Knowns and Unknowns

What Are We Not Asking That We Should?

The future's so bright, I oughta wear shades...If there was a list of people you might not expect to turn up on this site, Donald Rumsfeld might be near the top. We expect he would be just as surprised to pop up here as well.

But the former Secretary of Defense, now author, is back in the spotlight as he flogs his memoir “Known and Unknown.”  And it’s that famous quote that inspired the title that has got us thinking anew about how we look at solving this case.

Among his many contributions to history, it may be something Donald Rumsfeld said – not did – that will be most cited.  Speaking at a press briefing on Iraqi WMD on Feb. 12, 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld said this:

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

What this zen koan meant in the context of Iraq is still unclear – with the possible exception of Mr. Rumsfeld’s mind.  But like any piece of poetry, it raises a challenge in a different context – that of Robert Wone’s murder.  Namely: what don’t we know that we don’t know? When stuck in a dead end, it can often be helpful to back up and re-examine the pieces of the problem in a different light.  Rummy may have provided us with just such a tool for looking anew at the Wone case.

Although he only laid out three possibilities, the logical end of Mr. Rumsfeld’s epistemological proposition is that there are four essential categories of knowlegde:

  1. Known knowns: those things of which we are aware that we know,
  2. Known unknowns: those things of which we are aware that we don’t know,
  3. (Unknown knowns: those things that we know, but are unaware of their relevance), and
  4. Unknown unknowns: those things which we are unaware that we don’t know.

Known knowns are the easiest to dissect.  We know Joe, Victor and Dylan were in the house when the paramedics arrived.  We know how much of Robert’s blood was found in his chest and abdomen.  We know Robert was last independently seen by a third party when he departed his CLE class.  We know he and Joe had pre-arranged for Robert to spend the night at 1509 Swann.

There are others, of course; only some of them introduced as evidence during the criminal trial.  For example: we know a collection of S&M equipment was found at Swann, but this was not introduced during trial.  Regardless, these are facts that are not in dispute and form the first pins of re-constructing what happened that night.  What is the list of known knowns in Robert Wone’s murder? A young and promising Robert Wone

The known unknowns were the most contentious at trial.  Did Robert suffer cardiac tamponade?  If so, for how long, and could it explain his death?  Was the knife found on scene the actual murder weapon, and was the missing knife from Dylan’s collection actually found in Washington State?  For purposes of the trial only there were findings of fact for many of these known unknowns; but in reality these remain unresolved.  Answering these questions may form the best pointers to the guilty parties.  What are the known unknowns that must be answered to solve the case?

Unknown knowns may be the most maddening category – how many things are there that we know but are simply overlooking?  The Swann Street Three had no pets in the house: is this in any way relevant?  The defendants say steaks for dinner were burnt before water was thrown on the grill.  Does this matter?   A shower at Swann wasn’t working: should we care?  The list could be endless and lead down a thousand blind alleys.  What are those things that we know that we simply don’t realize are relevant?

Finally we have unknown unknowns – those things we’re simply not even aware we don’t know and haven’t asked.  The most challenging category, this also seems potentially the most fertile for uncovering new pieces to the puzzle as yet undiscovered.  And they are the most fleeting: simply asking about an unknown unknown immediately moves it into known unknowns.  This is the spot where perhaps crowd-sourcing may work best: What have we not asked about that we need to?

Whether he stumbled into it, or he spoke to a deep understanding of the nature of knowledge, Mr. Rumsfeld’s knowns & unknowns answer may offer a system of thought that could help us solve the mysteries of this case.

133 comments for “Knowns and Unknowns

  1. CDinDC
    02/09/2011 at 3:20 PM

    “The defendants say steaks for dinner were burnt before water was thrown on the grill.”

    Who the hell does that??? A normal response would be to turn off the gas and close the lid. How big a fire could a few steaks have made?

    Known known…….something was burned in the grill.

    known unknown…..what was burned in the grill?

    Incriminating evidence, perhaps?

    • bigfatmike
      02/10/2011 at 8:50 PM

      This part of the story has always puzzled me.

      If they threw water on the steaks, I think we can assume it was because rendered fat from the steaks had caught fire.

      But water on a grease fire does not put out the fire. The water makes the grease fire flare higher and makes it more dangerous. Ultimately a grease fire burns itself out or is smothered with a rag, with baking soda, or by lowering the top on a grill or with something that cuts off oxygen from the fire.

      But there is no mention of the water making the fire bigger or of the steps that would have been taken to put the fire out after the water was thrown on the fire.

      I think the story of the steaks and the fire and the water, as I recall it, call into question whether water was ever thrown on the steaks.

      Maybe I did not understand the details of the story. But I don’t think it happened the way it was described, or at least not the way I understood the description.

      Of course I have a point of view here. In the past I have made it clear that it is inconceivable to me that the three, as a group, do not have a clear understanding of what happened that night.

      • CDinDC
        02/11/2011 at 9:49 AM

        I agree 100% bfm. Not to mention culinary school graduate Dylan would have known NOT to do that.

        Also, I would think the steaks would have had to have been BLAZING in order to run to the hose, turn the spigot and drag the hose to the grill. Why not walk into the house and get a glass of water from the sink?

        IF the steaks WERE on fire, I don’t think it warranted using a hose to dose out the fire.

        I think something else was burned in the grill.

        By the way, did the MPD find burned steaks in the trashcan? No.

        • Hoya Loya
          02/11/2011 at 10:47 AM

          CD I’m surprised at you! Don’t you remember that they “sort of salvaged the steaks” and ate them with half a bottle of wine? 😉

          • Clio
            02/12/2011 at 10:01 AM

            That wine must have been good to wash down those charred entrees. Where though were the fruits and veggies on that menu — that thought must have gone through cardiologist Needham’s mind when he saw the “Dialogues” for the first time, probably here.

          • CDinDC
            02/18/2011 at 8:58 AM

            Kevin, no one says water doesn’t work, it’s just very dangerous to do so, and a culinary school graduate would know that.

            Just for your own safety, here’s a link on how to safely put out a grease fire.


            • CDinDC
              02/18/2011 at 8:58 AM

              oops…that was meant for Kevin. oh well.

      • alternate guy
        02/14/2011 at 12:49 PM

        I recall a situation back in the old charcoal days, where my friend used to keep a glass of water by the grill so that when the steaks flamed up, he could sprinkle water on them to douse those flames and thus prevent burning the steaks. Not a big steak griller myself.

      • kevin
        02/17/2011 at 9:40 PM

        Water DOES put out the grease fire on the grill. I do it All THE TIME.

  2. Rapt in MD
    02/09/2011 at 3:41 PM

    Flag on the play – Unnecessary use of Old Jerkface (aka Rumsfeld)bleck, gag, cough, bleck.

  3. JusticeForRobert
    02/09/2011 at 6:12 PM

    Known, known. Your dear friend of 15 years is murdered while a guest in your home. You were closest to him, one of his pallbearer’s , yet you did not demand answers, in fact you evaded questions. Your husband, also a close friend of the victim, did not assist you in searching to no ends, the culprit in this case, to seek the much needed answers in the case that any reasonable human being would have sought if they loved such a friend. Why?

    Known, Unknown: You have allowed all of this time to pass by without justice being served to your friend. Even though standing accused of crimes associated with his death, you failed to to stop at no ends to seek the truth. Why?

    Unknown, Unknown: What kind of human being after having had their dear friend murdered in their home, or anyone murdered in their home would not want to have answers? This is not an everyday occurrence, this is not normal. Even if you feel you could be a suspect, would you not want to at the very least clear your name and those of your house quests? Even further would you not leave ANY stone unturned to get at the truth if you did not start out knowing the truth to begin with? Why has this never been explored? Why are you even now, in a civil suit, still not insisting on finding out just who is was that killed your dear friend?

    • alternate guy
      02/14/2011 at 12:55 PM

      And if Joe and/or his family have hired private detectives to work on this case, just how would you/we know about it?

      • Carolina
        02/14/2011 at 7:07 PM

        We’d know because Joe couldn’t keep himself from letting it leak.

        • alternateguy
          02/14/2011 at 7:10 PM

          Then why do posters think that he has secretes?

      • susan
        02/14/2011 at 8:38 PM


        Do you know if they hired private detectives? In one of your posts–either earlier today or yesterday–you wrote that you didn’t know any of the defendants. But months ago you did write that you are friends with one of their friends and you were sympathetic to your friend’s sympathetic position towards the trouple. That’s okay. But you do come with a predisposition towards their innocence. Months ago you wrote of how it hurt your friend to read these things about the trio. I bet it does. And you are a supportive friend. That’s understandable. But this was missing from your recent post.

        • alternateguy
          02/18/2011 at 10:00 AM


          You asked me, “Do you know if they hired private detectives?”

          No, I really don’t know if any of the trio or their lawyers have conducted a private investigation. But I think that they very well might have. Perhaps that explains the new names on the witness list. I do know that it’s flat out wrong to say that they have done nothing to find the truth, when we don’t know that to be the fact.

          When I hear all the talk about taking a fifth, it sort of puts me in mind of the HUAC and the blacklisting era, which I well remember. Just being a friend of a friend of someone could taint you. Perhaps cost you your job. (Can’t happen to old, retired me, but perhaps could so cost my friend, a friend of theirs, in this atmosphere.)

          Susan, in speaking of the trio, you say, “But you do come with a predisposition towards their innocence.”

          Yes! In my mind they are “Innocent until PROVEN GUILTY,” something that surely has not yet been accomplished on this blog. Somehow, I do like to point that out from time to time.

          And I’d like to think that I’d feel that way even if I weren’t a friend of a friend of someone.

          • CDinDC
            02/18/2011 at 10:47 AM

            They would have been in jail if it had been a jury of their peers.

          • David
            02/18/2011 at 10:56 AM

            Alternate guy —

            Actually in the criminal trial the judge did find that beyond a reasonable doubt that no unknown intruder broke into 1509 Swann Street on the night of August 2nd. So in a court of law, the defendants have been found guilty of making up a story about an unknown intruder. Unfortunetly, that is not a criminal offense, and one for which they weren’t charged.

            Second, the only reason that no guilt was found on the charges at the trial, was the judge could not be sure that everyone of three defendants knew all the information about the events that transpired that night, so she could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that they were all guilty of the charges. So she did let them free only to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system and in her decision she said it was better to let 10 guilty men walk and than one innocent man go to jail. Since she was not sending anyone to jail, the clear inference was that she was letting guilty men walk.

