somewhere in between guilty and not guilty, in which, “…a Scottish jury can acquit for lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but express its conclusion that the defendant most likely committed the crime by voting “not proven” rather than “not guilty.”

Did Judge Lynn Leibovitz give a nod to the Scots in her dicta when she handed down her verdict?

Reader submissions, especially during the dog days, are always welcome.  

“If I am tardy in updating Holy Prepuce!, it is because I have squandered my available Internet time obsessively following trial updates at  The blogosphere is saturated with theories of this crime, so rather than offering my own, I’m going to tell you three things I find extraordinary about the murder of Robert Wone and the subsequent acquittal of Joseph Price, Dylan Ward, and Victor Zaborsky on charges of obstruction and evidence tampering.

“…obsessively following…”  We’ve heard that more a few times.   More obsession follows.

“First, quite obviously, the facts: It is not every day that the General Counsel of Radio Free Asia is found stabbed to death in a million-dollar townhouse occupied by a polyamorous “throuple” and filled to the brim with S&M equipment.  Nor do most killings present such Poirot-worthy puzzlers: the bloody knife that didn’t match the stab wounds; the near-absence of blood; Wone’s unexplained needle marks and seeming paralysis at the time of his stabbing, yet no sign in the toxicology results that he had been drugged; the discovery of Wone’s own semen–and no one else’s–in his rectum.

Second, the throuple’s unlikely success at a variant on the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma: The circumstances of Wone’s death and the throuple’s behavior suggested, but did not prove, that each of the three was involved in either the killing or the cover-up. One has to assume that police and prosecutors offered each man more lenient treatment if he would rat out the other two.

Each man therefore knew that staying silent meant freedom if the other two kept mum, but decades in prison if either one squealed. On these odds, a game theorist would surely advise that the optimal strategy was to talk. Yet none of the men did, even as the government escalated its game of “chicken” by prosecuting all three for obstructing justice. The throuple’s mutual loyalty had great rewards–as, presumably, did their successful acts of obstruction and tampering–all were acquitted of both offenses, and none has been charged with murder.

Third, the closest approximation to the “Scottish Verdict” of “not proven” that one will likely find in an American court: A s fans of Wilkie Collins or Arlen Specter well know, a Scottish jury can acquit for lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but express its conclusion that the defendant most likely committed the crime by voting “not proven” rather than “not guilty.”

American juries deliver verdicts of “not guilty” without explanation of their reasons, so they have no formal mechanism by which to acknowledge an acquitted defendant’s likely guilt. Only in the rare circumstance that a defendant elects to be tried by a judge alone–as the throuple did in this case–does the trier of fact issue written findings in a criminal case.

Excerpts from Judge Lynn Leibovitz’s Order acquitting the throuple leave little doubt that she would have found “not proven,” had that verdict been available:

“From the beginning, this case has been a test of the meaning of the reasonable doubt standard of proof. . . . As an initial matter, I am persuaded by the trial evidence in its totality, and I find, that the murder of Robert Wone was not committed by an intruder unknown to the defendants. . . . The government has thus presented powerful evidence to support its claim that Robert Wone’s murderer was either one of the defendants, or someone known to them who was able to enter without breaking. . . .

I am persuaded . . . that Mr. Price very likely tampered with and altered the murder weapon, and that he lied about his conduct in this regard to police with obstructive purpose. . . . I find that it is very likely Mr. Price altered or destroyed evidence at the scene with the specific intent to reduce its value as evidence in the imminent investigation. . . . Some of the most persuasive evidence in the record supporting the government’s position is the demeanor and conduct of the defendants.

From the beginning, each one of them . . . displayed a demeanor wholly at odds with what anyone would expect from an innocent person whose friend had just been murdered tragically and violently in his home. . . . It is very probable that the government’s theory is correct, that even if the defendants did not participate in the murder some or all of them knew enough about the circumstances of it to provide helpful information to law enforcement and have chosen to withhold that information for reasons of their own.

Nevertheless, after lengthy analysis of the evidence I conclude that the government has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the essential elements . . . . My focus on the difference between “moral certainty” and “evidentiary certainty” in this case is probably cold comfort to those who loved Robert Wone and wish for some measure of peace or justice, and I am extremely sorry for this. 

I believe, however, that the reasonable doubt standard is essential to maintaining our criminal justice system as the fair and just system we wish it to be. I cite the wisdom of English jurist William Blackstone that it is “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

My Criminal Law professor once observed that he felt most proud to be an American the day John Hinckley was acquitted, because on that day he learned that a jury will acquit even a man who shoots the President of the United States on national television if the law says he is not responsible for his actions. And I have to say that I am similarly pleased to live in a country where a judge can be all but certain that one or more of the men before her is a murderer, yet acquit when the government has failed to prove the only crimes with which they are charged.

Having endeavored to say something intelligent about the Wone matter, I am now entitled to deliver what you’ve all been waiting for (and if you found this post in a Google search, what most likely contains your keywords): the Metropolitan Police Department’s list of items recovered from Dylan Ward’s bedroom:

“…racks, shackles, metal and leather collars, wrist/ankle restraints, mouth gags, black spandex hoods, assorted clamps and clips, black clothes pins, an enema kit, metal penis rings, penis vices, assorted metal chains with locks, studded penis bindings, dildos, butt plugs, nipple suction devices, a[n] electrical current/shock device, a device designed to force the wearer to drink another’s urine[,] . . . . various books relating to inflicting pain on others for purposes of sexual gratification, inflicting electric shocks on others for pleasure and pain, enslaving others for sexual gratification, manuals concerning sadomasochistic practices, books dedicated to bondage practices and the like.  Many of these books contained passages highlighted by the reader.”

167 comments for “Scottish Right

  1. Rich
    07/12/2010 at 12:01 PM


    I knew paraphernalia was found in Dylan’s room, but, I had no idea it was as extensive and incriminating as it was.

    If all the evidence is admissible in the Civil Suit, and we learn more information that would suggest or identify Dylan as the murderer, he can then be charged with murder. Right? Or, is that what Double Jeopardy is all about?

    Meaning, can any new evidence brought to the Civil Trial implicate any of the defendants and subject them to more charges.

    Or, are they home free?

    Yea, yea, yea. I know it’s been discussed here several dozen times already, but, I am not a lawyer and it’s easy to get lost in all of these posts to date.

    • Bill Orange
      07/12/2010 at 12:40 PM

      I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of “double jeopardy” is that it only applies to a particular charge. Since none of the defendants were ever charged with murder, there is no “double jeopardy” issue with respect to murder charges. I have no idea what the difference is between “obstruction of justice” and “accessory after the fact”, but I would imagine that a good defense lawyer can (and will, if the need arises) argue that the two charges are essentially the same, so there might be a “double jeopardy” issue there. Lawyers, what do you think?

    • Grrr
      07/12/2010 at 8:08 PM


      Hey, I think these guys are guilty of something. BUT, I don’t find sexual paraphernalia incriminating. It is something I don’t completely understand, however, saying that because a guy has a kink is a far stretch to murder. It certainly will raise a few eyebrows. Further, the paraphernalia (a hysterical word for dildos, whips & chains) seems intrusive, penetrative & meant to leave painful marks none of which where found on Mr. Wone’s corpse. I think the S/M equipment is an interesting artifact and nothing more.

      As an aside, I have a friend that said he wanted me to “de-gay” his penthouse should he pass away before me. I gather he doesn’t want his parents to become aware of his porn collection or the black & white poster of Barbra Eden in her “Genie” outfit in the living room.

      I think that if Dylan premeditated murder, he would have removed all of the paraphernalia.

      • Clio
        07/12/2010 at 8:42 PM

        Paraphernalia probably was used and removed that night, Grrr: that does suggest, to me, malicious forethought, if only “on the fly”.

        • Grrr
          07/12/2010 at 9:08 PM


          It just seems like such a stretch given the relative short amount of time. Plus, malicious forethought would imply non-consensual use of these, ahem, items. All of the personal ads seem to indicate the need for consensual partners. The whole stabbing thing, murder, just doesn’t seem consistent with recreational S/M behavior. That brings the “on the fly,” question still, I guess. Did a sexual pique exist where the death of another was the only way to itch the scratch? Since sexual desire is not linear, I suppose it’s possible.

      • mia
        07/12/2010 at 8:56 PM

        I never thought the murder was premeditated.

      • carolina
        07/12/2010 at 9:20 PM

        I doubt all of their dildos doubled as cut glass fence posts. What about the missing playmat? What about the e-stim that leaves no trace?

        • Grrr
          07/12/2010 at 10:28 PM


          Time. The math problem.

          But, remind me, what about the missing playmat?

          • carolina
            07/13/2010 at 7:25 AM

            No BDSM player is without a playmat. As you can see by the list above, this was a well-stocked playroom and things are bound to get messy from time to time. Yet, the one thing not present is a playmat. Why? Where did it go? Another thing to consider is how convenient it would be as a catch and carry– a hobo bag of bad news, as it were.

            And then there is the photo equipment. There was all manner of photography evident in the house, such as photos of the family in Italy. We also know Joe had a penchant for personal pornography because of the BDSM pictures of himself on the AFox computer. Where are the digital cameras? The only one found in the home was a disposable film point and shoot. We can assume he wasn’t taking those nipple clamp pictures to Duane Reed for processing.

            • Bea
              07/13/2010 at 8:33 AM

              So well said. And odd that no video/DVD cameras were found either . . . when Michael Price got around to robbing Swann months later, it was reported that he made off with $8,000 worth of electronics. I have maybe a third of that and I have two vid cameras, old an new point-and-shoot and SLRS, film and digital. I’m no Annie Leibovitz but I’d say most homes have a few cameras. Disposable – ha!

              • Vito
                07/13/2010 at 9:02 AM

                They should have checked Scott Hixson’s house! He “had” it all stored there…no doubt! That was the wuickest place to put the stuff that wasn’t removed by another “visitor.”

                • Vito
                  07/13/2010 at 9:03 AM

                  ooops,….that should have been “quickest” seems I was too “wuick” in pressing enter. lol

                  • Bea
                    07/13/2010 at 9:53 AM

                    I smiled thinking that there is a lot of ‘wuicky” stuff with these guys; they are indeed some variation of the word ‘yucky’.

                    • Kate
                      07/13/2010 at 10:07 AM

                      Yes, indeedy!

                      Yucky …

                      Thanks for the smile,

            • mia
              07/13/2010 at 10:23 AM

              Could someone explain to me why the government didn’t emphasis these points in the court?

            • Rapt in MD
              07/13/2010 at 12:12 PM

              Hi all – I posted this weeks ago regarding the camera equipment, but here goes again…

              When I look at particular digital photo on my hard drive the Properties of the file show the make and model of my digital camera. I wonder what the properties of the photos on Joe’s computer say? And, if they give a make and model, I would hope the police would try to query the manufacturer’s consumer registrations to see if Joe, etal had filled out the handy consumer card. It would still be completely circumstantial, but I would like to see a prosecutor ask a question like “Mr. Price – what are the whereabouts of the Nikon CoolPix P100 that took the photo of you dressed like Carmen Miranda? Why wasn’t it found in your home?” Just sayin…

              • AnnaZed
                07/13/2010 at 5:36 PM

                I saw your earlier post about this and was too overwhelmed at the time to respond to it; I think you have a very good point and I have no confidence idea if the government is likely to have pursued it.

                • Susan
                  07/13/2010 at 6:14 PM

                  Have to wonder, too, who took the photos. Hope they didn’t ask poor VZ to be the photographer, though it seems he’d likely agree to it (esp. when I hear him in that videotape sniffle that DW is “one of the nicest, sweetest” people he knows. The guy was looking to edge him out of the picture! (Speaking of pictures…)

                  I wonder, too, if it was established where they pics were taken-_Swann, a studio, someone else’s house, a club….?

                  • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                    07/13/2010 at 8:23 PM

                    Price posted photos of himself on Obviously, a camera was available at one point in time.

                    • Susan
                      07/13/2010 at 9:07 PM

                      Agree. Wonder who took those pics, too.

      • Craig
        07/13/2010 at 10:22 AM

        Barbra Eden: A dead giveaway. I think the term is “straightening up.”

      • Kate
        07/13/2010 at 10:24 AM

        Howdy, Grrr – I realize this is way off topic, but your friend’s Barbara Eden poster reminds me of a funny little story.

        A long time friend, who prefers to keep his sexuality very low key, is an avid collector of western themed “stuff.” We were out fleatiquing not so very long ago and he purchased a signed photo of Dale Evans in all her fringe-skirted splendor.

        The next time I was at his place, he had created a vignette with the Dale Evans photo and an old cowboy boot turned into a planter.

        “Is that too gay?” he asked.

        I thought for a moment and said, “only if you have a matching Dale Evans costume in the closet that you don for cocktail parties.”

        He looked at me quite sheepishly and whispered, “Just the hat.”


        • TT
          07/13/2010 at 10:28 AM

          What a hoot…!

