Elegant Living, Savage Death

05/03/2011
By Craig

1509 Swann Street: Back on the Market

Over the past two and a half years, we’ve trawled real estate sites to get pictures of the interior of 1509 Swann Street.  We studied the cutaway scale model of the dwelling that was schlepped in and out of Judge Leibovitz’ courtroom last summer, and have walked by that house so many times that we’ve lost count.

2nd floor 'Family Room,' where defendant Dylan Ward allegedly passed the time while his two housemates allegedly provided first-aid to their slain freind, Robert Wone.

Hours have been spent staring at the facade and peering into the backyard with the foolish hope the house would somehow reveal some of its many secrets.

If the walls could talk, we thought, because the defendants so far have refused to. Sunday saw us inside the home for the first time. An recent on-again, off-again sales history is now back on - and there was an open house that afternoon.

It was everything that anyone would expect in a $1.6M DuPont listing: well decorated, nicely appointed and staged within an inch square foot of its life, and advertised as “FIVE FLRS OF ELEGANT LIVING.”

The open house also had plenty of traffic during the 30 minutes we spent in there, and not all of those people looked like serious buyers.  Some who were in there paced the halls deliberately, almost reverentially, revisiting rooms a second and third time, all under the watchful eyes of two realtors.

Some elements of the house do not meet expectations. It is not nearly as deep as some of the agent photos show it to be, but it does seem wider, 16 feet at least.  The house did get some renovation work after the MPD and FBI deconstructed it during their fruitless search for evidence, so it’s impossible to say if the layout was identical as it was on the night of Robert’s murder.  If not, we assume it to be pretty damn close.

The patio is much shallower, too, than the photos depict. Standing at the kitchen island, where according to defendants’ statements, they sat with Robert before retiring, the line of site into the garden planters is mostly clear, but would almost certainly have been distorted or wiped out entirely by reflections from both the interior and exterior lighting.  How defendant Joseph Price says he saw a bug/spider/whatever on a patio light through those glass doors from his vantage point in the kitchen, now seems considerably less plausible.

We think we now know why the criminal defense team spiked the testimony of their sound and acoustics expert. He may have not held up well on the stand.

View from Ward's bedroom towards the 2nd floor guestroom

The sets of steps from the first to second, and second to third floors were noisy, and still uncarpeted. Assuming an ‘intruder’ had just slain a resident of the home, he would have to have tip-toed down to the first floor so he wasn’t heard; not the high-speed egress one would expect of an assailant fleeing a crime scene.

Again, the defendants’ statements of not hearing anyone descend those steps, yet hearing Robert’s muffled ‘low screams’/'grunts’/whatevers, seems like more and more of a stretch.

And how Ward was able to hear Robert ‘latch’ his guestroom door, but neither the ‘low screams’ and a fleeing ‘intruder’ right outside his door, is starting to seem even more fanciful, no matter how much medication(s) he told the police he was under.

The acoustics get even more curious when considering the distance up to the mater bedroom where Price and his domestic partner told the authorities they were sleeping in, behind a closed door.

Price heard the  ’low screams’/'grunts’/whatevers, through his closed door, and from a floor away, but didn’t hear the ‘intruder’ either hurriedly bound down the steps or exit the house.

2nd floor guestoom. Steps to 3rd floor master bedroom at far right

Another aspect of Ward’s statement to police may deserve a second look – he told them when he was first was roused from his Rx-induced slumbers, he made his way to the guest room and peered inside and said he didn’t see much of anything.

While standing at the door/threshold of the guestroom, one sees almost everything, and that very well may have included a direct and unobstructed view of the sofa-bed that Robert was murdered on.

How Ward could not take in the entire scene while standing at that door doesn’t seem to square with either the dimensions of the room, the layout, simple physics or reason, for that matter.  The sofa-bed seen in the photo at the left is in the exact position as Robert’s deathbed was on the night of August 2, 2006.

More photos:

Price and Zaborsky's view while descending 3rd floor steps en route to the guestroom

3rd floor landing. Master bedroom to the left, guestroom at bottom of stairs

View from the guestroom: stairs to the 3rd floor on left and Ward's bedroom at the center

The 2nd floor guestroom

The house won’t give up any of its secrets.  There were four men in the home that night and one of them isn’t able to share anything anymore, his life extinguished in there while the remaining three tell us they were asleep and neither saw or heard much of anything.  A simple walk-thru of the home demonstrates why many find their statements to be increasingly less believable.

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147 Responses to “ Elegant Living, Savage Death ”

  1. Jane on 05/03/2011 at 1:42 PM

    Just wondering, where is the bathroom?

    • Craig on 05/03/2011 at 1:51 PM

      Jane: If you look at the next to he last photo, it’s immediately to the right, before entering Ward’s room.