            We have passed “innocent until found guilty” phase of this case.


            • CDinDC
              02/18/2011 at 11:26 AM

              David says: “the defendants have been found guilty of making up a story about an unknown intruder. Unfortunetly, that is not a criminal offense….”

              There is a federal law that makes “false statements” a criminal offense. If someone knowingly and willfully “makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation,” they can be punished in a court of law.

              Not to mention obstruction of justice, which they were tried for.

            • KiKi
              02/18/2011 at 11:38 AM

              Hi David,

              I think that there is a misunderstanding about what was actually “found” in the court of law. I know this may seem like splitting hairs or overly technical but I think it is important if we are talking on purely legal basis.

              Someone cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for something with which they were not charged. Similarly, facts are not found beyond a reasonable doubt. Facts are found by the trier of fact to determine whether an “element” was found beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether or not there was an intruder is not an element, it is simply a theory of the case and therefore Judge L’s determination that the theory is false has no bearing other than to explain her decision.

              However, everything in her decision other than Not Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, is dicta – opinions of the judge. It has no legal significance. It is interesting fodder for us groupies; but it means nothing in the law.

              So, legally, the defendants are still innocent, regardless of the judges opinion on the theories set forth.

              • mw
                02/18/2011 at 12:13 PM

                I think it’s always worth pointing out too that while they are indeed innocent in the eyes of the law, that has no application to this blog. Often people throw around criminal standards of proof and expect everyone, in and out of court, to abide by them.

                • KiKi
                  02/18/2011 at 12:31 PM

                  I appreciate that and was only pointing out that I do not think David’s statement that “in a court of law, the defendants have been found guilty of making up a story about an unknown intruder” is an accurate statement of the law.

                • alternateguy
                  02/18/2011 at 1:17 PM

                  And I think that it’s always worth pointing out, on this blog, the fact that they are indeed innocent in the eyes of the law.

                  Really, I don’t expect such standards to be used by everyone, that’s just not the law of human nature.

                  It’s likely that the trio will remain suspects in the eyes of many and that they will live out their lives under a cloud of suspicion whatever the law says.

                  However, if we ever find the answer to W.M.R.W? perhaps that could help all around. But I don’t think that that question has been answered yet, except in the eyes of some.

          • susan
            02/18/2011 at 10:57 PM

            Hey Alt,

            Two points:

            1. I agree it’s “flat out wrong to say that they have done nothing…the truth.” Those sure aren’t my words.

            2. You alluded to your predisposition towards a finding of innocence based on a personal connection in earlier posts. That’s okay. It’s honest. I was just pointing it out.

  4. Jeana
    02/09/2011 at 6:55 PM

    Well, Doug, you certainly have a knack for setting up a challenge; I’m looking forward to the comments. Here’s mine:

    Known Known: Water, water everywhere. Watering plants, water thrown on the grill, water served upon Robert’s arrival, water dripping perhaps from a leaky shower, all the showers taken that nite.

    Known Unknown: I’m still wondering if anyone did, or still could, check the water usage at 1509 Swann that nite. Seems to me that the story of dousing the grill with water after burning steaks accounts for the fact that the backyard hose was used for something (but what?) that nite, and the broken shower story accounts for a bucket and cleaning supplies left out (in the upstairs hallway, I seem to recall) in an otherwise very tidy residence – and a way too tidy crime scene.

  5. susan
    02/09/2011 at 8:51 PM

    Jeanna and Justice,

    Those were great comments. Great. I hope everyone out there shares what stands out from their perspective.

    The list could go on and on, but here are a few things I see:

    Known Known: Joseph Price lies. To to police, his friends, his family.

    He lied to the police when we see him with one Anacostia detective saying he has Victor’s phone and isn’t sure how to turn it off. We see him later pretend to look in the calendar of the same phone to see when he met K. Wone for lunch when actually he’s probably checking to see who might have followed up with calls to them or who else Victor might have called.

    When he told D. Ward that Ward was the “love of his life” Victor can’t have known that his “committed” partner felt that way.

    When during breaks in the Anacostia dialogues he has the Mercedes dialogue and tells Scott Hixson and V that he “pulled the knife” out of R. Wone he shows again how he lied to police.

    When he told his housemate/friend S. Morgan that he would NOT give a key to his formerly convicted, periodically drug-addicted brother, he lied. When the police asked who had keys to the house and he only named maintenance people and not the neighborhood brother he gave the key to he lied by omission.

    When he gave the W&M interview and portrayed a domestic partnership of two he lied.

    And so on.

    Known Known: He and D. Ward were trolling for a third. It’s in his own writing, on his online ad, etc. And he thought it was something that could save his relationship with D. Ward, a relationship that was in jeopardy–according to D. Ward and J. Price in their own writing.

    Known Known: Odd schedules that night for: Victor Zaborsky who changes his travel plans and only half unpacks before running to the gym to find J. Price, who left without him!

    Sarah Morgan, who leaves the house early–around 6 to go to her friends’ home, mid-week to watch TV–and apparently without a change of clothes.

    Michael Price misses his first phlebotomy class.

    Known Known: So many things are not going right at 1509 Swann that night.

    The steaks are burned!
    The plumbing is a mess!
    The cable has been cancelled, must be restored!

    And known known: It seems Victor is a bit pissed off and retires to watch (so he says) Project Runway and doesn’t come down to greet R. Wone

    D. Ward is a bit pissed off and says that he hadn’t planned on opening the door for R. Wone and told that to JP but when JP didn’t get the door, he had to put on some clothes and let him in.

    • DonnaH
      02/11/2011 at 4:42 AM

      I’ve been away for awhile on hiatus, and recently so far just reading–your post was like a refresher course for me! I liked your mentions of timing issues. And being reminded that both Joe and Dylan were “trolling for a third” to save their ‘jeopardized’ relationship, per both their writings…..and Dylan’s seeming interest in Asians, too; he’d lived there (where?) for a few years–?, if I recall.Or perhaps a year. Use Robert to court Dylan…Chills.

      Michael missing his first phlebotomy class stands out to me. The most likely of the three to do injections.

      And now, I look forward to being refreshed by Bea.

      • CDinDC
        02/11/2011 at 9:55 AM

        Michael may have been Joe’s source for hypodermic needles.

    • Carolina
      02/14/2011 at 7:15 PM

      It isn’t just that he lies, it’s the facile way he goes about it. It’s as if he compartmentalizes anything and everything so that their individual realities don’t have to bump into one another.

  6. Bea
    02/09/2011 at 8:59 PM

    Known: Both Victor and Joe told cops that they’d made the 911 call at 11:43 but it was actually 11:5? and the operator said as much; Joe claims not to have ASKED Victor to ask but can be heard asking on the enhanced tape.
    UNKNOWN PART OF THIS: Why ask? How can two men “remember” wrongly if they didn’t discuss it?
    ADDITIONAL: If Joe sent hysterical Victor up immediately as both reported, how did he know to inform the operator that “we think the intruder had one of our knives”?

    KNOWN: Victor and Joe do not check on Dylan to see if he, too, has been stabbed although he’s “their” beloved. Didn’t even yell out to him. When Dylan does emerge, he sees Joe/Robert, sees Victor on the phone, then sits down on the nearby sofa.
    UNKNOWN PART OF THIS: Joe did not hear a second bell indicating the intruder’s departure; Victor did hear a second bell. Dylan didn’t know what was going on. Did none of them think to go check downstairs or at least grab a weapon in case the murderous intruder was still inside the house?

    KNOWN: Joe reported that the intruder must have climbed over the back gate to leave despite the fact that he could have used the gate door.
    UNKNOWN PART OF THIS: How does Joe know this? His answers are odd at best – we do know that the door is locked from the outside by key and if the intruder had unlocked it to leave, it wouldn’t remain locked (as it was found). A great “guess” by Joe which coincidentally matches the facts (but butts up against logic).

    KNOWN: Joe tells police that he found a knife on Robert’s chest and then placed it on the nightstand. Joe tells Scott Hixson that night and Tara Ragone later that he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest (to which Tara replied “you must have had Robert’s blood all over you!” – Joe does not correct her).
    UNKNOWN AS TO THIS: Which is true – or is neither true? What good can come of Joe changing his story except to tell his friends a version which makes him even more sympathetic (but not very Eagle-Scoutish). But he mentions it to the cops late in the interview that he MAY have told a cop at the scene that he pulled the knife from Robert’s chest and indicates that he’s fuzzy on that. WHY try to backtrack? He seems to have liked the version he told Scott in the car (Mercedes meeting) because he tries to work it in with cops.
    FURTHER UNKNOWN: Joe was told by cops that moving knife would NOT result in Joe’s DNA being on knife. Did he get a little worried? Did he want to ramp up his involvement with the knife by using force to extricate it in case there was DNA on knife? Too, since the knife blade was wiped down, the pulling-from-chest story boxes him into having been the one to wipe it.
    BEA’S REACTION TO THIS NEW “BACKING UP” POSED BY DOUG: Joe didn’t know the cops would use Ashley’s Reagent instead of Luminol (Metro cops need to watch more CSI, Law & Order and Dexter if they can’t be persuaded to get trained). When he told Tara about the difference between tampering and wiping up blood because one is “freaked out” he’s establishing reasoning for why the cops find “cleaned up” blood. And there would just be a little “clean up” work because I suspect Robert was stabbed in the shower where most of the blood went down the drain. It’s not hard to wipe under the drain lip – anyone with knowledge would do so. Joe has enough sense to know one can’t really get rid of blood trace evidence, leading me to think that either he wasn’t at all involved (if so, why the story change?) OR he was hedging bets.

    Many of us (me included) thought the murderer/conspirators planned to get rid of the body until Victor screamed. But how had they expected to explain some trace blood evidence, albeit just a little (if shower was murder scene)? Likely because no one would have called 911 that night – Robert never showed up. Plenty of time to do serious cleaning.

    But perhaps it wasn’t only Victor’s scream that changed the plan – maybe there was a LOT more blood outside the shower stall than they’d expected. Presumably when one moves a stabbing victim, there will be blood en route unless the wounds are covered. Or maybe they had to lay him somewhere while they readied themselves and he bled on the bed. A drop or two might be cleaned but they couldn’t go buy a new futon (a la Mark Hacking).

    I think Robert was dead and redressed when Victor screamed; for the next 15 minutes the murderer(s)/conspirators spent time going over details (e.g. all say Dylan noticed unlocked door – error when Victor says this at end of 911 call before Dylan had a chance to do so).