        • Rich
          07/13/2010 at 1:01 PM

          Way too Funny.

          Love your posts and contribution.

          • Kate
            07/13/2010 at 2:29 PM

            Aw, shucks, thanks TT and Rich.

            Although it may not sound like it from this story, my friend has truly great taste.

            I admit to coveting the HAT. It’s very sparkly, but not in a American Greetings kitty card sort of way.


        • Bill 2
          07/13/2010 at 2:15 PM

          Hi Kate,

          In case your Western loving friend is interested, Roy Rogers’ horse is up for auction this month. When Trigger died, Roy had him stuffed and put in a Westerm museum in Missouri. The museum closed late last year and they recently announced that Trigger is up for auction.

          I heard that Bullet (Roy’s “Wonder Dog”) had also been stuffed for that Western museum. Apparently Dale Evans told her son that if she died before Roy, to be sure that Roy wouldn’t stuff her for the museum.

          • Kate
            07/13/2010 at 2:26 PM

            Oh, no, Bill 2 – my friend has joked in the past that if Trigger ever went up for sale, he’d mortgage the farm to buy him.

            I’m afraid he’s only half joking … shall we keep the Trigger auction as our little secret?

            And I love your Dale Evans story!


            • Bill 2
              07/13/2010 at 2:47 PM

              Consider the unique conversations you could have: “The other day, I was helping my friend dust his horse…” or “Sorry but I can’t make it Saturday. I’m helping my friend turn Roy Rogers’ horse into a planter.” or “I’m helping my friend at the County Fair this week. We have a photo concession with Trigger – The Stuffed Wonder Horse.”

              • Kate
                07/13/2010 at 4:25 PM

                Too, too funny.

                I wonder if my friend would let me borrow his Dale Evans sparkly hat for the photo concession?

                That would be very authentic.

        • Grrr
          07/17/2010 at 5:31 PM


          That is hilarious!

          Oddly, I have a young heterosexual schizophrenic neighbor that wants me to “gay up” his place for his family should he die. Maybe if my neighbor & my best friend die at the same time in a freak accident, I’ll bring the Barbara Eden poster, the gay porn & the “tall cool one,” over to my neighbor’s apartment. NOTE: The “tall cool one,” is a big blue dildo with a handle on it. It’s an inside joke as the “tall cool one,” was this huge blue bong we used many, many years ago during our college pot-smoking days.

      • notsosure
        07/13/2010 at 2:04 PM

        If the three stabs in the chest are not “penetrative and painful marks” I’m not sure what would count.

  2. former crackho
    07/12/2010 at 12:02 PM

    Well, as the judge said, its little comfort for Robert’s friends and family that the she was compelled to find them not guilty. I don’t think a “not proven” verdict would have made them feel much better, but at least the judge acknowledged some of what I hold in my heart to be the truth.

    But, I have comfort in knowing that there is a higher authority to whom the guilty parties will have to answer. And if that is out of the realm of anyone’s belief system, I guarantee that Karma is a bigger bitch than any of the trouple will be able to handle.

    • Laura
      07/12/2010 at 1:18 PM

      FCH – I am right with you on this one. There’s a seriously heavy yoke around each of the trouple’s necks and it’s only going to get heavier with time.

      • mia
        07/13/2010 at 10:27 AM

        I doubt it. still remember the big smile and wink on Price and Dylan’s face the last day they stepped out the court.

    • Clio
      07/12/2010 at 8:25 PM

      Karma is even a bigger b than Lady May Lawford, the notorious mother of “actor” Peter Lawford; Lady May’s autobiography was endearingly titled “Bitch!” … in 1966!

      • Susan
        07/12/2010 at 9:24 PM

        Her first husband apparently committed suicide! Second she divorced, but first had an affair with his commanding officer, Sir. P. Lawford. At least she didn’t invite the latter to move in with her and her #2, a la the troup’.

      • Kate
        07/13/2010 at 9:20 AM

        I haven’t thought of Lady May in years! After reading “Bitch,” I recall feeling wonderment that Peter Lawford turned out as well as he did.

        And karma can indeed be a big B!

  3. Kate
    07/12/2010 at 12:25 PM

    A very thought provoking post, Editors, which sent me straight away to Wiki for a mini tutorial on Scottish Law. I highly recommend a quick read of this article for those not familiar with Scottish Law (such as myself).

    It appears to me that Judge L. had a “not proven” verdict clearly in mind when she gave her findings.

    Two other interesting notes regarding “not proven”:

    1. Defendants cannot be subjected to Double Jeopardy with a “not proven” verdict.

    2. Sir Walter Scott, who was a Sheriff of the court in Selkirk, referred to “not proven” as the “Bastard Verdict.” Colloquially, it is called “not proven, and don’t do it again.”

    Many thanks,

    • Ivan
      07/13/2010 at 7:57 AM

      I don’t understand what some of you mean by “double jeopardy”.

      • Bill 2
        07/13/2010 at 8:07 AM

        It means that if you have been tried for a crime and found “not guilty,” they can’t come back to charge you with the same crime again.

        • Ivan
          07/13/2010 at 9:43 AM

          OK thanks. I thought that’s what it meant but I was confused by some of the context in which it’s been used.

  4. Shawn
    07/12/2010 at 1:36 PM

    Did anyone happen to catch CBS’s 48 Hours Mystrey on Saturday? It seems the Craig List Killer from Boston had a posting on as well. Nothing against anyone who uses that site, but it does seem strange.

    I agree that based on Mr. Ward’s behavior he could be a socio path, one MO of a socio path is to leave enough evidence to say I did it, but enough to prove in court I did it. If this is true he has probably done something similar to the night of August 2nd before most likely outside the US. The similarities between Mr. Ward and Joran Van der Sloot are amazing. I hope the police checked the foot prints on his computer well, many times it is not what’s on the computer that is as interesting as what they may try to hide, such as websites that have been visited. Sadly there are websites that give detail instruction on how to find, lure, incapicitate and murder a victim with very little evidence, for thrill of sexual gratification without actually engaging in sexual acts. Seems the before and after evidence is very much the same as the Scott Petersen case.

    I do agree the police could have and should have done a much better job with the interogation but insulting people even criminals just makes them dig their heels into their beliefs (even false beliefs) deeper.

    I know justice will be served. For sure the judge’s words were cold comfort to the family of Robert Wone, but hopefully the creators of this site and the people reading and following, who may have not known Robert but based on what we have read and learned about him think he was extraordinary and believe he did so much for others during his few years among us humans that his spritual higher power called him home so soon. Robert for sure was the best example of the saying “we are not humans trying to be spritual beings, we are spritual beings trying to be human.” I hope for blessings and peace to Robert’s family and friends.

    • tucsonwriter
      07/12/2010 at 3:01 PM

      I concur with your assessment. Whoever did this has done it before. Someone mentioned a series of Asian women found murdered at roughly the same time in DC. No idea what the circumstances were. The surgical precision of the wounds….. the fact that everything occurred in such a tight window of time. This had to have been premeditated. The clean-up, the lack of DNA, that is not just luck. That is foresight and planning.

      I had had the impression that there were one or two books and much less equipment. This puts a whole new light on the flurry of emails between Joe and Dylan in which Dylan mentioned being “scared.”

      This site has an even more detailed list of items:

      Interesting set of parallels in Dylan Ward’s life – every degree, academic endeavor, is followed by a visit to an Asian country. After graduating from Georgetown in 1992, he moved to Japan to teach English. In 1995 he studied at the Culinary Institute and then moved to Taiwan to teach English. Studied Children’s Literature at Simmons College and then founded a small publishing business in Taiwan in 2003. In 2006 he attended the Potomac Institute for Massage Therapy, then in 2007 travelled to Thailand for 6 weeks to study Thai massage.

      • Boltz3000
        07/12/2010 at 7:01 PM

        I live in the Dupont neighborhood and I don’t remember anything about “a series of Asian women found murdered at roughly the same time in DC,” so someone please correct me if my memory fails. A perfunctory search turned up only one such homicide, in 1999:

        The above case grabbed a lot of attention at the time but this tragedy seems to bear more resemblance to the Chandra Levy murder than Robert Wone’s.

        • Mush
          07/12/2010 at 8:16 PM

          I do find it interesting that Robert and Joyce were both Asian lawyers murdered in Dupont Circle.

          • Boltz3000
            07/12/2010 at 8:33 PM

            If you shoot an arrow in the air in DC, there’s a good chance it’ll hit a lawyer. And I don’t think they really know where Joyce Chiang was murdered, but yes, they were both last seen alive in Dupont Circle, as was Chandra Levy.

            • Robert
              07/17/2010 at 11:30 PM

              About 4 weeks ago a gay friend of mine told me about this strange case of an Asian, Robert Wone, found dead one night in a home, about two yrs ago, off Dupont Circle, in Washington D.C. He said check out the web site I did and we have discussed the case in some detail as gay men that are not into S&M. Maybe I can offer a different perspective, maybe a theory to this dialogue of what we believe happened that night. First it seems impossible to us that this murder could be “premeditated”. These apparently wealthy guys, Victor, Dylan, and Joseph could easily pick up any cute little 18 yr old Asian boy in Washington D,C., take him to their home, get into the bondage thing, kill him and then take the body and dump it “away” from their house. “….and they would have all night to do it, if it was premeditated. But the evidence is that Robert Wone arrived at the home around 10:30 pm, on a “school night”, called his wife shortly after, and was dead about 45 minutes later with Dylan and his buddies in a D.C. police station by midnight. So what happened? We believe it was an accident and a subsequent cover-up.

              My friend and I disagree vigorously about whether or not Robert Wone was a “participant” in a consensual sexual encounter with one or all of these men….I believe he was. And I believe he was a particiapant for one big reason and that is, according to the evidence, Robert could have stayed at a different house that night that didn’t just happen to have 3 gay men in it that were into S$M and bondage…. that seems to me too big a stretch to be just a coincidence. But I also think it’s a significant piece to this puzzle. There was no evidence of a struggle in the home, nor any scratches or marks on Dylan and friends bodies. There seems to be missing bondage equipment, the “playmat” and missing cameras and or video equipment. And of course the mystery of how Mr.Wone’s own semen ends up in his rectum. All this points to a theory that Mr Wone showered after he arrived at the residence to prepare for a bondage “session” that I believe he had participated in before. They began and then something happened, perhaps being tied up too tightly and suffocating, perhaps being injected with something that stopped his heart, perhaps something that, without a confession, we will never know. But Mr Wone died during the early part of this session which apparently began with Mr Wone having his semen put into his own rectum. I know kinky as hell (and I have to tell you I have never heard of this one before, maybe gerbils but….) So this murder does appear to be an accident. Why do I say this? It’s precisely because they WERE friends and I don’t believe for one second that they would have murdered their friend. No way.

              The cover-up began with Dylan and accomplices panicked. They had their friend in their home….dead. They had bondage equipment with Robert’s DNA all over it. They had pictures, maybe even video of Robert tied up….. they had to get a plan together fast. Come on now, we have quick on their feet lawyers here. Wow, they make it look like their friend was murdered by an intruder, who walks upstairs, passing Dylan’s bondage room, stabs Robert 3 precise times, getting rid of most of his blood, and getting out of the house unnoticed and quietly in about…….. 45 minutes. So where did most of the blood go? My friend and I think that after Robert died accidentally and suddenly that they put him into a bathtub, where he was stabbed, to make it appear like he was murdered, and his blood drained. Who knows why they did this, maybe they injected Robert with something and this procedure actually was able to conceal what was used. They couldn’t just get rid of Robert because, well, they knew that his wife knew where he was. They placed him on that nice bed, hid the bondage equipment and cameras somewhere where they knew the police would not find, took some hot showers themselves to freshen up and then called the police with their plan in place….STICK TO THE STORY OR WE ALL GO DOWN TOGETHER. And it worked. But, and I truly hope they are reading this right now, Victor, Dylan, and Joseph….. you WILL go down together, first with a civil suit that will take any money you have left, followed by a murder trial which you will hopefully take your pitiful lives. Judge Liebovitz gave you all a chance to show you had a conscience but we all know the answer to that.

              • Susan
                07/18/2010 at 12:19 AM

                Hi Robert,

                A lot of your theory resonates with me, though I think a fourth might have been in the house. I am with your friend though, in that I don’t think RW was a willing participant in any physical abuse.

                Since you are new-ish to reading this site, and there’s so much to read, you will find a few places on these pages references to the fact tha RW sent out two emails about staying overnight in DC that night, and one was to his friend Lisa. He reached out to two old school mates, one male, one female.

                Seems like the guy was a decent, heart-of-gold-type of guy with strong attachments to his alma mater. He was even wearing his William & Mary t-shirt when he was murdered. Somehow, that is one of the more heartbreaking facts of this brutality to me. He just seemed like a good guy. He trusted his old school mate. Even wore his old W&M shirt to stay over.

