Mind Games?

Compare, Contrast, and Consider

In the September 6 edition of The New Yorker, writer Carl Elliott profiles convicted murderer Colin Bouwer in a piece titled “Mind Games.”  It’s a cold tale of murder, deception, strange behavior and a town fooled by a man who nobody considered capable of murder.  Except, on reflection, many did.

It’s worth a look.  It’s also, for such a faraway place, a tale that sounds strangely familiar to anyone familiar with Robert Wone’s murder.

Is this the face of a sociopath?

Let’s set the scene.  The South African-born Bouwer had located to Dunedin, New Zealand, with his wife Annette and family in 1997.  By every account he was one of that town’s brightest lights.

A trained psychiatrist (his specialty, in a bit of foreshadowing, was psychopathy), Bouwer was head of psychiatry at the University of Otago Medical School – a position of some standing in the community.  He was still relatively young and was universally regarded as brilliant with patients.  He was personally engaging, had a beautiful home and a healthy salary, a dedicated wife and a string of mistresses  – in short, a man on top of the world, down under.

He was also, it seems now, a sociopath.

In the first days of 2000, just at the lip of a new century, Annette Bouwer died.  She had been struggling for a month with a strange affliction – first diagnosed as hypoglycemic coma, “…most commonly caused by self-administered glucose-lowering drugs that diabetics use, such as insulin,” writes Elliott.  Annette Bouwer was not a diabetic.

She was in and out of the hospital twice when, just a few days after her last release, Dr. Bouwer phoned emergency.  “Annette is dead,” said Bouwer, asking colleague and internist Dr. Andew Bowers to visit.

As Elliott relays, the scene was not that of an uneventful death.

“When Bowers arrived, it was clear that Annette had not died peacefully.  The bedroom was a mess, and Annette’s body was splayed across the bed.  The bedclothes were soiled with vomit.  Bowers suspected that she had undergone a seizure.  Yet Bouwer said that he had noticed nothing out of the ordinary until he found Annette dead early that morning.  ‘We slept in different rooms,’ Bouwer later explained to the police.

“Bowers wanted to order a postmortem exam to find out why Annette had died so unexpectedly, but Bouwer objected.  Both he and Annette were Jewish, he said, and, according to Jewish law, Annette’s body had to be buried within forty-eight hours.  Bowers offered to have the postmortem done right away, but the psychiatrist still resisted.  It was only when Bowers refused to sign the death certificate without a postmortem that he relented.  Bowers attended Annette’s funeral, the following week, and he was surprised to find that the ceremony was not Jewish.”

Bouwer is described variously by various people – a bit Zelig-like.  There was often high praise for his ability to zero in on his patients’ weaknesses: “brilliant” and “dazzling”are but two adjectives used.  But for many there was also just something off about the good doctor.   Bower: “He gave me a warm, hard handshake, and said he was a physician, a psychologist, and a pharmacologist…He said it in an intimidating way, as if to establish that he was the one in charge.”   (It’s highly unlikely he was two of the three.)  The Rev. Mann – who officiated at Annette’s funeral – told Elliott: “When she tried talking to Colin and Annette’s two teen-age children, Greg and Anthea, they sat silently on the couch, unresponsive, while Bouwer did all the talking.”

The day of Annette’s death one Dr. Anne Walsh, of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Otango, arrived.  Odd, given rampant rumors of her having an affair with Dr. Bouwer.  Odder still, her comment to Dr. Bower: “It will be good to get all this settled, especially since Annette had accused Colin of trying to murder her.”

Bouwer’s empathic antennae were working overtime in Dunedin, but there weren’t the only things.  His work delved deep into uncharted medical waters; especially anxiety.  “Colin had this fascination with things that terrify people,” said Sarah Romans, former head of Psychological Medicine. “People being suffocated, being exposed to water torture, or drowned.”

As Elliott writes, it may have been a result of Bouwer’s own experiences…or maybe not.  He often told people – at extremely unusual moments and very matter-of-factly – that he had been tortured for months while in South Africa.  Among his reported tortures: electric shocks administered to the penis and anus, and sodomy.

Zip forward to September 2000, when, after months of wiretaps by the police, Bouwer was arrested.  Police found a trail of evidence that could only be considered sloppy at best…or “stunningly reckless” as Elliott characterizes it.  For months after he lied publicly about Annette’s health and death.  He boasted in lecture once of the “…perfect way…” to commit a murder by injection.  He was dismissive of the capabilities of the New Zealand police, arguing they couldn’t catch a bike thief let alone a murderer.  He spoke freely with his mistresses – among them, Anne Walsh – in a most cold and suggestive manner about his wife’s death.  He left a paper trail of self-ordered prescriptions.  Then a series of bizarre lies and odd physical behavior that seemed designed more to humiliate than exculpate.

“When police arrested Bouwer and searched his house,” writes Elliott, “they found the mortar and pestle he had used to grind up the glucose-lowering drugs, hidden in the pantry behind a box of Weetabix.  Nine months had passed since the murder and Bouwer hadn’t bothered to dispose of it.”

As we said, there’s more in the article. But also of interest is the discussion of sociopathy.

Much has been written about sociopaths; or psychopaths as categorized in the current DSM-IV.  Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door” and Hervey Cleckley’s “The Mask of Sanity” rate high as beginning texts.

Common to much of the discussion is the sociopath’s lack of appreciation of their effects on the other; a sort of blindness to guilt, reason and empathy.  But this blindness goes inward as well as outward.  Cleckley noted 16 characteristics of the sociopath, writing that a person so afflicted can appropriate the guise of emotional or moral actions and language, but never engage with them.  An “…emotional mechanism had collapsed,” he wrote.

Meaning that psychopaths can be charming, engaging, successful, alluring…but also dismissive of other’s skills and talents.  A true sociopath does not consider him or herself above moral law – as there is no recognition of such a thing – but most decidedly does consider themselves above the skills or judgments of those around them.

Which leads to strange acts, odd and humiliating behavior, and what may appear to be a sloppy, “reckless” approach to any crimes they have committed.

Was Bouwer tortured?  There’s no contemporary evidence.  Was he a medical doctor?  Seems unlikely.  Why did he move around so much?  A drug problem with Demerol, go the reports.  Was he a compulsive philanderer, dropping old mistresses as soon as he tired of them?  Was he charming but arrogant, solicitous but dismissive, successful but haunted?  Why did he lie so much…and why did so many people believe the lies?  Why would a man so outwardly capable be so interested in the weaknesses of others?

A group of people fooled by one man’s skills, save for a medical examiner with harsh questions.   A figure of standing with a complicit wife, docile family, and stable of mistresses.  A death that just doesn’t make sense, regardless of the lack of chemical evidence found in the body.  Three people on the couch following a death – two silent, and only one doing the talking.

Oh.  And his son, Colin Jr., sitting in a South African prison after admitting to the strange murder of his wife, and the far-more bizarre efforts to cover it up working with – wait for it – his mother, and Colin Sr’s. former wife.

Ultimately, do you think you could spot a psychopath if you met one?

We invite your comparisons, contrasts, and considerations.

posted by Doug

124 comments for “Mind Games?

  1. Bruce
    09/13/2010 at 11:17 AM


    Very interesting article.

    I would suggest for a very serious discussion about sociopathy and psychopathy, and a relevation rarely admitted — that it is just not very treatable — the excellent book from last year: “Columbine” by Dave Cullen. Probably the most serious attempt to “get into the minds” of the Columbine killers, with much psychiatry information applied.

    On a much lighter note, and with apologies, I could just tell from the title of your article, Doug, that somehow “Annette Benning” would be involved (see 6th paragraph). Loved her in “The Kids Are Alright.” But talk about psychopaths! Also, had no idea she was not diabetic. Who knew? Just saying…..

    • Eagle
      09/13/2010 at 9:48 PM

      I concur with Bruce on “Columbine” by Dave Cullen.
      It draws a picture, using the precise behaviors that indicate danger ahead. It also tells how the behaviors were not seen as such, denied or treated by authorities who remained blind to what was before their very eyes. Parents also were totally unaware of what was in their children’s room and what their youngsters were really up to. It draws a clear picture of the relationship between the culprits , their personalities and the community.
      Good picture of the community and the response to actions which acted like a bomb on the whole
      community and the image it had of itself.
      Excellent, easy reading. I highly recommend the book.

    • bigfatmike
      09/15/2010 at 2:05 AM

      ‘Annette Benning’

      Don’t have a clue about ‘diabetic’.

      But if you are interested in Benning and psychopathy try ‘The Grifters’ with Benning, John Cusack, Anjelica Houston based on a crime novel by Jim Thompson. While you at it try Thompson’s ‘The Killer Inside Me’ and ‘Pop. 1280’.