    Joe, all three of them, may be covering for someone else, but Joe’s answers about the knife ring false. It may not be DNA that concerns him when he reinvents the story – he may remember that it’s better to go with some truths. Someone HAD pulled the knife out of Robert’s body after the third wound. I would think most murderers (total speculation here) in stabbing someone three times – in/out, in/out, – would NOT leave the knife in the third time. Under Joe’s story, either the killer did leave the knife in OR he kindly removed it and put it on Robert’s chest. This sticks out more over time – the changing story in particular. Joe knows better than to just suck sympathy from friends in contrast to his story to cops, which is why he tried to get it in the record that he “may” have said this to a cop at the scene.


    Okay, I apologize for rambling mess of a post.

    • David
      02/10/2011 at 11:20 AM


      Supposing that Robert was murdered in the shower, and supposing that the stains on the guest bedroom wall are Robert’s blood (since none of the three housemates had any visible wounds)how do we explain how Robert’s blood stains got on the wall, especially if he was redressed in the shower area and not bleeding as much by them time they placed him on the bed?

      This has always puzzled me.


      • Bea
        02/10/2011 at 4:52 PM

        Hi David,

        My guess is that while most of Robert’s blood went down the shower drain, moving a man will likely result in some bashing into the wall. I’m not sure if there was “a plan” at that point either, or if the conspirators had settled on one conspiracy. Certainly if they planned to move him, they would have redressed him in his business attire – which is why I think he was taken back into the bedroom and perhaps it was noted that if ANYONE ever searched the house, they might well find some trace blood evidence, and thus the decision to call the cops was made and he was put in his shorts, t-shirt (and mouth guard) and “placed” on the bed. I don’t know how good a criminal I would be if under this kind of pressure (and can’t truly imagine) but I doubt I’d have placed him ON the 45 degree angled sheets. I see the ringleader screaming that once he was there, not to move him again.

        At trial there was a time early on that I thought a bigger deal would be made about the bathroom. As in there wasn’t a towel accounted for, or that Robert ONLY used one kind of shampoo that was still in his bag – something – but it seemed to fizzle and only went to meticulous nature.

        Assuming there was no Ninja, and that it wasn’t a known 3rd party (Trick Jones), it sure seems like a lot of chaos would have been underfoot, some arguing, a lot of swearing (going to mw’s comments below). If it was drug-influenced, and the drugs began to fade, decisions still had to be made. That’s when “the Decider” stepped forward. He knew his plan wasn’t perfect but it was better than the alternative – getting rid of a body is a lot easier than it sounds. Better to take a bad set of known facts than (1) have someone spot you putting a body in the car (2) having evidence found in your car (3) have someone see you driving a body or dumping a body (4) having to claim Robert never made it even if Robert had been seen at the door or had called Kathy from the cab, or (5) have evidence found in your house that he’d been there. Clamming up worked in the first trial – no way around 1-5. Joe the lawyer knows what can go wrong and that it can be as simple as having shared a cab over. Too many variables. Too many ways to screw up – and he’s going to rely on Lil Dyl or Meth Michael or Victorian Victor to lug a body into NE in the dark of night?

        Even if that had been the plan, it was a bad one. I think it was tossed even before the scream since the clean up and short/tee dressing had likely taken place.

        I don’t think blood was visible except within the wound until the paramedics moved Robert’s body, which Dylan noted that it was pooled underneath him (on the mattress, not before the medics arrived) and only Joe saw a “whole lot of blood” of the three. That is a big “known” to me.

        • Clio
          02/12/2011 at 9:46 AM

          Yet, dear Bea, was “Trick Jones” Mr. Scott Hixson? Was the talented (and apparently passionate) interior designer just a friendly neighbor who might have gotten rid of some of the naughtiest stuff, way before the “after-action” review in his fashionable automobile?

    • mw
      02/10/2011 at 11:58 AM

      “Many of us (me included) thought the murderer/conspirators planned to get rid of the body until Victor screamed. But how had they expected to explain some trace blood evidence, albeit just a little (if shower was murder scene)? Likely because no one would have called 911 that night – Robert never showed up. Plenty of time to do serious cleaning.”

      This is probably my biggest personal uknkown/mystery. Why not still get rid of the body? If the concern was that a neighbor was going to call 911 in response to Victor’s screams – 911 would have showed up and found the scene while they were still all in the planning stages. By the time the trio ACTUALLY called 911, any outside 911-call response would have already happened.

      Maybe they were worried about a missing person investigation noting the scream coming from the house – but it seems like that would be a million times easier to deal with then having the dead body actually found in the house. I bet there were various screams coming from that house all the time.

  7. susan
    02/09/2011 at 9:03 PM

    I don’t want to go on and on but there’s this too:

    Known Known: S. Hixson and T. Ragone mention J. Price saying something about pulling out the knife, JP says something to police about the “real killer” possibly wearing gloves and so no DNA may be found on the knife and lo and behold–no DNA was found on the knife.

    Known Known: D. Ward was the primary cook (by VZ’s acct?) in the house–having studied culinary arts, and thus surplanted VZ in that regard as VZ became a helper of sorts. Yet an incomplete knife set gift for cooking was kept upstairs in his closet.

    Known Known: The story of the two towels: JP saying he was holding one against R. Wone, V. Zaborsky saying he was bringing another towel but in evidence: one towel.

    • susan
      02/09/2011 at 9:04 PM

      supplanting (above)

    • Clio
      02/12/2011 at 12:08 PM

      But that night, Susan, Vicki seemed to be chief cook, even after flying back that day all the way from Denver, and always-fastidious Dyl helped to clean up. Why? Perhaps, Mr. Ward had been too busy “exercising” in his room, and he may have been too stoned to care if the steaks had been burned.

      • susan
        02/12/2011 at 9:55 PM

        Hey Clio,

        According to V’s testimony, he was the “grill man.” And I think he said that LD was making dinner and he went to help him. I think he also said that when the steaks were burning he “screamed at them”–not that he screamed but something like “I screamed at them.”

        • susan
          02/12/2011 at 10:24 PM

          “Grill person” and “and so I yell at them and they went out and threw water on” to be exact.

          Again, interesting how he’s cloudy on the placement of the knife. (Aren’t there three versions of the knife placement? On Robert, in Robert and on the side table, which is where the police find it. Nicely placed by the super tidy murder/murderers, who place it just so, careful not to soil the table or scuff it up.

          • Clio
            02/13/2011 at 8:19 AM

            What a fascinating self-reference that that is, Susan — Victor refers to himself with the more gender neutral/androgynous “person” rather than “man.” But grilling in America may be still seen as a man’s preserve, even by LGBT folks in DC. So, Dyl assisting Vic is like scullery maid helping mistress/lord of the manor. The implied nuances of gendered hierarchy here must be studied by Judith Butler her/himself.

            • susan
              02/13/2011 at 2:03 PM

              Another interesting thing, is that I thought I read somewhere that V was the primary cook in the house until D moved in. So I guess he was relegated to grill “person.” Not to “milk” this scenario but it seems like V is one step behind everything that evening:

              -One step behind J at the gym
              -One step behind learning about the son and the news of the day there
              -One step behind learning that RW’s staying the night
              -One step behind learning the cable’s been canceled.

              And to repeat it yet again, what’s missing in the running to the gym scenario? Why does one travel from Colorado to DC (four hrs about? Plus time at airports and travel time back to house-1 hr) and only half unpack and then run to a gym to look for a partner who is not there and stay for only thirty minutes? And did he work out in that thirty minutes or walk around, talk to people, ask about J, search for J?

              Was he looking for alone time with J since back at the house it looks like there was none until bedtime (allegedly)? Very odd.

              • Clio
                02/13/2011 at 9:02 PM

                Also a bit catty was Vic’s guess that all Dyl had in terms of jewelry was costume. Yet, according to the marketing exec, he and
                Culuket had real watches and rings upstairs. None of which, of course, were even disturbed by the “intruder.”

  8. Clio
    02/09/2011 at 9:59 PM

    Who ever knew that the worst Secretary of Defense on record could have been such an attractive youth, or that such a disgraced old wheel could have provided a prompt for relatively fresh thinking about this case? Yet, our posts today are a bit more logical than one of his notorious “snowflake” memos. Just sayin’.

  9. Craig
    02/10/2011 at 10:23 AM

    Unknown – Why weren’t the multiple hysterical cries of Mr. Victor Zaborsky, as recounted by his fellow defendant, Mr. Joseph Price, not heard by Swann Street neighbor and witness, Mr. William Thomas. And for that matter, why didn’t those same shrieks of terror more quickly rouse Mr. Dylan Ward from his slumbers?

    Unknown – Why didn’t Mr. Joseph Price have more of Robert’s blood on him, if as he told the authorities, he was constantly attending to his striken friend and applying first-aid and direct pressure to his wounds? Why just one spot on, of all places, his middle finger?

    • David
      02/10/2011 at 11:06 AM

      Craig gets at an unknown — how could low grunts/moans awake someone who took a sleeping pill on the third floor (Victor) but a shriek of terror coming the second floor doesn’t awake Dylan, who also took a sleeping pill, less the twenty feet away?

      Another unkown — would ANY blood have been found on the bed if the EMTS didn’t have to roll Robert vertically to get the stretcher underneath him, thus causing the blood to drip onto the mattress?


  10. Agatha
    02/10/2011 at 10:59 AM

    Is it true that the last person to see Robert was after the CLE class?

    Meaning – there is no Radio Free Asia night shift witness?

    This put into question the whole timing of the evening. What time did Robert arrive at the Swann residence?

    • Hoya Loya
      02/10/2011 at 11:13 AM

      In the stips from the crim case, I believe there is a record of a phone call to Swann Street from Robert’s desk at RFA at 10:24 p.m. — it is referenced in Judge L.’s final order. I believe the timeline of Robert’s pre-Swann activity is pretty much set in stone at this point

  11. Agonestes
    02/10/2011 at 12:33 PM

    Unknown- what was the history of drug use, not limited to the night of the murder of Mr. Wone: who, when, where, how, and why?

    • Clio
      02/12/2011 at 9:16 AM

      Unknown: Who were the purveyors of drugs to the Brothers Price? What connections to the drug world linked the Brothers Price to Phelps “I hate cats” Collins? Did Dyl share those same trading patterns, or was he an independent operator with his own posse of merchants of death?