      This cutaway WaPo graphic from the Duggan story should help. We’re happy to answer any other questions.

  2. CDinDC on 05/03/2011 at 1:57 PM

    Craig says: “The sofabed seen in the photo at the left is in the exact position as Robert’s deathbed was on the night of August 2, 2006.”

    Wow. The photo shows just how close the bed is to the door, wall and window. Shows how incredibly difficult it would have been to execute those upward thrust stab wounds. Someone would have HAD to have been behind Robert’s body to accomplish that. And being behind Robert while laying on that bed would have been impossible.

    I see know way Robert was in that room when stabbed.

    Was he in the bathroom or on the patio (as Joe said) when stabbed? I’ve always believed he was in the bathroom (tub) when stabbed. But Joe’s comment and the use of the hose/wet patio when the police arrived sure makes you wonder.

    • Craig on 05/03/2011 at 2:18 PM

      FWIW: On the night of August 2, there was a night table to the right of the sofabed, as seen in this MPD crime scene photo.

      Boof: If I’m not mistaken, Realtors call them Looky-Loos? There could’ve been some serious buyers; the DC market remains strong with very little inventory out there.

    • Linda S. on 05/03/2011 at 4:55 PM

      I thought the autopsy report stated the wounds were all downward and slightly to the right which would indicate a left handed person if facing Mr. Wone and a right handed person if the person was behind him. I think the wounds would have been more erratic if he was stabbed from behind.

      • cdindc on 05/03/2011 at 8:43 PM

        Ah, yes….they were slightly downward. It’s been a while since I read the autopsy report.

        slightly downward could still mean “from behind.”

        And I disagree that the wounds would be “more erratic” if he were stabbed from behind. Remember, Robert Wone was very likely immobilized, rendering him VERY STILL. No resistance or movement. A nearly identical pattern could be accomplished easily under these circumstances.

        • Linda S. on 05/04/2011 at 3:22 PM

          If he was immobilized he would have to have been lying on a surface so stabbing from behind would likely be impossible IMO. If he was propped up by someone then it would be pretty difficult to stab him from behind. the ‘from behind’ scenario does not seem logical. It seems to me he was flat on his back and the stab wounds were easily made from the front to someone who was drugged or asphyxiated.

          • cdindc on 05/04/2011 at 7:35 PM

            Well, if he were in a bathtub (which is a theory I’ve always supported) all it would take is for someone to be behind his body and stab him from over his shoulder.

            • DonnaH on 05/14/2011 at 5:04 AM

              There’s another possibility–that he was stabbed on the conjectured and missing playmat. (Why would the playmat be missing if it wasn’t used?)– It seems to me that the room would be quite crowded to go about their sexual assault of Robert with the bed made down. Once they thought Robert was unconscious, they may have taken him from the bed and folded it up to give them more room, with the playmat spread on the floor. Or perhaps they put him there on the playmat when they decided to stab him. Then they could have enough room to do so from a position above his head. I also think that room is the more likely location because of the traces of blood found on the walls, floor, door frame and sofa.

              I wonder if the pictures Joe had of himself would give any clue as to where in the house they were taken, i.e. where he and Dylan were accustomed to engage in their games.

              • Clio on 05/14/2011 at 5:32 PM

                Would a play mat be similar to a yoga or massage mat? Dyl had to have had several on hand, if so.

                Was a play mat used in the encounters with Mr. Hixson and/or his fast friend? Did Mr. Hixson and/or his trick own a play mat?

                What kind of music did Joe and Dyl select for their tableaux? Sibelius or Satie?

  3. boofoc on 05/03/2011 at 2:09 PM

    What a great, great job of photographing and explaining what you’re seeing.

    Only question: Did it seem as though the other lookers were “gawkers” (so to speak), there out of curiosity because the house is infamous; or did they appear to be serious prospective buyers?

    • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 12:03 PM

      Or, were they private detectives working for both sides? Did the MPD’s Diane or Gail come back, out of curiosity?

  4. boofoc on 05/03/2011 at 2:21 PM

    Agree, CD; takes us back for a closer look at Policewoman Whatshername’s (first to interview bareass/bigbulge JP – without white robe)interview statement about where the stabbing took place; i.e., the statement made before JP had time to think, confer with VZ and DW and concoct the “real intruder” story. Perhaps the true truth came out inadvertantly.

    • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 12:07 PM

      Thankfully for Diane, Joe was neither bare-assed nor big-bulged, but your note, boo, does raise the persistent question of why Officer Durham did not testify in Lynn’s courtroom and of why she probably won’t do so for Michael R. as well.

      • susan on 05/08/2011 at 3:52 PM

        Clio, it could be because there may be inconsistencies in her acct. or maybe she has demerits against her as a cop. Who knows. Maybe she’s the one who ordered the Ashley’s Reagent. I suppose the prosecutors have their reasons.

        • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 5:18 PM

          Diane D., how could you!

          Of course, on Mother’s Day, one might think of the case’s other Diane, whose love for her son was certainly on view in Lynn’s courtroom. I wonder if that love has ever been reciprocated: something tells me that all of Dyl’s relationships may be one-sided and strictly situational. That must be the case, unless it involves a big-time, big-spending client for his spa services. And even then, it’s probably just for 90 minutes at a time at most. Sad!

          • susan on 05/08/2011 at 5:39 PM

            “Diane D., how could you!” You’re funny!

            Another person to think about today is Robert W.’s mother, another year without her son. And there’s Kathy W., who apparently had plans to adopt a child with her husband. What kind of sickness/evil was in that house that night to do something so horrible? It is still shocking to think about.

  5. David on 05/03/2011 at 2:31 PM

    To echo Craig’s observations about the sound — people were milling about as they are during any open house, and talking fairly quietly to each other. People were respectful to each other, so they kept the noise to a minimum. What became noticable was how the people who were trying to be quiet while walking were still making noise. You could hear footsteps everywhere in the home as people walked around — and these were quiet footsteps, not those of a person looking to get the hell out of Dodge as quickly as possible.

    David

    • Doug on 05/03/2011 at 3:14 PM

      David is spot-on about the noise; even the gentlest step made a fair amount of sound. The relatively open plan of both staircases enhances this.
      Just one other observation: from the basement apartment you can hear everything on the first floor, and a fair amount from the second. In her time there, one wonders just what – and how much – Sarah heard.

      • CDinDC on 05/03/2011 at 4:30 PM

        If anyone cares to conduct an experiment, runt in the guestroom while someone else is upstairs in the closed master bedroom.

        Same for the latching of the bathroom door….

        • CDinDC on 05/03/2011 at 4:31 PM

          uh, that would be grunt. not runt.

          • AnnaZed on 05/03/2011 at 5:25 PM

            CD, I read that as rut (I am a touch dyslexic) and was gob-smacked. Not that to wouldn’t be a useful experiment, still …

      • Gloria on 05/03/2011 at 5:38 PM

        I’m obsessing about what you call the “relatively open plan of both staircases.” Those (between floors) are both very long, narrow and relatively steep descents/ascents, but without any bannister. (Doesn’t DC have codes against that?) Negotiating those staircases at night (even with lights turned on), groggy and even more so with a sleep aid, etc. would give me pause. Seems to me the two upstairs guys could have, half way down the stairs, peeked down and around to see if an intruder was at large on the landing. But they’d need incredible balance under the circumstances, including being fearful — Victor in fear for one set of reasons; Joe in fear for a different set of reasons.

        • Cara on 05/03/2011 at 6:40 PM

          Would also point out that the bannisters on the upper floors are metal, appearing to be tubular. If anybody put a hand down with force (perhaps while running down stairs), especially with a ring on their finger, it would resonate. Wouldn’t it?

          Thanks for this photo tour and description. It’s a really nice house for a nice price (sorry), but the vantage points that you’ve illustrated are eerie.

          I fear that for anyone close to Robert, this will be difficult to view. My continued sympathies to all concerned.

        • Doug on 05/03/2011 at 8:21 PM

          Gloria: what struck us most was the close space of the house. Yes, anyone working those stairs under narcotic would have to be careful: anyone else would probably be pounding those treads. And moreover: the space between 3 and 2 floor is minimal – the claim of being ’scared to go downstairs’ seems false on the face of it.

          • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 11:42 AM

            How would a Victorian lady get her bustle up those steps? The original owners in 1886 must have been thin and short: Americans today, including Culuket, need more space.

            • Carolina on 05/09/2011 at 6:59 AM

              That explains why they sold it– Joe simply outgrew the house.

  6. Bill 2 on 05/03/2011 at 6:11 PM

    You guys did an amazing job of matching up various aspects of the layout of the house with the claims made by Ward, Zaborsky, and Price. Thanks for all your hard work and persistance in following all aspects of this case.

    Is there a door that can be shut in the basement living quarters to cut that off from the rest of the house?

    • Doug on 05/04/2011 at 1:06 PM

      Bill2 – yes, the basement unit has a door on the first floor that can be closed.

  7. PeteMcLeanVa on 05/03/2011 at 8:32 PM

    Stairails are required in all jursidictions in the U.S. Nearly all goverment bodies adhere to “The Building Code”. Perhaps this is another example of another D.C’s department incompetence. The owners
    can remove the stairails after settlement but need to be put back up before a new sale.

    By the looks of the inside, Robert Wone could easily have been killed with a push down the long, multiple stairs. I now believe someones night adventure was sadism, torture and either manslaughter or homicide.

