Someone Old, Someone New

Plaintiffs Release their List of Expert Witnesses
Both sides are still meeting their Court imposed deadlines as the long march to the October 17 trial date continues.

Hitting the DC Superior Court Clerk’s office last week was the Plaintiff’s Rule 26(B)(4) Statement. These are the expert witnesses that Covington and Patrick Regan intend to call upon for testimony this fall.

Dr. Lance Becker

Two of the five names listed are familiar; both testified at last summer’s conspiracy and obstruction trial: Dr. Lance Becker, Director, Center for Resuscitation Science Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, andDr.  David R. Fowler, Chief Medical Examiner of the State of Maryland.

On the last day of the trial, Becker  testified on PEA, Pulseless Electrical Activity, an indicator post-trauma heart rhythms and an indicator of whether resuscitative efforts that may be employed.

Dr. David Fowler

Dr. David Fowler

Fowler testified on Day 16 and Day 17 of the trial and his opinions that, “The orientation of the (Robert’s) wounds immediately catches your eye.  It’s very unusual for an individual to stay still enough”, and that neither Robert’s open cardiac tamponade – nor the three wounds in conjunction – would have incapacitated him immediately; and the “remarkable” similarity of the knife wounds. 

What do to the Plaintiff’s have in mind for him and Becker this time around?  And who are the three new faces?

In short, from the Rule 26 statement, Dr. Becker is prepared to testify to:

“…general emergency medicine and resuscitation procedures, particularly as they relate to sharp force trauma, pericardial
tamponade, and pulseless electrical activity (“PEA”). It is further anticipated that Dr. Becker will testify that Robert Wone died as a result of injuries caused by stab wounds to his torso, one of which caused acute pericardial tamponade.

Dr. Becker is expected to testify that prompt treatment of victims of sharp force trauma is imperative, and that any delay in treatment diminishes the chance that the victim will survive, particularly if the trauma results in acute pericardial tamponade. Dr. Becker is further expected to testify that pericardial tamponade, though an emergent condition, is a treatable injury if timely attended to by medical personnel.”

Fowler, reprising his role as an expert on trauma and knife wounds is cued up to:

“…to testify that Mr. Wone died as a result of three stab wounds in his torso, one of which caused acute pericardial tamponade, and that those three wounds share near-uniform alignment, wound paths, and depth. Dr. Fowler is further expected to testify that, in his experience of having performed autopsies on over 1,000 stabbing victims, he has never seen a victim with multiple wounds of such precise uniformity as those suffered by Mr. Wone.

It is further anticipated that Dr. Fowler will testify that there is no indication of defensive wounds on Mr. Wone’s body, nor is there any indication of blood on Mr. Wone’s hands other than a small smear on one of his fingers. Dr. Fowler is expected to testify that the lack of defensive wounds and the lack of blood on a stabbing victim’s hands is unusual because, in his experience, stabbing victims exhibit some indication of having reflexively acted both to defend themselves against attack and to grab at the injured parts of their bodies.

Dr. Fowler is expected to testify that in the absence of paralysis or restraint, such reflexive movement would have occurred almost immediately, even if a victim was asleep when stabbed. Dr. Fowler is also expected to testify that the three stab wounds suffered by Mr. Wone would not have been instantly fatal, nor would they have immediately incapacitated Mr. Wone or rendered him immediately unconscious.

Then, two witnesses who will speak to Robert’s lost earnings and potential:

Thomas C. Borzilleri, Ph.D. Bethesda, MD – An “an economist with over twenty-five years of experience in computation of damages, valuation of business and professional practices, and analyses of earnings losses from personal injury and wrongful death, among other areas.

Martha Ann Sisson, Esq., Garrison & Sisson, Washington, D.C. – A “legal recruiter and… an  attorney search firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, she regularly consults with law firms, corporations, trade associations, other organizations, and individual lawyers
regarding the hiring and retention of experienced attorneys. Among other things, she helps law firm and corporate clients to find and recruit attorneys at all levels.”