              • Hoya Loya
                07/18/2010 at 8:53 AM


                We discussed this topic extensively, probing the likelihood of varying degrees of consent on Robert’s part here:

                And it continues to pop up from time to time — to your credit, this is one of the more level-headed presentations of it we’ve seen here. The long and short of it is there is no indication that Robert was bi or closeted — nobody has ever surfaced with any solid evidence or reliable reports. We also used to have a poster who was a regular on the gay asian scene in D.C. who said if Robert was, he would have run into him or someone who knew his secret and never did. I don’t think it is appropriate to speculate that Robert had done this before without evidence, just as I don’t think it is appropriate to assume any of the defendants had killed anyone before (a theory floated by a few posters here) without evidence to work from.

                It’s doubtful Robert had participated in BDSM previously with the defendants as August 2 was his first night apart from Kathy since she moved to D.C. Also, it appears that Joe’s BDSM interest was connected his involvement with Dylan and Dylan came along well after Robert was already involved with Kathy.

                I’ve often wondered about the nature of Robert’s friendship with Joe before Kathy came along, especially at W&M (i.e. a “towel snapping incident” or a Brideshead Revisited type “romantic friendship”) but nobody has shed any light on that either. I’m betting their mutual W&M friend Lisa could give an accurate picture (to me, a seriously untapped resource in the criminal trial).
                It should be noted that the fact that Robert didn’t drink or do drugs makes experimentation while under the influence highly unlikely (likewise for any presence on the club scene later on).

                While an “accident” would explain certain elements of the case as you’ve shown, it should be noted that there is general agreement from all medical experts who have examined the case and testified that Robert died from his wounds and the subsequent cardiac tamponade, not from an injection or O.D. So if there was an “accident,” then someone is still guilty of killing Robert by stabbing him to cover it up rather than calling 911 to to save him. Thanks for seeing that even an O.D. implicates the defendants and for not trying to claim the guys’ were acting chivalrously by covering up the “accident” as many others floating this theory have done.

                Question: does this look like someone who has been acquitted of charges following a dear friend’s “accident?”

                • Hoya Loya
                  07/18/2010 at 6:13 PM

                  I should clarify my last point, which, did not come out quite as I wanted.

                  Look at the photo. Joe has been acquitted and is no doubt relieved. But his dear friend Robert is still dead and his murderer not aprehended. Plus, Joe and his co-defendants have been essentially just been dissed by the judge in open court.

                  What scenario can one paint for what happened to Robert on August 2 that would cause his old friend and host to act as he did in the aftermath, make the statements he did and to flash that smile upon acquittal? There is little, if any, respect for Robert shown in any of it. What is the explanation?

              • Clio
                07/18/2010 at 9:03 AM

                Well, apparently, Robert, Joe’s “game” was so wooden that he couldn’t get any Asian man there at Swann before 08/02/06 — see the rumor about the go-go dancer who turned Culuket down. So, Mr. Wone’s planned sleepover may have been an opportunity not to be missed.

                Also, what friend after “an accident” would stab other friend three methodical times to cover up an OD and/or a tryst? No, the tryst was most probably a rape, which, then, had to be covered up by murder to the drug-addled minds at Swann that night. In this scenario, the defendants then convinced themselves that it was an accident, still pushing the “red herring” of the intruder theory in public.

              • AnnaZed
                07/18/2010 at 12:07 PM

                Hi Robert, welcome to the shadow house. All new eyes and brains are welcome (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding).

                I find your take on things seems a well reasoned contribution, particularly for a person new to the situation with so many facts to absorb. Thanks for that.

                Just a point or two worth considering and on which I would welcome you observations: at the time of Robert’s murder Dylan was not living the life of a wealthy guy or was only living it in a parasitic sense. He does apparently have wealthy parents and to have been to the manor born, but for reasons that have invited much speculation he was for all intents and purposes living the life of a prostitute doing his erotic massages and doing negligible telemarketing type work when he glommed on to Joe. My own speculation along those lines has chiefly to do with drug abuse and the likelihood that Dylan’s wealthy parents were trying some pointless version of tough love and were only supporting him in a limited way that would hardly adequately underwrite both his expensive life-style preferences and his drug abuse ~ hence the need for that extra sparkly cash from the sex work.

                Dylan’s matriculation from tenant at Joe and Victor’s previous abode to sparkly cat and titular Dom in a sexual relationship with Joe is a matter of public record. That he told Sarah Morgan that he hoped he would supplant the lady of the manor is simply a pretty typical high end sex worker delusion. That is to say that for the sex worker the man that you are grooming to support you in the style to which you feel entitled may tell you that you are the love of his life and attempt to corral you with his largess but in the end the target (Joe) will not willingly abandon his wife. There was and has never been an actual “trouple,” and in my experience (from observation only!) Joe’s bold gambit of actually bringing Dylan into his home and attempting to live quasi-openly was destined to create nothing but discord, jealousy and strife and that in addition I think it is possible that Dylan Ward is clinically insane making the situation both volatile and ultimately for Robert mortally dangerous.

                In addition, Dylan was not Robert’s friend, not at all, and Robert had no idea that Dylan was anything but a tenant at Swann St. It has been widely speculated that Joe had deep feelings of either unrequited or (in the case of your speculation full expressed) attraction to Robert. This is hardly unprecedented between old school mates whether they are or have ever been playing for the same team. It is my inference that a delusional Dylan Ward may well have seen Robert as some sort of threat.

                It is my own opinion (briefly shaken by Dylan’s good showing on paper in his interview) that Dylan was and has always been the wild card at Swann St. While everything is certainly “all about Joe” in the sense that every text and every subtext of the situation relates to Joe and his needs, wants and manipulations, still I strongly believe that Dylan is the lose bolt in this machine and that the focus of law enforcement needs to stay on him ~ for years if needs be ~ until the madness that drives him surfaces again.

                • 07/18/2010 at 12:57 PM

                  AZ: There is so much that you wrote above (and in so many other postings) that are commendable, brilliant and sensitive (like your gentle suggestions to the new poster here). However, please rethink throwing around terms like “clinically insane,” delusional” and “the madness that drives him,: when you intend them to be diagnostic, albeit couching them in speculative terms. The rest of your comments can stand on their own — powerfully so — without resorting to what I suspect may not be your strength, psychiatric diagnosis. Maybe our endless days of sultry weather are taking a toll.

                  • AnnaZed
                    07/18/2010 at 1:09 PM

                    You are quite right, totally beyond the pale as speculation. I stand censured.

                    That said, I don’t fully know how to express what I think may have happened at Swann St. It seems to me sometimes as though we all dance around the reality of Robert’s strange but all too real death, which as a plain fact is an insane event. What to call such an event? To what to ascribe motivation in such a circumstance? I don’t know. There are those that believe that crimes are committed by criminals, simple as that and others that believe that egregious crimes against persons are always the acts of people who are medically speaking at the extremes of dysfunction. I am sort of in the later camp. Thanks for the reality check though.

                  • Bill Orange
                    07/18/2010 at 5:21 PM


                    You actually saw them all and have paid pretty close attention to the case. What’s your impression? I don’t see any of them as “psychotic” in the clinical sense of the term. I could see either Joe or Dylan being formally diagnosed as having a personality disorder, but that’s really about it.

                    • Susan
                      07/18/2010 at 9:55 PM

                      I’m not a therapist, but I don’t believe it is always possible to just “look” at someone in a public setting and diagnosis his mental proile-sociopath, maniac, insane, etc. Think throughout his tory of individuals who have murdered and “passed” in civilized society until caught. And the ones who are still passing and uncaught.

              • Bill Orange
                07/18/2010 at 5:19 PM

                “These apparently wealthy guys, Victor, Dylan, and Joseph could easily pick up any cute little 18 yr old Asian boy in Washington D,C., take him to their home, get into the bondage thing…”

                I’ve been out of the dating scene for quite a while now, but I think you’re seriously underestimating the “easiness” of picking up 18 year-old Asian boys. If this were truly the case, my 20s would have been a MUCH more memorable decade.

                • carolina
                  07/18/2010 at 8:22 PM

                  Maybe “pick up” is a gentler term for “hired” these days.

                • Clio
                  07/18/2010 at 10:37 PM

                  Well, I think that Joe and Dyl found it hard to attract tricks of any age or background to their lair: if Mr. Hixson and his trick were the only “thirds” that they did in 2006, then their “slut” status needs to be reevaluated. As Carolina has suggested, they were probably “tourists in kinkland”, and Dyl even expressed concern over doing a threesome — an odd streak of modesty for an alleged “kept man”.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          07/12/2010 at 8:29 PM

          Joyce Chiang is teh only Asian woman I recall being murdered in Dupont Circle. Chandra Levy was murdered shortly after in 2001. And I believe there was an exchange student murdered, as well. But only Chiang was Asian.

          • Susan
            07/12/2010 at 8:47 PM

            Boltz, I don’t recall there being any pattern either. The case of J. Change (didn’t recall the name but remember the case) was back in 1999 (according to reports online) but I remember she had last been seen in a very public area-by Connecticut Ave, NW & R-The Starbucks.

            • Susan
              07/12/2010 at 8:47 PM


              • susan
                05/13/2011 at 1:04 PM

                It looks like the police have a lead and that she was murdered but the suspects apparently won’t be prosecuted….yet.


                • AnnaZed
                  05/13/2011 at 1:26 PM

                  Good, amazing really.

                  “…Roger Chiang said he first learned that authorities were reexamining the case in April 2010, when he received an e-mail from Amanda Haines, a D.C. prosecutor who works on cold cases. He said he met several times with Haines and Anthony Brigidini and Kenneth Williams, two D.C. detectives who specialize in cold cases.”

                  We need Amanda and Company. Maybe it would be a good thing if Chief Lanier just called Robert’s murder a cold-case.

                  • susan
                    05/13/2011 at 9:34 PM

                    Haines was also a prosecutor on the Chandra Levy case.

      • Clio
        07/12/2010 at 8:37 PM

        Then, tucson, will it be Ulan Bator, Mongolia next for Dyl in order to wait out the continuing scandal? Or, would “swinging” Bali be a better choice for the massage therapist?

        • Bill 2
          07/12/2010 at 8:48 PM

          Right now, someone in that “family” needs to get to South Florida in order to homestead the property or they could lose it to Kathy Wone. I don’t know if Dylan’s name is on the property or if it’s just Joe and Victor. I hope there are neighbors to keep a watch on how much time the place remains empty of residents. If they can’t prove it’s their main home, it can be lost in a court judgement against them. Wouldn’t it be loverly?

          • Clio
            07/12/2010 at 11:41 PM

            Yes, Bill 2, but I think it’s just the names of Joe and Vicki (again) on the property: Dyl is at best a long-term overnight guest for them at Miami Shores. Indeed, I’m sure that, by now, Mr. Ward has his own serviceable condo in a gilded gay ghetto of Art Deco pastels: his studio allegedly was well-appointed, according to an enthused client.

            Another Asian trip for the “talented” Mr. Ward, though, would bring back more objects d’art to rotate and to display. It’s Joe and Vicki who have to worry the most about prying neighbors, a fact that does not disturb the “smart-assed”, former chef-in-training at all.

      • Eagle
        07/12/2010 at 8:41 PM

        Wow!. Trips to Asia after finishing each educational project! Very perceptive!! Thanks.
        Wouldn’t you just love to explore crime records in the various Asian countries.
        I could not agree more with your suspicion that Swann Street was not the first time what ever happened had happened. Our reasoning is about the same.
        Others, including myself, have voiced this on the site, but it’s never really been picked up with much enthusiasm.
        I do think that more than one person was involved.
        I also suspect that the three neat precise stab wounds had some kind of symbolism. A pact perhaps. Or a ritual. Or a crime ID of sorts.

      • Susan
        07/12/2010 at 9:12 PM

        That is interesting, Tucson. Wonder why the pattern. Wonder if the trips are “rewards” for completing something, ways to make $ after incurring financial stress from studying, way for release of some sort….(ew), way to try out his new trade in a new environ. Food for thought……

      • bigfatmike
        07/13/2010 at 12:05 AM

        ‘This site has an even more detailed list of items:’

        Ok, I admit it, you aroused my prurient interest. I kept trying to follow your reference at:


        and kept coming up with nothing relevant to my lurid imagination.

        Finally I searched another way and found something close enough to hit the spot, so to speak.

        For those with interests as shameless as my own, this site may be what you are looking for:


      • Bruce
        07/13/2010 at 6:34 PM

        Hi Tucson. I enjoyed reading your post as well as Shawn’s. You both make good points.

        I am a civil attorney in Chicago, with a number of trials under my belt. I am not, however, an expert on criminal law. In Illinois, a jury is specifically instructed by the judge that their verdict “must not be based upon speculation, prejudice or sympathy.” I would be interested to hear from any DC attorneys if the same holds true for the criminal and civil trials regarding Robert Wone’s death. When I defend a civil case in Chicago, I have the jury instruction banning speculation enlarged and posted so the jury can see it while I give a closing argument.