      Again, I don’t have a clue if Thompson’s imagination tells us anything at all about killers, psychopaths, sociopaths. But I think his stories are about as close as I care to get – except for maybe for this real life story.

      I know this is far off the tack for this site. But, if memory serves, we have a whole year to get ready for the next round.

  2. KiKi
    09/13/2010 at 11:50 AM

    As the resident “contrarian” I would also like to point out the book Psychopathy: antisocial, criminal, and violent behavior Edited by Theodore Millon et al. Which has an extremely extensive collection of articles about “Psychopaths” but the one I find the most interesting is by John Gunn – in which he argues Psychopathology is a disease of “morals” and not a psychiatric condition. It is what in previous times had been referred to as Moral Insanity. The inability to follow a moral code as society has defined it. In other words, psychopath is the term we put on someone whose actions and moral code we cannot understand.

    • Bruce
      09/13/2010 at 12:34 PM


      That book you suggest sounds interesting, but the title is enough to scare most people wanting easy late summer reading fare!

      I think all of us are interested in the topic of psychopathy, because, as you say in your last sentence, it is something we cannot understand from our own experiences (having true feelings, feeling love, empathy, etc.).

      The psychopath is most dangerous because they tend to be very intelligent and can “fake it” in normal social discourse (cry at funerals and sad movies, express emotions, etc.).

      But, in reality, the true psychopath only has two connected agendas: self preservation and self interest.

      The true psychopath does not have any true empathy for other living things, although they can “fake it.”

      They could care less if another person or an animal suffers or dies. Their suffering or death has nothing to do with satisfying the psychopath’s need to “feed” and “advance” the interests of herself or himself.

      Cruelty to animals is a red flag of sociopaths/psychopaths, particularly with young children. I sometimes worry about that summer when I was 8 and I seemed to particularly like extinguishing the lives of ants with the help of the sun and a magnifying glass! However, the thought of killing a cat, dog or other animal (as opposed to a bug) never even occurred to me (we always had much loved pets), and makes me sick to think of it now. OK, so maybe I’m not a psychopath….

      Frankly, it is very hard for me to pin this condition (as a non-doctor)on any of the Swann 3. They may be a very strange “family,” with possibly a lot of psychological disorders, but nothing in the history that we know of before the murder or after suggests such a diagnosis.

      While I find the whole area of psychiatry interesting, I think it is a little too easy to apply here without true grounds to do so.

      Does anyone really think that Victor is a psychopath? I know people think he is “crazy” for living in this “haunted house” (both before and after the murder), but a psychopath? Where’s the evidence?

      Joe could be a psychopath, but I guess so could any of us be one.

      One difficulty I have with this diagnosis for Joe is his seeming enjoyment and actions of keeping tabs and getting together with old friends. He seemed to be a leader in that category. Not exactly Psychopath behavior.

      There may be many different possibilities of psychiatric disturbances with Joe, but psychopath doesn’t really seem to fit, in my non-doctor opinion.

      You don’t have to be a psychopath to kill someone, cold-bloodedly, with planning, or in the heat of passion.

      Certainly, under some of the scenarios suggested for Robert Wone’s death (such as in the recently suggested strange ritual with each of the Swann 3 stabbing him, a la “The Strangers,” and several other films and books — are they wearing black cloaks?), one can only imagine that a psychopath could do such a thing.

      But, I’m afraid that the saying “only a psychopath could do such a thing,” is about equal to “only a crazy person could kill someone.” Not only do you not have to be a psychopath to kill someone, you don’t have to be crazy either.

      So, I guess I would caution against necessarily coming to the conclusion that any or all of the Swann 3 are psychopaths, despite that being an “easy out” for explanation of the murder.

      And, you don’t need that to reach your opinions of their guilt.

      By the way, Kiki, may I have your permission to be an “apprentice contrarian”?

      • Bea
        09/13/2010 at 12:54 PM

        Bruce, only an aside, but Ted Bundy wrote to ex-coworkers to ‘keep in touch’.

        • Bruce
          09/13/2010 at 2:25 PM

          Oh, Bea, that is interesting. I didn’t know that about dear old Bundy.

          And Bundy was very much a cold blooded murderer who killed for the pure enjoyment of it, and described it in those terms.

          But Joe seemed to go much beyond Bundy in keeping up with old friends, and seemed to be the “go to” person for connecting and having social events for the network.

          Just seems odd to me that a true psychopath would take on that role. Not that it couldn’t happen.

          And on this same score, don’t forget that sweet Ms. Lizzie Borden was a Sunday School teacher before and at the time she accidently hacked her parents over and over with that trusty hatchet!

          Well, we should be careful here — she was aquitted (My father, who is in his 90s, grew up in Fall River, MA, and has a clear recollection as a young kid of seeing Lizzie Borden driving a new fangled automobile there in the early to mid 20s).

          • Hoya Loya
            09/13/2010 at 2:55 PM

            From what I’ve read, I always gathered that it was Robert who was the “hub” (Tara Ragone, Washingtonian, May 2010) and the glue who held the W&M crew together, not Joe, though it was clearly a tight-knit group overall.

            (Btw, the Borden house is now a B&B. And if you are ever in Fall River, be sure to grab some great Portuguese food at Caravela restaurant.)

            • Bruce
              09/13/2010 at 4:21 PM

              BTW, Hoya Loya, did you know that there is an organization that puts out a quarterly e-magazine entitled “The Hatchet,” with articles about Lizzie, the times of the murder,the history of Fall River, recipes from the time and much much more?

              Quite interesting, and I actually subscribed for a year, back a bit.

              • Craig
                09/13/2010 at 4:40 PM

                Bruce: You were a Lizzy Borden Gazette subscriber… and you wound up following a murder blog?!?!? 🙂 LOL.

                • Bruce
                  09/13/2010 at 6:05 PM

                  Aye Aye, Captain. What tangled webs we weave.

                  My interest in good ole Lizzie came about from reading a novel “Lizzie” by Evan Hunter, which is fiction, but provides actual transcripts from the trial, and is a vehicle for Hunter to come to his opinion of what happened (Spoiler: Lizzie was in a crazy lesbian affair with servant, and they both conspired to kill Lizzie’s parents chop chop chop).

                  From what we know about Lizzie, she was no psychopath.

                  • Clio
                    09/13/2010 at 11:25 PM

                    Bruce, Lizzie may have given new meaning to the term “lesbianbed death,” long before the phrase was even coined.

                    Her rage did come in part from being a queer in Victorian society; may have Joe’s rage come from starting off life in a military family from east Texas? Remember what Truman Capote said about his fellow gay Southerners.

                    • Bill 2
                      09/13/2010 at 11:37 PM

                      What did Truman say about gay Southerners?

                      I recall that he said Mick Jagger is about as sexy as a pissing toad. I agree.

                    • Clio
                      09/14/2010 at 12:00 AM

                      He allegedly quipped as a young writer in the late 1940s: “There is nothing meaner than a Southern fairy.”

    • carolina
      09/13/2010 at 8:03 PM

      “The inability to follow a moral code as society has defined it. In other words, psychopath is the term we put on someone whose actions and moral code we cannot understand.”

      I think that words like psychopath come into use as cultural shorthand for “WTF was he thinking—wait, I don’t want to know.”
      If he murdered your mom, would it be of particular importance to say she was killed by someone with an incomprehensible moral code?

      • Bruce
        09/13/2010 at 9:57 PM

        Hi Carolina:

        There is no comfort or explanation in knowning that a psychopath killed someone, especially someone close to you.

        The only lesson I get from the topic is to comprehend that there is really true evil in this world.

        It’s not the monster in the movie or the vampire on tv.

        It’s the neighbor down the street, or the person in the line in front of you, waiting to pay for groceries. Or that nice teenager kid on the other block caught killing cats or torturing dogs.

        I think that we are fascinated with psychopaths because it is so foreign to us: we can only imagine what it would be like to have no guilt, no conscience, no empathy with others’ suffering, no real moral restraint. Just an evolutionary sense of self preservation and survival at all costs.

        …much like what it must be like to be a shark, a snake, an alligator: cold, calculating, ready to attack with no caution, and only out for personal safety and self preservation.

        The truely sad thing is that most professionals (as I understand it) feel that there is nothing that can be done for these people.

        There is no cure, no therapy, no pill, no hope. The psychopath had nothing to do with making him or herself a psychopath, and they are “simply born that way.”

        Most will end up in prison or on death row.

        We can only feel sorry for them and try to protect ourselves and loved ones. It is ironic that the only thing of value we can give them is the one thing they cannot feel or appreciate: empathy and caring.

        But, because we live in a world of contrasts, maybe the fact that there are psychopaths can make us better appreciate the opposite: the kind, the caring, the giving, the sufferers in the world, the hopeful and those that can really understand love and beauty.