    • Cara on 05/03/2011 at 8:42 PM

      Pete, I hear you, but I think a push down the (precarious) stairs would have been evident in bruising and contusions at autopsy.

      What I’m wondering now is whether someone really did “make an escape” that night. What if RW witnessed, against plan, something bad happening to someone else who managed to get away (and is afraid to talk about it), and RW was slain as a witness (probably not in the guest room)?

      Would the roomies have considered that a building block of their ninja story?

      • Bill Orange on 05/04/2011 at 9:03 AM

        That doesn’t fit with the lack of movement on Robert’s part. That’s the aspect of this whole thing that I always have the most trouble with. Either the expert witnesses are wrong, or Robert was almost totally motionless when he was stabbed. If he was motionless, the only explanation I can come up with is that he was incapacitated prior to the stabbing, and that had to have been premeditated.

        • CDinDC on 05/04/2011 at 12:52 PM

          Don’t forget those pesky injection marks.

      • Linda S. on 05/04/2011 at 3:30 PM

        Or broken bones/fractured skull.

  8. susan on 05/03/2011 at 11:30 PM

    I can’t believe they didn’t have a bannister. I wonder if there was one but it was removed for painting. That seems most likely but it’s odd they’d have an open house with no bannister. Hopefully someone will post here and let us know if there was one in place back then.

    Wondering if it was the same realtor as before.

    • susan on 05/03/2011 at 11:31 PM

      painting the wall, that is.

  9. Clio on 05/03/2011 at 11:44 PM

    Oh yes, the notorious “sardine can” has been finally exposed — the Victorian rowhouse did it after all, or it compelled its owners to do whatever they did that evening — most probably, out of spite over paying far too much for too little space!

  10. Carolina on 05/04/2011 at 7:41 AM

    It’s funny that the police did all of that damage looking for evidence when the best evidence is the house itself. You can’t look at that and not see the the very long stretch their story tries to make.

    • Linda S. on 05/04/2011 at 3:33 PM

      Very astute assessment.

  11. David on 05/04/2011 at 10:46 AM

    Craig’s photo of stairs going into the guest room doesn’t do justice to what Price and Zaborsky must have seen because Robert was on a pull out couch, and the couch in the photo is not pulled out. So their view must have been entirely of the bed with Robert on it, and the door had to be open unless our intruder was so mindful of Joe’s desire to shut the doors closed to keep the house cool.

    At this point, Joe is still saying he all this blood, but Victor doesn’t know what happened to Robert until he got into the room, and even after being in the room, he still wasn’t sure what happened.

    It would have been more turthful to have said they could see Robert bleeding on the bed as we descended the stairs.

    David

  12. i4Justice on 05/04/2011 at 11:30 AM

    Your pics of the close quarters really clarify the “selective hearing” that occurred. One or more of them heard a door chime but no footsteps, a door latch but no footsteps, grunts/low screams, but no footsteps, ergo they conclude that there was an intruder. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? With obvious hard wood floors, any street shoe is going to make noise. It would have been a more plausible story to say that they heard the intruder’s footsteps but no door latch or grunts. Did the intruder take his shoes off upon entering? Or, does their story actually make more sense because one or more of them was present in the room to hear the sounds that they claim to have heard?

    • Clio on 05/05/2011 at 9:32 PM

      How could one conduct any kind of BDSM play in that kind of cramped space in which tenants and neighbors could hear everything? Indeed, one might feel self-conscious and limited if pursuing a marital tete-a-tete at 1509 Swann, let alone orchestrating a menage a trois involving someone on the block.

  13. Linda S. on 05/04/2011 at 3:36 PM

    He could have been wearing rubber soled shoes but then there really would have had to be an intruder.

    • alternateguy on 05/05/2011 at 2:51 PM

      Folks keep missing an obvious question: If it was a made-up story, why no footsteps, other exit noises or physical signs of an intruder? What idiots would provide such flimsy and suspicious sounding stories involving an unseen, unheard ninja? Unless they were reporting what they actually heard and saw. The trio have been called many things, but never idiots.

      • Hoya Loya on 05/05/2011 at 3:15 PM

        So the fact that there is no evidence to support the story is supposed to make it more credible? There is an obvious reason why they would make up such a story — to throw the police off the trail of the real killer.

        Let’s turn this over to Judge Liebowitz: “I am persuaded by the trial evidence in its totality, and I find, that the murder of Robert Wone was not committed by an intruder unknown to the defendants. My reasons for this conclusion are the evidence that: there was no sign of forced entry; no items or property were disturbed within the home; no mark or disturbance was made in the dust or debris on the fence railing, defendants’ car or the plant beds inside the fence; not a single item of value of the type commonly taken by burglars was taken, including a flat screen television and a laptop computer in view of the kitchen and two wallets in plain view on the desk in the guest room; and the intruder had to have passed by Mr. Ward’s room to get to the guest room, yet nobody entered Mr. Ward’s room.

