2 Down, 1 To Go

12/28/2010
By Craig

The Long, Strange Trip Continues

There may be no better time than the holiday slows and the two-year anniversary of the site to take stock of what’s happened and what lays ahead.   A year from now the civil trial will be over.  We joked that by the time this project was completed, we could’ve almost been lawyers.  That assumes of course, we were accepted to a law school (UDC maybe?), had the moxy to endure three years of fun stuff like estoppel, graduated somehow and passed a bar exam. 

But kidding aside, for the families touched by this murder, the more arduous journey will continue long after next October’s trial.

The last wmrw index was published in May 2009, six months after launch and just days after Old Man Weisberg set the date for the criminal trial.  Back then, the numbers were relatively small but still a minor accomplishment considering we didn’t know WTF we were doing: the tally was 133 posts that generated 3500 comments on 200,000 page views.  Since then, the community has grown exponentially and so has awareness. 

Who could’ve imagined on Memorial Day 2009, a packed courtroom for 22 days straight?  Packed overflow rooms too.  Who could’ve imagined that the June 2010 verdict would be front page news, not just above-the-fold, but the lead story in the Post on the day after?   

Next: wmrw by the numbers.

Days until the civil trial begins: 293 (9 months, 19 days)

Days since Robert’s murder: 1609 (4 years, 4 months, 26 days)

Days that will have elapsed between the murder and civil trial: 1902 (5 years, 2 months, 15 days)

wmrw posts: 520

Comments: 37,000

Page views: 2,000,000+

We’ll keep plugging away, sharing more as best we can about the process and principals.  The learning curve remains steep and we owe a debt of gratitude to the many here who help make us smart(er).  Thanks for all you all do.  And while this project may be completed one day, our relationship with a guy we never knew will be with us forever.

38 Responses to “ 2 Down, 1 To Go ”

  1. Bea on 12/28/2010 at 2:51 PM

    A tip of the hat to this fine blog and our dedicated (and charming) editors! I remember the days when there weren’t many comments, almost all of them by a very small number of us.

    While there have been many heated discussions and more than a few “drive-by” commenters taking pot-shots, I appreciate this group of individuals who want to see this case solved and for those responsible to be brought to justice – with some good fortune, perhaps even in a criminal court, but one thing at a time.

    May the civil trial provide Kathy Wone some new information and some semblance of righting a terrible, terrible wrong.

  2. boofoc on 12/28/2010 at 3:23 PM

    My relatonhip with Robert Wone, whom I never knew while he lived, will indeed be with me forever, thanks to the tireless efforts of a few loving guys, the originators of this project; his memory is indelibly in my psyche.

    But, I wonder why that is so, considering the hundreds (thousands ?) of murders I’ve heard about in recent memory. (I’ve known none of the victims.) And I conclude that the immobility of the victim when he was mutilated seems to equate somehow in my mind to the innocence of the victim and to the senselessness of the crime.

    For me, it’s never been about the “how” of this murder, but the “why.” Like Kathy Wone, I suspect, I somehow need to know why this lovely man was slain. I plan to persist with you guys (“plugging away”, as you say) until we find that answer.

    • Noaharc on 12/28/2010 at 9:34 PM

      Looking at the First 48 hours/wicked attraction and other cable shows on crime–the Why will be quite saddening/disappointing that a a wonderful person’s life was tasken for that but justice has to be served.

  3. gina a on 12/28/2010 at 7:51 PM

    I just wanted to also chime and say how much I still appreciate this blog and all the hard work our editors do to keep it going.

    Here’s a true story about how much of a positive impact you have on your readers and the connection we have formed with Robert through you: Just today, on a walk home from lunch in Chinatown and the Norman Rockwell exhibit, I saw Robert’s face on the front page of the Blade and started to grab a copy; but it was across the street and I didn’t want to dart out into traffic. My three kids asked why did I want that paper, and I found myself telling the whole story of the Wone case and trial. My two older kids (son, 14 and daughter 11) started asking some pretty deep, insightful questions about the case, Robert, the roomates, the detectives, the investigation, the trial.

    It was a great opportunity to talk to them about our justice system in the US and how lucky we are to have it, but how also the prosecutors have a really, really hard job in proving beyond a reasonable doubt. As someone who believes strongly that the roomates murdered Robert and tampered with evidence etc., I am sure that my retelling of the story was colored by my own bias. I tried to relate the facts of the case in as detached and objective manner as possible so they could draw their own conclusions.

    At the end of our 40 minute walk home, my 11 yo daughter announced that she wanted to be a prosecutor when she grew up-this was totally out of the blue, and she’s never expressed a desire to be anything, unlike my son who is certain he’s going to be a professional soccer player in Italy (yeah, right). I told her it’s too hard, it’s depressing when a criminal gets off scot free (ahem) not enough money, etc., etc., but she said, no I want to make sure that people who kill other people get what they deserve.