      And, where did Joe and Dyl’s rehearsal of extreme BDSM scenes take place — perhaps, abandoned crackhouses a la “North by Northeast?” And, where are the photos from those orchestrated orgies of excess? Inquiring minds still want to know!

  12. Jeana
    02/10/2011 at 12:44 PM

    Known Known: It was Dylan who greeted Robert at the door upon his arrival.

    Known Unknowns: Why wasn’t Joe downstairs awaiting his friend’s arrival since Robert had courteously phoned ahead? Did Joe not hear the doorbell? Was that the first thing to go awry that nite? If a sexual assault on Robert was the plan, was part of the plan to lead Robert to believe Dylan wasn’t home? Why did they all go to their rooms after standing around briefly in the kitchen drinking water? 10:45 isn’t that late, even by DC standards.

    Unknown Unknowns?: Was there perhaps some tension between Robert and Dylan? A happily married man must have found Dylan’s role in the Price-Zaborsky household a bit odd. Was Robert aware of the sexual natue of Dylan’s role? Were Dylan/Joe’s S&M proclivities known to Robert? Had Robert ever ‘lectured’ Joe on his risky behavior? Had Victor ever cried on Robert’s shoulder over his deteriorating partnership with Joe? Might Dylan have thus borne some resentment toward Robert?

    • CDinDC
      02/10/2011 at 4:10 PM

      great questions Jeana….I’m going to focus on the first question…….”why wasn’t Joe downstairs awaitign his friend’s arrival….”

      I believe Joe was upstairs trying to quell a tense situation with Victor. Victor returned home to find out about a sleep-over he was not privy to. After Dylan spilled the news to Victor while readying the guest-bed, Victor probably retreated to the upstairs bedroom in a royal huff. Another reason Joe did what he could to get the cable company to turn BRAVO back on. He was busy smoothing ruffled feathers upstairs.

      • Clio
        02/12/2011 at 2:54 PM

        Smoothing feathers, or threatening Vicki with death if she did not become complicit in his and his aging
        boy toy’s “risky scheme” against the hapless Robert?

  13. Dave
    02/10/2011 at 1:53 PM

    I have been a long time supporter of this site and was hooked ever since I read a short article on about the case. It referred me to here and I have been following and hoping for justice to be served. I have a few questions and observations about the handling of the case. I apologize if these have been answered already and I do not mean to offend either.

    • Why was there no forensics done to look for traces of blood? Did they use luminal for traces of blood that may have been cleaned in the room? Why did they not check the shower when all three were observed and it was documented that they appeared to be recently showered?
    • Robert had no blood but for a few drops on his shirt yet they did a swab of his private region and found traces of his semen on his thighs. Did anyone else not find that troubling? If he was (and all accounts point to he allegedly was) cleaned up why did they not clean there. Blood would have gone all over his body if his heart was still pumping as the autopsy suggests. Was this post mortem?
    • Why were Joe and the trio going to great lengths to protect Michael? They said he was not there, did not know anything and thus was eliminated. Then we come to find out he missed his first class that evening.
    • As I have collected some items, there would be no way I would keep 1 piece outside of said collection for longer than a few minutes. Any collector will tell you that would be cause for panic. Why did Ward have the collection put away and stored in his closet if it was incomplete?

    • Craig
      02/10/2011 at 8:27 PM

      Dave: A few responses off the top of my head and others may chime in. Thanks for your interest, attention to the case and the cause of justice. Keep your questions coming and until then, it’s worth reading the posts and comments from the criminal trial, mid-May to June 29, 2009.

      1. Forensics were done with some crap blood tracing chemical called Ashleys Reagent, and as best as we can tell, the MPD failed in its application or it was used on the wrong type of surface, other that what the manufacturer suggested. There were no postive blood trace evidence from the home except on the bed, knife and Robert’s clothing.

      2. Robert’s shirt was actually soaked through with blood. It was displayed several times during the summer trial.

      3. Protecting ichael Price? Your guess is as good as ours.

      4. If you mean S&M gear, it was stored and recovered my MPD from his bedroom, exact location(s) unknown.

      • susan
        02/10/2011 at 8:52 PM

        Hi Craig,

        I think he meant the knife set (#4)

        CD & Jeanna-Remember J. Price said that he hung out with Victor Z. to catch some of “Project Runway” during that time. And LD had said that he told JP he didn’t want to get the door but heard it, in his acct, and so dressed and went downstairs to get the door-reluctantly.

        • CDinDC
          02/11/2011 at 9:51 AM

          something tells me they weren’t cuddling while watch PR. Victor was steamed.

        • DonnaH
          02/13/2011 at 6:13 AM

          Yes, I took him to mean the knife set; and I recall in discussion at the time one or two dedicated cooks did not find it particularly unusual to keep one’s venerated knives apart from the other knives, even in one’s room, to avoid misuse by roommates.

          • susan
            02/13/2011 at 1:49 PM

            Hi DonnaH,

            There definitely was a misused 1509 Swann knife that night. Whether from the kitchen or that set remains a question. But I can’t believe he would keep a partial set in his room to avoid misuse. Maybe he just kept it as a token from his mother in the closet and had no use for it. Or maybe it was used with the torture chamber as part of the fun ‘n games there. Who knows.

      • KKinCA
        02/11/2011 at 5:36 PM

        Hi Craig. Long time no post (my bad). Am I in a time warp re: the criminal trial dates? I could swear that the criminal trial started in May 2010, not 2009. [Like any addiction I have ever had, I always remember the first time I know I am hooked!! ] BTW – Kudos to Doug on the above article and to all the posters for the thoughtful and intriguing posts in response. I feel like I never left!

        • Bea
          02/11/2011 at 9:10 PM

          KK – good to have you back!

          It was just last May, yes, not 2009.

  14. Bill 2
    02/10/2011 at 6:16 PM

    Known Known: Vacation photos in the house indicate the use of camera equipment.

    Known Unknown: Were the photos taken with a digital camera that belonged to someone in the household?

    Known Unknown: Was there digital camera equipment in the house immediately prior to Robert’s murder? If so, where did it go?

    It’s my belief that camera equipment was in use after Robert’s arrival. Perhaps both still and video cameras. If that was the case, were the cameras taken out the back door and away from Swann Street or did they go out the front door to a neighboring house on Swann Street?

  15. DrM
    02/11/2011 at 1:53 AM

    Known Unknown: The number and assortment of stoned S & M freaks that MP and DW had brought into 1509 Swann Street leading up to the murder.

    Known Unknown: How many people were directly involved in the murder.

    Known Known: Three men who claim that a murder was committed in their home by someone they don’t know are comfortable moving back into that home while claiming that the unknown murderer with unknown motives is still on the loose.

    • DrM
      02/11/2011 at 1:56 AM

      Meant to say JP, not MP.

    • alternateguy
      02/11/2011 at 12:25 PM

      “Known Known: Three men who claim that a murder was committed in their home by someone they don’t know are comfortable moving back into that home while claiming that the unknown murderer with unknown motives is still on the loose.”


      It’s my clear understanding that none of the suspects ever again spent a single night living in their Swann Street house. If my understanding of this fact is true, their actions were right in line with their professed belief in the existance of an unknown intruder. A clear indication of high DISCOMFORT.

      Where do you get the information that they “moved back” into the house? Picking up belongings, continued ownership, contracted repair and maintenance of a house surely isn’t the same as moving back, which implies living or sleeping there.

      Just sayin’, as they say.

      • DrM
        02/11/2011 at 3:30 PM

        A Washington Post article from May 21, 2010 describes the 2006 burglary:

        According to court records, on Oct. 30, 2006, Price, 38, of Silver Spring, used the key that his brother gave him and, along with another man, burglarized the house while the three housemates were at work.

        It sounds like they were still living there. Anyone else know the specifics of whether or not the three continued to live at 1509 Swann Street?

        • Bea
          02/11/2011 at 5:02 PM

          The MPD were in Swann for a very long time and I believe left it uninhabitable (for picky men, anyway) AND they were in Florida off an on and had rented an apartment during the police dismantling and after-renovation. If I remember correctly, Dylan had gone over to get the mail when he learned of the burglary. That aside, I don’t think it was “discomfort” about safety that kept them away from Swann – they needed to sell it since they saw a bunch of legal expense headed their way. If anything, their behavior foretold that they knew they had a problem on their hands and bought in Florida to (wishful thinking) use the Homestead exception. At one point they had a contract on a home in DC but broke the contract as prices were falling – I don’t know exactly when they sold Swann but it’s a public record.

          • Clio
            02/12/2011 at 11:59 AM

            Aunt Marcia gave the trouple shelter in the immediate aftermath, and then her own Oskar died that September. Talk about a double whammy!

      • Carolina
        02/14/2011 at 7:47 PM

        All true, but then it was Michael Price Dyl was afraid of when he went back to pick up the mail and refused to go alone.

  16. Kate
    02/11/2011 at 11:30 AM

    Many thanks for this thought-provoking thread … it caused me to think for 24 hours before posting and made my wee brain hurt a bit.

    In retrospect, what surprises me is the narrow focus of the investigation and questioning of the three. A known known is the highly detailed accounting of what transpired in 1509 Swann on the evening of August 2nd – such as the burnt steaks, phone calls to the kids, Project Runway viewings, unused towels, et al. Is it possible that all of these nitty-gritty details are meaningless in solving Robert Wone’s murder? Is it possible that we can’t see the forrest through the trees? (Please, pardon the cliche.)

    I’ve focused some thought on Doug’s question – What are we not asking that we should? The first question that came to mind – Is it possible that Price, Ward and Zaborsky are innocent? That’s a tough question after so many years, one trial and miles of paperwork filed in advance of yet another. Nevertheless, with a focus on the presumed innocence of the Trouple, I came up with a few questions I’d like to have answered:

    What happened at 1509 Swann in the days preceding the murder? On August 1st? July 31st? The weekend before? What were Joe, Dylan and Sarah doing while Victor was away on his business trip?

    Who else may have visited 1509 Swann in the days preceding the murder and why were they there? Whoever murdered Robert in the second floor office/guestroom had knowledge of the house’s floor plan. (A random, unknown intruder wending his way through an unfamiliar darkened house, up creaky stairs on a week night before midnight while the three fit, young residents were a-snooze in their beds has always seemed a very silly notion to me.)

    An obvious known unknown – who actually had keys to 1509 Swann? As far as I can recall, this vital question has never been fully answered.