        Other reasons for my finding include the fact that Mr. Wone was entirely immobile at the time of the stabbing, and the deliberate and methodical way in which the wounds were inflicted. Mr. Wone, who certainly could have been asleep, with his night guard in his mouth and lying on his covers on a very warm evening, nevertheless physiologically could have moved during the infliction of the three terrible wounds and just did not do so. The circumstances of the commission of the murder itself are inconsistent with the defense position that an intruder killed Mr. Wone.”

        “Further, I am persuaded that, with or without a delay, defendants discussed the murder before the police arrived based on their initial statements to police that they had resolved that an intruder had entered the home through the back door, and other admissions later made by the defendants that they had discussed the crime. This does not necessarily prove they conspired to obstruct justice in their discussions, although it is some evidence that they had the opportunity to do so. In addition, the defendants’ own extensive evidence regarding the possible time of the stabbing in relation to when the 9-11 call was made establishes that there likely was enough time after the stabbing for the defendants to have discussed what they would say to police and even to tamper with the knife or other items at the scene if that was what happened.”

        “Overall, the defendants’ story that an intruder committed the offense is incredible beyond a reasonable doubt.”

        • David on 05/05/2011 at 4:07 PM

          Hoya,

          In a case that Judge Lebo says was all about testing the BARD standard, she actually comes up with an even higher standard BARD when determining whether there was an intruder — its the iBARD standard — incredible beyond a reasnable doubt.

          Talk about the intruder theory falling so flat as to even create a higher standard than BARD.

          Long Live iBARD!

          David

          • dieter on 05/05/2011 at 5:11 PM

            Wow, that was iWitty!

            • David on 05/05/2011 at 9:40 PM

              Sarcasm noted, Dieter.

        • alternateguy on 05/05/2011 at 5:39 PM

          Signs of forced entry, property disturbed and other signs of intrusion are all things which could have been quickly and easily staged just as well as a more plausible story such as “I heard running footsteps,” “I saw a glimpse of someone,” could have been stated. That’s the way false victims usually attempt to mislead police, not by supplying a very minimal and unlikely scenario. Often, false identifications are provided; “He was a big black ugly dude,” “Wore a ski mask and gloves.” The very lack of detail is what leaves the trio as suspect. Even the good Judge must have wondered why a concted story would have been so thin.

          • Clio on 05/05/2011 at 9:40 PM

            As a well-credentialed attorney, Mr. Price must have known that the devil lay in the details, and that is why he may have shaped the contours of the official story just prior to Diane Durham’s arrival.

            • Rapt in MD on 05/06/2011 at 10:17 AM

              Agree with you, Clio – however I might change “well-credentialed” to “supremely arrogant.” Price took complete control of the story from the get-go and he felt that knew just how befuddle a not so sharp MPD. Turns out – he was right.

          • Carolina on 05/09/2011 at 7:02 AM

            Again, the more details you provide, the easier it is to prove false. Sit back, say “I don’t know” and reap the benefits.

      • Carolina on 05/06/2011 at 9:31 PM

        It’s easier to say nothing than to get caught in obvious lies. “I don’t know” or “I didn’t hear anything” is always easier to defend, because you can’t prove what they didn’t hear. But if they’d said they heard someone going out the front door, or the rear, or anywhere else, then they run the risk of having some evidence or witness show up to prove they’re lying liars.

        • Carolina on 05/06/2011 at 9:32 PM

          And let’s not forget, Reagan taught us all that “I don’t remember” is a perfectly good alibi.

          • susan on 05/06/2011 at 10:31 PM

            Who knows at what point it went from alibi to reality in Reagan’s case.

            • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 5:39 PM

              The Gipper’s biological and currently liberal son — Ron, Jr. — claims that that happened while the Gipper was still President. Who knew, indeed!

              Everyone needs plausible deniability: what I don’t know won’t hurt me, correct? Hillary, Joe and Dyl’s candidate for President in 2008, was always a fan of “I don’t remember” during her many scandals as First Lady: it’s a bipartisan, universal defense mechanism, but that does not make it right!

  14. Gloria on 05/04/2011 at 6:47 PM

    Different topic. Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. (Ole!) Is the hearing still on?

    • Craig on 05/05/2011 at 10:51 AM

      Gloria – I expect the status is still on for 1:45pm. Will check.

      • Clio on 05/05/2011 at 9:56 PM

        Was there or, if the hearing was postponed, will there be team coverage with Shaky Cam?

        • Craig on 05/05/2011 at 10:07 PM

          The hearing turned out to be a conference call, but it yielded a Rankin order on the MPD Motion to Quash. We’ll post tomorrow. There was also a surprise visitor in courtroom 517 today.

          • AnnaZed on 05/05/2011 at 10:08 PM

            yesterday?