        The points in your’s and Shawn’s post, including:

        -Ward is a sociopath (a medical diagnosis);
        -Ward has probably murdered before, outside the country;
        -Similarities (?) with Van der Sloot;
        -Similarities (?) with Scott Peterson;
        -Asian woman were murdered in DC around the same time;
        -The porno and BDSM equipment (apparently no proof used);
        -Ward seemed to like to go to Asia

        are all “speculations,” when applied to determining a defendant’s fault. Most, if not all, of that “evidence” will not be allowed to be mentioned in the civil case. I am also sure that the defendants in the civil case will file many “motions in limine” to attempt to bar much of this “speculative” evidence at trial.

        I have read the judge’s aquittal order in the criminal matter and a number of other documents from this blog. I am of the opinion that the prosecutor’s case against the three was lost because the prosecutor’s case contained almost all speculation, and not probative evidence for proof of guilt. Why the good Judge Leibovitz didn’t come out and specifcally say that in her opinion is a mystery to me. I guess that’s a way to interpret it. I believe that the civil case will be lost by the Wone family for the same reason.

        You never know what a civil jury will do, but most jurors in civil cases take their responsibilities very seriousely and follow the instructions of the judge. If the defendants’ attorneys are competent or better, and the jurors follow the jury instruction regarding “speculation” and “sympathy,” I would give Mrs. Wone about a 30-40% chance of winning, and the defendants, and each of them, about a 60-70% chance of obtaining “not guilty” verdicts in the civil case.

        If I were a defendants’ attorney in the civil trial, I would make the centerpiece of the defense that the entire civil case is based upon speculation and sympathy, and the evidence that the Wone’s say they have, mostly because of the bungling of the police, is insufficient to find any defendant quilty of any claim on the preponderence of the evidence standard used in civil court. Do not think that a civil case, a la OJ Simpson, is a cakewalk for the Wones and their attorneys. It is definitely not. In wrongful death civil cases, I have seen juries watch the plaintiff walk out of the courtroom without a penny from the jury.

        By the way, I just have to say, if there was a conspiracy or agreement, the Three Stooges could not have been more inept in its planning and execution. Ok, guys, let’s see. Even though we have never broken any laws before and have absolutely no criminal records, let’s murder a very good friend of ours once Project Runway finishes, in our lovely home, rather than some place else like a motel or whatnot. Let’s do it on a “school night,” early enough so that people in the neighborhood will be able to hear or see us. You know how they like to walk their dogs. No, are you crazy? Why should we do it at 3:00 am when everyone is asleep? I want to be asleep then!

        Ok, guys, again, let’s be smart. Although, as Joe knows because he is a good damned attorney, none of us has to say a thing to the police, and we can ask for our attorneys to cut off questioning. Instead of that, come on, let’s all agree, let’s all just jabber and jabber away with the police, even after we think they are focusing on us as suspects, and give the police hours and hours of voluntary statements so that the police can piece together a case against us based almost entirely and exclusively upon what we will tell the police, and our demeanors when we do it. That will be fun. Gee, isn’t the real lesson here that if anyone of us on this blog does a crime (hopefully not), do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, talk to the police.

        One thing I would expect the civil defense attorneys to do is have qualified medical experts explain to the jury what effects “shock” has on people. I bet a good expert will be able to explain every “odd” action and small differences in testimony to the effect of shock on the defendants. Imagine, its a “school night,” and a good friend is crashing at your house for the evening. You are about to go to sleep when you discover this best friend murdered in your house, and now ambulance and police people are coming and asking you questions, questions and more questions. If you are innocent, your brain is just trying to wrap itself around what has happened. Guess what, your mind may not be so clear to give absolute and fully consistent answers on small details due to shock.

        I guess I wish that Judge Leibovitz had the option of the Scottish “not proven.” It might have prevented her from going beyond her judge’s duties in her aquittal decision. Judge Leibovitz’s job on this criminal case was to determine, based upon the facts, evidence and items presented at trial, whether the defendants, or any combination of them, were guilty of the criminal charges “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That’s it. Nothing more. It was not her job to be an apologist to Mrs. Wone and the Wone family. It was certainly not her job to trash the defendants in coming to the aquittal decision. Look, I know she is human and this was a tough case with press exposure, involving a very sympathetic victim and family. But she should be a professional judicial officer. With her unnecessary and, in my view, embarrasing dicta in her decision, she really wasn’t following what an objective judicial officer should do in coming to a decision like this.

        It was absolutely irrelevant, unneccessary and vindictive for her to describe Joe Price in her opinion as “arrogant, unconcerned, flippant, aggressive, self-centered and dismissive.” That has nothing to do with the charges against him. It may have made her “feel better” to write that, in light of her ultimate conclusions in the defendants’ favor, but it was not professional and is not likely to advance her career as a judge. She is not a God. She is there to do her job. Possibly, she felt that she was really protecting the rights of the defendants by giving her ultimate verdict, which somehow gave her license to attack them.

        Ok, that’s an explanation, but if that is correct, it is still unusual and unprofessional. She could have, and in my view, should have, deleted about half the decision after reading it and having a good cry. Her making such apologies to the Wones is maybe understandable under the circumstances, but, again, it is unprofessional for a judicial officer to do this in an opinion of this magnitude. Her sympathies (which are not supposed to be a part of her deliberations) are all one-sided for the Wones.

        While I would not expect her to apologize to the defendants, who have had their lives ruined by this criminal case based upon bungled police work and mere speculative evidence, she should have taken the proper road and not apologized to anyone for her decision.

        I hope that no one thinks that I have no feelings for the Wones. I do, and I would like this murder to be solved. But speculative guesses won’t ever do it, criminally or in a civil court.

        I think I understand the frustration of Judge Leibovitz. I have many times tried to picture different scenarios of what happened that night of August 2, 2006. I even tried to make a “flow chart” on pieces of paper to follow it through. Each and every time I did so, at some point I smashed right up against speculation and guess, and not probative evidence of any guilt by any of the defendants in the criminal case.

        So, those are my major thoughts and my prediction of the outcome of the civil case. Am I nuts?

        • Hoya Loya
          07/13/2010 at 7:14 PM


          I’m with you most of the way. I don’t think the civil trial will be a cakewalk, but I give Kathy/Covington slightly better odds given the lower standard of proof, less excluded evidence (likely) and learning from the criminal case. But juries are indeed unpredictable.

          I was shocked that the judge aquitted but scolded — I had even predicted she would NOT do just that. I hate opinions like that — fish or cut bait please.

          But this was an unusual case with an officer of the court as a defendant whose demeanor she observed on the tapes and in the courtroom. I don’t think she was motivated by sympathy for the Wones (she only offered them “cold comfort”) so much as by an urge to let Joe and the others know that while she was obligated under the law to acquit, she wasn’t taken in by their story. And she gave a firm foundation to those of us who refuse to see the three as victims, unless it is as victims of their own conduct, whether or not that conduct included murder.

          • Susan
            07/13/2010 at 7:57 PM


            I’m sure some civil defense attys may want to weigh in with your post, but these are my lay thoughts:

            I didn’t go back and read Tucson and Shawn’s postings, but I think most people who post here realize that speculation is speculation and not evidence. Hence, clearly the sociopath comment by one is not evidence.

            The scenario you presented for the night of the crime suggests premeditation by bungling stooges. I think most (not all) posters here believe it was NOT premeditated, hence the odd hour and many odd details.

            Re speaking to the police, I thought that was wise of them. How best to look completely innocent than to cooperate and appear like victims yourselves. I’m sure some officers were around when he made the call to S. Morgan and said “I’m okay! Victor’s okay! Dylan’s okay!” as if their lives had been under threat.

            • Bruce
              07/13/2010 at 8:31 PM

              Hi Susan:

              I agree that talking to the police could make you look innocent, but, in “hindsight,” I do not think it was a wise choice at all for the 3. In fact, it was their downfall and their attorneys are probably still knocking their heads against the wall about it, while preparing for the civil trial which will use much of the same evidence.

              I’m sorry, but I don’t have the highest respect for police interrogations and police motives. Maybe it is because I live in Chicago! While I know most police are upright and fair, there are a lot of bad apples.

              And you probably noticed that no one, including the judge, gave the 3 any credit for being so “open” with the police initially, when they didn’t have to, and could have invoked their right to remain silent. She could have considered that as evidence that they had nothing to hide. But the judge picked her evidence carefully in crafting her opinion. After yapping away like idiots to the police for many hours, the police then turned around and said for the press that the 3 were “lawyering up” and not cooperating. That’s all the public heard. That’s sweet. The criminal case was almost entirely based upon what the 3 said (and didn’t say)to the police, their demeanors when saying it, and very small discrepancies between what each said.

              Imagine the paucity of evidence the police and the prosecutor would have had if the 3 had all simply shut up and called counsel right in. I doubt there would have been any criminal trial at all. They had a right to remain silent. Happy Tuesday night!

              • Susan
                07/13/2010 at 9:04 PM

                Thanks, Bruce. I thought JP stopped cooperating as soon as he saw he was a suspect.

                Not sure how many hours they actually spoke with police. The 911 makes an appearance as relevant and “odd” in the judge’s opinion.

                I think if the three had “shut up” as you say, from the get go, they’d probably be in jail right now as they’d have painted themselves with guilt from the beginning and things would have gone downhill from there. But those are just my lay thoughts.

                I don’t disagree with you about police. I think they are people, just like judges and attorneys. Not saints, not gods, etc. Some abuse their positions, that’s for sure. And some are decent. Like everyone.

                • Bruce
                  07/14/2010 at 11:59 AM

                  Hi Susan:

                  It is a little unclear to me as to whether Joe walked out after figuring out he was a major suspect, in initially speaking with the police the night of the murder. My impression from reading the transcript of the interview with Joe was that the interview was about over. I believe I read somewhere that between the 3, they gave over 20 hours of material before they “lawyered up” so to speak.

                  You may be absolutely right about them being jailed and in much worse trouble if they had not cooperated. In hindsight, I’m not so sure about it, but by now it is all “speculation.”

          • bigfatmike
            07/14/2010 at 6:24 AM

            ‘fish or cut bait please.’

            Usually I agree with the sentiment you have expressed. ‘Make the charge or drop it, prove your point or move on’. But this is a very special situation.

            Some commentators believe that the judge reache in effect the Scotch Verdict, and that is in itself reason for an explanation.

            I think she reached a far stronger conclusion than the Scotch Verdict and that it was absolutely essential that she bring that to the attention of the community.

            The scotch verdict is roughly ‘not proven’.

            Suppose we have two charges:

            Murdered someone and

            Covered up murder.

            Under our system a guilty verdict is the conclusion:

            A. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt ‘murdered someone’ or

            B. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt ‘covered up murder’.

            As I understand it, the Scotch verdict is just

            Not A or

            Not B.

            Judge Leibovitz rendered the decision ‘not guilty’. Some argue that Judge Leibovitz is also telling us in her discussion that she also concludes, in effect, the scotch verdict:

            (not A and not B).

            I disagree.

            Judge Leibovitz did not conclude (-A and -B), the scotch verdict.

            What Judge Leibovitz has been saying is this:

            I have ample evidence to know the defendant committed a crime, I know beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is a felon. I just cannot say which felon is in front of me. I know you are a murder or you covered up for murder. I just cannot be sure which crime you committed.

            Her conclusion, in her discussion, is

            (A or B).

            It seems sort of counterintuitive that we would have a situation where we know

            (A or B) is true

            but cannot prove A alone or B alone.

            But the Judge Leibovitz is telling us that this is that precise situation.

            From a legal point of view both these logical assertions may lead to the same legal conclusion:

            ‘not guilty’.

            But they are very different from a logical point of view.

            From a logical point of view there is a huge difference between

            (-A and -B) the Scotch verdict and

            (A or B).

            And from practical point of view I believe we all have very good reasons to recognize this difference.

            In the case of the Scotch Verdict (-A and -B), there may be no problem at all. Maybe the person did not commit any crime. And I agree, it is wrong to cast a shadow over someone or stigmatize someone who may not have done anything at all.

            In the case of (A or B), we know there is a very real problem. We know the person committed a crime. We just do not have a legal tool to deal with the situation.

            It seems to me that it is not just reasonable that Judge Leibovitz brought this to our attention.

            I think she would have done the community a real disservice if she had not made it clear that these three got away with it.

            A B -A -B (-A and -B) (A OR B)
            T T F F F T
            T F F T F T
            F T T F F T
            F F T T T F

            • Hoya Loya
              07/14/2010 at 8:24 AM

              Nice analysis Mike.

              As I noted, despite my distaste for this sort of decision, I can see why she wrote what she did and you make a strong case that it goes beyond the Scottish verdict.

              I also think her ruling was designed to prevent the defendants from portraying themselves as innocent victims of a biased investigation,as they already had done to family and supporters and certainly would have continued to do with a pure not guilty ruling. It took the wind out of those particular sails and stopped them from becoming poster guys for anti-gay police and prosecution bias.