    Does the room in which the murder took place, and the possible contents of that room, play a far more significant roll in the case than we have yet considered? The known knowns about the room are that it was the second story, front room of the narrow 1880s row house with windows facing Swann Street. The room was primarily used as a home office with the typical arrangement of furnishings, books, papers and electronic equipment one would expect in such a space. The room was also used from time to time as a guest bedroom – however, the room was not usually occupied at night, except for such occasions. It was Robert’s first time as a house guest at 1509 Swann on August 2nd. The arrangements for the overnight stay were made several days before. Joe, Dylan and Sarah (?) were aware of the plans, Victor Z. was not. One more question about the room – had it recently been used for some other purpose, such as new-found forays into BDSM threesomes? I realize the location of the room – facing a well-traveled street – isn’t particularly ideal for somewhat noisy adventures, but it is a neutral space in the house, not a personal space, such as a bedroom.

    What about the contents of the room? What item or items could have been kept there that would prompt a person to sneak into someone else’s house to steal, or retrieve? An obvious choice would be drugs, and the obvious culprit Michael Price. But why would Michael grab a knife upon entering his brother’s house, a house he frequently visited? It has been suggested that he may have done so if he were suffering a bad trip and paranoid. That’s possible, I suppose. Even the prosecution in the criminal trial threw his name at the wall to see if it would stick … but it didn’t. I can’t help but to think there must be some good reason for this. A very sound alibi, perhaps? If not Michael, who else could have entered the house that night? If the contents of the room included drugs, who else would have known they were kept there? If it wasn’t drugs that prompted someone to sneak into the house, what else could it have been? I think its safe to rule out money. Surely Joe, Dylan and Victor would have reported missing money, providing a perfect motive for the break-in.

    What else could have been in that room worth entering someone else’s home to take or retrieve? Was it a personal item left behind the day before, or a few day before? Was it an item that would prove to be personally compromising, even incriminating, if discovered? Could it have been photographs or recordings? Yes, we’ve come back to one of the biggest known unknowns – where’s the camera and video equipment? Was Robert simply – and tragically – in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    Phew. Just a few questions there. I apologize for the overly long ramble and welcome your thoughts.


    • susan
      02/11/2011 at 12:19 PM

      Kate, just one quick response. Wonderful comments and perspectives. All the ones posted have been. I hope they keep coming.

      Re someone entering the room for whatever reason–it seems they would have known someone was in there, as there isn’t evidence of any real struggle with RW. The needle marks, his position, the clean stab wounds. It seems that for whatever reason someone went in there, they were aware a person was there and prepared to incapacitate him.

      One other thought while I’m posting:
      Known Known: JP is so concerned about the A/C and the costs that he stresses to his partners that they close their doors while it’s on. Yet, according to VZ’s testimony, he gets up during dinner because he thinks he’s kept the water running in the upstairs bedroom. Doesn’t seem so concerned about the water costs. Something odd about the testing of drains that night. Jeanna is right about the water: It’s all over VZ’s testimony.

      • susan
        02/11/2011 at 12:25 PM

        Correction: He (above) is JP and water running in the bathroom to test the drain (from VZ’s testimony).

      • Kate
        02/12/2011 at 8:13 AM

        Thanks susan – this has been a fascinating and challenging exercise – to re-examine what is a very cold case … in every way but name … and take a look at the pieces of the problem in a new light.

        Re your thoughts on the someone entering the room – that made me think again! Drat. Following the presumed-innocence-someone-else-did-it line, isn’t it possible that whoever entered the house didn’t know Robert was in the room until he got to the door of the office? If memory serves me correctly, when the sofa bed is pulled out it is very close to the door. Someone entering the room would literally have to walk around it to gain full access to the room. Upon finding a sleeping Robert, all it would take is a few quick stabs and the obstacle is overcome. Really chilling thought, I know. It would take a very determined and evil someone to do such a thing.

        But that someone who killed Robert is such a one.

        I feel like I’m really reaching here, but in the spirit of this thread, I thought I’d give it a go!


        • Clio
          02/12/2011 at 9:25 AM

          Known: Dyl’s little brother stayed with him the weekend before the murder.

          Unknown: Did the younger Ward observe any off-putting sexual or violent behavior at that “sardine can”? Was Sarah sent away at that time, too, to welcome yet another weiner to the seemingly perpetual “sausage fest” at Swann?

          • Kate
            02/12/2011 at 12:44 PM

            Thanks Clio – I had forgotten about Lil Dyl’s brother’s recent stay.

            “Sausage Fest” – priceless! (Well, not really – Joe was there.) Thanks for the smile.

        • Bill Orange
          02/13/2011 at 10:38 AM

          My main issue with this theory is that if you’re someone who’s going into the house for something in that room, then you already know quite a bit about the house and the people in it. You know that there are people home, and you know that it’s before midnight. So you know that you’re planning to commit a burglary with a high chance of being discovered. Why not bring a weapon with you? Why wait until you’re in the kitchen to pick up a knife?

          • alternateguy
            02/13/2011 at 1:46 PM

            Bill Orange, you asked “Why not bring a weapon with you? Why wait until you’re in the kitchen to pick up a knife?”

            Who is to say that the murderer wasn’t carrying far more serious weaponry with him, in case he needed it, but chose to use the resident’s own kitchen knife to commit the murder in order confuse any investigation, which effect it surely had?

            • Bill Orange
              02/13/2011 at 4:48 PM

              I suppose that would make sense for a Ninja Intruder Assassin, but not for a Ninja Intruder Thief.

              And if I were a Ninja Intruder Assassin who had been casing the house for several days, I think I STILL would have aborted when Victor showed up–that would’ve thrown far too many variables into the mix.

              I just can’t make the Ninja Intruder Assassin work. I just can’t see a professional setting off a security alarm and then proceeding to with–and accomplishing–the perfect crime.

              • susan
                02/13/2011 at 6:04 PM

                And wouldn’t said intruder bhow (bring his own weaponry)? And as Bea said, open the back gate? Who has time for leaping when VZ is a-screamin?

    • alternateguy
      02/13/2011 at 11:11 AM

      (Response to Kate’s post 02/11/2011 at 11:30 AM)

      In your thoughtful post, you ask, “Does the room in which the murder took place, and the possible contents of that room, play a far more significant roll in the case than we have yet considered?”

      This got me to thinking of known unknowns concerning whatever Robert may have had on his person prior to his murder that was no longer there following same. Is it possible that he had documents, papers, photos or other information about someone or something that had been passed on to him in his taking over his position as a new attorney with a major organization? Perhaps something passed to him by some whistle-blower. (He had just met with the employees.) Perhaps something that he hadn’t yet had time to go over?

      Things stranger than this do happen in Washington, D.C. as we all know. And often as not, answers to such mysteries are, sadly, never found.

      If a killer in retrieving this information needed to silence Robert to avoid discovery of such, wouldn’t it occur to him to grab and use a local kitchen knife in order to confuse evidence of his involvement? Almost any local police department in the country will jump through hoops in order to avoid opening such a can of worms. Can the DC police be so different? SO MANY UNKNOWNS!

      Oh, I know, Ninja theories are not popular here. But we do know that the stabbing was done in what seems to be a VERY precise manner.

      Just food for further thought.

      • susan
        02/13/2011 at 2:14 PM

        Hey Alt and Kate,

        I have thought about possible connections with his job too. But does the place and timing make sense? It would imply some connection with someone at his job. That someone would have to follow RW and/or know where he was going. That person would also have to have super training for breaking and entering and know where RW was staying and know the lay of the house, etc. He’d have to know that the stairs make creaking sounds and that they guys’ therein would have an alibi of taking pre-bed meds, and that the a/c makes a humming noise and how the back gate opens from the inside, etc. He or she would also have to know where the kitchen was and be prepared to take a knife, clean up, etc. And RW was just at the job briefly.

        I don’t know. But I’m open to any theory so pls. expound, etc. since we all (except the killer/killers their supporters, etc.) would love for there to be resolution and peace for the Wone family and for this case to be solved.

        • susan
          02/13/2011 at 2:36 PM

          In an alt. theory, though, if the three guys were an innocent “family” that remained, luckily, unscathed, why then, did:

          1. JP not tell police that his brother had a key to his house? He had lied to S. Morgan about it, but why lie to police?
          2. Why did he lie to police about the knife? Why does VZ get so muddle-mouthed re the knife on the phone with the 911 operator (transcript on this site as well as tape)
          3. Why lie about the phone in the police station

          And on and on and on and on.

          • alternateguy
            02/13/2011 at 4:12 PM

            1. Could Joe, like many family members are, have been unrealistic about his brother and considered him beyond reproach and not worthy of suspicion? No need to mention that he had a key? Could he have felt that there was no need to be concerned about his brother’s involvement? Could his instinct have been to protect his brother? And if he felt that he knew in his heart that his brother was not a bad guy, why bring his name up? Wrongheaded? Perhaps. A human way of
            behavior? Seems to me.

            2. If Joe impulsive pulled the knife from his friend’s chest, (A very common reaction, though not what is recommended.) could he have then thought, upon realizing that his friend was likely to be beyond help, that his impulsive action might be construed as having contributed to his friend’s death? On top of that, now his fingerprints are on the knife. Just say that the knife was just lying there. Isn’t that how one might act in a panic? And then, since you have told lies, clam up. Isn’t that what a lawyer would tell you to do if he considered you to be innocent of the major crime?

            3. Is it clear that he lied about a phone, or was the situation rather confusing?

            4. I have read some of the on and on and ons posted here, and I must say that I don’t think that there is much to them. For instance it is stated over and over that Joe said that the intruder had jumped over the gate in order to make his exit, when in actuality he suggested repeatedly, from the get-go, that the intruder could have simply opened the gate and walked out.

            • Bea
              02/13/2011 at 5:27 PM

              Why mention Michael being a drug addict, and a violent one at that, during the interrogations if he wanted to keep him out of it?

              Joe said he thought that the killer scaled the fence – he had some half-baked story that because the door was metal but not on a spring that it would have been left open if the intruder had used it, thus espousing the theory that he scaled. Too weird that he didn’t shut the door behind him and not weird that he went to the trouble to scale it when a door was right there and one is in a hurry? He knew that if the door was used, it wouldn’t remained locked and the cops would’ve ‘gotten him’ on that.

              • Clio
                02/14/2011 at 5:58 AM

                Yet, how did Michael and Phelps enter the house for the “burglary?” Did they, like Dyl picking up the mail, go through the front door? I think that the drawing of attention to the back door was part of the intruder theory. IMHO, Scott or Michael did not use “the servants’ entrance” that night.