            • Craig on 05/05/2011 at 10:09 PM

              You beat me to fixing the typo AZ. I meant this afternoon. (You and your google alerts!) :)

              • AnnaZed on 05/05/2011 at 10:10 PM

                Sorry, I get excited sometimes.

  15. Bea on 05/04/2011 at 9:15 PM

    Did you try to see if YOU could tell the back door was locked while peering from the stairs as Dylan claimed? That one struck me as suspect.

    I’ve not been in 1509 Swann, but my recollection of the DuPont houses is similar to that described – very little privacy of the auditory nature. I still think Victor’s screaming is what changed the plans (whatever those plans were). They had no idea how lucky they would be that the MPD would use Ashley’s Reagent and destroy all the blood evidence.

    It’s interesting that during the Anacostia dialogs that Joe was definite that not much time passed between the grunts and the chime and his/Victor’s rescue mission down to the 2nd floor (but not checking on the Love Of His Life in the other bedroom). He must’ve assumed that the blood evidence wasn’t that bad – I’m with CD that most of it went down the bathroom drain, and it’s not a big leap anymore to clean that lip, but what of the rest? This part doesn’t make sense, that the killer(s) stopped to clean up, or that Joe would think this a plausible story. But with the screaming, if the residents were in on the murder, they must’ve felt they had no other option but to call the ambulance before the night was through.

    It sounds legit from the description that in the quiet of a residential neighborhood where one could hear the baby crying on one side that loud screaming would be remembered by neighbors, thus screwing up any story that Robert never arrived or left early in the morning. Guys? Likely to hear neighbors screaming at 11:30 pm on a school night?

    • David on 05/04/2011 at 11:26 PM

      Bea,

      Of course, we checked out whether one could see the lock from the stairs. It was at the top of our list. First, there are two doors, and the door described by Dylan with the lock in the horizontal position was open, and not ajar, the way Dylan said it was, so it was difficult to determine exactly.

      But, on several trips up and down the stairs, I looked directly over there, and especially when coming down the stairs just as Dylan said he did that night. When I did that you could notice the position between vertical and horizontal. Now that I have said that let me qualify it. First, we went at 2:00 in the afternoon, so the house was full of light. Second, and I think this is more important — I knew exactly what I was looking for. I had my eye targeted and trained on that area and the doorknob in order to see it.

      I can’t imagine Dylan knew what he was looking for, but rather he was looking at everything, taking everything in, which i believe would have made it more difficult to notice it from that distance. From Dylan’s account, and knowing that he didn’t spend much time looking, I think these two qualifiers make it more doubtful that he could have seen the lock in the horizontal position.

      David

      • Craig on 05/05/2011 at 11:15 AM

        We don’t know what first floor lights were flipped on when Ward trundled down the steps. I don’t recall MPD asking him what lights he switched on or from where, so it’s possible the kitchen (and the patio door) were not illuminated well enough to see from that distance. And the physics still don’t quite work for me: half-way down those steps would’ve required serious acrobatics to get a good look at the kitchen.

      • Alice on 05/05/2011 at 3:50 PM

        I would imagine Dylan did know what to look for. In my own house when ever I pass the door at night I check to see if it’s locked (vertical). But I’m still not convince he could see it from the stairs or would remember that small detail while under the influence of Lunesta.

        • Craig on 05/05/2011 at 6:20 PM

          This is a minor point but I still find it odd. Ward tells us that he trundled down the stairs, admittedly hopped-up on sleeping pills, and in that chaotic situation, zeroed in on the patio door latch, before even hitting the landing? Page 30 of the Ward interrogation: “I looked around the stairs and i could see that the back door was unlocked.” He did not say he was walking around the house, but looking around the the stairs.

          Then later, to another detective – on page 53: “I remember I was going downstairs, kind of looking around the corner to — through the room and noticing that the lock on the door was (indiscernable) which means that it was not bolted.”

          Unless the architecture of the stairs changed significantly (and that’s possible), the angle to crane one’s neck around to see the back of the house, from half-way down the steps, as Ward stated he did , would’ve required a real balancing act. A better line of site would’ve been from the bottom of the staircase, but that puts him even further away from the patio door – almost the entire length of the house (in what may have been a dimly lit first floor, too).

          Take a look at this pic of the steps from an old virtual tour.

          • Alice on 05/05/2011 at 7:58 PM

            I find it very odd as well. It just doesn’t add up. Sure he may know exactly where to look at the lock, but from the looks of things he couldn’t from the stairs. It also seems like something one would think to do later, after the house has been secured.

            • susan on 05/05/2011 at 9:05 PM

              In his Anacostia interview he mentions two things: One, he looked over the bannister and could see “down the stairs.” But then he said when the “fire people” and others came as he was going downstairs he noticed the door was unlocked. So the looking over the bannister statement seems to be separate from when he said he saw the door unlocked.

