VZ VCB-1 of 3

07/26/2010
By Craig

Premiering the ‘Anacostia Dialogues’

The videotapes of Victor Zaborsky’s interview with MPD investigators at the Violent Crimes Branch in Anacostia were played in court on Day  Seven of the criminal trial, May 26, 2010.

The clips (redacted by the US Attorney’s Office) were digitized from the original source material, and have been compressed only slightly to maintain the highest video and audio quality as possible.   They still look crappy but far better than when they were played in Judge Lynn Leibovitz’ courtroom.

These are the unedited and raw footage from the evening.  The video files are huge and playback may be a little slow as they buffer.   Expect a lot of dead air in these as the housemates sit alone in the spartan interrogations rooms, waiting for detectives to come and go and come again.  Warholesque is what struck us when first seeing them at trial. 

The first portion runs about a half hour. The final two installments of Zaborsky’s interviews will be screened later this week, with Ward’s and Price’s to follow.

We may opt to do an edited package later and lift the audio only for iPod download and playback.  As a study guide, please refer to the transcripts from this April 2010 post.

After the jump, it’s August 3, 2006, and you are there…

-posted by Craig

Victor Zaborsky MPD Interrogation Video 1 – Time: 00:28

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80 Responses to “ VZ VCB-1 of 3 ”

  1. former crackho on 07/26/2010 at 2:03 PM

    Fascinating…I found the statement referring to their eyes being wide (or was it big) as saucers rather interesting. I’m sure they were.

  2. Ellen on 07/26/2010 at 2:24 PM

    At 9:32 in the tape, or so, he is describing the second low grunt/screams and he touches himself on the side, near or where RW was stabbed….a physical memory?

    13:00 something, – “Was Joe in bed with you the entire time?” (I would have expected an emphatic yes from an innocent….) “As far as I know….” that leaves an opening in my mind that Joe and Dylan were doing stuff w/or to RW while Victor slept….

    I think VZ is telling the truth about most of it, but is covering up once he says he and JP went down in response to screams – I think only he went down, and JP was already there.

    • Liam on 07/26/2010 at 7:58 PM

      I see the answer “As far as I know” to simply be a truthful answer. If VZ was asleep after taking Unisom, he might not know whether JP left the bed and returned. Furthermore, if VZ had replied with an emphatic yes, the detective would have surely asked how he could possibly be sure JP was in bed the entire time if he was asleep.

    • Bea on 07/26/2010 at 8:00 PM

      Agree with your comments. Also, his persona was off – to me his body language seemed deflated (difficult night, accepting that his ‘life would never be the same’!) not like he was covering for having an active role in a murder. From the excerpts I’ve seen of Joe and Dylan’s interviews, Joe was highly animated and Dylan very detached with arms crossed. Victor strikes me much as the way the Judge seemed to characterize him as the ‘mama’ to some bad sons.

  3. Rick on 07/26/2010 at 4:12 PM

    I’ve only been able to watch a few minutes of the interview here at work, anxious to get home and view the entire tape.

    Thanks to whoever got the tape posted here!

  4. Kate on 07/26/2010 at 4:51 PM

    Thank you, dear Editors, for posting the complete first interview of Zaborsky.

    Going off to watch now, but had to say that I do love the Mystery Science Theater “Feature Presentation” pix. Some of my favorite, classically bad films were first viewed on that show – including the infamous “Manos: Hands of Fate.”

    The worst film ever made … it has a prominent place in our home theater collection. Truly.

    Cheers,
    Kate

  5. mw on 07/26/2010 at 5:16 PM

    I’m starting to think maybe that Victor and Joe really were just hanging out in bed, and Dylan just went and attacked Wone on his own, sexually assaulting and eventually killing him. Joe and Victor probably figured out eventually what went down, but not until after the 911 call, and maybe even these interviews.

  6. Clio on 07/26/2010 at 7:55 PM

    A stray thought: should Vern on “Design Star” make the Anacostia interrogation rooms the next projects for his would-be proteges?

    From the little footage that I had time to ponder, Victor appeared tired, slumped, and a bit nervous: even his freshly-white polo shirt did not seem so fresh on him. Who would want to travel all the way from Denver to come home to an all-nighter at the police station!

    He did seem credible, however, until he started talking about the alleged happenings immediately after the stabbings. He was in full damage-control mode then.

  7. Robert H on 07/26/2010 at 9:33 PM

    Maybe Vic is protecting Joe and Dyl……I thought he was doing fine until he said he went downstairs and as soon as he saw Robert, he started screaming. He didn’t even know anything was wrong with Robert at that time. Credibility? Not much.

    • carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:06 PM

      Well, there was the blood and such. That might have been a clue.

  8. Tarfunk on 07/26/2010 at 9:34 PM

    What strikes me the most watching this is the same thing that struck me reading the transcript: the insistence that the 911 operator stated that the time was 11:43. It’s hard to imagine that such a fact would be asked for, let alone remembered, in the midst of the trauma of a situation like that, but it’s doubly hard to believe there’s no significance to it given that the operator states the time twice and Victor still gets it wrong. She says in the 911 call that it’s “23:54″ and then immediately follows that with “11:54″. I guess it’s possible that “11:43″ and “23:54″ might have gotten melded in some way, but it seems farfetched to me. It seems more likely that someone thought an 11 minute difference was important, and they made sure that got into the record.

    • Bea on 07/26/2010 at 9:41 PM

      Yep. Joe and Victor were both hanging on to that number – and Joe blatantly lied that he didn’t hear it until Victor told him downstairs – clearly he’s heard on the tape. But WHY? My guess is the same as yours – some kind of time stamp.