        • susan
          09/13/2010 at 10:16 PM


          I’m sure sharks, snakes and alligators are not actually evil, cold blooded killers. So far, that seems to be something more prevalent in the human domain.

          I was looking at WTOP’s webpage. WTOP is a popular news station out here. Came across an article in today’s news about a “psychopathic” boy killer–Andrew Conley from Indiana. Killed his brother to satisfy an “urge” and compared it to the feelling a person gets when seeing a burger and wanting to eat it. Various accounts describe him as “quiet,” “sociable” “artistic” and “articulate” and the family as “normal.”

          That article and others say he was influenced by a TV program called “Dexter” about a fictional serial killer. Bet the sharks don’t have a program like that.

          • Bruce
            09/13/2010 at 11:51 PM


            Ok, you got me.

            I have always had this thing about sharks, snakes and alligators, and anytime I get a chance, I trash them.

            My most sincere apologies to sharks, snakes and alligators, Oh My!

            Of course, you are right. Sharks, snakes and alligators don’t torture their prey for fun like true psychopaths.

            And I’ve heard that sharks are always too busy watching “Shark Week” and “I almost got myself Kilt by a dern Shark” on Discovery, to watch Dexter. (Also, no fingers to push buttons on the remote).

            • susan
              09/14/2010 at 9:26 PM

              Speaking of which, you might have heard that about a week ago an unhinged fellow brought explosives into the Discovery bldg in Silver Spring, MD and held people hostages partly because he didn’t like the shark week show. Police ended up killing him. Sad.

            • bigfatmike
              09/15/2010 at 2:45 AM

              ‘don’t torture their prey for fun like true psychopaths.’

              What about cats? Are they the true psychopaths of the animal kingdom, taking Dexter like enjoyment from every bit of torment they inflict on their mouse victims?

              Does Dexter enjoy his activities of is he just compelled to act them out?

              Are some psychopaths like sharks, purely utilitarian, and others like cats or Ted Bundy, where utility is secondary?

              ‘Most will end up in prison or on death row’

              Is this true? .

              If psychopathy is about being unaffected by a social or moral code, then is it possible that there are psychopaths all around us who just have not done anything serious enough to be put away – and most likely never will?

              What is the incidence of psychopathy in general society?

  3. denton
    09/13/2010 at 11:56 AM

    I type the word “sociopath” in search of WMRW previous posts (I also recall reading below recently for some reasons), the subject was discussed earlier. My problem is:

    No, I could not spot a psychopath if I meet one – unless I live with one for a long time (which I am not), or treat that person in my profession (which I am not) to know their traits/behavior/interests.

    This is a “hard-core” issue for me so I post the followings as I have found from WMRW in related subject matter.

    From: FAQ / Wone:101

    altenateguy on 07/19/2010 at 1:16 PM
    Alli on 07/19/2010 at 9:09 AM
    Bruce on 07/19/2010 at 12:12 PM
    altenateguy on 07/19/2010 at 1:16 PM
    et al.

    • denton
      09/13/2010 at 12:12 PM

      On another “serious and “important” note: I might just be the one who would be murdered if I spend a night in someone (whom I think I know well) home, “drugged, sexually assaulted, and stabbed to death!”

  4. leo
    09/13/2010 at 1:16 PM

    I’ve always thought Joe had some hallmark traits of a sociopath, as evidenced in his cold, bloodthirsty description of Robert’s last moments to Kathy; his cold, condescending comments about his brother and roommates to the detectives the night of the murder; his bizarre appearance in underpants to speak to detectives at Swann on the night of the murder; his reckless, bizarrely inappropriate decision to store pornographic pictures of himself on his work computer; etc. etc. The pompous self-congratulatory tone of his untruthful interview for the William and Mary “roots” project had the hint of the sociopath about it as well. Even the way he carried himself at the trial–pompous, self-important, preoccupied with weighty matters, as if he were a member of the legal team instead of a defendant–was so inappropriate and self-aggrandizing. He has long appeared to believe that he is smarter, better, more capable than anyone he comes into contact with. I hope karma catches up with him.

    • carolina
      09/13/2010 at 8:15 PM

      Chris Rock once said he could never condone what OJ did, but he could *understand.*

      That sums up just one of the points that continue to poke at me, and as Kiki posted maybe we *can’t* understand the why. I cannot fathom anything close to an explanation, but then I’m relatively sane.

      How did he surround himself with all that puffery and ego only to end up where he is? Why risk that Life he has assembled?

  5. Bruce
    09/13/2010 at 4:09 PM

    Hi Leo:

    Your descriptions of Joe’s odd, strange and weird behaviors are compelling, and many more examples could be given, I bet.

    Just doesn’t seem, to me, that treating them individually as “trees” or combining them as in a “forest,” that they rise to the fairly high level of being “psychopathic”.

    In fact, I think most of those behaviors you describe could probably be associated with narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which is quite different than psychopathic behavior.

    But that’s the point. None of us have admitted to being psychiatrists, and I am certainly not qualified to give a diagnosis.

    I would suggest that, if possible, we pass Joe’s behaviors by a psychiatrist friend or acquaintance of someone on this blog, and just ask him or her for an “off the cuff” impression under DSM-IV (the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Any volunteers?

    • Bea
      09/13/2010 at 4:24 PM

      I doubt any good psychiatrist would be willing to attach such a label to a person he/she hasn’t worked with. I agree that meeting criteria isn’t proof positive of ‘being’ that labeled disorder. But most people assume psychopaths are all serial killers when most go unnoticed their entire lives – estimated that 1% of population is psychopathic, or one in a hundred people; most people ‘know’ a psychopath (whether they know it or not). Again, most serial killers ARE psychopaths, but not all psychopaths are killers. In doing some random web searches, the more comprehensive characteristic lists don’t eliminate Joe by any means. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t some very strange nugget in childhood consistent with a number of other psychopathic killers who’ve made headlines. Or he could be a run-of-the-mill narcissist . . .

      • Bruce
        09/13/2010 at 4:50 PM

        Hi Bea:

        Enjoyed your post.

        One clarification:

        Not sure I understand your second sentence at all.

        If your second sentence was directed to my post, I was not suggesting in any way that any of the Swann 3 “meet the criteria” of being psychopaths, or any other mental disorder. I’m not qualified to do that.

        Thus, I don’t quite understand your stating in that second sentence that you agree that “meeting criteria isn’t proof positive of “being” that labeled disorder.”

        I don’t believe that anyone on here has suggested what you appear to be “agreeing with” in that second sentence.

        Thanks for allowing the clarification.

        • Bea
          09/13/2010 at 8:33 PM

          It was a general reference, not to anyone’s statements in particular – meant it in a straightforward sense: just because one meets each of the characteristics doesn’t mean the person “IS” that. Not generally the same thing as “walks like a duck. . .”

  6. boofoc
    09/13/2010 at 4:22 PM

    Thanks, so much, Doug, for directing me to Jan Corbett’s captivating, well-written piece in the NZ Herald concerning Dr. Colin Bouwer’s murder of his wife, Annette. While I see no similarity between that and Robert’s vicious stabbing, I do see the point of comparing, contrasting the perceived mental deficiency/personality disorder of Bouwer and that of Robert’s killer, if that is possible. I can’t wait to read the many opinions that will be posted here. I’ll save mine for the time being.
    Bouwer’s stated opinion of the Dunedin, NZ police: “…they couldn’t catch a bike thief let alone a murderer” seemingly compares with JP’s demonstrated opinion of the DC MPD. I wonder if Bouwer changed his mind after his murder conviction? Will JP?
    I rode my bike in Dunedin a couple years ago; fortunately, it wasn’t stolen, and I wasn’t murdered!

  7. Bea
    09/13/2010 at 7:32 PM

    One of the things I couldn’t rectify with Joe and the characteristics of psychopaths was his obvious career success. Almost all others fit (ones we can know about – don’t know how he behaved as a child/teen, for example) including (if he committed/was involved with Robert’s death) that he LIKES getting away with something. His interviews at VCB seemed enjoyable to him – except when he was bored while waiting (and not ‘in control’). But the career thing was a head scratcher – although I thought, ‘well, maybe one total exception proves the rule’.

    In reading more, though, I read that psychopaths often ‘shoot themselves in the foot’ so to speak, career-wise. And it hit me – if Joe was involved in the murder of an old friend, what better way to screw up your own life (not to devalue the horror of stealing someone else’s life entirely).

    Hare’s Checklist – Psychopathy

    1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example. >

    2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

    3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

    4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

    5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

    6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

    7. SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

    8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY — a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

    9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE — an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

    10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

    11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR — a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

    12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS — a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

    13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

    14. IMPULSIVITY — the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

    15. IRRESPONSIBILITY — repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

    16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS — a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

    17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS — a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

    18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY — behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

    19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE — a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

    20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY — a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.