              • 07/14/2010 at 9:25 AM

                Readers: Please speculate about the following: Do you think the pending civil lawsuit figured into Judge Lebowitz’s decision? I assume, in her deliberations, she went back and forth in her mind. Might she have ruled differently had she not known that there would be a robust civil case fought by competent attorneys for the Wone family?

                • Clio
                  07/14/2010 at 7:16 PM

                  No, Gloria. Lynn seems to be such a compulsive stickler for seeing the proverbial trees and not the forest that she probably did block out the portent of the civil case and the Covington blitzkrieg.

          • Bruce
            07/14/2010 at 11:50 AM

            Hi Hoya Loya:

            What I was thinking about in my post regarding the judge being an apologist was the following statement by the judge in the opinon: “…and I am extremely sorry for this,” in regard to the “cold comfort” issue. The judge was following the law in reaching her conclusions as to the guilt of the defeendants. She need not, and in my lowly opinion, should not, apologize to anyone for doing so.

            In looking over my posts above, I am struck that my opinions regarding certain portions of the judge’s written opinion were likely too harsh. I can certainly understand what extremely strange cargo this trial presented to her, and her own struggle with “moral certainty” versus “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is something we can also feel from reading the whole decision. Her conclusions were obviously very painful for her to make, and I am sure that she is a smart, fair and professional judicial officer. If i were caught in a Kafkaist trial where I was charged with a crime I did not commit, I would want to have her as my judge, since she follows the law as to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not sure I would want law students to read and study it as a seminal decision, but actually I might do so to impress upon the students that everyone involved in the criminal justice system is human, and judges have to make some extremely difficult decisions to uphold the law.

            • Hoya Loya
              07/14/2010 at 12:03 PM

              Fair enough Bruce.

              I do recommend to anyone who has not yet done so that they read the full decision as I agree that her struggle over this case comes through loud and clear.

        • Bill Orange
          07/13/2010 at 11:55 PM

          “So, those are my major thoughts and my prediction of the outcome of the civil case. Am I nuts?”

          I don’t think you’re nuts, but I do think that you’re approaching this from (a) the point of view of the defendants (b) with the benefit of hindsight (c) from the perspective of a skeptical attorney (as opposed to a layman and/or a potential juror). I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: You have the right to remain silent, but most non-lawyers take a VERY dim view of people who invoke this right, particularly in the setting of a very recent violent crime. There is simply no practical way that you can discover a friend of yours stabbed to death in your guest bedroom, call 911, and then meet the police at the door with a cheerful, “The body’s on the second floor, and we’re all invoking our fifth amendment rights.” Had they tried this, they would have very likely beaten any criminal charges (which they have so far managed to do anyway), but they would’ve been plastered on the front page of the WaPo four years earlier than they were, with the all of the resulting media backlash, and the police would’ve made a point of releasing all of the S&M gear and the office porn to the media. There’s no way Joe Price would’ve been a pallbearer at Robert Wone’s funeral, and all of their mutual friends would’ve turned on him immediately. The civil suit would’ve been filed within weeks (as opposed to years), and their insurance company would’ve jumped ship VERY early on. They really had to talk to the police that night.

          As for how the civil suit is going to play out, I think it depends largely on who invokes their fifth amendment rights, and how often they do so. If they invoke for almost anything related to the night of the murder, I think they’re toast. In addition, there have been allegations (which have been largely unchallenged and may be entirely untrue) that Joe Price was into illegal drug use and Dylan Ward was into prostitution. I would imagine that the plaintiff’s attorneys will try to force invocations on these issues, too, so that even if they all take the stand and stick to the original stories, they’re probably still going to look very, very bad to a jury. I don’t think you’re going to be able to make much of the “speculation” argument in that case. You’ve got four men in a locked home, and one of them ended up stabbed to death. It’s isn’t “speculation” to say that one of the remaining three was involved–it’s a pretty solid conclusion. I think that a civil jury might buy the “odd man out” theory for all three, but I really doubt it. I think Joe will be found liable, and probably one of the other two will be, depending on who the jury likes less (probably Dylan).

          As for the judge’s opinion, I tend to agree that it was unprofessional, but I think it was her way of making the best of a VERY bad situation. There have been accusations of malicious prosecution, and I think that she really wanted to shoot those down. I also think that she wanted the defendants to pay a price for so cynically manipulating the system. You can argue that the defendants were merely exercising their rights, which is entirely true, but I would counter that the defendants also had a right to an up-or-down jury trial, which they waived, and this is what led to the judges written ruling, which she was entitled to hand down.

          • Bruce
            07/14/2010 at 12:41 PM

            Hi Bill:

            I enjoyed your post, and found myself agreeing with most of it. I once went to a legal seminar, and the renowned speaker (have no idea his name!) said that the surest way to get a jury to side with your client is to get them to empathize with your client, and to make the jury feel that they are correcting an unfair situation by finding in your client’s favor. Doesn’t matter who your client is, or what bad acts your client is accused of, get the jury to feel that they are correcting an injustice in finding your client not guilty.

            Wow, that is going to be tough for the attorneys for the 3.

            Obviously, the attorneys for the Wones in the civil case will not have to work on this at all. I’m sure when Robert Wone’s wife testifies, as well as his parents and friends, that the jury will be in their corner. As an attorney defending in the civil case, you will have to be attuned to and fully appreciate and embrace the jury’s natural sympathy to the Wones and the murder of a very fine and upstanding human being.

            But what about the 3? While it will be a hard challenign job requiring very wise attorneys, I believe that it is possible for the jury to feel sympathy and empathy toward the Wones AND also feel that the 3 have been subjected to unfairness in being brought to trial in this case with this evidence (or, as they should put it, this lack of credible evidence). Embrace the sympathy for the Wones in defending the case, and you better not say one bad thing about Robert Wone himself or his family or you have ruined the case for your client. Caution the jury in opening statements that a wonderful man was murdered and everyone in the courtroom feels terrible about it.

            But convince the jury, particularly in closing arguments, when you are speaking alone to the jury without interruption, that this case involves another injustice….which are the claims against your client. Tell the jury that while we all feel sympathy for the Wones, that this is not a “Court of Sympathy” but a “Court of Law,” where your client has to be treated fairly and not found guilty based upon factless speculations and guesses. Tough job, but it can be done, and it will be easier to do this with a jury than a criminal judge.

          • Bruce
            07/14/2010 at 3:15 PM


            Thank you for not finding me “nuts” beyond a reasonable doubt. Not so sure how I would do in a civil case which involved proof of my guilt of being “nuts” by only a preponderence of the evidence.

            Regarding your assessment of how I am approaching the case, I want to assure you that you are absolutely correct on all counts.

            First, I AM looking at this case from the perspective of the defendants. In my civil practice I represent defendants, not plaintiffs. I probably should have pointed this out in my posts, and will try to do so in the future. Thanks for bringing that up. However, I hope that this perspective can enliven the discourse and conversations on this blog. Like Judge Leibovitz, I am also human and can feel for both the plaintiffs and the defendants in this case.

            Certainly, we can all agree that Robert Wone was an incredible person, a good husband and a good friend to those who knew him. Truth be told, while a plaintiff’s attorney would knock me off of any jury panel, that could be a mistake. If there is sufficient evidence to find a defendant “guilty,” under either of the standards in criminal and civil courts, I wouldn’t hesitate to find a defendant so. I would like to correct injustices.

            Secondly, I am very guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, of looking at all of this with the benefit of “hindsight.” I do not know any of the parties or witnesses, and have no connections to nobody! But, really, aren’t we all looking at this with “hindsight?”

            Third, I am yet again guilty of being a “skeptical attorney,” and not a lay person or potential juror. I hope that people might benefit from, or at least be interested in, the viewpoint of a skeptical attorney, especially as we get into the civil trial stage, which is quite different from the criminal trial.

            Thanks again to your interesting and thoughtful response.

        • Liam
          07/14/2010 at 4:59 AM

          “In Illinois, a jury is specifically instructed by the judge that their verdict ‘must not be based upon speculation, prejudice or sympathy.'”

          I’m not sure where the line is drawn that separates “speculation” and drawing reasonable inferences based on the facts and evidence or extrapolating from the facts and evidence to draw a reasonable conclusion. After all, there have been people convicted of murder based on circumstantial evidence when no body was ever found. There must have been some speculation involved in that conviction, such as speculation that the person was actually murdered and didn’t just run off.

          Maybe I misunderstand what is meant by “speculation”. Maybe that instruction means that you, as a juror, cannot add things to the facts and evidence that are not supported or established, such as “Dylan is a sociopath”. We really don’t know what makes this person tick.

          I agree with you that the items you listed above as being speculation are in fact speculation.

          However, based upon the facts and evidence that I’ve read about in connection with the criminal case, I have no problem speculating (or concluding) that it is more likely than not (preponderance of the evidence) that at least one of them (probably unintentionally) caused his death.

          Things like there was no evidence of an intruder;

          • Kate
            07/14/2010 at 8:12 AM

            Great post, Liam –

            “I have no problem speculating (or concluding) that it is more likely than not (preponderance of the evidnec) that at least one of them (probably unintentionally) caused his death.”

            I would just add one phrase to the end of this: caused his death, or had more knowledge regarding the circumstances of Wone’s death, with which they were not forthcoming.


          • Bruce
            07/14/2010 at 3:46 PM


            Your post gets right to the point, which is: what is the tipping point between “speculation” and “probative evidence.” It is not an easy distinction. I would have to do legal research to give a good and proper answer and I am too busy right now to do so!

            But, I guess I would look at the statement for an example: “There were four people in that house that night, and one of them was murdered. This means that the other three are guilty of murder.” That would be pure speculation because there is nothing to support the view that all three were involved, and no reason to exclude the possibility that less than all of the three were involved with the murder.

            Then try this statement: “There were four people in that house that night and one of them was murdered. Thus, one or more of the three surviving people from that house murdered Robert Wone.” I don’t think that this is speculation, particularly if you determine the impossibility of an intruder. A rational argument can be made that if there were 4 in the house, one of them is murdered, and there is no intruder, than it is reasonable and not speculation to come to the conclusion that there is at least one murderer from the surviving 3.

            But then lets go to the following final statement: “There were four people in that house that night. One of them was murdered. Dylan murdered Robert Wone.” I’m afraid that, in my view, we are back into speculation here. There is no probative evidence to suggest which one of the three, or what combination of the 3 survivors, did it, without going to guesses and speculations. This is the dilemma that the criminal judge faced, and I’m afraid it will provide a similar dilemma in the civil case.

        • Kate
          07/14/2010 at 9:19 AM

          Bruce – many thanks for your thought provoking post. It certainly has got us all thinking and reanalyzing the case.

          Your scenario of the three defendants bungling their own premeditated crime could also work from the perspective of a bungling unknown intruder. Imagine the folly of entering a house occupied by four fit men while the late news is airing (but after Project Runway, of course).

          Equally as absurd, if not far more so. It is clear that Judge L. found the unknown intruder story to be quite unbelievable.

          And yet Robert Wone was still murdered by someone.

          I agree that the Judge would have preferred a “not proven” verdict. As I wrote somewhere else in this thread, her decision seems to follow the colloquial Scottish saying, “Not prove, and don’t do it again.”


          • Bruce
            07/15/2010 at 2:47 PM

            Kate, thank you for your kind post.

            I agree completely with your assessment that the “bungling conspirators” theory not making sense applies equally to the intruder theory. Neither makes any sense at all to me.

            But this case is a treasure chest of such nuggets. I can’t comprehend or understand why Robert Wone did not fight back or how he could have been sedated without a fight. Makes absolutely no sense!

            I can’t understand why there was so little blood found, when JP and the others said there was a lot of blood, and there seems to be no reason for one or more of the 3 to clean up blood to assist any criminality. Insane!

            Why one or more of the 3 would murder or obstruct an investigation of the murder of an incredibly wonderful person they all seemed to like, along with his wife, and Robert Wone being a long time friend of JP, who was under their care and protection in their house, surpasses all understanding.

            That none of the 3 had any criminal record and all seemed to be law abiding citizens is also a dilemma. Why would a sane person murder someone in their own home and call 911?

            And it goes on and on. Thus, the mysterious pull of this blog and theories and speculations wild and not-wild abound.

            Best regards.


            • Bill 2
              07/15/2010 at 3:21 PM

              “Why would a sane person murder someone in their own home and call 911?”

              You’re creating an intent to murder with an intent to call 911. That’s why it doesn’t make sense. You’re also creating a condition of sanity when they may have been under the influence of drugs.

              An accidental overdose of some kind of date-rape drug could have caused them to think Robert Wone was dead. The stabbing of a dead man was not an attempt to deaden him more, it could have been an attempt to make it look like an unknown person had killed him and left his body in a vacant lot. That plan could have worked. They could say he left early in the morning and they knew nothing about him after he walked out the door.

              THEN —- Victor screamed!