And finally, a witness that seems will be called to rip apart the ‘intruder theory.”  Al Ortenzo, Former Assistant Chief of Police, Fort Lauderdale Police Department.  From the statement:

“Qualifications: Mr. Ortenzo is the former Assistant Chief of Police of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He spent his entire 30-year career in that police department; among other responsibilities, he spent eleven years as the department’s Chief of Investigations. As a police officer, he investigated thousands of violent and property crimes, including murders, robberies, home invasions, and burglaries.”

Subject Matter of Testimony:  It is anticipated that Mr. Ortenzo will testify about general police investigation and crime scene procedures, as well as the collection and handling of evidence and the investigation of violent and property crimes.  Mr. Ortenzo is expected to testify that, in his opinion, the crime scene at 1509 Swann Street NW indicates that Mr. Wone’s murderer(s) either lived there and thus had unfettered access to the home or were able to enter without breaking. 

Mr. Ortenzo is also expected to testify that the crime scene and other circumstances surrounding Mr. Wone’s death are inconsistent with the possibility that Mr. Wone’s murderer(s) entered or gained access to the Swann Street house with the intention of committing a property crime such as burglary.

Mr. Ortenzo is also expected to testify as to the procedures and protocols undertaken during the Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation of Robert Wone’s murder. It is anticipated that Mr. Ortenzo will base his testimony on his experience and training, and his review of materials provided to him by the Plaintiff.”

Emphasis is all ours.  Razi’s and Regan’s, too, we assume.

Plaintiff’s Rule 26(B)(4) Statement

31 comments for “Someone Old, Someone New

  1. Clio
    03/07/2011 at 6:07 PM

    Maryland’s chief examiner, Dr. Fowler, had NEVER seen a case with such precise and uniform wounds: I am certain that no one else has either. That is powerful: your move, Spag!

    • Bea
      03/07/2011 at 6:14 PM

      It will be interesting to see how much of the restraints (sex toy haul) come in and what is in front of the jury as to the unexplained needle marks and eye “bruise” (can’t recall technical wording) suggesting asphyxiation. Sure helps to explain why there were no defensive wounds on the hands and why no body movement during the stabbing (thus the perfect wounds).

      Apropos of nothing, I was surprised to read that there was a smear of blood on Robert’s finger much like that smear of blood on Joe’s finger that he washed off at the 7-11 or Anacostia.

      • Bill Orange
        03/08/2011 at 8:52 AM

        I can’t see how the defense is going to keep any of this out of the trial. My layman’s perspective is that if you invoke your 5th amendment rights on something, and the jury is allowed to draw an adverse inference about it, then opposing counsel can present evidence to support the adverse inference. Thus, if you’re refusing to answer questions about “violent sexual behavior”, the opposing counsel can present additional evidence of “violent sexual behavior”, i.e., the dungeon-in-a-trunk. You can’t simultaneously argue that your private sexual behavior is irrelevant AND that it could be evidence that you’re guilty of a murder.

        That being said, I thought that Fowler’s testimony in the criminal trial was clear independent evidence that Robert Wone was restrained during his attack, so I thought the restraints should have come in to the criminal trial, too, so what do I know?

        • Clio
          03/08/2011 at 12:55 PM

          Bill O, dear, I agree — when Papa Razi starts with “someone old, someone new,” then one must add “something borrowed” like, perhaps, our part-time masseur, and “something blue” such as, maybe, his toy chest and his copy of the iconic film Manwhore (2001). Vicki must agree, too, with us in her heart of hearts!