    • GMinOhio
      09/13/2010 at 9:31 PM


      Seems like no one is thinking in that direction?

      • susan
        09/13/2010 at 9:48 PM

        Hi GMinO,

        I’m sure some people are looking in that direction.

        DW’s behavior that night seems extremely odd. And interesting that nothing happens to him that night. The New Yorker article flipped to that Shakespeare death-scene photo, his passive-like behavior (sitting on the couch-supposedly “worried” that an “intruder” is still in the house), walking past the cops with nary a word, walking past them into his bedroom…Oddddd.


        • Clio
          09/13/2010 at 11:37 PM

          Well, Susan, what about Mr. Ward’s behavior since then? Posting suggestive massage ads online right before trial? Picking an unnecessary fight with a WaPo reporter? Staring into space at trial without shedding a tear or batting an eyelash? Possibly seen escorting new beau around town without a care in the world? A bit eccentric, wouldn’t one say?

          • xxx
            09/14/2010 at 11:39 AM

            If you don’t mind, please direct me to the discussion on the fight between Dylan and the reporter. (I unsuccessfully searched the blog for this information.)
            thank you.

            • Bill 2
              09/14/2010 at 11:59 AM

              Don’t know exactly where it is, but it wasn’t a fistfight; just a comment to a reporter. He claimed the reporter was dozing off during the trial.

            • Craig
              09/14/2010 at 12:18 PM

              Ward mistaking thought a reporter dozed off during one of the first days of the trial and publicy berated him in the hallway outside the courtroom during a break. I can categorically state, no one in the press section was sleeping in room 310, but will say that at times, Ward was the one, with his closed eyes and meditative posture, appeared to be cat napping.

              • denton
                09/14/2010 at 12:31 PM

                On top of that, no one on any given particular case, during the trial and in a courtroom, should even be speaking of/about another without talking to his/her own attorney, or even through the Judge.

                Am I wrong?

                • denton
                  09/14/2010 at 12:46 PM

                  The Judge gave me “”Rule No. 1” on this when I served in 2008. I would lose my respect to a defendant if I learn that there is a dispute between a defendant and the press. Geeezzzz!

              • Bruce
                09/14/2010 at 12:39 PM

                Was Ward torturing the cat he was napping? I think that might fill the criteria.

                • denton
                  09/14/2010 at 12:56 PM

                  Ward probably stabbed that cat … three … times in this dream, Bruce!

                • carolina
                  09/14/2010 at 4:34 PM

                  Oh no, honey, not Dyl; that was Phelps!

                  (Really, it’s hard to believe they have a convicted cat torturer amongst their retinue, isn’t it?)

    • KiKi
      09/14/2010 at 9:16 AM

      I think it can be fun and interesting to compare general diagnostic criteria with what we think we know about someone. (I have applied the Hare checklist to my brother-in-law many times). But since this is all food for thought I would like to point out that there is a lot of controversy about Hare’s checklist and whether “psychopaths” even exist.

      I think carolina put it best in her earlier post:
      “I think that words like psychopath come into use as cultural shorthand for “WTF was he thinking—wait, I don’t want to know.””

      If you look at Hare’s checklist with those critical goggles, isn’t each category really a societal/moral determination of “bad – we don’t like that.”

      Further reading on Hare:


  8. susan
    09/13/2010 at 9:16 PM


    I’m not sure I see JP clearly at all or understand who he is, etc., but what about the gift basket to K. Wone and visiting her after her surgery? It seems a sociopath’s actions are based on some sort of personal gain. And what about his supporting his brother? Is there anything such as a borderline psychopath? And are the terms (sociopath/psychopath) interchangeable?

    I believe JP has been proven to have been caught lying (blood, knife, cell phone in prison, letters to Dylan of plans while VZ is away, etc.), is clearly arrogant, at times. He can be controlling, delusional, greedy, etc. He doesn’t show a lot of concern for RW from what we know of his behavior at the memorial service with K. Wone, or in the interviews. But then there is the pro bono work, supporting his brother, visiting K. Wone when she was ill, etc.

    So those in the know–would these acts eliminate him from this assessment, or not?

    • Bea
      09/13/2010 at 11:45 PM

      Hey Susan,
      I’m just ‘pontificating’ on this and have no genuine sense that I know Joe well enough to attach a label to him, especially since I have zero training. In general reading, though, I think one could characterize Joe’s visit and bringing a gift to K. Wone after surgery as part of an ‘assumed’ charm. It could be genuine or it could be part of his scheme to have people think he’s a great guy.

      Or it could have been Victor’s idea.

      The pro bono stuff got his name in the papers, got him loads of adulation and attention – he may have had his heart in the right place but it’s also quite possible it was more about what he got him.

      It’s less clear about his care for Michael. Even notorious serial killers who are uber classic psychopaths have soft spots for certain people. Too, there was likely a lot of ‘fuel’ for Joe’s ego in constantly seeing himself in comparison to his ne’er-do-well brother. Fairly heady stuff to be able to say ‘I made myself from nothing – see what I could have been’. Too, psychopaths like having others thinking they’re saints. Finally, maybe Michael was his entre into the world of drugs and debauchery.

      All this is just speculation, but I don’t see any of these things as being inconsistent with the profiles/characteristics I’ve read about. It does make me wonder about Joe’s statement to cops that Robert was the best guy in the world – didn’t drink, smoke, curse, would be the guy you’d want your daughter to marry. If he genuinely believed this, and if Joe was indeed a psychopath, maybe he loathed Robert for these exact characteristics. The comment he makes that he’d be willing to trade his life for Robert’s because he “liked him so much” galls me. Making such a comment, so off-handedly, in the hours after Robert’s murder seems so callous – especially (for me) in saying that that was how much he ‘liked’ Robert. One does not give up his own life for someone he ‘likes’ and not ‘loves.’

      Maybe Joe expressed genuine emotion earlier in the interviews that weren’t taped. But I did read the detective’s notes about the car ride over to Anacostia from Swann – the gym Joe belonged to, what well-known lawyers he knew, that his parents were military – just doesn’t sound like Joe’s mind was on Robert.

      • Clio
        09/14/2010 at 12:07 AM

        Then, Bea, Joe must be a better father than husband, a better brother than friend, a better provider than lover: we are all better at some roles than others. But, will he strike again — if he truly is mentally ill, then I shudder for anyone in his path!

      • Bruce
        09/14/2010 at 12:10 AM


        I think if we scratch the surface a little we can ascribe, find and/or imagine “secondary gains” with almost any act of kindness or generosity by any person at any time.

        It’s an analysis and topic that induces gloom and cynicism, and I always try to avoid it, as it blurs my rose-colored glasses. I prefer to think that there is genuine kindness and generosity in people, even in this dark chapter.

      • susan
        09/14/2010 at 9:31 PM

        Bea, Thanks. Hadn’t heard about the detective notes from the car ride before. Interesting.

        There’s that detective’s impression and the impression of the detectives who arrived on the scene to see three white robed guys, no one visibly upset and a very quiet scene. With one man bleeding and dead upstairs.

    • Emily
      09/14/2010 at 9:19 AM

      Susan wrote:
      “I’m not sure I see JP clearly at all or understand who he is, etc., but what about the gift basket to K. Wone and visiting her after her surgery? It seems a sociopath’s actions are based on some sort of personal gain. And what about his supporting his brother? Is there anything such as a borderline psychopath? And are the terms (sociopath/psychopath) interchangeable?”

      1. Absolutely nobody is evil 24 hours a day. Hitler was kind to children and animals. The fact that someone is capable of making generous gestures, especially gestures that will gain social approval, doesn’t mean that they’re NOT a sociopath.

      2. Yes, there are borderline psychopaths. Just as some people have anxiety disorders that are so extreme that they prevent them leaving the house, whereas some people have anxiety disorders that manifest only in certain situations, so you have people who show psychopathic behaviour but do not necessarily engage in illegal behaviour. Many politicians, captains of industry, military and emergency workers could be considered “adapted” psychopaths – people with a constellation of traits that make them ruthless and unfeeling, usually screw-ups in their personal relationships, but who are otherwise relatively law abiding and even admired for their work performance.

      3. The diagnostic term used in the DSM is “anti-social personality disorder”. The terms psychopath and sociopath are old fashioned terms that are used more in common parlance than in textbooks. Anti-social PD is one of the Cluster B disorders which includes histrionic, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. That means that someone who warrants a diagnosis of one disorder may show characteristics of other disorders within the cluster (I don’t think anybody needs much convincing that Joe is a classic narcissist).

  9. Rich
    09/14/2010 at 7:47 AM

    Dear Editors:

    Kinda going a new direction on a subject matter, we may have already covered, several times before.

    We need some, “Hard Science,” on the site.

    If you are able and/or willing to provide it, I believe it will boost the image and appreciation for the site and it may even scare or empower the Plaintiff or Defendant in the Civil Suit.