              It was a scream that could have resulted in a neighbor phoning police. Thus, moving the body out of the house with cops on the way to Swann Street, wasn’t possible.

              Suddenly, Plan B went into effect – the intruder fairytale. They had to phone 911 because they couldn’t have a reported scream at 11:30 and then a 911 call at 6 a.m.

            • Hoya Loya
              07/15/2010 at 3:31 PM

              “Why one or more of the 3 would murder or obstruct an investigation of the murder of an incredibly wonderful person they all seemed to like, along with his wife, and Robert Wone being a long time friend of JP, who was under their care and protection in their house, surpasses all understanding.”

              This is, in a nutshell, what I find so compelling about the case.

              • Bruce
                07/15/2010 at 7:06 PM

                Hiya Hoya:

                Thanks for quoting me!

                Of course, the long rambling sentence you quote all goes to “motive.”

                Prosecutors aren’t required to show or prove motive in a criminal murder case. But I doubt there is a prosecutor alive who would deny the difficulty of trying a murder case without a reasonable motive a jury can latch onto, so that their quilty verdict won’t haunt them forever.

                While not required in a criminal trial, motive certainly is important to probably 90% of people, including me, and is a very appropriate topic for this website, by laypersons and lawyers. The other 10% are probably those that think if the police arrest someone, they must be guilty (God please watch over and protect that 10%; that’s why there are usually 12 jurors).

                We are conditioned by TV shows such as the Law & Order franchise, CSI, movies and detective novels, to expect a motive for murder. You know the usual motives….life insurance policies, jealousy, bad divorces, alcohol & drugs, $$$$….

                Can you imagine watching a Law & Order, CSI or other similar show and the end of the show, of course, concludes with a confession or a finding of guilt of murder, and the writers don’t include an explanation of a motive?

                Indeed, the motive is what the cops and prosecutors are looking for the entire show, because that will provide potential suspects!

                So, although not required in the criminal case, what could possibly be the motive here, on Swann Street.

                People suggest that the 3 were homosexual and at least two of them were into “kink,” and this supports a motive. But I don’t see it. Where is the link between being gay, or being into BDSM, or both, and being a murderer or someone likely to be engaging in criminality? There simply is none.

                Others might think that the motive may be in the unusual relationship of the 3 men, and possible jealousies or sexual urges displayed. Well, I don’t see anything in this case to suggest that either.

                Could JP have set this up to please his master, Dylan, or could have Dylan done this alone? Yes. I give that about a .001% chance based upon what we know, but it is certainly possible.

                Maybe one or more of the 3 were abusing drugs, drinking or in some kind of a “mad state” at the time of the murder. Nothing suggests that. Believe me, if the police or prosecutors even thought that was a possibility, it would be all over their reports and they would have inquired about it in the statements of the 3 immediately after the murder.

                So, is it possible for someone to murder without a motive? Of course. Lots of people kill people for no reason but to enjoy the kill or pain they inflict. The human soul can be a very dark place.

                And having more than one person involved probably makes it even more likely. There are many who think that Leopold & Loeb, and the 2 murderers of the Cutter family (“In Cold Blood”) would never have killed alone.

                But the 3 were not true sociopaths or losers like in those cases. The 3 are all highly educated, socially competent, seemingly independent and seemingly stable people.

                As much as both the criminal judge and many others have painted JP as a “super bad guy,” he was a very successful lawyer with an exceptional career, with friends and lover(s!) that loved and cared for him, and he appeared to love and care for them.

                Most important in my thinking on this is that Robert Wone liked JP a lot. From all appearances, they were close and had been for many many years. I don’t think that Robert Wone would have a long term caring friendship or any relationship with JP, and invite his wife into that friendship, if Wone thought JP was capable of criminality. From what I know of Robert Wone, I have some faith in his ability to cut the crazies out of his life.

                So, again, as with other issues in this matter, motive remains a conundrum.

                Will the civil jury be persuaded to find one or more of the 3 guilty without a reasonable motive? Sure. But I think it makes a guilty verdict less likely. That adds to my conclusions in some previous postings, where I suggested my worthless opinion that the Wones probably have about a 30-40% chance of winning the civil case, and the 3 defendants correspondingly have about a 60-70% of being found not guilty in the civil trial.

                Evidence that is nothing more than speculation + no reasonable motive against one or more of the 3 + talented attorneys that can make the jury feel that they can correct an injustice by finding their client not guilty = a liklihood of not guilty verdicts in my lowly view.

                I am a skeptical attorney in Chicago, that usually represents defendants.


                • Bruce
                  07/15/2010 at 7:13 PM

                  The word “Will,” at the beginning of the 3rd paragraph from the end of the post above, should have been “Can.”


                • Hoya Loya
                  07/16/2010 at 12:19 PM


                  The motive is a big part of the puzzle. As you say, while not essential, it certainly helps the case if one can be established. I wonder, if a motive had been established in the criminal case, if it would have swayed the judge over the reasonable doubt line on at least the tampering charge against Joe. I know many here argue that the motive is obvious — they obstructed to cover up a murder — but more was needed: they covered up the murder of a dear friend because ___. The prosecution tried to fill in that blank with “they wanted to protect the family” but it didn’t explain their disregard for their friend.

                  I’ve long thought that for Robert, a friend, to end up stabbed, a violent act, that there must be a missing piece. Someone had animosity, or at least depraved indifference, towards Robert that we haven’t detected. Or something was going on that we don’t know about that led to violence on the part of someone. Maybe Covington can try to ferret this out.

                  The kink factor is relevant not just as to motive, but as to the circumstances of Robert’s death – neat stab wounds with no signs of struggle and bodily fluids found where Robert couldn’t have put them himself. And as to the latter, it makes the fact that the three were gay relevant as well. If the victim was a woman, it would be less so, or if the victim was a man being hosted by three gay women. Gay men are no more likely to commit assault that straight men, but no less likely either and in both cases it does happen. The rape kit evidence has been challenged in motions, but not in open court with experts – again, hopefully it will be re-examined by Covington. But even without it, the fact that Robert did not move when stabbed and that the household possessed a stash of toys designed to restrain movement is certainly relevant.

                  The restraints also add to the fact that Robert was not staying over in a household where there was a traditional domestic relationship, but a polygamous relationship in which at least two participants enjoyed non-vanilla activities, most likely unknown to many close acquaintances, including Robert. I think Judge Liebowitz was wrong to rule out evidence of the restraints at trial and that the prosecution should have asked her to revisit the ruling once a bench trial was elected, and in fact said so here several times.

                  As for dysfunction within the relationship, there are emails showing that Joe and Dylan planned activities with others behind Victor’s back for times when Victor would be away and Hixson’s testimony that he had (separate) encounters with Joe and Dylan, but not Victor, and that another partner of his had an encounter with Joe and Dylan together. Sarah Morgan quoted Dylan’s desire to replace Victor. Sarah’s absence and Victor’s early return on August 2 are both at least curious in this context and need to be examined more closely. The VCB statements also show that Victor was not told about Robert’s visit until he saw Dylan making up the bed and one can also reasonably infer that Victor was angry – he went to bed early and alone, did not stay up to greet Robert and Dylan says he assumed the noises he heard were Joe and Victor arguing.

                  There have been many, as far as I know, unsubstantiated (apart from a single pill found at the scene), rumors of serious drug use from denizens of the D.C. club scene. If substantiated, they could help explain the inexplicable concept that a friend was possibly assaulted and murdered by friends by raising the possibility that it was done while acting irrationally and under the influence.

                  “The 3 are all highly educated, socially competent, seemingly independent and seemingly stable people.” This is where we must agree to disagree. I’ve never found this argument persuasive in the least because good guys or not, the inconvenient truth is that a friend was found dead in their home and there was no sign of an intruder. Something was off. Something went wrong. Maybe my “missing piece,” if discovered, would clear this up.

                  As you note, Robert probably really liked Joe. They were both key members of a tight-knit circle of W&M alums that included Tara Ragone and CNN reporter Lisa Desjardins (and why wasn’t she called at trial?). All indications are that this group did not know of the polygamous relationship or the kink (or the drug use, if true). If Joe truly reciprocated Robert’s feelings, was a dedicated member of this group and is innocent, why wouldn’t he lead a crusade to find the killer as zealously as he crusaded for equal rights in Virginia? The formerly private alternative aspects of his relationships are public, he’s lost his career at A&F and stature as an equal rights spokesman, racked up huge legal bills – what does he have to lose at this point? Fifth Amendment concerns do not address this adequately – this is his friend who from all reports would have done anything for anybody (and often anonymously to boot). Wouldn’t he show the same loyalty to Robert that Lisa showed to Joe throughout the investigation and trial?

                  All in all, I think we agree is that Covington needs more evidence – both admission of evidence excluded from the criminal trial and new evidence via discovery, including evidence of motive – in order to improve its odds in the civil case.

                  • chilaw79
                    07/16/2010 at 12:47 PM


                    I agree with both you and Bruce. I think motive is essential to telling a story that the jury can follow.

                    My own (current) view is that the murder of Robert Wone is a byproduct of the “love triangle” between Joe, Victor, and Dylan.

                    I hope Covington can develop the “love triangle” issues through Dylan (who cannot hide behind domestic partner privilege) and through the photos on Joe Price’s computer and other postings (hard to claim that these were “private” or “confidential”.

                    The “kink factor” also needs to be explored, including drugs and sex. These are not the usual topics for lawyers at Covington so this site can provide some background or insight that may prove valuable. I sure would not have a clue on some of these issues.

                    • Bruce
                      07/16/2010 at 4:42 PM

                      Hey Chilaw. The plaintiff’s attorneys in the civil suit need to be careful that they don’t set up a situation that the jury could interpret as harassing or unfair to the defendants. With an urban jury, it is quite possible to offend jurors if the case turns into an attack on gays or what one does in the privacy of one’s own bedroom, even if it involves multiple people (!). Don’t let the jury think that the defendants are being treated unfairly, or the jury may want to stop that injustice by finding them not-guilty.

                      From a non-legal viewpoint, I think you make good points, and the “love triangle” kink situation as a cause of all this makes about as much sense as anything else to me. Happy Friday.

                  • Jeana
                    07/16/2010 at 1:49 PM

                    Bruce, Hoya Loya and ChiLaw: The calibre of this discussion – thoughtful, well-reasoned and civil – is the reason I keep coming back to this site.

                    Perhaps the eds. should consider getting you all together for an audio debate – or even a mock trial. Thank you for your postings – they are truly appreciated by this reader and I’m sure many others as well.

                    • Kate
                      07/16/2010 at 4:58 PM

                      Yes, I concur, Jeana –

                      Thought provoking stuff.


            • Liam
              07/15/2010 at 8:22 PM

              “Why would a sane person murder someone in their own home and call 911?”

              That’s one of the many perplexing questions in connection with this case. In the various scenarios I’ve run through in my head, I’ve thought that the scream has a lot to do with the decision to call 911. Perhaps because of concern that VZ’s scream would alert neighbors and one of them might call the police. Perhaps because VZ actually came upon a horrendous scene truly unaware of what was going on, so they (they is whomever of the 3 killed him) had to spontaneously concoct the intruder story and go through the 911 drill, rather than explain to VB that they just murdered RW.

              And, in a more general scenario, let’s hypothetically suppose that there never was a VB scream.

              So, in this scenario, they could dispose of the body outside the home or pretend they never knew RW was murdered until they came upon him the next morning.

              I would think they would be very worried that disposing of the body outside the home carried a huge risk of being seen (plus, if they used their car to transport the body it would probably leave forensic evidence).

              So, if you eliminate the option of disposing of the body outside the home, they are left with the options of calling 911 right away or calling 911 the next morning when JP wakes up for the early breakfast with his friend and he “discovers” his friend is dead.

              In summary, in light of Victor’s scream it seems calling 911 was the only option. However, even if Victor hadn’t screamed, their options were limited and calling 911 wasn’t that strange a choice.

              • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
                07/15/2010 at 8:29 PM

                Shorten that to “why would a sane person murder someone..”

                The rest of the sentence is a no brainer.

                • Liam
                  07/15/2010 at 8:42 PM

                  Yes. Yes indeed.

    • Susan
      07/12/2010 at 8:21 PM

      I saw part of that and noticed the “” mention.

      Re the police and police foul-ups, I wonder if there are ever any repercussions for that. If an MPD officer screws up, does he/she get written up? Somehow I doubt it. There should be accountabillity. There are too many cases across the states, in all jurisdictions, of shortcuts taken by police, not following proper procedures, etc. And then how many criminals are left out in society and how many innocent people are locked up as a result? Time for some reform (if you are listening C. Lanier and others).

      Re Swann Street, I walked by over the weekend and must say that I didn’t really notice any Mercedes. Saw some Toyotas, some Hondas. Toyota, Toyota, Toyota. Has the neighborhood since changed, or was that some JP hyperbole?

      • mia
        07/13/2010 at 10:57 AM

        That’s an interesting observation.