    Well, of course, I was very proud of her (she’s the middle child and easily the most intense of my children, always the first to point out some injustice, real or perceived, done to her usually, but very inquisitive, persistent and articulate) but it made me happy to think that this case and the information on this blog had inspired someone, even in a roundabout way, even though it might not last, to study the law to become one of our society’s most under-appreciated and hardest working public servants.

    Thank you so much for this site and the discussions and debates that have happened on it lo these many months. I check back every now and again, I love to see the familiar names and though I might not always comment, I’m here and taking in everything.

    • David on 12/28/2010 at 8:02 PM

      Gina,

      Wow, Gina, your story brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of how the father of one of the Wone case prosecutors, Rachel Carlson Lieber, described his daughter when she was growing up — smart, articulate and a strong sense of right and wrong. Since Lieber is something of a hero to all of us here at WMRW.com, your daughter is in good company and headed in the right direction.

      David, co-ed.

      • gina a. on 12/28/2010 at 8:45 PM

        I remember Rachel’s dad’s post and I think I even commented on how great she was, and how I hoped that my daughter would grow up to be like her. I noted then how much my daughter sounded like Rachel Lieber, but couldn’t have imagined that she would, months later, very forcefully state that this is what she wanted to do when she grew up. I didn’t really think she had taken in the prosecutor v. defense attorney explanation on our walk. It was a little spooky, actually.

  4. Clio on 12/28/2010 at 8:17 PM

    Did Counselor Price ever dream of having such a well-attended weblog devoted to finding the real killer(s) of his dear “friend” Robert Wone? The former Arent Fox partner must be gratified that so many citizen-pundits are interested in his Anacostia dialogues. All publicity is good publicity, eh, Joe?

    Those numbers are astonishing. Somehow, I don’t think that even L’il Dyl and Uncle Michael’s ads combined have attracted over 2 million views. And, what weblog devoted to one issue has attracted over 37,000 comments in just two years! Lisa G. can only wish that she had those kinds of numbers. Even the talented designer Mr. Hixson does not generate that kind of traffic — either professionally or privately. Bravo, once again, Editors, and on to some comfort far less “cold” than Lynn’s!

  5. Cat from Cleveland on 12/28/2010 at 9:47 PM

    The creation of a successful blog is impressive. The creation of a successful blog devoted to the pursuit of justice is inspiring. Hats off to the eds!

    • susan on 12/28/2010 at 11:21 PM

      Agree. Hats off to the editors who created this site and keep us informed with great writing, clever headline, and a true interest in seeing justice served. Hats off, too, to the Washington Post and Neely Tucker, who brought this website/blog to the public’s attention in a big way. And to the Washingtonian, City Paper, Examiner, etc. covering the crime and the case now, even if they were a bit remiss four years ago when there was nothing written on the crime except the initial reporting of the crime.

      • Nelly on 12/31/2010 at 11:09 PM

        Happy new year to all the regulars here and the tireless editors! May 2011 get us closer to the truth about what happened to Robert Wone, and may justice be served.

  6. mia on 12/29/2010 at 5:13 AM

    I probably will leave the States by the time the civil trial begins, but will def. check the site regularly for the lasted updates no matter where I will be.

  7. CDinDC (boycott BP) on 12/29/2010 at 7:40 AM

    Eds and posters alike,

    You’re a tenacious bunch. Keep up the good work. The city, if not the world, is listening.

    Bravo.

  8. Dan Webber on 12/29/2010 at 8:28 AM

    Thanks for keeping this investigation and Robert top of mind and for all of your hard work over the years. God bless Robert and all of his friends and family who miss him.

  9. Rich on 12/29/2010 at 11:22 AM

    I’ve repeatedly said it before.

    I’m afraid there will be more delays.

    “…The civil trial begins: 293 (9 months, 19 days).”

    I think it’s a bit unrealistic.

    As for Gina, if you could cover the entire Robert Wone case in a 40 minute walk, you beat the curve.

    I’ve done it several times, and I cannot get it done in under one hour.

    • Clio on 12/29/2010 at 10:31 PM

      Interesting, Rich. What specific factors will lead to yet more delays, in your analysis?

      And, on another note, Editors, how well did 2010 witness the answering of questions on Craig’s list from a year ago? Is the “very, very, very active” investigation anywhere near close to addressing those and other queries?

      At any rate, I just hope that Mr. Ward restrains himself from writing the Fanny Hill of our time: no one should profit from a potentially deadly form of libertine behavior.

      • Rich on 12/30/2010 at 11:42 AM

        I’ve been saying for for over one year there will be delays and sure enough there have been a few.

        There will be more.

        Wait and see.

        My hunch is New Year’s 2011.

        • Clio on 12/30/2010 at 4:16 PM

          Ugh, Rich! I trust that you are wrong here and that there will be fewer delays than expected.