    It might wake up Cathy Lanier that this many people are watching her and her team.

    It may even force judges to make better decisions once they realize they are being watched.

    Loads of positive outcomes can come out with this data. Including possibly selling the site to a buyer who wants to keep it alive.

    Data Like:

    1.) # of Unique Posters over time? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
    2.) # of Hits Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Or, even to date?
    3.) # of Countries you are pulling from? 35? 50?, More?
    4.) # of Cities Domestically? 200? 500? Over 1,000? (I bet that is the number)

    Maybe, it’s time to gather the data from, “Google Analytics.” See Google. Or, “Viget Labs in Falls Church. They are a team who provides User Experience, Web Design, Custom Web Development, and Online Marketing Expertsise. And, they usually provide the counsel as a courtesy.

    You know you have a good product/service, but, you may not know how good?

    It’s time to track the activity, in addition to providing new information.

    For whatever, it’s worth.

    As you can see I’m back from Honduras and thinking way too much again.


    • Clio
      09/14/2010 at 10:22 PM

      Why would anyone want to sell this site? That’s as nutty as having a WMRW posters’ convention … in Baltimore. (Now on Roatan, though, such a convention may be doable.)

      • Rich
        09/14/2010 at 11:20 PM


        But, eventually, the editors have to regain control of thier lives and decisions will have to be made.

        It’s an enormous job.

        • denton
          09/15/2010 at 9:08 AM

          Indeed, it is! A year from now by September 12, 2011, let’s hope the (new) Judge brings justice to the case and CLOSE it.

  10. denton
    09/14/2010 at 11:11 AM

    It might wake up Cathy Lanier that this many people are watching her and her team.

    It may even force judges to make better decisions once they realize they are being watched.

    I can see it happens. As we have same information but more time to crack the crime out here. Jurors get probably appx. (more/less depends on the situation in the courtroom) 5 weeks to decide. We get 5 years to go over and over what is relevant, what not.

    Whoever takes over WMRW, if you sell it, I hope they are as genuine, in good spirit, genius, and unique as all of you/me (meaning the Eds and all posters here).

  11. Michael
    09/14/2010 at 1:49 PM

    I’m a sociopath myself, in that I don’t really care about other people’s feelings. Although I’m not the type to try to bring people down just for kicks. I keep to myself.

    As a sociopath, I can see how one could rape or murder someone, cover it up, and not think twice about it. It’s all about being in control. Someone thought they could control Robert. When they lost control of Robert, they took control of the circumstances.

    That’s when the act of mimicking natural humam emotion comes into play. Joe and Dylan are both terrible at this. That’s why Victor was chosen to make the 911 call. He sounds almost convincing, mostly because he is actually freaking out. The problem is, Victor’s true response was in the audible scream. By the time he called 911, he had come to terms with what happened, and then used his best “someone’s been stabbed in our home!” voice. He was legitimately afraid, but only of getting caught up in a lie, not of any intruder.

    • denton
      09/14/2010 at 3:11 PM

      I have never thought of this before but it just comes to my mind from reading your post – That’s why Victor was chosen to make the 911 call.

      Ever thought about this …

      “What if” Victor separated himself (tipped toe/sneaked out) from JP/DW (wherever they “actually” were at that time) and called 911 on his own from 3rd floor while the whole sh-bang was still going on – remember everyone wondered why VZ “had to” to upstairs to call 911 (JP told him).

      But “what if” JP “did not actually” tell him but knew where VZ went (sneaked out upstairs) and did what (called 911), and later JP had to come up with the “consistency” in his story and for his own and the housemates – so all can stay on the “same page.” While VZ was on the line with 911 operator, JP yelled “What time is it?” to get his “defense clock” ticking at “EXACTLY 11:43 p.m.” – AND STUCK TO IT eversince.

      Who on earth would go upstairs, and not at the scene with a dying someone in your home, to call 911?


  12. Bruce
    09/14/2010 at 2:00 PM

    Well, as they say, it takes one to know one.

    You figured it out! I say today’s a good day fer a hangin, how bout you? They tain’t human..they just mimic them like them talky birds.

    • Bruce
      09/14/2010 at 2:17 PM

      The preceding two posts, performed by The Hannibal Lector Players, has been sponsored by Psychotics Anonymous, and viewers like you.

      • Michael
        09/14/2010 at 2:33 PM

        Murderers are almost always sociopaths, although sociopaths are hardly ever murderers.

        There is a piece missing from the mind of every sociopath. It’s the piece that’s supposed to connect humans through empathy.

      • Bruce
        09/14/2010 at 3:42 PM

        Sorry, the preceding three posts………

      • denton
        09/14/2010 at 4:37 PM

        … and you are watching it on “Psycho Channel” …

        • denton
          09/14/2010 at 5:04 PM

          … All New (I hear Oprah’s voice announcing an episode) As You Have Never Seen It Before … It’s a “Mind Games?” featuring …

          • Clio
            09/14/2010 at 10:03 PM

            Free trips for all of us to Australia, with a has-been 70s icon as our cruise director!

            • Bruce
              09/14/2010 at 11:27 PM

              Uma Thurman?

    • KiKi
      09/14/2010 at 2:28 PM

      I wish the blog had a “like” button or thumbs up.

      • Clio
        09/14/2010 at 10:10 PM

        Really, KiKi? I wish that it had spelling, grammar, and fact checkers, just like the old hard-copy dailies. But then again our intrepid Editors are not charging admission … yet!

        • denton
          09/14/2010 at 10:57 PM

          My apology if my grammar, spelling, etc. is rusty.

  13. dcbill
    09/14/2010 at 3:53 PM

    This amateur psychologizing and trying to match Joe Price up with a psychiatric diagnosis is really nauseating. A good psychiatrist would want to spend hours with Price or the other two before even tiptoeing down a diagnostic path, but not the people on this site. He’s a psychopathic monster by god. It says so right here in this book I bought on Amazon. Sheesh.

    • denton
      09/14/2010 at 4:13 PM

      … but not the people on this site. He’s a psychopathic monster by god. et al.

      I don’t know what you are talking about. Do you mean “the people on this site” should “Come to Jesus?”

      • Bruce
        09/14/2010 at 4:26 PM

        Well, Sheesh!, dcbill. Isn’t all this “psychobabble” exactly what our editors wanted us to discuss with the “Mind Games” article by Doug at the top?

        And I quote:

        “We invite your comparisons, contrasts, and considerations.”

        But, seriously, despite all of this give and take, sociopaths’ takes, talky birds, Come to Jesus, and tortured cat napping, etc.,…

        Can’t we all agree at least that we can all take some relief and comfort in the fact that Annette Benning STILL does not have diabetes???????


        (See end of 6th paragraph of “Mind Games” article, at top)

        • Rich
          09/14/2010 at 5:45 PM


          What a lovely word to characterize my interpretation of today’s exchanges.

          Let’s get back to discussion of:

          1.) Ninja Assassins
          2.) Sleeping Pills
          3.) Anuses
          4.) 911 Calls

          And, all that good smut.

          Having lawyers become bedside Psychiatrists is a bit of a stretch.

          • Liam
            09/14/2010 at 8:01 PM

            Okay, how’s this.

            There is no way, no how that RW’s own semen ended up in his anus naturally.


            Because that’s where the poop comes from. The two don’t mix. Period.

            • Rich
              09/14/2010 at 8:26 PM

              Dear Liam:


              Back to real WMRW discussion.


            • She did it
              09/14/2010 at 10:22 PM

              Liam writes: Because that’s where the poop comes from. The two don’t mix. Period.

              please don’t tell that to michael the masseur and/or m price. my heart tells me they may disagree with your assertion.

          • Bruce
            09/14/2010 at 10:45 PM

            How about this:

            3 Ninja Assassins walk into a bar. One of them slips sleeping pills up the other two’s anuses. 911 calls and says “the pizza is ready.”

            • Rich
              09/14/2010 at 11:23 PM

              Dear Bruce:

              Kinda hard to slip it in.

              Don’t ya think?

              • Bruce
                09/14/2010 at 11:25 PM

                Not if you’e a professional.

                • Rich
                  09/14/2010 at 11:37 PM

                  A professional pill slipper inner?

                  • Bruce
                    09/14/2010 at 11:44 PM


                    • Rich
                      09/14/2010 at 11:45 PM

                      Gotta meet him!

  14. dcbill
    09/14/2010 at 4:46 PM

    No. The people on this site should come to their senses and realize that endless speculation about this and that will not solve this horrendous murder. Shy abundant new evidence or a confession, it will remain a mystery. But I guess acceptance of that doesn’t fuel a popular website. : )

    • Bruce
      09/14/2010 at 5:17 PM


      I do tend to agree with you, as you would see in my history of posts here. In fact, your third sentence, “Shy abundant new evidence or a confession….” uses almost the same words I used in some of my early posts.