    • Bob on 07/26/2010 at 10:34 PM

      I thought that was weird too. Like they needed the time to get their stories aligned. Though I wonder why they wouldn’t just look at a clock.

      • carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:08 PM

        Because this way, it was on tape.

    • Bruce on 07/30/2010 at 7:21 PM

      Because the 911 operator said the military time and then immediately the “non-military time,” I have never put much stock to the discrepancies relating to what Joe and Victor reported in that regard, and what was shown on the transcript of the 911 tape.

      I know that my brain would have had difficulty registering and processing the military time, and I could see myself goofing it up, even when told the “real time” immediately after, especially in the panic and shock of the “Swann Street time,” immediately after the murder.

      When, some time ago, I read the transcript of the 911 tape, this jumped out at me. When I saw that the military time was given, immediately followed by the “real time,” I became somewhat disappointed that bloggers were saying that Victor was lying about the time told to him, and that he had been clearly told the time by the 911 operator, without an explanation that the military time had been given at the same time.

      I’m sorry, but I’m an advocate of the “meld time” theory espoused above.

      There may be many bones to pick with Victor’s statements to the police, but, in my mind, that is not one of them if fairly accessed, leaving some reasonable “benefit of a doubt” to Victor.

      As a defense attorney, I would want the jury to hear the full 911 tape, and would try to impress upon the jury, in terms of this time issue, what an easy mistake that could be among all the shock and confusion.

      • Liam on 07/30/2010 at 9:20 PM

        I agree. In the anxiety of the moment, especially given VZs emotional state, I wouldn’t expect him to necessarily get the correct time from 23:54 and 11:54. There’s an 11 a 4 and a 3 in there and they could all get mixed up.

        Plus, would be the purpose of trying to change a time that is clearly documented by the 911 call?

      • carolina on 07/30/2010 at 10:20 PM

        Then how would you explain the fact that Victor told Joe correctly, yet both of them later give the exact same incorrect time? And why would you ask such a thing in the midst of all of that?

        • Liam on 07/30/2010 at 11:49 PM

          okay, i’ll try to answer your questions, but I need to know the answer to my question above before i can answer your questions. The answer to your question depends on the answer to my question.

          What would be the purpose of later trying to change a documented time?

          • Bea on 07/31/2010 at 3:41 AM

            Liam, Joe is heard on the 911 tape telling Victor to ask the time but vehemently denies doing so and argues that he didn’t know what time the 911 dispatcher told him until they were seated downstairs. Victor hears the dispatcher tell him the time then repeats it to Joe. Why did Joe lie? And why did they BOTH state the wrong time? I think it’s because they’d earlier agreed to use the time stamp from which to count backwards to give time frame answers. In both “remembering” the wrong time, it appears that this is evidence that they conspired (it can’t be a coincidence).

            And Joe denied asking for the time and hearing the time because he knows that it is a strange thing to ask a dispatcher under the circumstances. (The logical question: ‘why did you insist on Victor asking what time it is?’). I can only speculate that Joe was realizing that it would look bad if they both gave the wrong time and wanted it to seem offhand that Victor had asked (not that Joe had prompted it). Frankly, if it wasn’t part of a more elaborate lie, it would likely strike Victor as a stupid question and wouldn’t have posed it to the dispatcher (and ignored Joe).

            If you’re right and they both heard 23:54 and 11:54 but remembered it as 11:43 and it was a simple (and unusual) mistake and coincidence, Joe would not have lied about asking.

            • carolina on 07/31/2010 at 9:06 AM

              What she said.

              If there had been no further discussion, surely one of them would have given the correct time. Why would they need to discuss it if not to get the story straight?

              It’s not that they wanted to change the time, it’s that they wanted a reference point around which they could build their story.

            • Liam on 07/31/2010 at 11:59 AM

              Thank you very much for your answer and excellent (as always) explanation.

              I apologize for being slow on the uptake regarding this issue (and it’s obviously a very significant one).

              I have one more question, if you’ll bear with me. If they’d earlier agreed to use a time stamp (11:43), why ask the dispatcher for the time that (I assume they would know) would be inconsistent with that stamp? Why not just NOT ask the dispatcher. I guess I’m missing the point of them creating their own time stamp, and then raising questions about it by asking the dispatcher.

              • Bruce on 08/01/2010 at 12:02 PM

                I think I must be very dull on this issue, by not putting much credence on this time issue dispute.

                I think a vast majority of people know that 911 calls are taped. I think Joe and Victor would be smart and aware enough to know that. We see transcripts and sometimes recordings of 911 calls on tv news all the time. Don’t you all know that?

                I agree that the question why Victor asked about the time is a mystery. I agree that if Joe later denied asking for the time, that is also a mystery.

                But I have to stick with the time meld theory in my own tiny mind.

                When you add a spoon of the shock and confusion of the post-murder “Swann time”….

                …and then you add the dash of the confusing military time being told Victor, with the real time told immediately after…

                … and when you finally add a cup of the opinion that just about everyone knows that 911 calls are taped, and I am just sure Joe and Victor would know that…

                …I still come up with a big pile of nothing to eat.

                I can understand why others feel differently. But again, trying to look at it objectively, with just a little reasonable “benefit of a doubt,” it just doesn’t seem critical to me in any regard.

  9. Susan on 07/26/2010 at 9:47 PM

    I think VZ seems credible, at least up until the 9-11 call, in that he continues a steady stream of responses to the events of the night and doesn’t seem hesitant. I feel sorry for him as I watch him (but that says something about me, not him).

    As to his demeanor, I just don’t know. I don’t know him and don’t know if he seemed nervous, under the remaining effects of a sleep drug, or anything.