          One of the most notorious works of the early Enlightenment was the Treatise of the Three Imposters, which first appeared in the Netherlands in 1719. Its whole point was to discourage folks from “coming to Jesus,” but will a new, similarly-titled Treatise coming out of this tragedy have the opposite thesis?

          And, of course, given Mr. Ward’s deep appreciation of irony and allegory, I’m sure that he may see the transfers of meanings from William Blake’s 1796 engraving, “Europe Supported by Africa and America” to this case. The link is provided here:

          http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:William_Blake-Europe_Supported_By_Africa_and_America_1796.png

          • Craig on 12/31/2010 at 10:44 AM

            Art for art’s sake… Thanks Clio.

            Interestingly, Blake’s wiki page has this: “Blake is sometimes considered (along with Mary Wollstonecraft and her husband William Godwin) a forerunner of the subsequent 19th century “free love” movement, a broad reform tradition starting in the 1820s that held that marriage is slavery, and advocated for removal of all state restrictions on sexual activity such as homosexuality, prostitution, and even adultery, culminating in the birth control movement of the early 20th century.”

            • Clio on 12/31/2010 at 5:45 PM

              Interesting, Craig. Mr. Blake as well as Mr. Price, I am certain, eventually found out that “free love” is rarely “free.”

              And, for the sake of argument, if both Victor and Joe agreed with these radical bohemians and viewed marriage as slavery, then why did Joe and Dyl campaign so hard in Virginia that year to protect same-sex couples, and why has Victor stayed with Joe, even after Dyl’s personal correspondence with Culuket came to light?

              The inconsistencies here are so hard to grasp, yet they are so common in every sense of that word. The marriage of Joe and Victor appears to me to epitomize elements of the very ones that had oppressed and saddened the Georgians and Victorians. And, Dyl’s presence was probably not a liberating one for anyone. The making of the trouple, itself a possible antidote to Joe’s wandering eye, was, IMHO, an ultimately unsuccessful expedient.

              Happy New Year to all!

          • Rich on 12/31/2010 at 6:10 PM

            I’ve seen way too much in the courthouses.

            Delays are expected and sometimes welcomed.

            This is one case that will not go away easily.

  10. boofoc on 12/29/2010 at 1:05 PM

    At your kind suggestion, Craig, I returned to “May 2009″ and was keenly interested in the postings of Colin S, self-described as: “not a relative, just a good friend of Joe and Victor…offering support” to them because they are “innocent until proved guilty.” He had attended the status hearing before Judge Weisberg with the defendants.

    Despite your and David’s gentle proddings (and those of others), Colin S declined to offer any specifics, protesting that it was not his place to ask Joe or Victor (or Dylan, whom he knew somewhat, but about whose innocence he was seemingly less certain) “delicate questions” concerning details of the murder. What a valuable source of information he or others of the defendants’ friends (or former friends) might be if he’s still available to us. Have we heard from him or his ilk lately?

    • christy love on 12/31/2010 at 6:35 PM

      I went and read those Colin S. Comments after reading what you posted here and all I can say is he must not be that close of a friend because the first thing out my mouth to a good friend would have been ‘wtf happened? wtf was going on up in there?’

      They may have lied or been tight-lipped but I would be asking. I wonder if Mr. Colin would go over to their house and spend the night?

  11. Clio on 12/29/2010 at 4:33 PM

    This blog, its Editors, and its posters have broken (or highlighted) key contextual stories: Dyl’s ironic musing about irony in the Simmons College catalogue, the sappy titles of Dyl’s chapbooks, the probable meaning of Culuket and the accompanying (and jaw-dropping) personal advertisement, the Three’s second exile at Aunt Marcia’s, the eyecandy dvds and 18th Street space angle, the Hallmark correspondence of the trouple (featuring off-the-wall references to Crisco and margarine,) the continuing and cheeky advertisements of Mr. Ward and Uncle Michael, the animal cruelty charges against Mr. Collins, the Florida real estate dimension, etc.

    It has been a long, strange (and totally unnecessary, if only certain people told all that they knew) trip for all of us!

  12. Craig on 12/30/2010 at 9:52 AM

    Based on little but a gut feeling and a random, uncharacteristic whiff of optimism, I think 2011 may bring a break in the case.

    • Michael on 12/30/2010 at 10:29 AM

      Don’t worry, Craig. Your gut feeling is correct. :)

    • Clio on 12/30/2010 at 2:18 PM

      Let’s hope that you are on to something, Craig!

      More questions to ponder: Did Uncle Michael ever graduate from Montgomery College, or did he decide to stick to retail? Are Louis and Scott still on the Zaborsky-Price’s holiday card list? And, will Sarah be the one to drop the dime on Culuket in 2011, especially after she read the Hallmark correspondence here online?