      But this blog is what it is. Probably most like it just the way it is.

      There is no changing it, unless the editors care to do so. I left once, but came back. I am a contrarian and am not in a majority with most here, or very “popular.” I now try to infuse some humor into my contrarian views, sometimes awkwardly and unsucessfully. I do want to get to the bottom of this murder. I think I am one of the few posters (as opposed to readers) that has not made up his or her mind on the topic, either generally (they did it!) or specifically (he did it!). I’m trying to keep an open mind, and am still at the stage, after months on this site of questioning who did it?.

      If it were to be limited in the fashion you suggest (and I once wished), this place would be pretty lonely, serious and “unpopular,” as you say.

      • susan
        09/14/2010 at 8:46 PM

        Bruce and DCbill,

        I, too, have not concluded “whodunit” but I see that JP has been caught in a number of documented lies. I, myself, wouldn’t deign to diagnose JP, and I don’t know if I’d do it is I was a psychiatrist–Hello! The topic of today’s bulletin–“Dr.” Bouwen was a Psychiatrist! And remember when those guys and gals (mostly guys at the time) diagnosed homosexuality as a disease?

        That all said, DCBill, this is a public blog and it has enough traction to have gained the attention of other media outlets who cite the blog and numerous followers. If anyone can do better, or doesn’t like it, he/she can set up their own blog. But you’ll need to clone yourself by three and put in the time, etc. the editors here do if you are interested in maintaining such a site.

        Bruce, you became somewhat unpopular before not because of your views but because of your ad hominem slights at some of the posters–alluding to one as a “church lady” type (clearly not true) and using condescending language at points.

        I enjoy reading your posts now and appreciate your humor and think your viewpoints are valuable. But I’m just one poster. And I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Because, you know, this is a blog.

        • susan
          09/14/2010 at 8:46 PM

          “if” for “is” in second line above.

          • susan
            09/14/2010 at 9:06 PM

            BTW, I think there is some value in this exercise in terms of looking at personality characteristics and behavior. And I read online that there is something called forensic linguistics and some criminal cases involve calling in specialists in this field to look at word usage, written texts, etc.

            This has been in my head all day:


            • denton
              09/14/2010 at 10:51 PM

              Forensic linguistics: an introduction to language, crime, and the law By John Olsson

              I went through the 911 emergency dialogue in this (you probably can find a better book than this one) book, it was interesting how emergency 911 operator can distinguish the urgency of the call and “type” of the caller by reading the character of words, tone of voice, a pause, etc.

              By the way, I am a 50s’ baby, the Beatles was my all times favorite group in the 60s/70s.

              • susan
                09/14/2010 at 11:30 PM

                Thanks for the book reference, denton. BTW, I forgot how good that song is. I am putting it on my iPOD now!

    • Clio
      09/14/2010 at 10:01 PM

      Hi Aunt Marcia!

      • susan
        09/14/2010 at 10:21 PM

        Hi Clio,

        Que?” Not following.

        • Clio
          09/14/2010 at 10:31 PM

          Susan, as you may have guessed, only the enablers and collaborators of Team Price want the endless speculation to go away — “absent a confession, blah, blah, blah.” After four years, the term “Aunt Marcia” embodies that myopic denial of reality, mixing concerns about “psychobabble” with weary handwringing about privacy. It probably does take a village to get away with murder, and, not coincidentally, Joe has used his connections, both familial and professional, to the hilt here.

          • susan
            09/14/2010 at 10:40 PM

            Thanks, Clio.

            Thanks to this current topic we have the posting of Friend of the Trouple. Every controversial topic bears some fruit, it seems.

          • Bruce
            09/14/2010 at 11:07 PM

            Clio and Susan:

            What sparked this?

            Is it really necessary to drudge up the past in this manner, and to call those who do not follow the “conventional wisdom” to be called enablers and collaborators?

            I enjoy all of your posts, and this seems out of keeping with them.

            • susan
              09/14/2010 at 11:34 PM


              I don’t think Clio was referencing you but I can’t speak for Clio.

              Please excuse me if I was insensitive because I didn’t mean to be. But you mentioned the past yourself and said you were “unpopular” then. I responded to that.

              • Bruce
                09/14/2010 at 11:59 PM

                eees ok. Sorry I provoked it back then, but I do hope you can get over any slight from that past. I do apologize.

                Just one small correction, just to “set the record straight,” as we sensitive lawyers say: I have never called anyone on this blog (or any other) a “church lady.”

                In that long ago time, as there is a new Bruce today, I said in the post that I was “Sorry for the ‘church lady’ talk,” because for some God forsaken reason I went off on a philosophical/religious rant on the difference between “faith” and “certainty” in the post.

                I think, due to the heat of the moment, it was interpreted at the time, incorrectly, that I called someone a “church lady,” but, in fact, I did not — I was referencing my own stupid words.

                And you may be correct that Clio was not referring to me, but it came right after the discussion with dcbill and I and seemed to reference it.

                I seem to be overly sensitive tonight, so I will just take a sleeping pill up the butt and go to dreamland.

                • Bill 2
                  09/15/2010 at 9:56 AM

                  Baloney, Bruce. Now you’re the one playing mind games.

                  Yes, you did say “Sorry for the ‘church lady’ talk…” in your rant against Bea on Aug. 4, BUT it doesn’t appear that you were sorry. Had you been sorry, you could have erased parts of your nasty rant instead of hitting the “Submit Comment” button.

                  You also stated: “While I don’t want to offend anyone’s religion, you remind me of the ultimate ‘Christian,’…”

                  It appears that you think it’s okay to bash people if you apologize for it in the same message. Perhaps I should try to do the same: Sorry if this offends you, Bruce, but your baloney isn’t going to erase your past messages.

                  You’ve also contributed a lot of very interesting ideas on the pros and cons of the case, so I hope you don’t run off again. You can be sure that many people look forward to your continuing participation.

                  • Bruce
                    09/15/2010 at 11:22 AM


                    I can only hope that time can erase these resentments. I apologize.

              • denton
                09/15/2010 at 8:48 AM

                I am very sorry if what I posted yesterday upset Clio (or if I went off the path), the Eds, or anyone (if, indeed, it was the case) now that Susan “thought” Clio “probably” didn’t refer to Bruce. My magarine lips was sealed when I left the post last night.

                Eds, the “Mind Games?” was a good exercise as I jogged myself to an old movie
                “Psycho” (I was probably 7 year old and my sister got me to go to the movie, I kept my eyes shut tight the whole time but still remembered the scream and part of the scene when I looked on the screen through my fingers) that a murder took place in a shower with a knife. To me, it was “the scariest” movie in my (little) life.

                …Shall we move forward?

                • Clio
                  09/15/2010 at 10:25 PM


    • carolina
      09/16/2010 at 8:13 PM

      What you’re saying is, you’d like us all to shut up and the editors to only post new evidence? If that’s what you want, it’s simple and cheap enough to start your own (seldom updated) blog.

      And while Phenergan is cheap, your can cure your nausea for free by closing your browser. Sometimes, life really is easy.

  15. Michael
    09/14/2010 at 6:51 PM

    It’s okay, guys. The ninja assassin could be a sociopath as well. Anything is possible…

    Just saying, Robert Wone was MOST LIKELY murdered by a sociopath whose first name started with a D or a J.

    (David, John, etc.)

    • denton
      09/14/2010 at 6:58 PM

      David, 100%. David “did it!”

      John took over the stories. Jimmy (you know who?) was innocent but helped covering up because if he didn’t, John might leave him or disconnect the (sexual first, then something else after) relationship.

      • denton
        09/14/2010 at 7:24 PM

        I think I just saw Dr. Bouwer reduced his head shot and moved to Florida (to the right side of the page).

        • Clio
          09/14/2010 at 10:00 PM

          Shut those ladies above off, bartender!

          • denton
            09/14/2010 at 11:04 PM

            Her lips are sealed!

  16. Clio
    09/14/2010 at 9:55 PM

    Well if Joe is truly innocent, why doesn’t he return to the social justice causes that seemed so important to him before August 2006? Is it because those causes weren’t important to him at all — only his ego and possible mental disorders made him crave the adulation?

    • Bruce
      09/15/2010 at 1:03 AM


      As you end your post with a question mark, is it ok to give an answer?

      If not, please read no further.

      If so, and assuming for purposes of our discourse that Joe is “truly innocent” (as you specifically assume in your question to the blog), he just came out of a torturous criminal trial, where he could have been convicted and have spent many years in prison. I expect, as a “truely innocent” person, he wants a small break from that terror.

      But he really can’t get that break, because he is now facing a torturous civil trial where the plaintiff is asking for $20 million, and he doesn’t have that, and…as far as we know, no means of support right now. Meaning that he is likely looking for any type of legal job that can help he and his “family” survive through day to day living.