        • Jeana
          03/08/2011 at 5:53 PM

          Hey, Bill O – calling upon your medical knowledge here. The precision of the knife wounds and absence of defensive wounds infer that Robert was restrained, either physically or pharmaceutically – or both. Two questions:

          1 – Wouldn’t you expect to see bruising from physical restraint? I recall being in an auto collision resulting only in a broken finger, but the bruising left by the seat-shoulder belt was vivid. If the body’s natural reaction is to defend itself from the infliction of pain, such as grabbing the knife, fighting off the perpetrator, covering the wounded area, it seems there would be defensive wounds, a good deal of blood on the hands and bedding, and signs of a struggle. But if restraints were in place – whether ropes, straps or a co-conspirator’s hands – it seems there would be bruising.

          2 – Since the wounds were not immediately fatal, would the body continue to metabolize whatever substances may have been ingested? Could that explain not only the lack of a natural defensive reaction but also the absence of toxicological findings? It seems hard to beleive that a drug so potent as to shut down one’s natural defense mechanisms would be undiscoverable only hours later.

          I’m also mystified by the Ashley’s Reagent-Luminol fiasco. I googled Ashley’s Reagent and all immediate references were to the Wone case. What is Ashley’s Reagent supposed to be used for if not to detect the presence of blood evidence? Does its erroneous use so degrade the sample that a subsequent application of Luminol is fruitless? Did the FBI lab’s re-testing establish an absence of blood or only degradation? How the hell did MPD let this happen? (Don’t really expect you to answer that one! 🙂

          • Bill Orange
            03/09/2011 at 2:00 PM

            1. Basically, yes. Padded restraints are less likely to leave marks, but it’s hard to get someone into padded restraints without a struggle. It can be done without leaving severe bruising, but it would be fairly hard to do without leaving ANY signs of a struggle.

            2. Yes to the first part–metabolism can continue after death, and a lot of drugs will continue to break down after the heart has stopped. Some drugs are easier to detect than others in post-mortem fluids. My recollection is that they never tested for ketamine to begin with, and you obviously won’t find something if you don’t look for it.

            As to point 3, I think that most of us have a fairly warped view of crime scene investigations, because of what we see on television. I doubt that most of them are that sophisticated in real life. That being said, this was a murder investigation, and there’s really no way to get around the fact that the MPD really botched this.

            • Craig
              03/09/2011 at 6:01 PM

              Thanks Bill O. I’ve gotten so cloudy on what was and was not tested for. IIRC, Ket could’ve been among the street drugs they did look for. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

              It makes me wonder how Fowler’s testimony on restraint will play out. Will he be allowed to say Robert was incapacitated despite the lack of physical or toxicology evidence? The document is vague: “Dr. Fowler is expected to testify that in the absence of paralysis or restraint, such reflexive movement would have occurred almost immediately, even if a victim was asleep when stabbed.”

              • 03/10/2011 at 10:56 AM

                Doug’s post on 3/17/09 (K Street) covers the ketamine issue. Apparently, the toxicology screen done included some party drugs but NOT ketamine. And ketamine presents a problem with later testing due to its halflife properties.

                • CDinDC
                  03/10/2011 at 11:34 AM

                  That’s right Gloria. I remember thinking that the coroner’s office and/or MPD is not very knowledgeable about club drugs. Street drugs, yes. Club drugs, no.

                  Ketamine and other veterinary drugs have been being used in the club scene for decades.

                  You’d think, by now, they’d know that and include those drugs in their tox screening.

                  • AnnaZed
                    03/10/2011 at 12:42 PM

                    I remember thinking the same thing. Even when I first read about this crime my first thought was K-hole and I have never taken any Ketamine in my life. The drug is that infamous.

                    • CDinDC
                      03/10/2011 at 5:13 PM

                      An old friend, who was a drug/alcohol counselor used to refer to Alphabet Soup. YOu take too much K resulting in a K-hole and you dose yourself with X (or E) to come out of it.

                      You’d think “continuing education” would be required.

            • Jeana
              03/10/2011 at 9:14 PM

              Thanks, Bill – and to everyone else who posted to this thread. I agree that many of us have come to expect forensic evidence to “solve” every crime – and in many cases it does. The East Coast rapist was recently nailed by a discarded cigarette butt. I only hope that a whole lot more info comes out in the civil trial.