    One thing that seems odd to me is the gym scenario. Has it been recorded what time JP arrived at the gym–did he have to sign in? Why would VZ come in, unpack only “a little,” change his clothes and go to the gym, and not stay? Just to look for JP? That’s so odd. Why not just wait for him to come home? Call him on the cell? Finish unpacking, etc.? Of course, maybe he was going to surprise him, with his early return. But at that point in their lives, it seems like VZ’s time away was the time for DW and J to play, so would it really have been a welcome surprise?

    • Bea on 07/27/2010 at 12:34 AM

      I’ve always thought there was a good chance that Victor was trying to talk to Joe privately or to stop whatever was planned from going forward (not a murder, though – don’t think that was planned). We know Victor called Joe on his cell from the airport, though we don’t know if his “scheduled” flight arrival was later that night or even the next day or two). There was no mention of V having called Joe BEFORE he left Denver to tell him of the change in plans.

      So Victor arrives at the airport and calls Joe, makes it home, then goes to the gym (leaving Dylan “exercising” in his room???) to find Joe but does NOT find him. We know Victor did not stay to work out since he’s only gone a half hour. Why the need to rush to the gym – my guess is that Joe told him on the phone that there were party plans and that Victor was going to try to talk him out of it OR Joe was at the gym making final arrangements (don’t know if drugs ever change hands there). Regardless, if Victor told Joe he’d see him at the gym, it’s odd Joe didn’t wait for him.

      I don’t think Victor’s return was greeted with joy since we know from emails that Joe proposed to Dylan that they have their “third” while Victor was away. I’m guessing Victor being away was an essential part of the party. And possibly why Sarah Morgan went away to Tom & John’s house, though she said that wasn’t the case in her testimony. If it was just a ‘gut feeling’ without real information (say things got feisty when Victor was away) perhaps she did not feel compelled to say it was any reason of note. I know I’ve changed plans because I didn’t get a good feeling though I’d be hard-pressed to explain it.

      Would love to know if Results gym had any rep in 2006 that one could procure drugs there. I suppose even if it did NOT and was anti-drug that it could still easily have happened – that’s assuming Joe arrived at Results at all.

      Victor’s demeanor (IMO) is more aligned with someone covering for someone else than covering for himself. Most of it is plausible but I agree with others that he seems to be far less convincing of some aspects (when I suspect he’s lying).

      • AnnaZed on 07/27/2010 at 1:54 AM

        I think that “going to the gym” may be some sort of shorthand for going to score drugs” (not necessarily at the gym, maybe from brother Michael) and that Victor went looking for Joe and did not find him. It’s like that recurring trope in “Heartburn” where the philandering husband is always said to be “out buying socks.”

        • Susan on 07/27/2010 at 11:37 AM

          I read some of the D. Ward page last night and someone posted that Results members use something like key cards, so if J went there, there should be some record. Bea and Anna Zed, both good theories as to why the odd behavior at that time. It does seem like V wanted to meet with J alone, otherwise that short trip to the gym and back makes no sense.

          • carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:13 PM

            Also possible that Victor thought he might catch Joe at something, though heaven knows what would drive him to do so. It seems like Joe did what he pleased and Victor put up with it.

  10. Susan on 07/26/2010 at 10:15 PM

    It’s interesting that he says that they discussed watching Project Runway during dinner, which he says ended (dinner) sometime before 9:30 and that it was when he was coming downstairs to water the plants that he saw DW in the office making up the bed and asked about it. It’s odd that it didn’t come up during dinner, when they were making their plans for later that eve.

    I wonder if they often had overnight guests. In some ways, it seemed VZ was a guest in his own home. I wonder how often he didn’t know what was going on, with JP’s plans with DW (while VZ was away), etc.

    • Liam on 07/26/2010 at 10:53 PM

      Yes. All along I’ve found it interesting that VZ didn’t know about the guest and that it hadn’t come up at dinner.

      Contrast that to 12:45 (on the player clock, not the time stamp on the interrogation video). At that point the detective asks whether Dylan was an equal partner in the relationship and VZ replies “no….we’re trying to develop it in that way….but it’s, it’s…..” (the detective then interjects “okay, you don’t have to explain it any further”).

      So Dylan is not an “equal partner”, yet VZ is the one seemingly treated like the odd man out in many respects.

      • Susan on 07/26/2010 at 10:57 PM

        I’m sure it was a major juggling act or JP to keep them both in their respective positions in his life. So DW is told he’s the love of JP’s life but relegated to the second floor. VZ gets star billing w/JP in the master bdrm but doesn’t seem to know what’s going on in his own house. And he thinks DW is “sweet” and harmless but his bff Sarah says that DW had plans to replace VZ. Do we know if he ever gave up those plans?

        Have to marvel at JP’s multitasking with keeping up the two relationships, planning a third with a third, the job, pro bono work, bailing out the brother, etc.

  11. Bob on 07/26/2010 at 10:31 PM

    Victor seems to be working overtime trying to protect Dylan. Toward the end he speculates the intruder skipped Dylan’s room because of all the clutter, deciding it wasn’t worth checking out for valuables. The investigator says the burglar would’ve seen Dylan lying in there, then Victor says the door was closed and tells a story about why he believes Dylan shut his door. Hmm.

    What I find the most suspicious of all is how hard Victor is pushing the intruder angle. If I wake up to a scream and someone is dead in my house, I wouldn’t be pushing a theory on the officer. Certainly, I would share every little detail that would make it clear I am innocent, but I wouldn’t presume to know what actually happened. I would hope the police are figuring that out. A theory and a set explanation seems really suspicious to me in this situation. I would probably just say “I don’t know” a million times.