              • alternate guy
                02/14/2011 at 12:30 PM


                You suggest that Joe had pointed out his brother’s violence. Was that in Joe’s recalling how his younger brother could beat him up when they were kids? Hardly a suggestion that the adult brother is violent I think. Mentioning his brother’s drug use was hardly news for the police.

                Too weird that I recall that Joe replied on two separate occasions to officers when they pointed out the unlikelihood of an intruder scaling the fence to make an exit, by his asking, “Why couldn’t he have just gone out the gate?” (And I don’t see where anyone answered him with the reply of “Because the gate was still locked.”)

                Where do you see that Joe suggested that an intruder would have scaled the fence in order to make an exit? Joe did suggest, of course, that such an intruder might have scaled the fence to enter the yard.

                I don’t recall Joe having any “half-baked” theory involving either the gate or door. After all, he was a resident of the house and was quite familiar with their operation. The back door, he said, had been left closed, perhaps slightly ajar but not locked. The only half-baked theories that I recall reading came from posters who suggested things such as that an intruder exiting the gate would not have taken the time to close said gate behind him. (I think that such a villain making his escape from possible pursuers, would in fact have taken the additional second to close the gate, not wanting to leave a sign saying, “Hey, I went this-a-way!”)

                Most of the past postings on this blog have seemed to assume that any possible intruder would have been a street person, druggie or thug looking to steal. I’m simply suggesting the alternate theory that an intruder wouldn’t have to have to been only that.

                I have never met any of the players. But from what I have read about Robert, he seems to have been an exceptional young man. Very bright, and a straight shooter. Probably incorruptible.

                If something seriously wrong had been happening in the organization which he was joining as the brand new attorney, and information or documents had been passed to him that some considered runionous or dangerous, that could account for his being killed. For all we know, preparations could have been made in advance of the evening, since Robert’s planned stay-over was know well in advance. (Do people tap phones or track emails in D.C.) The house could have been entered in the daytime anytime when the occupants were at work and prepped in advance. The alarm code problem thwarted and perhaps a temporary listening bug left. Does such a theory seem improbable? Perhaps. In Washington, D.C.? Perhaps less so.

                To me it has always seemed improbable that Robert was such a poor judge of character, as some posters make him out to be. Or that he was overly naïve in trusting his friends.

                Just perhaps he wasn’t wrong in this. Perhaps his friends were the honorable people he judged them to be. Certainly there isn’t much history to the contrary in spite of what some expostulate. Yes, this blog may provide an opportunity to help find the truth in the matter of who killed Robert Wone. But, for heaven’s sake, let it be the REAL truth.

                • Bill Orange
                  02/14/2011 at 2:49 PM

                  I’m happy to entertain alternative theories, but I’m having trouble imagining anything that Radio Free Asia was involved with that anyone would want to kill someone over.

                  • alternateguy
                    02/14/2011 at 3:29 PM

                    Bill Orange,

                    My imagination isn’t so limited. But that may be because I am old enough to remember that the Church Committee disclosed that at one time the CIA had posted an operative in the office of every major newspaper in America with instructions to pull any revealing story regarding the company (CIA) that came over the wire. Who knows who might have been trying to manipulate Radio Free Asia, and for what reason? I can, of course, recall a President of the United States attempting to bug the DNC. To avoid having such a thing discovered, who knows to limits such Oliver North type people/agencies, will go? Am I being paranoid here? I hope. And I hope that I don’t die for posting this.

                • Bea
                  02/14/2011 at 3:46 PM

                  Alternate Guy – see my post below quoting Joe about the back gate.

                • susan
                  02/14/2011 at 8:54 PM

                  Alt, is it possible that your friend is a poor judge of character (re your suggestion that you don’t think Robert Wone was)?

                  Judgments of character are so individual and the best of us are hoodwinked or in the dark about people close to us. I mean this as a general statement and not an indictment of anyone.

                  But neither you nor I can say what Robert Wone thought or how he judged those three men. We don’t know. We know Robert Wone was a long time friend of J. Price. We don’t know how many grains of salt he took him with or how much slack he cut him. We don’t know how much of JP Robert knew, REALLY knew. We just don’t.

                  • alternateguy
                    02/15/2011 at 12:16 PM

                    We can’t really know how people think, but judging by their actions, both my friend and Robert Wone as well as others trusted Joe and family.
                    Were they fools to do so? That hasn’t been proved. I think that it’s just possible that they weren’t.

                    • DonnaH
                      02/16/2011 at 12:50 AM

                      There’s no evidence that Robert knew anything about Dylan and Joe’s relationship or drug use, and some have thought he wouldn’t have stayed there if he’d known.
                      –Did your friend know?

        • alternateguy
          02/13/2011 at 3:31 PM

          It just seems to me that it’s not imposable, (Not saying that it’s likely.) that someone was aware of the communications concerning Robert’s plan, which was made well in advance, to stay that night at Swann street. And thus they would have had time to case the situation in the event that Robert had to be silenced about something he knew or was about to learn. If such a black bag operation did come into play here, it’s not very likely that the truth of the mater will ever come out. Unfortunately, some unexplained mysteries in real life are never solved no matter how much we want them to be. On the other hand, truth will often come out in time, and perhaps this blog can, somehow, lead to that.

          • Kate
            02/13/2011 at 5:58 PM

            Hmmm, interesting thoughts, alt. I hadn’t considered the notion that Robert had brought something of value/importance with him that night.

            One thing is for certain after reading all of the great posts in this thread – the “someone else did it theory” is a tough scenario to prove credible. But it’s been a great exercise in fresh thinking and problem solving.


          • Clio
            02/14/2011 at 6:14 AM

            Lord knows that the second Bush White House was especially fond of “black bag operations” and other extra-legal tools in the fight against an abstract noun. But, for our Asian allies and/or enemies, Robert was not dangerous or significant enough to be targeted. And, for white supremacists and religious fundamentalists in Virginia, Joe and Dyl were not dangerous or significant enough to be set up. Rather, the evidence all points back to the more quotidian issues of sexual assault and possible drug use.

            • alternateguy
              02/14/2011 at 2:27 PM

              And let’s not forget the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

              • Clio
                02/14/2011 at 8:47 PM

                And, alt, how could one forget the most corrupt American regimes in history — they made Grant, Harding, and Truman look good! Yet, their abuses of power have even less to do with Joe’s probable manipulation of (what to him was) his own “Eveless Eden” that night at Swann than do Bush the younger, Pat Robertson, and/or the junta in Myanmar combined.

                • alternateguy
                  02/15/2011 at 12:34 PM


                  I’ve known many, many people who manipulate others. Most are otherwise productive citizens. None that I’ve known have, so far, turned out to be murderers.
                  (Insofar as I know.)

                  But I do know that when either money or power, or both, are involved, manipulation can become proportionally more extreme and even deadly.

                  Innocents like Robert can become victims and not even y don’t know that that they are involved.

                • alternateguy
                  02/15/2011 at 12:41 PM

                  Sorry, on my last post the final sentance should read, “Innocents like Robert can become victims and not even know that they are involved.”

                  (Sometimes my word processor screws (Me) up.

          • Carolina
            02/14/2011 at 8:03 PM

            You do realize Robert was in no way connected to anything that might warrant a Ninja Stalker, right?

            • alternateguy
              02/15/2011 at 1:47 PM

              Before his untimely death, one could have “Realized” that Robart was in no way connected with anything that might warrent a Murderer of any kind. But they would have been wrong.

              We now know that there was a murderer involved, we just don’t know what kind or why. Anything else is speculation, not realization.

    • Carolina
      02/14/2011 at 7:53 PM

      No one keeps their stash of drugs in an unoccupied room. It’s bureau drawers where one can keep a jealous eye on the expensive merchandise.

  17. Bea
    02/11/2011 at 9:32 PM

    Anyone know if the Michael Price burglary included any digital/video cameras? I’m sure there is a police report on topic, that the defendants would have to identify what they knew to be missing – I recall it vaguely identified as “electronics.”

    Kate and Bill’s posts made me think of it, though not in the same way. If there were cameras/video cams reported, it would be interesting to see WHEN they were purchased. If AFTER the murder, that tells me the ones available that night were indeed tossed away. If not, but not confiscated by cops, then they were simply moved to another location – also valuable info.

    Covington may have the ability to scrutinize the credit card purchases between the murder and the robbery to see what, if any, camera equipment was purchased as I think it’s a very valid point (and would resonate with the jury) that on the night after the murder, only one disposable camera was found on the premises. I’d be asking many people, including the MOTHERS of Joe/Victor’s kids, DID THEY EVER TAKE PIX OF THE BOYS AND WHAT CAMERAS WERE USED? Of course they had cameras (Joe loving “erotic photography” case in point). And the moms are a good source of this evidence as parents take many pix of kids. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they didn’t have some VERY pricey equipment, and, again, this should be discoverable.

    If they simply got rid of the memory cards/tapes/CDs made the fateful night, I’d want the jury to hear them take the 5th as to having owned the cameras before the murder (and they were not at the scene during cops’ search), but indeed later showed up again. OR if every camera was brand-spanking new.

    I don’t think the break-in was to help get rid of anything (they’d already done so) but to have it seem that it wasn’t unusual to be broken into.

    Not to sound like a broken record, but the key knowns/unknowns do feature the camera equipment, Joe’s “good guess” that the intruder left not by using the gate door but scaling the fence (WTF), Dylan seeing the locked door (from quite a distance in the dark) and everyone giving Dylan credit BUT Victor saying so to 911 wrecking the credibility. That, along with the 2-person mistake in remembering “11:43”, tells me that they did discuss what would be told to the authorities.

    Kate, I too sometimes wonder if these men killed Robert. I don’t know that they did, but I don’t believe for a second that they don’t know who did. I strongly suspect at least one of them was in on the murder and all were in on the cover-up. Honestly, I think the cameras would tell us most of the story.

    • Kate
      02/12/2011 at 8:23 AM

      Great thoughts, Bea, as always. And I think your last paragraph sums up the reality of the case quite concisely. If only the cameras could be found….

      It’s really difficult to consider the “someone else did it scenario,” but it’s been a great exercise in mental gymnastics.


  18. boofoc
    02/11/2011 at 10:18 PM

    Sure hope Kathy’s counsel reads these posts; especially yours, Bea.

  19. christy love
    02/12/2011 at 11:20 AM

    Best Known Known to me…. When supposedly fearing for their lives, the idiots, who were “too scared to go downstairs,” were asked if they needed police, fire or an ambulance and they only asked for an ambulance. GUILTY! Lock ’em up already. LIARS.