  2. AnnaZed
    03/07/2011 at 8:00 PM

    He only small mercy in this sea of unremitting horror is the comfort of the idea that maybe, just maybe Robert did not feel pain and fear when he was murdered.

    It is my belief that Dylan Ward planned this attack, that he dosed Robert’s water and that he subsequently injected Robert with a drug, abused Robert and murdered him. Joe’s personality just wouldn’t allow him to turn his sparkly cat in to the police when he knew what happened. At the time of the murder Victor had no idea what was going on, though he does now and is a stinking coward for not coming clean.

    • AnnaZed
      03/07/2011 at 8:00 PM

      Make that “The only,” sheesh.

    • Bea
      03/07/2011 at 8:53 PM

      I know we all wish that someday the absolute and unequivocal truth about what happened that night would come out. Well, except the murderer(s) and those who place the comfort of murderer(s) over justice and integrity and honor. AnnaZ, your theory is as good as mine, and I too hope that Robert was fully unconscious and not experiencing pain (or the anguish of looking at the murderer(s)).

      While the civil trial may well decide the fates of the defendants as “liable” and force them to pay for the rest of their lives financially, that is not enough. I am hoping – and my guess is that Kathy Wone is too – that the truth shakes loose in whatever form. I’ve given up on Victor growing a spine, but MAYBE there will be new evidence discovered, or a witness will tell the whole truth about something not previously told (be it Sarah, Scott H, even Michael Price). Does anyone know if Michael Price has felony convictions or if he runs afoul of the law again that law enforcement could leverage him for what he knows?

      • Cat from Cleveland
        03/07/2011 at 9:37 PM

        Forty years ago the idea of using scrapings from under a fingernail to convict a murderer for a 20 year old crime was a mere fantasy. At the rate science is developing new ways to analyze evidence, who knows what will be available in 20 years. Lets hope they preserve the parts of the Swann home that were removed. Someday, if we live long enough, we will know the truth, and while it will still be too little too late for Robert’s family, maybe someone will die in prison for this crime.

        • Bea
          03/07/2011 at 10:10 PM

          I hope you’re right (if the murderer(s) aren’t found sooner) but I still get a sick feeling thinking of the MPD’s screwing up this case from the get-go. If in fact Luminol tests had been available at the criminal trial to show trace blood evidence on the walls, bed frame, floor, etc., the judge would have found them all guilty since intruders don’t clean and the evidence would have supported the Thomas’s time frame testimony (which she couldn’t buy on their testimony alone). My guess is that the charges may have included murder charges – and such damning evidence may have even forced spineless Victor to turn prosecution witness for immunity.

          Sorry for the soapbox – I agree that if what the MPD does have is properly kept that there may be scientific avenues not yet explored. Good thought.

          • susan
            03/07/2011 at 11:42 PM

            I really wonder what happens when members of the MPD screw up as they did in this case. Is it put on officers’ records and/or are there any ramifications at all?

            Reading again what Dr. F said, it strikes me again how there were three stabs/incisions and if, as posters in the past suggested, that has any significance. It also brings back to mind J. Price’s unsettling visit with Ms. Wone at her house soon after Mr. Wone’s murder and his hand movement and utterings simulating the stabbings.

            And again, I wonder about a murderer/murderers who is/are so careful about cleaning up the crime scene and gliding silently up and down the staircase but so conspicuously doesn’t do anything to stifle the low groans and/or screams of the immobilized Mr. W. as we are led to believe, thus allowing the 911 scenario etc. to unfold but allowing the soft shoe murder/murderers time to escape–as we are led to believe. But, maybe it did happen that way.

            Looking forward to witness testimony.