    He seemed really nervous when asked if Dylan killed Robert. I think Dylan was the main responsible party.

    • Liam on 07/26/2010 at 11:24 PM

      Yes, VZ does seem to work to try to protect Dylan. However, it was in response to questions regarding Dylan’s whereabouts, and why wouldn’t the intruder have gone into Dylan’s room.

      And, yes, he does push the intruder theory (I heard the door chime; he could have stepped on our car to get over the fence). However, maybe VZ has a tendency to try too hard to explain things.

      After all, in response to the initial general request from the detective “Tell me what you remember about what happened,” for basically the first ten minutes of the tape he goes into “what happened” in detail that includes numerous seemingly extraneous details, such as brushing his teeth, watering the plants, JP switching channels, etc.

  12. Susan on 07/26/2010 at 11:39 PM

    I believe others noticed this before but I just read Ward’s and Zaborsky’s testimonies again and in Z’s testimonty:

    he says that AFTER he went upstairs to call 9-11 he came downstairs and saw Ward standing in the doorway of the guest room,

    But in W’s testimony:
    he sees Victor Z. in the doorway with JP. He mentions it twice I think. That seems significant, since if you’ve heard screams, etc. and you exit your room, wouldn’t you remember what you saw? If we believe VZ, Ward exited his room and saw…nothing. Because JP would have been on the bed with RW so he’d have to go down the hallway and look in the room. If VZ was looking down from the third floor that’s very diff. than standing in the doorway, etc.

  13. Noaharc on 07/27/2010 at 12:31 AM

    IMHO-did this judge blow it

  14. Burke on 07/27/2010 at 1:42 AM

    If Victor came home bec he knew/sensed the JP plan, ie. sexual abuse of a trusting friend, why would he have gone to sleep – or let the other two out of his sight – or did he think being there in and of itself would have ended it – or as with other things – did he passively give up/in and detach until something forced some after the fact involvement.

    • Bea on 07/27/2010 at 5:44 AM

      Hey Burke. My thought is that it’s likely NONE of the three expected to murder or even sexually assault Robert that night. Rather, I’d guess that Victor knew or suspected that perhaps Joe had been using a lot and/or that Joe-N-Dylan’s Playtime in his absence had escalated to the point that made him uncomfortable. While reputable players in the BDSM scene may occasionally have accidents, these were (apparently) rookies without much sense/too reckless. Maybe Victor thought that a third (as in trick, not Robert) was coming over and maybe they’d become more and more unsavory. Victor didn’t know until after dinner that Robert was coming over, and it’s anybody’s guess what he thought of THAT – perhaps he assumed that it was “Joe’s problem” whether Robert heard whatever shenanigans with a threesome Joe had planned (since Robert was “Joe’s friend”) or maybe he’d been told that Joe had gotten a vibe that Robert was wanting to play with them.

      It’s possible that Victor went to bed with knowledge that an assault was taking place (or that it could escalate to that) but based solely on info from trial and this site, I doubt he thought this could happen. He put up with a ridiculous amount of nonsense from Joe so it’s possible, I suppose, but it seems unlikely he’d allow something so surely destined to ruin lives (even an assault that didn’t include murder) – even if he was jackass enough to NOT be worried for Robert, he’d worry for himself and his beloved. My guess is that he’d cleaned up after Joe a few times, just not messes of a criminal nature.

      • Burke on 07/28/2010 at 11:41 AM

        Thanks Bea for taking the time to explain – clear thinking and knowledgeable as usual!

  15. David on 07/27/2010 at 9:28 AM

    One of the most interesting ways to watch this video is not watch it all, but rather listen to it only. You will notice how VZ’s voice raises an octive when he starts recounting the events at about 11 oclock. His voices raises, and it quivers. Before that point his voice is very calm. What this means I am not sure — Does he start lying at this point, or are the events he is recounting truly frightening him? But it is very interesting.

    David, co-ed.

    • addicted lurker on 07/27/2010 at 10:16 AM

      Yes, David, that stood out to me too, with the same ambiguities about how to interpret the tonal shift. Adrenaline kicks in, I’m sure, but not sure why.

    • Craig on 07/27/2010 at 11:14 AM

      In just those 28 minutes, a handful of new elements of the narrative jumped out at me. And I hate to say it, but again with the shower(s)….

      I’ll roll the tape again and get the time stamps for the anomolies that I thought I noticed. And for anyone trying to ID anything on the tapes, the time code burned onto it (not the player counter) should probably be the standard.

      • chilaw79 on 07/28/2010 at 12:06 PM

        The showers at 1509 Swann get a workout on the night of August 2, 2006, not to mention the leaks and the watering.

        I am sure some Freudian would have a field day (or whatever it is that Freudians have).

        • Jeana on 07/28/2010 at 12:25 PM

          I wonder if they thought investigators might check the property’s water usage for 8-2-06 – I assume it’s metered.

          • Clio on 07/28/2010 at 9:59 PM

            I wonder if Sarah took a shower before she braved the heat and humidity of a DC August evening to catch a bus to go five or six blocks.

            Water symbolizes purification, and the abundance of it in the trouple’s official story may suggest their desperate need for absolution for these terrible deeds.

  16. Anon34 on 07/27/2010 at 10:51 AM

    I am a high stakes poker player. I assure you that when Victor moves his hand in front of his face and/or touches his nose/face, he is lying or at least dissembling.

    • Susan on 07/27/2010 at 11:57 AM

      I wondered about those moments (hand to face).