      • Boltz3000
        07/13/2010 at 11:25 AM

        The neighborhood has not changed drastically since 2006, other than increased commercialization of the nearby 14th street corridor. Yes, the Mercedes comment seems to be simply one more example of Joe’s narcissistic, delusional grandiosity.

        • Dave
          07/13/2010 at 3:12 PM

          Susan – I actually walked down the street this past weekend as well and noticed the same thing re: the cars. It appears that there is someone living in 1509 now…I wonder if they know of the things (not just the murder) that occurred in their house?

          • Kate
            07/13/2010 at 4:22 PM

            Gosh, I hope the new residents were told upon purchasing, but I’m not sure if DC has a full disclosure real estate law.

            Can you imagine their shock if they didn’t find out until the day Mr. Connoly and his legal team decided to scale the back fence?

            What a rude awakening that would have been.

            Seriously, I , too, have wondered who would purchase a house with such a tragic past.


            • Craig
              07/13/2010 at 5:38 PM

              Trust me, the current owners of 1509 are well aware they’re in an infamous house. I have no idea if it was disclosed ahead of purchase or not or if DC even requires that. Wander down the alley sometime and peer through the gates for a moment or two, then expect to be shooed away.

              • Clio
                07/13/2010 at 11:31 PM

                Shooed away by whom, Craig? Was this “guard” a man or a woman?

              • Kate
                07/14/2010 at 8:31 AM

                Makes me wonder how many times tasso junior had to be shooed away, considering how he related to us having made quite a number of visits to the property!

                I also wonder about DC real estate disclosure. We’ve owned old homes in several counties that required the seller to disclose if the house had any tragic past – or was haunted (Orleans Parish, LA and Loudoun County, VA, for example). If such happenings are not disclosed, the seller can be sued. Interesting stuff.

                On another note, that view of Connoly and Company climbing the fence at 1509 Swann has been deeply imprinted into my wee brain.


        • Susan
          07/13/2010 at 6:11 PM

          Just as an aside, I never noticed really before, but the place where M. Price has been working for the past year and a half (so AFTER the murder)–GMG–is actually on 14th St. between S and Swann, I believe. The proximity to Swann is interesting, if irrelevant. Or not.

  5. Jackie
    07/12/2010 at 2:40 PM

    I will continue to hope and pray for the Wone family, and for truth to be uncovered in this horrible murder. But I do feel better, after reading these previous half dozen Posters. Sounds like the “Scottish Right” could be the answer to this legal predicament presented by the Judge. I just have never seen or read of this quandry before. My feeling was most Judges would have convicted if they felt as strongly as she said she did. Maybe not. Hopefully, some bright legal organizations will take this discussion up soon and we will be hearing more about it.

    • Jo
      07/12/2010 at 6:23 PM

      I have wondered about the Judge’s decision, too. I wonder if she did it to protect her political career (because one less appeal/potential reversal on her record). I wonder if she had more compassion towards the victim’s families and friends, whether she would have ruled the other way because BARD is so subjective, it could have easily gone the other way.

      Maybe it would be difficult to convict all three but she could have at least convicted Joe Price on tampering and obstruction. She kept saying very likely this and very likely that, but in the end, she didn’t let moral certainty play any role in her verdict. Very very disappointing.

      • Hoya Loya
        07/12/2010 at 6:53 PM

        Politics had nothing to do with this decision. There was no evidence of Joe’s intent in tampering with the knife blade, no evidence of intent on behalf of any of the three individually to obstruct via their statements and no evidence of an agreement to conspire or of specific acts in furtherance of a conspiracy. All required by the laws being applied. The facts pointed towards their involvement but did not meet the legal standard.

        Had she convicted on these facts, the decision would certainly have been overturned, and not on legal interpretaion but for abuse of judicial discretion in finding guilt from a dearth of necessary facts to support the legal finding. It would have been a fleeting, phyrric victory and ultimately even more painful for the Wones and Robert’s friends.

        I encourage you to read the opinion again — it is clear and well-reasoned.

        • Bill Orange
          07/12/2010 at 8:04 PM

          It’s certainly clear, but I just can’t convince myself that it’s well-reasoned. It seemed to me like she tried to cut the baby in half. She pretty much concluded that least one of the defendants had to be guilty of obstruction, but she thought it was possible that any one of them could be innocent (i.e., the “math problem”), so she had to find them all “not guilty”. On its face, that seems fair. But try to reason it out for each one of them, assuming that at least one of the other two is guilty:

          Dylan–He could have been in his room the whole time, like he said, and he stated that he stayed in his room for an unspecified amount of time after Victor started screaming, so I agree that perhaps Joe and/or Victor could’ve killed Wone, and Dylan wasn’t involved.

          Victor–He said was asleep until he was awakened by Joe, so I agree that Joe and/or Dylan could’ve killed Robert, and Victor wasn’t involved.

          Joe–This is where it all breaks down. Joe said that he was awakened by the door chime–and that he was often awakened by the door chime, so presumably he wasn’t really awakened by something else (and frankly, if he wanted to claim that, he could’ve taken the stand and made that claim). He then heard three grunts coming from downstairs a few minutes later and rushed down the stairs with Victor to find that Robert had been stabbed to death. Obviously, Victor couldn’t have done it–he was right next to him when they heard the grunts–so that leaves Dylan. So for some unknown reason, the back door opens, and then a few minutes later, Dylan and/or someone else stabs Robert to death and then flees back into Dylan’s room and/or out of the house. And if there was someone else, they had to get out of the house undetected. I’m sorry, but this just isn’t plausible–Joe’s statement that he heard the door chime pretty much kills the “Dylan did it alone” theory. Either there was a ninja involved, or Joe is guilty of obstruction.

          Her conclusions about the knife don’t make any sense to me, either. She seemed to conclude that the knife at the scene was the murder weapon but that Joe probably (but not beyond a reasonable doubt) tampered with it. That doesn’t make any sense at all. The judge herself pointed out that there was almost no blood on the sharp edge of the knife. But if the knife was really the murder weapon, it means that Joe didn’t wipe blood ONTO the dull side of the knife; it means that he wiped blood OFF OF the sharp edge of the knife (but NOT the rest of the knife). Why on earth would someone do this? And what exactly did he wipe the knife on to–there was nothing at the scene with narrow lines of blood on it.

          • Kate
            07/13/2010 at 8:42 AM

            Bill O – I’ve done quite similar musings on the Judge’s “math problem” focusing on her use of the term “odd man out.”

            Based on the way her findings were written, singling Victor out in a few instances, with phrases such as – “even Victor Zaborsky” in regards to their inappropriate behavior after the murder- that she was leaning towards Victor as the “odd man out.” But, there was also the lesser possibility of the odd man being Dylan.

            After reading her decision several times, I don’t believe she ever thought of Joe as an “odd man out” sorta guy.

            Great and thoughtful post,

            Oh, and as for the knife, that’s the sticking point for me (pardon the pun) – the expert opinions were so contrary that I’m still scratching my head on it. I look forward to the day when we can read the full transcript from the trial testimony. Although the editors and trial attendees have given us incredible coverage, I’d like to read through the entire trial – including the laboriously scientific expert opinions.

        • Susan
          07/12/2010 at 8:30 PM

          HL, if he tells two friends, separately, at two different times (actually three friends, if you count VW being in the “Mercedes” with friend Scott and JP) that he pulled out the knife. Yet, when asked by the police more than once at different times, he doesn’t share this. Isn’t that some kind of intent–for whatever reason–to tell the police one thing and his confidantes another?

          Same with the cleaning up the blood statement to friend TRagone. He clearly knows it was a “no-no” and did not share it with the police. In fact, he tells his friend “it was not tampering.” If that were so, why not share it with police? Because he knew it WAS tampering.

          • carolina
            07/12/2010 at 9:38 PM

            You can prove he told people those things, but can you prove he did them?

            • Susan
              07/12/2010 at 9:46 PM

              I think it would be considered “circumstantial” evidence.

            • Tribe97
              07/13/2010 at 2:00 PM

              This is one of the areas where I disagree with the judge. Joe’s statements to Tara Ragone regarding removing the knife and regarding cleaning up the blood are not hearsay and can be admitted for the truth of the matter. Therefore, the judge *could* have found that he was telling the truth when talking to Tara Ragone and at least found him guilty of tampering with the crime scene.

              • Bruce
                07/15/2010 at 10:48 AM

                Hi Tribe:

                I have always had problems with the “removal of the knife” testimony. It seems clear to me from reading JP’s statements to the police that he clearly indicated that he simply removed the knife from the shirt of Robert Wone, and did not pull it out of his chest. Apparently, later (same day? next day?), JP told the cops that he was uncertain about the removal of the knife issue. In between, he had spoken to Tara Ragone and she recalls him saying that he pulled the knife out of Robert Wone’s chest. All of us would think that we would know whether we pulled the knife out of a chest or just removed a knife from a chest area, but I’m kind of forgiving on this one, because certainly JP, if innocent, would have been in shock. Why would he try to make clear to the police that his previous statements regarding the removal of the knife might be incorrect? did not pull the knif

                • Bruce
                  07/15/2010 at 11:10 AM

                  oops, pressed wrong button!


                  I am also concerned about the testimony, because to me, the very description of the activity regarding removal of the knife is a bit tricky.

                  For instance, consider the following descriptions:

                  (1) I moved the knife from his chest.

                  (2) I removed the knife from his chest.

                  (3) I took the knife from his chest.

                  (4) I pulled the knife from his chest.

                  (5) I yanked the knife out of his chest cavity.

                  (1), (2) & (3) are a bit ambiguous, aren’t they? At least as to whether the knife was actually pulled out or simply moved from the chest.

                  (4), by the use of the work “pulling,” seems more clear that it was removed from the chest cavity, but maybe not. (5) leaves no doubt.

                  Because of the ambiguity in the use of the common words “moved, removed,”, and the ambiguity of the word “from” the chest (does from mean “from in” the chest?), I haven’t really considered the testimoony in this regard to be important. People hear things differently all the time! Also, it does not appear that the criminal judge thought too much about it. Indeed, how could either removing the knife from the chest cavity, or just removing it from sitting on the chest, have assisted JP in anyway criminally, and how is it really relevant other than to show a fact finder that he said different things at different times about the matter.

                  While trying to show that JP lied is a good thing for those not in his camp, to me on this knife issue, it would only be important if I thought his lie was done to further a crime.

                  As I recall, the criminal judge stated in her opinion that JP may have also been embarrased about pulling the knife from the chest cavity (if he did so), because it was likely a spontaneous act which if he had thought about it, he probably would not have done.

                  In my mind the issue of the knife removal is not really relevant to anything, and any discrepancies can be rationally explained by the ambiguity of word choice in describing the act.

          • leo
            07/13/2010 at 11:11 AM

            What the Judge said was that she did not find the prosecution proved that Joe had the specific intent to obstruct justice per the statutory definition; his contradictory statements could have been made with the intent simply to hide the fact that he had done something stupid by pulling out the knife or wiping off Robert’s body. Somebody else could have reasoned differently; but this factfinder did not. If you read the three statutes the trio were accused of violating, you will find the explicit elements of each crime that the prosecution had to prove, one element in each crime being specific intent.

            • Tribe97
              07/13/2010 at 2:07 PM

              It certainly seems like specific intent could be inferred, though. I can’t think of any reason to remove the knife (especially since it may have been containing the damage while in place and removal could have hastened Robert’s death) OTHER than to tamper with the scene. Nor can I think of any reason to clean up the blood during the alleged 5 or so minutes from the time he claims he found the body to when the ambulance came instead of, I don’t know, performing CPR, other than to tamper with the scene.

              • Liam
                07/13/2010 at 9:58 PM

                Yes. Regarding removing the knife, you would think that Mr. JP would have come upon his friend, seen the knife impaling Mr. Wone up to the end of the handle and decided to leave it for the paramedics/doctors to handle. I mean, who goes and jerks a knife out of an incapacitated stab victim? Most people would not want to touch him for fear of doing something to further hurt the victim. Just like you don’t want to move a victim who, for example, was hit by a car and is incapacitated because you don’t want to risk doing additional damage.

                Also, did the intruder wear latex gloves? Why was there no fingerprint/palm print (or at least a partial) of the intruder on the knife?

                If latex gloves were worn by the intruder (or maybe as a Ninja he cut off the skin that leaves the finger prints), why no residual latex on the knife handle after three very forceful stabs?

                Absolutely no reason to remove a knife that was inserted by an intruder. And even if he did remove the knife, there should have been evidence of the intruder on the knife.

        • CC Biggs
          07/13/2010 at 11:54 AM

          I disagree with Hoya Loya that the judge would have been reversed on appeal had she found the defendants guilty. An appellate court would give the fact finder (in this case the judge) very broad discretion, and I believe there was enough evidence against the defenants to uphold the conviction, even if the appellate court might have decided the case differently in the first instance if it were the finder of fact. There were just too many inculpatory facts against the defendants for an appellate court to reverse the trial court under a lenient abuse of discretion standard.