              • susan on 05/05/2011 at 9:40 PM

                I should have finished reading before posting because I see D. Ward later mentions leaning over the stairs and seeing the door unlocked.

                Another thought-it’s odd that DW can’t be heard on the 911 call. I’d imagine hearing something like, “What the ___?” and “What happened” rather than…..nothing. At one point he says he goes down the hall to the room to see what’s going on, but he’s not heard exclaiming or asking any questions.

                • Alice on 05/06/2011 at 9:30 AM

                  I never thought of that. Doped up or not, one would think he would be in the back ground asking questions, unless he already knew the answers to those questions because he was there when Robert was stabbed.

                • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 11:31 AM

                  Well, an unkind person may say that Dyl was told by Culuket to shut up and to stay on the couch for some reason. In this line of thinking, Dyl’s reference to the back door may have been the result of quick coaching rather of enhanced perception.

          • Bea on 05/06/2011 at 3:28 PM

            Nobody leans over to take a gander when there is no stair rail. Doesn’t appear that there’s been a stair rail from the first floor up the the second floor in ANY of the photos/sales/virtual tours (anyone, correct me if I’m wrong). He’d have to have planted himself backward on his knees to assure himself he wouldn’t fall – and that would take more time that going down the rest of the stairs. Didn’t happen.

  16. Michael on 05/05/2011 at 8:46 AM

    The residents heard no footsteps because the intruder had no feet. I’m thinking his legs were amputated, so he had to shimmy around on his “knubs”.

    Someone alert the MPD that there is an amputee sneaking into houses and killing house guests.

    Thanks.

  17. Bruce 2011 on 05/05/2011 at 1:46 PM

    Chief Lanier-Quite the call-in show.

    As of today on WTOP, Chief Lanier said the Wone case is still very active and she will not classify the case as COLD.

    Lanier said she cannot speak concretely about the case, but, it’s far from cold and remains quite active.

    Cult? Everyone knows this site is a private party. But, after all you’re defending Mr. Wone’s honor no matter who is playing in this sandbox. So, I’m not too sure I would call this site a cult. Evidently, someone thinks it is. Go to WTOP, “As Heard on WTOP,” for the, “Ask the Chief,’ interview earlier today. He thinks it’s a cult. But, you got to admit, “CULT,” may not be appropriate but it’s pretty funny and accurate.

    The comment may also divert all the hype on the blog now regarding 1509 Swann Street and generate better discussion.

    ·

    • TT on 05/05/2011 at 2:40 PM

      Bruce 2011 you write, “So, I’m not too sure I would call this site a cult.”
      At the end of the same paragraph you write,
      “But, you got to admit, “CULT,” may not be appropriate but it’s pretty funny and accurate.”
      You make no sense, which is it? And you make no contribution for generating “better discussion” and in the process creating hype.

    • Clio on 05/05/2011 at 9:51 PM

      Yawn. The Chief has been saying that line for at least two years now, and Team Price has never appreciated the wit and wisdom displayed by the Editors and their fellow citizen-pundits. On the other hand, drinking the Kool-aid of the intruder theory, while denying all other evidence, smacks much more of Jonestown or Waco than anyone of us would care to admit. XO, Clio.

      • AnnaZed on 05/05/2011 at 10:06 PM

        Clio, oh all-seeing one, I have a memory of Joe himself calling his assertions that an intruder must have murdered Robert the intruder theory. Who talks like that about something that happened in their own home? I would be terrified and sputtering, “someone came into my house and killed my friend, help us(!),” not testing theories.

        • Clio on 05/07/2011 at 9:46 PM

          Perhaps, Joe, a frustrated social scientist, was merely conducting an experiment that night that went terribly wrong. His hypothesis, though, had been probably cooked up in advance to fit the apparent evidence, and not the other way around. He thus was no Margaret Mead or Max Weber: what were they teaching at W&M during the Nineties?

      • Rapt in MD on 05/06/2011 at 10:22 AM

        ZING!

  18. Lyn on 05/05/2011 at 5:57 PM

    Here are more photos from the current MLS listing:

    http://www.homevisit.com/tour/mrisTour.asp?id=45710

    Near the end of the photo gallery is a picture of the back of the house taken from the back patio. The rear porch light doesn’t look like it would have been visible from inside the house. I’m not sure how this support’s Joe’s assertion that he saw a bug on the light while inside chatting it up with Robert.

  19. susan on 05/05/2011 at 9:13 PM

    Just as an aside, reading that interview again, it mentions that DW went to get J’s robe. I wonder why he went to get J’s robe and not J himself. If J did, it would have left V and D alone with the police.