      You know, I read the Dylan Ward transcript last night and aside from that (I guess major) part where he says he sees Victor Z. in the doorway when he comes out of his room and VZ says he is upstairs and comes down and sees DW at the doorway (someone didn’t see someone or someone got the story wrong), DW’s testimony reads credibly to me, too. He seems very willing to take the polygraph.

      Part of me wonders (maybe far-fetched but this whole crime is far-fetched) if DW might have been in a sleep or drug-induced sleepwalk and possibly done the crime without realizing it. He mentions reading an article before he went to bed and then the police found that article.

      Then again, it’s a fact that JP lied to police because he implicates himself with the clean up of blood and telling two separate friends about moving the knife.

      Also, if we believe DW’s testimony, then when he comes out of his room VZ is already in the doorway and JP is NOT engaging in any life saving measures. DW says that twice. But in VZ’s testimony, he comes downstairs, DW is already there and he hands JP a towel and sees him applying pressure with another towel (life saving measures), unless I’m remembering what I read incorrectly.

    • carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:23 PM

      This is not only true as gambling tells, but also in airport profiling in other countries. For example, Israel puts all of their airport security through training not to go through your $70 face and throat cream, but to observe the body language and facial tics of passengers. Hand to mouth or hand to face as one speaks is listed as a prime reason to take extra precautions with that passenger.

    • Bea on 09/21/2012 at 9:05 PM

      Yeah, dusting off some old, old posts. I watched a program on YouTube in which Clark Freshman (UC Law Professor) explains his research on facial “tells” and voicing changes which MIGHT tip one off as to a lie, or at least that they’re thinking carefully about what they’re going to say. Noting the issues raised about Victor’s voice, I was caught this time by the distinct action of Victor touching his forehead and rubbing it (not simply touching his face, but this more particular and defining act).

      I rewatched this tape and noted that he touches/rubs his forehead when he’s discussing the following (I may have missed a couple):

      When he was describing that after he got back from the gym (very quickly, not finding Joe) that Joe and Dylan were at the house. Mentions that Joe has already showered. WERE J & D DOING SOMETHING SEXUAL? DISCUSSING ANYTHING ILLICIT?

      When he is describing who was where after Robert’s arrival.

      When he has to back-track in his timeline to “mention” that he saw Dylan making the pull out bed and learning for the first time that Robert is coming over, and it continues through him saying that he went to find Joe to confirm this (WHY WOULDN’T HE SIMPLY BELIEVE DYLAN – WAS THERE AN ARGUMENT ABOUT IT – WHY HIGH TAIL IT TO JOE?)

      When he says that during dinner they talked about watching Project Runway.

      When he recalls that after dinner he began watering.

      When Project Runway ended at 11 that Joe was in bed watching TV as he took his Unisom and Benadryl – explains in detail – and that at 11:05 Joe was still in bed watching TV then turned it off.

      When he claims “I woke up, we woke up, to screams.”

      When he says the first time he saw Dylan after going upstairs to call 911 and that Dylan’s eyes were like saucers.

      That he was sure Dylan’s door was closed when he (Victor) went to bed.

      When he discussed “the shed” as a poor choice to use to jump over the fence.

      That when he and Joe go to bed they close their door because there is a skylight right outside their bedroom door which lets light in.

      It seems like that during questioning (as opposed to when he’s freely telling the story at his own pace) he’s more animated and less nervous, which seems backwards.

      I agree with many of the other posts here, reading it freshly, but I think there was a good chance that:
      He saw or heard something going on between Dylan and Joe when he got home from the gym; that he was uncomfortable with whatever was planned and surprised that Robert was “involved” (maybe this was Victor’s imagination and nothing was planned). I’m guessing he and Joe argued during dinner and there was something to Joe reordering the channel he got rid of – and that they may have argued during the program before and after Robert’s arrival, but I don’t think Joe stuck around – his use of “I woke” and then correcting it to “we woke” seems telling, along with him saying “he assumed” that Joe had been with him the whole time. On everything else, he is SO certain.

      He watered plants while he was pissed.

      When he heard screams, he did note that Dylan’s eyes were “like saucers” but there’s something fishy about this discussion of the sequence.

      He seems emotional in discussing the skylight (rubbing his head) and here he’s thinking about something else that may not match what’s in the words being spoken.

      I’m hoping the cops looked carefully at the shed and its contents. We all were amazed at how much water discussions there were in each – burning steaks, leaking shower, plus all the showering in general – but I didn’t remember that there was a shed back there. It would have been on the OTHER side of the fence so is it possible that that’s where the key was kept for tricks???

      Yes, this is completely arbitrary and may mean nothing. But anyone bored should watch Victor’s other two to check out when he rubs his forehead!

      • Clio on 09/23/2012 at 1:55 PM

        Why would one leave a key in a shed outside of the property for tricks? When did Joe leave work that day, and did he indicate to anyone his plans for the evening? Why would Victor be uncomfortable witnessing a sexual encounter or a kiki between Dyl and Joe — they were trying to be a family after all? Why would he be pissed about not knowing about Robert’s visit — after all, he was the one who left Denver early.

        • Bea on 09/23/2012 at 4:34 PM

          Hey Clio – my comments are all speculative. Why “lie” about the shed – assuming that the facial touch indicates anything. He was discussing how the intruder got over the wall and said the shed would be a poor manner of doing so. Maybe the lie was discussing the intruder’s entry. I just wondered if the shed had a bigger role as I’d never remembered the shed mentioned.

          Other questions – if Victor told Joe he wanted to talk to him (called from airport limo) and arrived home, was told by D that J was at the gym, but J wasn’t there so V returned home. Pissed at being given the run-around? Was Joe talking to D about the night’s plans Victor-be-damned? Were drugs purchased and present? Don’t know.