    • christy love
      02/12/2011 at 11:27 AM

      Sorry to reply to my own post but, this seems huge to me. The police should have asked a million questions about this. You can’t even make up a reasonable lie to cover for this. What was Victor going to say…”I was so scared, I forgot I needed police.” “I was so concerned about Robert, I forgot we were in danger.” Yeah right!

      Whoever did the stabbing, Victor wasn’t scared enough of them to even ask for police help.

      • Clio
        02/13/2011 at 8:36 AM

        Or, after four and one-half long years, to even ask for a divorce, perhaps? “My life will never be the same” — really?

        Yes, only asking for an ambulance is an obvious known known that further diminishes the ex post facto intruder theory. Thank you, Christy, for pointing that out.

        • christy love
          02/13/2011 at 1:08 PM

          He thought his life would never be the same because his husband had just killed a friend in a thrill kill killing in their home and he would be going to jail for a cover up and Joe and Dylan would be in jail for murder.

          Those grunts or groans were Joe and Dylan getting off on the killing and Victor, who had his angry ears peeled to the door anyway, ventured downstairs to see what the heck those weird noises were and thus the scream. I think they fully planned to get rid of the body and thought they could get away with it. I think they planned it from the moment they knew Robert was coming over.

          What I am not sure about is if Robert was willing and just didn’t know what he was getting into or if he was totally unsuspecting.

          I also think Michael was on stand by to help dispose of the body, but it ended up being towels, knives etc…

          • DonnaH
            02/14/2011 at 12:43 AM


            I think you’ve raised some good points such as the significance of Victor only requesting an ambulance; however, I disagree with you her about the likelihood of this being a “thrill kill killing.” That’s partly because there’s no known history of them engaging in violent nonconsensual behavior before this point (and this could be an “unknown unknown”), but also because such murders are typically gotten away with when the killers choose victims who are already disconnected from society and not likely to be missed by anyone, which was hardly the case with Robert. Joe was certainly smart enough to know that. Additionally, I just don’t think they were that deranged.

            There’s also nothing to indicate Robert knew anything about Dylan beforehand, much less his role in the threesome, and some have suggested here that had he known, he wouldn’t have planned to stay overnight in the first place.

            A simpler explanation strikes me as more likely: that they intended to render him unconscious prior to perpetrating some sexual activities with him they probably intended to record on camera, but their efforts to do so (with, perhaps, a laced drink and then injections of ketamine) were insufficient. I imagine Robert might have regained consciousness at some point enough to realize what they were up to. They (being Joe, Dylan, and possibly Michael) may have injected him again (hence the lack of signs of struggle when he was stabbed) but realized that Robert had likely been aware enough of their sexual assault to send them to jail, ruining their lives, particularly Joe’s career and reputation; and that’s when, I imagine, Joe/they decided to murder him. They may have initially planned to dump his body somewhere to make it appear he was the victim of a street crime, and the murder or attempts at cleanup may have aroused Victor. With Victor’s scream they probably thought the arrival of the police were imminent, and hastily arranged the crime scene in the guest room. After awhile when it seemed the police weren’t showing up, they had to revise their plans yet again and call 911 themselves. Their frazzled state at that point, possibly exacerbated by previously ingested drugs, contributed to the oddness of Joe and Dylan’s behavior noticed by the ambulance crew when they arrived.

            In short, I think it most likely it was a planned sexual assault which went badly wrong. –Though it’s always a good idea to think through possible alternatives.

            • christy love
              02/14/2011 at 10:51 AM

              Donna, I use to think all that too, but now I don’t anymore. After reading all the facts and going over everything again, I think it was a preplanned thrill kill. They decided to attack a friend on purpose, they decided to take their games to another level. After listening to the police interrogations again, I think mr. “coming to Jesus tonight” thought exactly the same thing.

              I think that people don’t/can’t see this because Joe was “successful.” LOL. What’s crazy is we all think the murder was premeditated AFTER something went wrong. I used to think that, now I don’t anymore.

              • DonnaH
                02/14/2011 at 8:26 PM

                I don’t think Joe’s ‘success’ is blinding anyone to the possibility of premeditation; there have been numerous premeditated murders by “successful” people over the years. But Joe’s reputation was very important to him (e.g. as reflected in his totally distorted picture of his gay family life given in his talk at William and Mary), so it seems at least plausible to me that he might have turned to murder if his reputation was suddenly and severely threatened, and more so if he was high as well.

                What is it in the police interrogation (or elsewhere) that convinced you to change your mind?

                • christy love
                  02/15/2011 at 2:38 PM

                  I was discussing it with some friends and just the act of talking about it out loud made things clearer. Then I started reading over things again and listening to the interviews thinking of it as a thrill kill and it makes sense. This post hints at it.

                  Think about it… Knife set in the bedroom. They admit to liking torture, Drug use. Add a evil and sick person to the mix that needs to feel like he is important to his submissive and one can see how getting guys from online sites and or bars would get old. Need new excitement… How about an Asian friend coming to spend the night? Perfect Opportunity.

                  • susan
                    02/15/2011 at 7:39 PM

                    Maybe there’s something to that Christy.

                    Maybe these guys were bored and wanted to step it up a notch.

                    JP did seem to be a risk taker, but kind of a dangerous risk taker. Makes partner, has personal erotic photos on his work computer, lists his work address for the eyecandy porn venture, and he’s an IP atty. He’s GOT to know how risky that might be. But maybe he is turned on by that. He likes “danger, torture” etc. And DW is bored with the relationship and JP wants to try a third to keep him. But they’ve got a built-in third in the house and S. Hixson mentions that someone else had been with “them” before. So maybe they step it up a notch. Or maybe LD wants something from J to make up for V’s early arrival and his having to get the door, etc.

                    It’s possible. From what the public does know it does seem that there were some insatiable appetites in that home. We know that LD got bored easily with jobs/careers. From what we know of his and J’s relationship, sounds like he was getting bored of J as well.

                    Wish S. Morgan would weigh in.

                    Also, back to an earlier post by Dee Dee where she says S. Hixson had “no emotional” relationship with the Swann “family.” Odd, then, that of all the people in the DC area to call at 6 am to pick them up that they call S. Hixson. They could have called a cab and paid when they got home. Or called their friend C. McGee, etc. I realize M. Price was probably in Silver Spring but that’s not that far either. And then there was the Mercedes conference. Pretty heavy sharing with someone with whom there is no emo attachment. Maybe MP didn’t see it the same way anyway. Or maybe there was more there.

                    • susan
                      02/15/2011 at 7:41 PM

                      “maybe JP” didn’t see it that way (above)

  20. Bea
    02/14/2011 at 3:53 PM

    Page 10 of the earlier interrogation – context asking if they heard the intruder LEAVE (that Joe didn’t hear the second chime indicating an exit but Victor did).

    DET: And this person, they — then what did they do? Jump the fence?

    PRICE: Yeah. And I was sitting in the living room saying to (indiscernable) like why in the hell would you jump the fence? Why wouldn’t the person going out the back door go through the gate?

    DET: Well, how do you know —

    SGT: Amean. Good thinking.

    PRICE: Because I didn’t get to go out there but, you know, the gate was – as far as I could tell from where I was sitting, the gate (indiscernible) the gate was not ajar.


    The mentions of Michael’s violence are gratuitous. He bring up his drug addiction and burglaries/pawning his own car/beating up Joe in two different interviews. Not saying he was trying to finger him but clearly if he left out the key issue “to save Michael” why mention the other bad-Michael-acts?

    • alternateguy
      02/14/2011 at 4:33 PM


      So why would he even comment on the fact that the gate was not ajar if he did in fact know it was locked and hadn’t been opened? And if, as many believe,that he/and or his friends were guilty of the murder, why did they not see to it that the gate was found ajar. And the back door left open? Never made sense to me.

      Other posters in addition to myself, after listening to the interrogation, believe that Joe in answering “Yeah” wasn’t agreeing with the detective who asked “Did he jump over the fence?” but was acknowledging the fact that he had been asked the same question before and had previously answered with the question, “Why would he have had to?” In other words it still remained his belief that the exiting intruder wouldn’t have needed to jump over the fence. And he was now repeating his same question and belief that it would have been unnecessary to scale the fence. Hardly an admission of knowing that an exiting intruder hadn’t opened the gate. Quite the opposite I think.

      • Bea
        02/14/2011 at 5:06 PM

        We disagree.

        I think they didn’t have all the details worked out in the short time. It struck Joe during interrogation that they hadn’t unlocked the gate door, thus the need to state his position that the intruder didn’t use the gate door. You previously said this questioning never took place, but here it is. Go read the preface and follow-up. It’s clear that the detectives are confident they caught Joe in a mistake – and Joe’s weak response validates that, in my opinion. Intruder/murderers don’t scale a fence in a hurry when a door is at their disposal – simple as that.

        • alternateguy
          02/14/2011 at 5:24 PM

          And after both seeing, hearing and reading this very interrigation, it seems clear to me that Joe was clear in his statment. If the dectives thought that they had something, they either pretended to misunderstand his response or failed to understand it. It is they who seem confused. Where did Joe state that that the intruder didn’t use the gate? And from viewing pictures of said gate, I don’t see that it had any door, but was, in fact, simply a lockable gate.

          Yes, I’m afraid we do disagree.

      • alternateguy
        02/14/2011 at 5:39 PM


        Where did I previously state that the interrogation never took place? At one time I didn’t know about the earlier, un-recorded interrogations, but in this case, Joe not only brings them up, but implies that he hasn’t changed his view concerning the intruders ability to exit out of the gate. Remember, even if locked, the intruder could have easily walked out through the gate. Such gates do not lock you in your own yard. Joe knows this, since it’s his house, the detectives perhaps do not.

        • Bea
          02/14/2011 at 6:19 PM

          I was answering this earlier post of yours:
          “Where do you see that Joe suggested that an intruder would have scaled the fence in order to make an exit?”

          Of course Joe never suggested to the officers that the gate door would be LOCKED – he just knew that if the intruder left through the gate that it would then be UNLOCKED since it takes a key from the outside. As a result, he claims that the intruder must’ve scaled the fence, which makes little sense (as the detectives note).