      I would assume that he, as a “truely innocent” person, is not in a money position to be doing “pro bono” work or engage in the social justice causes that he did when he did have money as a working lawyer.

      Just saying, based upon your assumption, in your inquiry to the blog, assuming for the moment, as you do, of his being “truely innocent”…..I would think that we, as non-psychopaths (see here’s the connection to “Mind Games,”), might have some empathy for him.

      Is this a reasoned response to your question?

      • Clio
        09/15/2010 at 10:31 PM

        Yes, Bruce, but one might expect a diminution of commitment rather than a complete shut-off or shut-down of interest in social justice causes. And, given that striking absence of “do-gooding” more recently, ego rather than altruism thus seems the motivator pre-controversy.

        • Bruce
          09/15/2010 at 11:19 PM

          You may be right, Clio.

          But it seems just as likely, at least to me, that you may be wrong.

          Exactly what info or evidence do you have that Joe is doing “nothing” now as to the social justice causes he was interested in before the murder?

          Exactly what info do you have for your strong assertion (assumption) in your post of a “striking absence of “do gooding,” as you say?

          We know that in 2008 he did that video for W & M, (I just watched it again last night),and he was certainly advocating for social change in favor of gays and lesbians then.

          I realize he may not be an officer or in any “high profile” position now, with the criminal and civil matters over his head, with the organizations he was involved in before the murder, but what proof do you have that he is doing “nothing,” and not working “behind the scenes” in some way with those organizations or others?

          Do you have inside information as to this?

          If so, please share.

          Otherwise, it would seem that we are both just knocking our heads against the wall.

          Let’s move on to some real issues, of which there are plenty, rather than manufactured ones built upon speculation or baseless assumptions only.

          • Bruce
            09/16/2010 at 12:42 PM

            Hi Clio:

            I have read over our posts on this “do gooder” (as you put it) issue and I have to laugh.

            It is all kind of silly, and I expect we both have not been “bashed” by others, who are thoughtfully being quiet during this difficult time of coming to grips with Chilaw’s passing.

            Neither of us, it appears, have any basis whatsoever for saying what we say. You appear to have no basis for saying that there is a “striking absence” of any “do gooding” by Joe P., and I clearly having no basis for disputing it.

            I very much enjoy your posts, especially their literary allusions, and I have frankly learned new words and phrases by following you on this blog. Thanks!

            Thus, I feel a little necessity to explain myself in our current discourse. If I had another way of communicating with you, I would do so.

            Others need not read any further if they wish, this is mostly between the two of us. Sorry to waste space.

            I don’t want to be a part of this blog if it’s main purpose becomes simply bashing people that we don’t know and will probably never meet. There are other outlets for that, including FOX News.

            I would be embarrased to be so associated, even in an anonymous forum, and I appreciate the blog enough, I feel, to not want outsiders or readers (as opposed to posters) thinking that bashing is what this blog is all about.

            I do want it to offer different opinions, based upon information and evidence, particularly as to the topics picked by our ever viligent editors.

            I would like it to contain lively and friendly debate, without condemnations or accusations of being an enabler or collaborator if one does not follow or questions in any way the “conventional wisdom.”

            Frankly, only through lively and friendly debate are we going to come closer to answer our central reason for being here: to try to find out Who Murdered Robert Wone.

            If we are all just trying to out-do each other in demolishing the character of any of the parties to the lawsuit, this blog just becomes a one-note insignificance.

            I believe lively and friendly debate is in keeping with the purposes of the blog, and is not inconsistent with the memory of Robert Wone or harmful or hurtful to his wife.

            While I have absolutely no info or evidence, my “gut feeling” about Mrs. Wone leads me to picture her as a smart intelligent woman, who can think on different levels, and does not see things, even in this circumstance, as necessarily “black and white.”

            I also like to think of her as kind and wise, not full of hate or feelings of retribution.

            She has done a very wise thing in filing the civil lawsuit, and asking for a jury to decide the allegations.

            I don’t picture her full of hate and vitrol, which we sometimes see on this blog.

            Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m going to go with my “gut feeling” on this. I’m almost certain, in this “gut feeling,” that she would never endorse senseless bashing, particularly in the arena of something so personal as one’s “do gooding” (as you say) activities.

            Of course, I could be wrong and she could be full of hate, brimming with vitrol, and at war with a “scorched earth” mentality towards each of the Swann 3, no holds barred.

            Do you think so?

            I guess one couldn’t blame Mrs. Wone if she is those things.

            If you do think so, and if you have information that she is those things, I don’t think I want to be associated with the blog anymore.

            Not out of any disrespect, but frankly I have better things to do with my time.

            I think that another thing that kind of sparked my posts as to the “do gooder” post you wrote, is my natural revulsion to the topic of guessing motivations of good deeds and works.

            In an earlier post [Bruce on 09/14/2010 at 12:10 AM], under “Mind Games,” directed to another poster, I wrote:

            “I think if we scratch the surface a little we can ascribe, find and/or imagine “secondary gains” with almost any act of kindness or generosity by any person at any time.
            * * * *
            It’s an analysis and topic that induces gloom and cynicism, and I always try to avoid it, as it blurs my rose-colored glasses. I prefer to think that there is genuine kindness and generosity in people, even in this dark chapter.”

            That kind of says it all as to my feelings on the “do gooder” issues.

            Wow, I am really babbling away here. Sorry.

            I just kind of feel compelled to explain to you some of my recent responses to posts of yours. I don’t mean to “disrespect you,” and I don’t mean to make this personal.

            Frankly, I think our differences may be more philisophical than anything else.

            You have absolutely the right to say anything you want on this blog. And I hope you will respect my right to respond directly to what you say if I feel it is unfair or incorrect. That goes for everyone.

            Fair warning: I will respond if I think someone is making an unfair attack without basis, or is engaging in unfair bashing.

            If the “conventional wisdom” is clear that that is not acceptable on this blog, I will gladly leave (again!).

            Thanks for reading this long monologue, and I look forward to your always interesting and intelligent posts.

            • Clio
              09/16/2010 at 8:21 PM

              Bruce, dearest, midnight monologues are always welcome from the historian’s perspective. Recorded words of any sort may be some scholar’s meal ticket one day.

              Historians, as you may have guessed, are also interested in change over time. Accordingly, Joe was heavily invested in social justice causes before August 2, 2006. After that date, except possibly for a contribution to Hillary’s presidential campaign in 2008 (Dyl matched him), Mr. Price seems to have lost interest in the LGBT or homeless or poverty issues that so animated him, an interest, by the way, which had actually humanized the arrogant attorney.

              Speculating about why that change happened is indirectly pertinent to discussion of this case. This apparent lessening of interest is not manufactured, and one only wishes that it was so. Vale, Clio.

              • Bruce
                09/16/2010 at 8:32 PM

                Dear Clio:

                May I be so bold as to ask you upon what you base your apparent knowledge of what Joe is doing (or I should say not doing) in the “do gooder” world currently?

                I certainly don’t know, and wouldn’t hazard a guess!

                I’m not even sure anyone would know this, unless they kept a pretty good ole cat’s eye on everything he does, including his boxed electric typewriter thing.

                Are you privy to inside information in this regard?

                I declare I get the vapors when someone states something as fact, when it ain’t.

                Do tell!

                • Clio
                  09/16/2010 at 8:58 PM

                  Bruce, dearest, is it a state secret that Joe is no longer a legal counsel for Equality Virginia or an attendee of their statewide events, traditions that he and Dyl helped to create?

                  Is it classified that he no longer serves on the Governor of Virginia’s advisory boards on community service? He also seems to be AWOL from the Virginia Action Project, an umbrella group of progressive causes in the Old Dominion. Perhaps, Charlie Crist in Florida may have a use eventually for a made-over activist, but an apparent absence from the public and “do-gooding” stage does seem to be another “fact”, another elephant or “hippo” in the apologists’ parlor. XO, Clio.

                  • Bruce
                    09/16/2010 at 10:16 PM


                    Thank you very much for your post explaining why you have reached the conclusion, expressed in the manner of facts in your posts, that Joe Price is doing nothing in the “do gooder” world.

                    If I understand you correctly, you base this on common knowledge that he does not have the previous “high profile” positions with Equality Virginia, the Governor of Va’s Advisory’s Board (but why any gay person would want to be associated with the current admin. in Virginia is a good question!), and the Virginia Action Project.

                    You also state (but don’t explain how you know) that he and Dyl don’t attend “statewide” Equality Virginia meetings (are all their meetings state wide? how do you know he has not attended those?)

                    Your posts do not suggest any inside information or personal knowledge, correct?

                    Based upon these things, you come to the conclusions, stated as if they are facts in your post, of “a complete shut-off or shut-down of interest in social justice causes,” and a “striking absence of “do-gooding.”