          My guess about being pissed about Robert’s visit was more about being kept in the dark – why didn’t someone mention it at dinner? Was the dinner chock full of arguments because V’s presence (V assumed?) going to stop the evening plans? Don’t know but perhaps seeing D making up the bed for Robert made V realize that plans might still be underway. Note too that J’s interrogation included J noting that Victor was pissed about him watching TV.

          I suspect – pure speculation – that Victor assumed his early arrival would stop the festivities. J, bent on pleasing the Sparkly Cat love of his life, just ignored Victor’s presence?

          • Bill Orange on 09/23/2012 at 6:08 PM

            I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating: WE may not know why Victor came home early, but I’m fairly sure that both the prosecution and Team Wone have a pretty good idea. They know, from e-mails and phone records, who contacted Victor, and when they did so. My guess is that Sarah told Victor that something was going to happen that night, and that she was going to get the hell out of the house. Victor decided to come home early, and everything spun out of control.

            Here’s the big question I have about Sarah: If she truly thought Victor was innocent of any wrongdoing here, would she really have broken off contact with him? Yes, her mother and her father are both lawyers, and they told her not to contact him, but Sarah was a grown woman, not some teenage girl. I think the reason Sarah broke off contact was because she knows, or at least suspects, that her actions were the initial trigger that caused everything to spin out of control that night.

            • Clio on 09/23/2012 at 7:44 PM

              But how and when did Sarah surmise that Joe and Dyl were up to no good? Did similar “boy’s nights in” force her to seek shelter with less adventuresome gay couples on a regular basis? And, has she resumed contact — just with Victor, perhaps — simply for old time’s sake?

            • Bea on 09/23/2012 at 7:52 PM

              Interesting. I might add that Sarah’s actions didn’t trigger anything – whoever did the murdering is solely responsible for THAT. I agree that she kicked Victor to the curb because she knew he was up to his ears in guilt (of knowing and not telling, if not more) and she didn’t want to be part of that. I do wonder if she knew more than she told, but suspect she simply decided not to give her OPINIONS (which reflected poorly on one/more of the trio). It will forever trouble me that whomever did NOT participate in the murder didn’t/doesn’t have the basic human decency to tell authorities what the know. Shame on them.

              If she did alert Victor, and if Victor came home thinking his presence was enough to stop it, then I would have empathy for their miscalculations SO LONG AS THEY STEPPED FORWARD TO RIGHT THE WRONG. Obviously, didn’t happen. Sarah may have told everything she knew – my guess is that she thought she was protecting VICTOR, not someone else. But at least, as you indicate, she’s not still part of the posse.

              • susan on 09/23/2012 at 8:55 PM

                I would not be happy being a Sarah in a household with a trouple. I’d feel left out. But it sounds like she served a purpose there, as a friend at the least. Still. I’d have trouble overhearing the s&m play and all the rest. And maybe feeling like I had to leave the house when the games began.

                Bea, thanks for your analysis. That is interesting how V went to verify RW’s coming over with J. I’m sure he did more than verify that–like ask why he wasn’t notified beforehand or more.

                It is also interesting how both V and Dylan Ward both refer to RW as a “casual” friend. Personally, I don’t go visit the wives of casual friends in the hospital when they’ve had surgery or follow up by visiting their homes to bring them video tapes, etc. Let alone bake something special for them the way DW did, according to V’s testimony.

                I noticed in DW’s transcript that he said, of Robert W. staying over, “They were just doing him a favor by letting him stay.” Who is the “they”? It seems V didn’t know RW was staying by his own acct. Is DW doing some distancing there?

                Another thing interesting: In JP’s transcript he mentions DW having no “damn” or “f-ing” clothes on when he first sees him that night. But in DW’s transcript, the police keep asking him about Jp walking around in his underwear and then says “You wake up you put your robe on right?’ And Dylan ward says “Yes, but only because I didn’t know what was going on.” But again, remember JP said he had nothing on.

                Also, why does DW say at one point “They wanted Joe to put on a robe so I went up and got his robe.” Why didn’t JP get his own robe? Isn’t that the second time that night Dw goes into his room alone while the cops are there?

                I don’t know what all this means. i do strongly suspect that VZ had nothing to do with rw’s murder, as do most posters here.

                You also have to wonder, how could a murderer be so tidy and seemingly prepared, yet need to borrow the murder weapon from the home.

                • Bea on 09/23/2012 at 9:04 PM

                  Quick note – we went through the transcript misquote before but Joe says that Dylan has no “clue” not “clothes” which was in the typed transcript.

                  • susan on 09/23/2012 at 9:26 PM

                    Thanks. I didn’t remember that. I thought I heard him say that, but i will double check anyway.

                    • susan on 09/23/2012 at 9:52 PM

                      Thanks, Bea. Yes, you are so right. that is in the JP VCB 1 of 3. I misheard it.

  17. chilaw79 on 07/27/2010 at 11:42 AM

    Can anyone explain to me what Joe might have been doing in the way of a plumbing project? If I had some sort of problem with my upstairs shower, I would not leave the water on while I went outside to grill steaks and have a glass of wine (or two).

    Showers seem to play a prominent role in the narrative.

    • carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:23 PM

      Water, water everywhere…

    • AnnaZed on 07/28/2010 at 12:42 AM

      I know, something involving a hose in the shower (in Joe’s version)? Very odd. As others have pointed out there is a lot of improbable water in these narratives of that night. My own belief is that these stories are designed to explain the washed (possibly even still wet when Victor was speaking) areas indoors and out. Ergo, Victor is lying. The way he presents invites sympathy until one remembers that he is coming right out of the gate telling lies about the circumstances of Robert’s death, so fuck him.