          • alternateguy
            02/14/2011 at 7:03 PM


            I’m afraid that there is a lot of misunderstanding about how the gate latch/locked worked. It had only one key cylinder, which was on the outside. When entering, such a gate, one needs a key. If you enter, using your key, the cylinder returns to the locked position once you remove your key and after you’ve gone inside and closed the gate, it is locked for the next person who might want to enter. Think about it. If you are a homeowner and you return home leaving your car parked in the alley, you open and enter the gate and close it behind you. If it didn’t relock itself automatically each time, then what do you do? Do you go inside, have supper but then before you go to bed you have to go out the front door, walk around the block to your alley and lock the gate with your key in order to have your gate locked for possible intruders? Of course not.

            In stating that the gate was found locked, the D.C. Police weren’t really making a significant statement regarding exiting the yard or even entering the yard because locked on the outside is the gate’s normal condition. And Joe never suggested that anyone entered through the gate but did state, twice that of course anyone could have exited the yard through the gate. He wasn’t CAUGHT in any such statement because the gate always remained locked in that it always required a key to enter. Not to exit, which only required a twist of the knob. Joe knew this and of course the police knew this.

            • Bea
              02/14/2011 at 7:53 PM

              This was covered many times. If one leaves via the patio to the car then unless that person has a key to lock the gate door from the outside, it remains unlocked. Joe knew this – AND he knew that he COULDN’T support the intruder going out that way so he suggested that the intruder scaled back over, which makes no sense. His reasoning is that the door wasn’t left ajar and no intruder would bother to shut the door behind him – which is less silly than the intruder climbing over instead of using the gate door after having just committed murder where three men are still alive inside.

              • alternateguy
                02/15/2011 at 12:04 PM


                You say “This was covered many times. If one leaves via the patio to the car then unless that person has a key to lock the gate door from the outside, it remains unlocked.”

                I know that this subject was discussed many times by posters. But I wouldn’t use the word “Covered.” I see nowhere in the records where it is shown that the gate remains or becomes unlocked after leaving, except in the speculation of some posters.

                Please keep in mind that unlocking and unlatching the gate is two separate things.

                In exiting most home front or back doors, for instance, the door remains locked once it is shut behind you unless you set it to be unlocked. Same with car doors. Open the door and exit closing the door behind you and you have locked yourself out of the car unless you thought to raise the button before you exited. Better have your key with you, or you end up calling triple A. (Happens all the time.)

                Just as you don’t have to use your key to lock the car each time you go into a store, you do have to have your key with you to unlock the car when you return. (Unless, of course you have one of those remote lock devices.) Joe undoubtedly (In my opinion.) didn’t have to use a key to relock the gate whenever he exited the Swann Street backyard.

                It has been reported that the Swann Street gate had only one cylinder, which was on the outside. Opening such a gate from the inside using a knob or thumb button, releases the latch (Retracts the bolt.) but doesn’t revolve (Unlock.) the outside cylinder.

                Ordinarily there is no way to release the latch and open the gate from outside of the gate except by using your key in the lock, which then retracts the bolt or latch. Of course it is possible to set the gate in an “unlocked” mode by setting the latch to remain retracted after the gate is closed. But this can only be accomplished from either inside the gate or when the gate is open. Pushing or sliding a button or twisting the knob to a different position usually accomplishes this.

                In your speculation the gate latch/lock would have to operate in two separate ways.

                1. Upon entering the gate using your key, the gate remains locked once you’ve closed it behind you.

                2. Upon exiting the gate, not using your key, the gate remains unlocked once you’ve closed it behind you.

                This would require a pretty sophisticated mechanism to know which side of the gate you are on each time the gate is opened then shut.

                Now, if the gate had either a dead-bolt lock or padlock it would have been a different thing. But I understand that such wasn’t the case.

                In your postings you use the words Door and Gate Door, which seems confusing, particularly since Joe was talking about both the kitchen’s backdoor and the yard’s gate. From looking at various pictures of the gate, I don’t see that it had any seperate door in it.

                • Bea
                  02/15/2011 at 2:04 PM

                  I suppose if one tries to muster up enough confusion over the facts, it blurs what is essential. Read the transcript carefully and the trial updates on the issue of the “gate door” (meaning how one exits from the patio to the driveway). I don’t see the point of arguing when the basics are misunderstood. But the ah-ha! moment is in Joe’s transcript (earlier one) when he can’t come up with a reasonable explanation as to why he thinks the intruder left via scaling the wall instead of using the gate door.

                  • alternateguy
                    02/15/2011 at 2:11 PM

                    Upon reading the transcripts I fail to see ANYTHING that suggests that Joe thinks that the intruder left by scaling the wall. In fact he expresses quite the opposite belief.

                  • alternateguy
                    02/15/2011 at 2:14 PM


                    And yes, I believe that the basics are musunderstood and it seems that arguments don’t ever change the fact

                  • alternateguy
                    02/15/2011 at 4:04 PM


                    1. Your aha moment has always been based on your interpretation of the seven line transcript. But others have pointed out that you might be misunderstanding Joe when he says “Yeah.”
                    For instance, KiKi on 07/21/2010 at 9:40 AM posted this comment to you after you had posted:
                    “SGT: “And then this person – what did they do? Jump the fence?”
                    (Then says how illogical it was that the “intruder” didn’t go through the gate door, but gosh darn it, Joe implies, he must have.
                    But he knew it was locked.”
                    “- Bea it seems to me you are the one taking this quote out of context.
                    The problem with a police interrogation transcript is that everything is written line by line when this is not how conversations actually go. People talk over each other and acknowledge questions with words and gestures. Without seeing this part of the actual interview I think it is hard for any of us to glean exactly what JP was saying. I do think that both Bea and altguy have valid interpretations of that seven line statement. Unless we can hear the actual interrogation I think basing opinions on the transcript is very risky. Things are easily misquoted or out of order or just difficult to interpret.”

                    Then, after hearing the actual recording of the interview, others agreed with my interpretation that the word “Yeah,” was used by Joe not to agree with the statement coming from the detective, but to segue into his recounting his earlier statement to a different detective, when asked the same question previously. If this weren’t the case, then why on earth would he repeat his earlier answer if he wasn’t standing by it?
                    Bea, see how your interpretation is? You put Joe’s “Yeah” on a separate line and fail to continue his thought. In the transcript, his response “Yea” response is not on a separate line the way you have it, but is written:
                    “Yeah. And I was sitting in the living room saying to (Indiscernible.) Why in the Hell would you jump the fence? Why wouldn’t the person… go through the gate?”
                    Later, after hearing and seeing the actual interview, one feels as if the stenos’s period after Yeah might just as well been a comma. But anyway you look at it Joe’s answer is a complete statement and hardly a one word “Tell.” The thought that an intruder might have jumped over the fence making his exit is clearly not Joe’s but the detective’s. Joe knew an intruder could have easily gone out through the gate. As a matter of fact, Joe knew that a person COULD have gone out through the gate because he could have, either way. Locked or unlocked. Whenever Joe speculates that someone jumped the fence, it is always in conjunction with entering the yard, not exiting from it.

  21. Bea
    02/15/2011 at 7:43 PM

    Altguy – columns getting too small. I am not making up facts. It’s what the prosecution argued at trial. If the defense could have proven the “lock issue” incorrect, they would have.

  22. Bill 2
    02/15/2011 at 11:26 PM

    Known known: Judge Leibovitz, who had access to more information than we’ll ever see, felt that one (or two) of the three men on trial may have been innocent of the charges.

    Known unknown: We don’t know who the Judge thought may have been innocent. We can only guess.

    Known unknown: We don’t know who the Judge thinks is guilty of some or all of the charges. We can only guess.

    No matter how the gate locks or unlocks, that makes no difference in the final pronouncement of Judge Leibovitz.

    Anyone who claims all three are innocent of a cover-up has not had access to all the information presented to Judge Leibovitz, thus they’re not in any position to make a valid determination. Her pronouncement at the end of the trial leaves no doubt that there is a mantle of guilt that can be worn by some people who lived at Swann Street in 2006. In my opinion that mantle of guilt involving a coverup isn’t limited to only three Swann Street people.

  23. christy love
    02/16/2011 at 12:27 PM

    Hey random questions. If anyone knows off the top of their head, I will do some research later.

    1. When did Ward move in with Victor and Joe?
    2. How long had they lived in DC?
    3. Where did they live before? Was it still in DC?
    4. Is there a way I find out all the men murdered in DC from the time Dylan moved in with them to Robert’s murder in August 2006?


  24. alternateguy
    02/16/2011 at 3:51 PM


    Are you referring to argument that is expressed in the indictment of Victor? At one point it reads:

    “When Price was suggesting that an intruder must have run out the back door and scaled the security fence after the incident, he stated that “my best guess is that it was sometime between 11:10 and 11:43 (p.m.).”

    Bea, I have goon over and over Joe’s interrogations. Nowhere does he suggest that the intruder had jumped over the back gate during his escape. As a matter of fact on p. 22-line 16 & 17, Joe once more, (The third time?) repeats his failure to understand the point that the detectives have been trying to make that an intruder would have climbed over his fence during his escape. He says, “and I don’t understand why he didn’t go out the gate, you know,”

    In truth, it is the detectives who have been suggesting, repeatedly, that the escaping intruder would have to have jumped over the fence. The closest Joe gets to agreeing to that scenario is after he is asked how the killer ran out the back door and across the yard and climbed over the fence without being seen by the neighbors. His response was “Maybe.”

    I think it is clear that he was saying that the escape could have happened without the neighbors haven seen it. It is not likely that his “Maybe” was in anyway confirming a likelihood of the killer escaping jumping the fence as the detectives, not he, had been suggesting.. Then, a few sentences later they are still talking about the escape and Joe, when asked what time he thought it would have taken place says that his best guess is that it took place between 11:10 and 11:43. (The time he thought that he had been given regarding the 911 call.

    Now it is beginning to seem clear to me that the Joe’s words and answers in this part of his interrogations have been distorted and manipulated for some reason. Joe Price was NOT suggesting that an intruder scaled the fence on his way out. That is the suggestion of the questioners and one that he never agrees to. Such manipulations by the law are inconsumable in my view. I wonder how many more there are in this case.

    • Bea
      02/16/2011 at 4:40 PM

      Argh. It’s what the prosecution argued and the defense accepted. It’s in black and white.

      • alternateguy
        02/16/2011 at 4:49 PM

        So it’s ok by you?

        Sorry, it’s not by me. But then I don’t tend to see things in black and white. And I wonder how you can perpetuate your “tell” based on such thin or non-existant evidence. Joe clearly never suggested that the escaping intruder would have jumpped the fence.

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