                    You then bridge your conclusions in this regard with a conclusion that this proves that he never cared about those social causes, and it was all an illusion originally, suggesting that he just did it before for bad reasons, not good.

                    I understand your argument and the information you rely on.

                    I disagree with your speculations on this topic, which you stated in a manner as facts, in your posts.

                    Before I would want to come to that kind of harsh and damning conclusion, I would want to know if he is doing anything now in a non “high profile” role, with any of those organizationsor others.

                    I take it that you have no information in that area or you would point it out in your posts.

                    Just me, but I would not want to assume that he is doing nothing. You know what happens when you assume, don’t you?

                    I imagine that he was fired or quit the “high profile” positions, because of the criminal charges against him, either the organizationsor Joe P. not wanting any trouble or aspertions in that regard.

                    While I disagree with you, and wouldn’t make those statements on what you provide as your basis, you have every right to set forth and express your opinion in this regard.

                    The real problem I had with your posts in this regard is that you seemed to be setting forth assumptions as facts.

                    It is the lawyer in me that disagrees with that practice, and some feelings of general unfairness.

                    I still think our whole discussion on the “do gooder” issue is kind of funny and ultimately silly.

                    I don’t feel that either of us have enough good information to come to any reasonable conclusions or state something in the manner of facts in this regard.

                    Thanks again.

                    • Clio
                      09/17/2010 at 9:25 AM

                      You are welcome, Bruce.

                      A cocktail or a man, though, may take the edge off your anger. Just a friendly tip.

  17. Bill 2
    09/16/2010 at 4:26 PM

    How appropriate that the title on this page is “Mind Games” because you’re sure busy inventing new ones. Two days ago you claimed: “I said in the post that I was “Sorry for the ‘church lady’ talk.”

    As I previously mentioned, you very conveniently left off the fact that your apology was included in the rant, not a follow-up message, (again) IN the rant where you were bashing someone. That is not an apology by any stretch of the imagination. That’s just one example of one of your mind games right on this page.

    Today, we’ve got you issuing warnings to everyone. You state: “I hope you will respect my right to respond directly to what you say if I feel it is unfair or incorrect. That goes for everyone.” Yes, Bruce, we caught your “everyone.”

    Then you go on to let us know that if we don’t play by your rules, you’ll take your ball and go home: “If the “conventional wisdom” is clear that that is not acceptable on this blog, I will gladly leave (again!).” Mind games, Bruce. Mind games.

    There is no “conventional wisdom” on this blog as to who killed Robert Wone. Many people have come up with a variety of ideas. I don’t subscribe to any of them, yet.

    You criticize someone’s statements about the “do gooding” of Price, yet in the same message, you express your “gut feeling” about Mrs. Wone. How well do you know Mrs. Wone? More mind games, Bruce? (I’m using my “right to respond directly to what … I feel is unfair.”)

    Stop with your mind games. At times, you’ve contributed some valuable insight into the legal profession and that is greatly appreciated by many people on these pages. I hope you will continue to do so.

  18. Bruce
    09/16/2010 at 4:58 PM

    Jesus, Bill2, get a grip! You have reached a point of ridiculousness. Please find some other outlet for your repressed anger and resentments. You are giving the impression that you are simply out of control.

    I don’t want to waste time or space in responding to your over the top posts, but you give me no choice.

    You were quick to point out my post where I referenced that I was “Sorry for the ‘Church Lady’ talk.”

    But you completely ignore that within 3 hours of that post, I posted an apology to the person to whom that was sent.

    So you don’t have to go back and look at it again, here it is:

    “Bruce on 08/04/2010 at 8:50 PM

    Hi Bea:

    In the previous post to me before the one directly above, (the one I am referring to says “Bea on 08/04/2010 at 3:55 PM”), you suggested that I am looking at the trees and not the forest (“or big picture”).

    I think you are right as to that, and it is probably because I have not been on this blog as long as you have been and the “wierdness” of this case is newer to me. I will keep that in mind.

    In reading over my post I can see how it seems “bashy.” I apologize. It was not my intention to get personal, but I think I did. I didn’t mean to go anywhere but to criticize your post in this blog, certainly don’t know anything else about you.

    It is clear that we are diametrically opposed in how we view the evidence that we discussed. Neither one of us is going to change the other.

    Live Long and Prosper!


    This was not a bash/apology, it was a carefully written one from the heart. I felt bad about the “church lady” post and I still do.

    I should have never pushed the “submit comment” button on the “church lady” post. Have you ever made a mistake? Jesus!

    I’m assuming here, but I think Bea is over it, or at least willing to forgive if not forget. What’s YOUR problem?

    If you are offended that I feel that this blog shouldn’t be used to simply bash parties to the suit without a factual basis, do what you want — bash and bash away. No one is limiting you. You may get a response, but who cares about that?

    Would you like some blood? Next time I go to the lab I will have them take an extra tube if you will give me your address so I can send it to you. Or if you would like me to sprinkle it over myself, I will be glad to do that also.

    • Bill 2
      09/16/2010 at 6:07 PM

      Get a grip, Bruce. YOU were the one who brought up your previous rant with a new interpretation of “church lady” this week. It would have been totally forgotten if YOU hadn’t mentioned it. Don’t act put upon if people look at what YOU tell us YOU wrote in the past. It’s not forgotten because YOU brought it up.

      Of course Bea is over it and it would have been forgotten by everyone, but YOU dredged up your past message. Get your act together, man. You’ve got some serious problems if you feel you must keep tossing out accusations toward others for things resulting from your own messages and rants.

      You are the one issuing warnings to “everyone” and now you throw out an “over the top” accusation. That’s totally “engaging in unfair bashing.” (your quote)

      • Rich
        09/16/2010 at 6:22 PM

        Boyz. Boyz Boyz.

        P-L-A-Y N-I-C-E-L-Y!

        Look at yesterday’s posts full of love and ADMIRATION FOR CHI LAW.


        We all have opinions and they vary from one another.

        but, we must show respect for one another and take the Rodney king Approach.

        “We can get all get along!”

        Let’s dial it down a bit and take a breathe.


      • Bruce
        09/16/2010 at 6:26 PM

        Well, at least this rant is shorter than the previous one (always looking to the bright side). God Bless us, everyone.

        • carolina
          09/16/2010 at 8:18 PM

          Bruce, honey, you don’t seem to understand the right to express a contrary opinion is not limited to *you.*

          • Bruce
            09/16/2010 at 8:59 PM


            I have never suggested that anyone can’t express a contrary opinion on anything! I’m all for contrary opinions, whether it be with me, the “conventional wisdom,” or anyone. I am all for lively friendly debate! That’s what I have been talking about here!!!

            Express away!

            My only point is if someone expresses an opinion that has no basis in anything, or is contrary to facts or information, don’t be surprised if you get a response challenging it. That’s all.

            Especially if an opinion is expressed in a manner as a fact, or indicating it to be a fact, when it is not.

            Or if a post is simply done for bashing purposes, without any basis in fact, don’t be surprised if I or someone else responds or challenges it.

            Not much of a threat, right? We are just talking about a response! No one is trying to stop free expression.

            Pretty much the way it is always done around here.

            Only difference is the sometimes chilling effect by posts on here that if you respond to someone in line with what is discussed above, you might be called an enabler, or a collaborator, or worse.

            To me, that’s unfair, and such name calling is not going to stop me from responding if it feels appropriate to do so.

            I think such name calling has had a chilling effect which is unfavorable to free debate.

            Do you disagree?

            Please do me a favor, because I know from reading your posts that you are an intelligent, witty and, especially precise poster:

            Please look over my posts and show me anything that suggests I feel that the right to express a contrary opinion is limited to me, as you suggest in your post.

            I don’t think that should be too hard a chore, because I would imagine that your post was sparked by something recent.

            If you find something that supports your post, I will be mortified. But grateful.

            • Bruce
              09/17/2010 at 11:27 AM

              Dear Clio:

              No room to respond to your last kind post immediately after it, especially as to the friendly tip.

              Just one question, why are your two choices exclusive?


              • Clio
                09/17/2010 at 9:22 PM

                LOL! Behave, Bruce darling!

                On Joe’s seeming lack of recent civic virtue, we’ll just have to disagree.

                I hope that you are right about Mr. Price and his possible low-profile philanthropy. I’ve often thought that especially arduous community service would be the most fitting “punishment” for the Swann Street Three, if they are ever found guilty: I’d love to see the trouple helping flood victims in Pakistan, or doing a tour of duty or two in Afghanistan or Yemen. Just a thought.

  19. Stephanie
    09/27/2010 at 3:44 PM

    Is there a book about this story

    • AnnaZed
      09/27/2010 at 5:04 PM

      Not yet.

Comments are closed.