      • chilaw79 on 07/28/2010 at 9:32 AM

        Joe, Robert, Victor, and Dylan all take showers in the narrative. Victor waters the plants. It is no wonder Joe is dealing with leaks, but using a hose in the shower and/or leaving the water running just seems strange.

        One other thought: Michael Price was out in Silver Spring and learned of the missing tooth/bicycle exploits of the boy that Victor or Joe fathered. Later, Joe is on the phone about this. Meanwhile, Michael was missing his phlebotomy class. Just a coincidence or not?

        • AnnaZed on 07/28/2010 at 12:33 PM

          I for one am not much of a believer in coincidence. In this instance there are so many that I can’t even parse them. I will say that I do not concur with Judge Leibovitz when she states that Michael had nothing to do with this. I just don’t believe that. I think that Michael was a “bagman” with a heavy messy bag of stuff. I think that he was alerted on the phone that something fun was planned. How much fun was planned I doubt any of them (except possibly Dylan) really knew at the beginning.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP) on 07/28/2010 at 3:50 PM

        Yeah…like, how big of a fire could 3 burned steaks cause? In an outdoor grill. Give me a break. Certainly not big enough to hose it down. Slap ‘em a couple times with a cloth maybe? Seperate them with tongs and flip ‘em over? Come on. They act like it was a blazing inferno. Why not get the fire extinguisher if it had been THAT BIG.

        • KiKi on 07/28/2010 at 4:28 PM

          I think this is a very interesting point. I once had a case where my defendant burned a vics clothing in an outside grill. The police had crime lab reports that pieces of cloth were found in the ashes and rubber was burnt to the side of the grill.

          They did this testing in rural Alabama 5 years ago. This is another one of those missed opportunities by MPD.

          • David on 07/28/2010 at 5:09 PM

            KiKi,

            You totally may be onto something here — instead of things being stowed away somewhere, they were burnt on the grill, which would cause the huge fire that needed to be put out. Hadn’t thought of that angle before.

            David, co-ed.

            • Bill 2 on 07/28/2010 at 5:31 PM

              Cameras have metal parts that won’t burn easily. For stuff like that, it would be handy if you had a friendly neighbor who lived across the street. It would only take a few minutes to dump evidence there until it could be picked up for disposal at a later time.

              • Clio on 07/28/2010 at 7:06 PM

                Well, is Mr. Hixson a shutterbug himself? His elegant design website features lovely photos and portfolios.

                Was then Mr. Hixson’s evening (before Diane Durham arrived) as boring as the trouple’s supposedly was? Has anyone ever asked him what he was doing that afternoon and evening?

                • CDinDC (Boycott BP) on 07/28/2010 at 7:45 PM

                  I thought it was odd that he couldn’t tell who was standing on the front porch in their underwear when he lived 4 doors down. That’s like 35-40 feet. In the very least, you think he’d recognize a body he’s slept with.

                  • AnnaZed on 07/28/2010 at 7:50 PM

                    Yeah, I would say that even pre-bloat underwear guy would have a distinctly different silhouette than Victor, or (heavens) Little Dyl.

            • CDinDC (Boycott BP) on 07/28/2010 at 7:27 PM

              David, using the grill to burn evidence was discussed at the “The Third Degree: Price
              04/07/2010″ post.

  18. chilaw79 on 07/27/2010 at 11:57 AM

    One legal note on all this: Joe Price and Victor Zaborsky are domestic partners in DC (presumably registered as such). In 2009, DC law was amended to extend the right not to testify against your spouse, particularly about your confidential communications, to domestic partners.

    The tapes create some nice issues. First, the privilege is waived to the extent a spouse or domestic partner provides voluntary disclosures (for example, to the police) or to the extent a third party is present during the communication. Second, it seems to me there is an issue about whether the privilege extends to any communication between Joe and Victor in 2006 (since the law was not amended until 2009). Marital privilege was recognized at common law, but domestic partnership is a creature of statute. The statute extending the privilege to domestic partners was not adopted until 2009.

  19. Susan on 07/27/2010 at 12:10 PM

    BDSM question. Does anyone know how that worked with JP and DW? Was JP only a p/t every now and again, by appointment “slave” of DW’s? Anyone out there know?

    I’m sure everyone has down nights and the portrait of that evening by V and D seems so calm and dull and domesticated. If that testimony was all we knew about these guys, it would be a Norman Rockwell-ish painting (grilling, watering the flowers, glass of water, early retirement to bed). And maybe it was sometimes. I find myself thinking I’d like these guys–each one–had I met them at sometime. But I’m only seeing a tiny sliver of their lives under a microscope, so who knows.

  20. Craig on 07/27/2010 at 3:26 PM

    Plan your Wednesday accordingly. Zaborsky Part II goes up tomorrow morning and runs about 45 minutes. More must-see teevee.

  21. carolina on 07/27/2010 at 10:30 PM

    V says Dylan is the one who told him Joe was at the gym, and then V says he arrived back home about 35 minutes later and Joe was already home and Dylan was in the shower. So can we assume that V interrupted Dylan’s exercising to ask where Joe was? I know there had been some speculation that someone was in Dylan’s room, but this was seem to indicate there wasn’t, or if there was, Victor saw who it was. (That’s assuming he didn’t meekly ask through Dylan’s closed door.)

  22. chilaw79 on 07/27/2010 at 11:22 PM

    One thing that strikes me on reviewing Victor’s transcript while watching the video is that Victor suggests Dylan was acting like the host (not Joe). Dylan makes up the sofa bed in the guest room before Robert’s arrival, Dylan meets Robert at the door and extends the initial greeting.