          In reply to Bill O, I don’t think puzzling through the combination of what each player might have known can solve the “math problem.” Under any scenario, I think it is pretty clear that at least one or two of the defendants is guilty, but the evidence did not provide enough support to eliminate the possibility that at least one of the defendants could be absolutely innocent, and there was not enough evidence to distinguish the guilty housemate(s) from the (possibly) innocent. I think this uncertainty was the key factor that caused the judge to rule as she did.

      • carolina
        07/12/2010 at 9:44 PM

        If there is no direct evidence to prove which of them did what, you can’t convict any of them.

        • Susan
          07/12/2010 at 9:48 PM

          That was specifically JP. The two individuals he said that to apparently related those stories under oath during the trial.

  6. Jeana
    07/12/2010 at 7:45 PM

    This is a wonderful article – thanks to Holy Prepuce! whomever s/he may be – and to the eds for posting it. My theory on why none of the trouple came/have come forward to resolve Judge L’s “math problem” (and assuming it would either be Victor or Dylan,) is that he doesn’t have enough to guarantee a conviction of the others. Altho it’s been a long time since I’ve practiced in the area of criminal law, I know from prior plea negotiations that I wasn’t likely to get a deal for my client unless s/he could provide the evidence that would likely lead to a conviction, i.e., an eyewitness/participant in the criminal act or able to give testimony as to direct statements made by the perp.

    In this case, others have put forward the theory that Victor came in on the cover-up; that his scream upon seeing Robert’s body upended the plan to move the body. In this scenario Victor would have been getting all of his info from the other(s), hence the story he gave to the 911 dispatcher was the truth as he knew it at that time. This is not to say that he didn’t later buy in to the conspiracy of silence, but he still may not know the whole story. And if he doesn’t know who killed Robert, and has no direct knowledge of who tampered with what, then he doesn’t really have much to offer. We don’t know what attempts his lawyers may have made to get a deal for him. Perhaps they tried and failed.

  7. mia
    07/12/2010 at 8:58 PM

    Question: could we expect more evidences to be presented in the court for civil trial?

    • carolina
      07/12/2010 at 9:39 PM

      I expect they’ll be buried in it, Mia.

  8. Rich
    07/12/2010 at 9:02 PM

    Dear GRRR,

    “I don’t find sexual paraphernalia incriminating.” Good point. But, as a gay man, I have no clue what most of these devices do or are used for! I should give up my Gay Card.

    “Kink is a far stretch to murder.” Another god point. I just think, if you are going to participate into his kind of lifestyle, a jury, would have easily convicted. Smart move to waive a Jury Trial. A presiding Judge has seen this several times before. no big deal.

    As for, “Barbra Eden in her “Genie” outfit in the living room,” I believe this will strengthen your friends case in the Gay World.

    • Grrr
      07/12/2010 at 9:41 PM


      Yeah, like the forced urination device or whatever. I understand, that unless you have an infection down there, urine is sterile, but please, no! I am not a prude but something could be said for old fashioned sodomy (which if you do the math is almost entirely a heterosexual pursuit). In any event, none of this leads to murder.

      And, that damn Barbra Eden poster is huge, pristine & autographed.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        07/12/2010 at 10:30 PM

        histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, coccidiomycosis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, cytomegalovirus (CMV), genital herpes and hepatitis B can all be transferred from person to person via urine. none these are not visible to the human eye, except for gonorrhea in an advanced stage.

        • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
          07/12/2010 at 10:31 PM

          typo alert:

          none these are visible to the human eye, except for gonorrhea in an advanced stage.

        • Grrr
          07/12/2010 at 10:42 PM


        • Grrr
          07/12/2010 at 10:44 PM

          Those sound like infections, parasitic or otherwise. Totally an aside, the only parasites that killed Mr. Wone where known to him.

    • Ivan
      07/13/2010 at 8:03 AM

      Well, I know this won’t sit well with some of you but it could be that all the paraphernalia in DW’s room was inventory for JP’s aspiring porn shop. I believe JP planned to sell things through the internet as well. Just a thought.

      • Bill 2
        07/13/2010 at 8:16 AM

        If it were inventory for a shop, don’t you think he would want several of each item? One doesn’t usually run a shop unless there is at least an original along with several backups of every item. What police found in Dylan’s room is a collection of a wide variety of sex play items, not an inventory of items to sell.

        • Rich
          07/13/2010 at 11:42 AM

          Dear Ivan and Bill2:

          The single most compelling aspect of this blog is learning of different theories regarding the case.

          All of the theories make me think.

          Ivan: Brilliant deduction about the equipment being inventory to sell for JP’s business.

          Bill2: An even better theory about how a businessman does NOT have only one item in stock to sell.

          Always educational.

          • Ivan
            07/13/2010 at 12:12 PM

            Are you being sarcastic?

            • Rich
              07/13/2010 at 12:28 PM

              Dear Ivan:

              As I’ve stated here before, we spend a lot of time over analyzing every comment made and dissecting every word.

              It was message from the heart.

              Quite serious.

          • des
            07/13/2010 at 12:20 PM

            and presumeably they wouldn’t be open and out of the packaging if they were intended to be sold. where they doing quality control testing…?

            • Laura
              07/13/2010 at 1:42 PM

              LOL! I don’t do that very often, if ever, here…thanks for the chuckle.

          • carolina
            07/13/2010 at 7:58 PM

            I might agree, Ivan, except for the fact that we’ve read the profile and there were BDSM photos OF JOE on Joe’s law office computer. Also, they apparently showed signs of use and were not in their original packaging.

            Now, I can go in my granny’s dresser drawer and find a hundred handkerchiefs in their original packages, and she’s not starting a linen shop.

      • Bea
        07/13/2010 at 8:35 AM

        The website was porn films ( With what was shown on the site under construction, and the word “DVDS” in the URL, it seemed clear they weren’t selling equipment. And as Bill says, nobody just has one ‘stock’ item.

        • Ivan
          07/13/2010 at 12:16 PM

          Bea, I thought I read somewhere in this blog that JP had planned a store somewhere in Adams Morgan. I believe it was a second floor type arrangement. But Aug 2, 2006 put the kabash on those plans.

          • Clio
            07/13/2010 at 11:24 PM

            No, Ivan, 08/02 actually may have accelerated these plans, as a sop to poor Michael. What fatally stalled this fantasy seemed to be the turn in the investigation and scandal from the high point (for the trouple) at the 2007 Dyl birthday celebration at Halo to the low point (for the trouple’s PR) at the Holder news conference. They no longer seemed in the clear after that, so these outrageous plans for a such a shop were probably shelved.

  9. Clio
    07/12/2010 at 9:19 PM

    This unsatisfying “Scottish verdict” reminds me why the real William of Orange resorted to a “vicious” Kulturkampf in his northernmost kingdom right before the Act of Union in 1707. Just kidding: that William was a particularly nasty, control “queen”, especially to the poor Highlanders who had the bad luck to support the Stuarts!

    Nevertheless, before I use Lynn’s “cold comfort” decision as an excuse for putting my dress kilt and bagpipes away forever, I do appreciate more and more how much her damning comments may erode the seeming solidarity of Team Price. And for that other side of “cold comfort”, one may be tempted to do a Highlands Fling or a Virginia reel, if only in the privacy of one’s room.

    • Kate
      07/13/2010 at 8:27 AM

      Ah, the good old days of “Bloodless Revolutions” …

      I hope, as you do, that the stigma of the Judge’s decision will offer “cold comfort” to those who are guilty – whoever they may be.


  10. tucsonwriter
    07/12/2010 at 9:44 PM

    Article entitled “Could bloggers have solved Chandra Levy’s case?”

    • Liam
      07/13/2010 at 1:46 AM

      Thanks for the link. I found the article interesting. Particularly the comment regarding the incompetence of the police in the Chandra Levy investigation, to wit:

      “Finding Chandra, a new book about the case by Washington Post reporters Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham, details a shocking series of blunders by the police, who failed to retrieve security-camera footage showing Levy’s final departure from home and somehow were unaware of a pattern of similar attacks on other female joggers.”

      I always try to give the police investigators the benefit of the doubt when analyzing their work with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. However, it seems that the DC police frequently f’up the basics. I believe they are generally far less than competent.

      • carolina
        07/13/2010 at 8:02 PM

        I think it’s clear the MPD screwed up in the Levy case, but keep in mind that the author is trying to sell books. He’s not going to get any press repeating what’s already been said on CNN.

  11. Rich
    07/12/2010 at 10:00 PM

    A signed Barbara Eden Poster is worth something.

    Tell your firend to place it in his will, prior to his untimely death.

  12. 07/13/2010 at 12:12 AM

    Judge Liebowitz was meticulous and painstaking in her analysis of the facts and her reasoning under the law. I am sad that she did not give the considerable circumstantial evidence and inconsistent explanations sufficient weight to bring it across the finish line at least against JP. The remarks in her opinion aren’t really fair; she condemns, but doesn’t convict. So where does that leave everybody?
    Question – could the evidence elicited to date be more persuasive as to the charge that the defendants committed murder or manslaughter rather than that tampering and obstruction, i.e. that murder or manslaughter had to have happened (no other explanation) but tampering and obstruction not necessarily so. But is the math problem still the same – or does it work in the reverse? Circumstantial evidence is used in child abuse cases where the infant or child was in the presence exclusively of an adult or adults and there is no other logical explanation for death or injuries. What did Sherlock Holmes say that whenever all the other facts have been ruled out what remains, however incredible, is the truth. (Pardon me A.C. Doyle for not quoting you accurately) The Scottish procedure is interesting, but what is the practical effect of it? Can the verdict be introduced in a civil action? The procedure seems as unsatisfying as the verdict in this case, ie we are unpersuaded under the law, but, using common sense, we are quite persuaded. I would expect that the verdict of social ostracism is as unforgiving under the American and Scottish system when the community believes that a wrong has not been righted.
    Thanks to the editors for their perseverance for justice’s sake and to the many learned, thoughtful and committed posters on this website.
    What a man of accomplishment and promise Robert Wone was! His smiling photos really convey his goodness. I feel so sorry for his wife and parents and other family and friends who still await justice for Robert.

    • Jackie
      07/13/2010 at 5:03 PM

      Burke, you said it all! My sentiments exactly.

  13. Rick
    07/13/2010 at 9:32 AM

    Well spoken Burke…

  14. Michael
    07/13/2010 at 11:08 AM

    I hope the trouple enjoyed this post as much as I did!

    • Clio
      07/13/2010 at 11:38 PM

      Yes, Michael, I do, too, although at the public library (to where they may have been forced to go due to parlous finances), one cannot be on the computers too long.

  15. 07/13/2010 at 2:57 PM

    Electric shock device–like that screams STUN GUN–this is so Ken abd Barbie murder stuff
    channel 111 has a show called wicked attraction but yesterday the channel had a show which dealt with a california doc who was homosexual and had fallen on hard times and got involved in this murder/insurance fraud case and that he tried to do a preliminary act of finding a victem by stunning the guy w/ a stun gun but the gut escaped

    • carolina
      07/13/2010 at 8:03 PM

      It wasn’t a stun gun. Do some reading.

  16. 07/13/2010 at 3:04 PM

    Google californian physician Dr. Richard Boggs and his conviction for murder that involved use of a stun gun.

    • carolina
      07/13/2010 at 8:04 PM

      We could, but it wouldn’t have any bearing on this case.

  17. Robert
    07/18/2010 at 3:34 PM

    I keep hearing this idea that one of the three guys involved in the death of Mr Wone could be totally “innocent”. How is this possible? If three guys go into a store to rob it and one shoots and kills the attendant, arn’t they all accessories to murder? So we are to believe that perhaps Joe and Dylan were involved in the killing of Mr Wone and Victor was not and because Victor was not directly involved, he is innocent? So we are further to believe that perhaps Joe and Dylan killed Mr Wone and Victor knew nothing about it? So he is innocent? I don’t get this. Can you Hoya Loya please explain this.

    • Jeana
      07/18/2010 at 4:49 PM

      Hi Robert,

      Hoya Loya’s explanation is absolutely correct, but let me expand upon it a bit. The example you cite, three guys go into a store to rob it….etc., is a common scenario in the concept known as “felony murder.” In that scenario all three guys went into the store with the intent to commit robbery. Even if only one of the three was armed and is the actual shooter, all three go down for felony murder because of their shared intent to commit the underlying crime of robbery. In the case of Robert Wone’s murder, if only two of the trouple were engaged in the suspected sex play (the underlying crime) that, as is theorized by many, led to the murder, then the one who was not, so long as he wasn’t otherwise directly involved in the murder, is not guilty.

  18. Hoya Loya
    07/18/2010 at 3:51 PM


    The idea is that it is possible that one of the three (usually assumed to be Dylan or Victor) really did sleep through the murder and upon awakening believed the intruder story as fed by Joe and the other. The judge could not rule out that this might have been the case.

Comments are closed.