      • susan on 12/30/2010 at 3:14 PM

        Remember LH was Dernbach’s Facebook friend. It looks like he is also Facebook friends with at least one Price family member. I’d imagine that the trouple are still on Facebook, Uncle M as well, but likely using aliases. Maybe twitter, too.

        • Clio on 12/31/2010 at 8:04 PM

          Susan, why would Mr. Hinton be Mr. Dernbach’s acquaintance? And, why would Mr. Hinton be friends with Prices other than Culuket and Uncle M? Louis must have been a portal to something for them all.

          And, Craig’s #15 question from last year still puzzles — why were the burglary charges against Uncle M and Mr. Collins suddenly dropped?

          • susan on 01/01/2011 at 2:53 AM

            Hi Clio,

            Some people “friend” anyone they know and it’s hard not to accept a friend request. That would be my guess. But who knows. Maybe it’s “all in the family” and there are other ties that bind.

            So much is odd about the Price brothers relationship. It’s odd, too, that M. Price cursed out a female police officer at R. Wone’s funeral (of all places!) for bothering his brother (protective), then robs the same brother a few months later (!). It’s odd that J. Price bails the brother out, then defends the brother’s lover who beat up the brother in a court case and allows the guy (Hinton) to live at Swann. Strange. Odd. Weird. Etc. Doesn’t report the key to the police. Holds off on reporting the robbery to police, etc. Calling Vidocq Society….

            • Clio on 01/01/2011 at 10:59 AM

              So, the elder Price — in choosing to defend Louis — may approve of domestic violence and abusive relationships, scourges against which Spag would do well to raise money and awareness.

              But, then again, Louis was Michael’s alibi for that evening, just after the funny uncle had left the kids and then skipped class. One would think that, if Uncle M knew of the first bike-riding milestone that afternoon, then he would have told Culuket (at least) in person that evening.

              And, given the Brother Prices’ uncanny similiarities in intimate tastes and practices, one would have thought that Michael could have acted as wing man for one of Joe’s extramarital flights of fancy. Tchaikovsky’s younger brother acted in that capacity for the composer’s cruising of St. Petersburg. But, the disparity in educational levels may have put Michael at a disadvantage in “game.” How would Joe’s conquests talk to a one-time butcher?

              • susan on 01/01/2011 at 3:37 PM

                M. Price seems to have been pretty totally integrated into his brother’s life. Have to wonder about the brothers relationship as boys. MP had a key, was (maybe not still) Facebook friends, with P. Dernbach, who was LD’s former housemate (anything more), his brother takes time to defend LH, M. Price’s bf in a court case; he’s part of the Eyecandy venture slated for 18th St., he goes to RW’s funeral with LH, etc.

                And then of course that night, when he calls from the nephews’ home, misses class, etc., etc.

                I’m sure MP and LH say they don’t like being the focus of any attention in this case, but they seem to have set themselves up with such odd, attention-grabbing behavior.

                • susan on 01/01/2011 at 3:39 PM

                  P.S. Thanks for the historical references, Clio. Learn a lot from reading your posts.

                  • Clio on 01/02/2011 at 2:35 PM

                    Thanks, Susan. History and detective work are one in the same.

                • Clio on 01/02/2011 at 2:31 PM

                  How close are the Brothers Price today, after the “burglary” and the first trial? Is Michael taking the upper hand in this relationship, due to any confidences/knowledge that are pertinent to this case? Certainly, I would not be pleased, if I were Uncle M, about Joe said about me (unsolicited) in his Anacostia Dialogues.

                  At any rate, even if the Brothers Price have given up drugs, they probably have not given up men (or food.) And, if they spilled a few of the beans, in a moment of weakness or passion, about this matter to any of their recent beaux,
                  then one would hope that these gentlemen callers, however dissolute, may still have a conscience.

  13. Rapt in MD on 12/30/2010 at 3:47 PM

    Time keeps on slipping into the future and I will defintely spend some of it with you in the New Year. Best wishes to the editors of this riveting blog and to my fellow WMRW readers. Looking forward to peace and justice for Robert and his family after we have ticked off the coming days together.

  14. Eagle on 12/31/2010 at 8:19 PM

    Happy New Year, everybody.
    Cheers to the WMRW web site!

  15. denton on 01/02/2011 at 10:36 PM

    We’ve got 6 months to the first Mediation. Caseloads were already transferred to the new Judge Rankin. It would be quite a ride to see what will happen next, Rich.

  16. Hoya Loya on 01/03/2011 at 8:24 AM

    May 2011 see anyone responsible for Robert Wone’s murder held accountable and anyone who is innocent cleared, with Kathy and the Wone family getting the answers and justice they deserve.

    Kudos to the Co-Eds for helping to keep this from becoming just another cold case, in keeping with the selfless service to others that Robert practiced throughout his life.

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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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