    • Bill Orange
      03/08/2011 at 8:43 AM

      You’re letting Victor off pretty easy with this theory, and I don’t think the plaintiffs are going to do that. Based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, Robert Wone was still alive when he arrived at the hospital emergency room. I think the plaintiffs are going to argue that if Victor was in any way involved in delaying the call to 911, then he’s just as responsible for Robert Wone’s death as the person who stabbed him.

  3. 03/08/2011 at 7:26 AM

    Reading together AnnaZ’ and Clio’s posts above, it occurred to me for the very first time that there can’t possibly be any connection between Dylan’s dexterity and the same skill his father obviously uses daily in his profession. Can there?

    • AnnaZed
      03/08/2011 at 10:48 AM

      Galloping wildly and brazenly into totally uncharted and absolutely unsupportable areas of speculation I would speculate that Dylan’s entire career as a prostitute, drug abuser, kept man and quite possibly murderer is certainly … ahem … Daddy related in one way or another.

      • AnnaZed
        03/08/2011 at 10:53 AM

        … not to mention his relationship to Joe … oh Daddy if you had only been more available to little Dyl and less of a human cash machine none of this ever would have happened… etc.

        Actually, in real-life I pretty much believe essentially this.

        • Eagle
          03/08/2011 at 11:44 AM

          Dylan has a free will just like the rest of us.

          • Bea
            03/08/2011 at 12:24 PM

            His brothers appear to be contributing members of society – like Eagle, I have to bust Dylan pure and simple – Dylan’s sense of entitlement and desire to be pampered is his alone. I totally agree that he has big Daddy issues but he cashed those in a long time ago.

            • Clio
              03/08/2011 at 8:53 PM

              Who is Dyl’s current Daddy in Florida, or has the part-time masseur completed a key stage of development (because of this very real “Crucible” of the trials) and has become a Daddy of sorts himself?

              • 03/08/2011 at 10:51 PM

                oh the stages of developement–S&M–daddy’s issues–let’s get this case to trial

  4. boofoc
    03/08/2011 at 3:42 PM

    I was referring more specifically above to Doctor Fowler’s testimony at the criminal trial – as reiterated so cogently by Clio above – concerning Robert’s three wounds being so very precise and uniform, suggesting perhaps that they might be surgical in nature. Just wondering wildly with AnnaZ.

    • Craig
      03/08/2011 at 3:51 PM

      Despite Judge Rankin’s orders to stay focussed only on the trial and testimony before them, I think this jury will be going batshit wondering about the murder trial. They may wonder if one ever took place and its outcome, or why there wasn’t one at all.

      Or can we expect that it will be laid out before them early on, that there was no murder trial? Maybe that’s in the D’s playbook: “Our clients have been under scrutiny for nearly five years because of MPD failures to bring murder charges, etc.” Or do both sides just dance around gingerly and make no mention of the elephant in the (jury) room?

      This is going to get wierd. And as the old saying goes, “When the going gets wierd…”

      • Clio
        03/09/2011 at 8:58 PM

        Craig, dearest, notes: “this is going to get weird.” Honey, this got weird the day that Joe met Victor in 2000, and it will remain so until those two former pillars of our community get divorced. Politics frequently produces strange bedfellows, and perhaps Washington politics in particular is used to such unholy alliances.

        But, who is “winning,” as Cha-Cha Sheen in his own trouple would say, with this losing, marital hand of “hippos”, not elephants, in every room that one is in! Jesus, come to, Vicki, snap out of it, will you!

        • 03/10/2011 at 12:50 AM

          Oh the Canadian Ken and Barbie–IMHO did Victor think he had met his blond prince/knight in shining armour.. Like a moth to a flame–Burned by REALITY because IMHO he became MISS Celie in the COLOR PURPLE with the introduction of the Big D like JR and Dallas. This civil case has the potential to make them nationally INFAMOUS and not just DC known.

  5. Craig
    03/10/2011 at 3:19 PM

    New filings are (very) slowly trickling into the clerks office. We post the latest tomorrow morning.

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