    Joe stays upstairs even when Robert calls to say he is on the way over. Although Joe eventually goes downstairs to say hello, Joe and Robert spend only a few minutes together before Joe goes back upstairs.

    Meanwhile, Victor never goes down to greet Robert and apparently first sees him lying stabbed on the guest bed.

    Also, there seem to be substantial time periods when Dylan is not really accounted for in Victor’s narrative. This makes sense in a way because Victor went upstairs to bed relatively early. In some ways, it almost seems like Victor is avoiding Robert.

    • HopeForJustice on 07/28/2010 at 10:01 AM

      Chilaw : Appreciate all your comments at this blog. I have experience living with a narcissistic person. So consider this……

      Narcissists typically keep others waiting because they themselves think they are so important. Hence, JP not being downstairs when RW arrived despite RW’s advance phone call, Dylan making the bed & opening/greeting RW at the door is no suprise to me. Narcissists let the “staff” or those beneath them do the “menial” things in life.

      Also, IMHO, Victor was not avoiding Robert. Victor was avoiding JP in a social setting. Victor was already hurt by JPs lack of warm welcome back to town. IMHO, Victor did not want to witness Joe’s charming, charismaic, intelligent, confident engaging behavior directed at an old/resepcted friend in RW.

      Also, Victor did not want to witness RW’s warm/respectful really long standing friendship with J Price (it burns me up that other people cannot “see” how narcisstic my husband is… but I really can’t blame them because they only see him occassionally, socially, when he can really shine in that limited setting… heck, I fell for it, myself… BUT live with him day to day and the behavior is shocking.. takes a long time to see it.) I think Victor had enough hurt feelings for the evening, hence did not come down to visit.

      Also, IMHO, it will take Victor a long time to “see” what is happening re his relationship with JP. He will have to work through his own issues/insecurities, his love for JP, his being naive, his being a nice person and a giver. It could take decades like it did for me. IMHO, Joe is with Victor because Victor makes Joe look good all around. Once Joe cannot get anything more out of Victor, Joe will move on to the next person.

      I hope that the attorneys representing Mrs Wone get professional advice from psychologists on how to “handle” these 3 during the depositions. For example, my husband’s need to let everyone know that he knows everything typically trumps his need to protect his or anyone else’s privacy. Of course, my husband has never been in a situation with a murdered person in his house.

      Quick thank you to the editors for this blog. I sincerely hope that the Wone family receives the justice they deserve.

      • chilaw79 on 07/28/2010 at 10:35 AM

        That is a very interesting view. I definitely can see the narcissistic elements to Joe’s personality you describe (and I am sorry you have to live with one).

        I definitely could interpret Dylan’s actions as being in line with being treated as house staff.

        The one issue that bothers me a bit is that there have been some comments that suggest Joe felt Robert had “dissed” him by canceling a lunch or other appointment. Joe apparently wanted to see if he could do some legal work for Robert’s new employer.

        I do think the lawyers for Kathy Wone need to develop a cogent presentation of the facts that explains the psychology of the personal relationships of the parties. A psychologist might be able to draw some conclusions from watching and listening to the tapes.

  23. Susan on 07/28/2010 at 12:32 AM

    Really good points, Chilaw.

    • Clio on 07/28/2010 at 8:13 PM

      BTW, thanks, Susan, for that reference to Peter Dernbach’s Facebook page. The relatively handsome matchmaker certainly is popular: why would he and Dyl or Louis ever be friends?

      Also, Scott Hixson really is an accomplished designer (no sarcasm intended) by the looks of his website: why would he enter into a friends-with-benefits relationship with Culuket and Dyl?

      A lesson — gay men need to be more exacting of themselves and other gay men? Voila, this website?!

  24. weaver on 07/31/2010 at 9:54 AM

    Interesting tape. Like some others I felt like Victor was honest about the evening up until he went to bed. Then the covering starts.

    So when Victor woke up to screams, who was the one screaming? Lie right there, imo. I think Victor woke up when Joe came in the room and told him they had a situation they needed to deal with, and then he screamed when he saw what that situation was.

    It also stood out to me that Victor didn’t know about Robert coming over until he saw Dylan making the bed. Obviously Dylan knew Robert was coming over, why wasn’t Victor told?? I find that really odd. I get the impression that Victor got a cold reception when he came home unexpectedly because that was messing with Joe and Dylan’s plans to have some fun with Robert… and I picture the three of them not getting along so great at dinner. I can picture Joe and Dylan hurting Victor’s feelings and not making amends just so he would go to bed and leave them alone so they could possibly still carry out their plan… which they did with deadly consequences, imo. Another reason I think Victor went to bed mad is because he didn’t make any attempt to say hello or anything to Robert. Why not? I think it’s because he went to bed hurt and mad.

    This case still makes me sick and I hope that murder charges will be filed someday against Joe and Dylan. Unfortunately I doubt that will ever happen unless Victor comes clean.

    Question for the lawyers- if Victor went to police and admitted he conspired to cover up the murder, could he do that without fear of prosecution since he was already acquitted of those charges?

  25. susan on 02/10/2011 at 11:35 PM

    I don’t recall reading this, at least not the version that spells his name “Caborsky” but what really stands out now that I am midway through this second acct is how absolutely odd it is that after his bus. trip he runs to the gym to see JP.

    Also, as you read about his acct of the knife something seems wrong there. Out of everything you see in a murder tableau such as this one wouldn’t you remember WHERE you saw the knife? But his ambivalence jibes with JPs two versions of his actions re the knife.

    Also, nice how LD sees the backdoor open.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/29753356/Zaborsky-2-of-2-MPD-02AUG06

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Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

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