  20. Bea on 05/06/2011 at 3:36 PM

    These pictures do give a fresh take on the situation and the “story” given by the defendants. I wish the cops had asked about the lights and when they were turned on. Who goes down stairs to investigate any sound without turning on lights? Anyone descending the stairs would’ve seen Robert’s body (and as Eds. stated, any person hovering in the doorway, Dylan, would’ve seen Robert’s body) – and there’s the problem of the wooden steps making a LOT more sound than three grunts/moans/yells.

    Victor heard a LOT of strange sounds while he stayed away from Joe and Dylan’s S&M games during the year in that house. I wonder how he felt that night trying to decipher what was “too much” and what made him leave the safety of his separate marital floor. Seeing the pictures of his viewpoint coming down the stairs, I wonder if he began screaming then or did he need a bit of time to take in the totality of the scene. Or was Robert not yet in bed? The long suffering Mrs. likely turned up the TV volume for much of it – did he ever fall asleep? Or did he just wait until something sounded TOO wrong?

    • Clio on 05/06/2011 at 11:58 PM

      How could anyone play any games in that “sardine can”, Bea? I would feel claustrophobic just playing bridge there. That night, thus, Victor may have been angered by Joe and Dyl staying home to play, when they may have usually played elsewhere. I wonder how spacious Scott’s place was/is?

      • Bea on 05/07/2011 at 6:24 PM

        Well, I think they played MOSTLY when Victor was out of town (STILL don’t know when he was SUPPOSED to arrive home) since we know one of Scott’s tricks had spent the night with Joe & Dyl the night before he played with Scott.

        Victor must’ve heard many things even when there wasn’t a third. Spineless fool.

        • Clio on 05/07/2011 at 9:58 PM

          Interesting. So, in this version of history, Joe, Dyl, and Monsieur X slept together in Dyl’s room, when Ma’am was either not there or had turned a blind eye to this parliament of pleasure just downstairs. It is no wonder, then, that he/she was “afraid to go downstairs.”

          Did the encounters with Scott happen at 1509 Swann or at the Hixson residence across the way? How did Monsieur X relay his account to Scott: by carrier pigeon or by telegram?

          • Bill 2 on 05/07/2011 at 11:22 PM

            The photo that shows Ward’s bedroom beyond the family room gives the impression that it’s very small – almost claustrophobic — unless it’s the angle of the photo that makes it look that way. I can’t imagine three men playing games in there unless they were all vertical or moved all the furniture out to put in wall-to-wall mattresses.

            Maybe they entertained some of their guests in the family room. I don’t recall testimony from Hixson as to which room they used for their trysts.

            Perhaps in Zaborsky’s absence, they went up to the 3rd floor bedroom.

            • Bea on 05/08/2011 at 12:42 AM

              Must’ve been so nice for Victor if they “used” the marital bed. Let’s just hope they changed the sheets.

              • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 10:38 AM

                Here Dyl’s notorious penchant for cleaning may have come in handy: one can only recall what the soiled sheets of Bosie and Oscar at the Hotel Savoy caused!

              • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 10:53 AM

                Anytime Zaborsky was away while Sarah Morgan was in her basement home, it would make sense for them to use the bedroom on the third floor to cut back on the noise. When it comes to changing the sheets, that would be the action of someone who either has some regard for their spouse or someone who would feel guilty about using a marital bed for pleasure with others. IOW, I don’t think Victor Zaborsky could expect clean sheets when arriving home from a trip.

  21. susan on 05/08/2011 at 2:04 AM

    I’m not as certain as others are in theories of complicity, etc., of each of the “Swann 3″ but one thought that just occurred to me, based on testimony from that night is that there are three times when Dylan Ward goes off on his own. He is sort of the odd-man out in the house. In, but not quite in. “Family”–sort of. But not in Victor’s “we are family” card to JP. DW is the only one left out.

    The three times when DW goes off by himself: According to his testimony (maybe in the others’ testimony too?) he goes off by himself to sit on the couch in another room after coming upon VZ on the phone with the police and seeing R. Wone. Then he goes off into his room after the EMT and police arrive. And again, he goes off by himself to retrieve JP’s robe. What it means, if anything, who knows. Maybe, if he’s complicit in the crime, these are last minute checks re covering evidence. Maybe not.

    • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 10:37 AM

      Susan – when he went off to his bedroom, it was an opportunity to move the knife set to a more hidden location than having it out on a desk in plain view. I figure the knife set may have been something they forgot to send off when the camera equipment and the bloody towels departed the house.

      • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 10:50 AM

        Or, Mr. Ward set out to slip the Shakespeare article under the bed.

        Why couldn’t Joe get his own robe or answer his own door? And, why wouldn’t one just call a plumber if the house was such a lemon?

        What was Scott wearing that night, and did he happen to take a shower or a powder over at 1509 Swann just as Ma’am came back from Denver? What adjective would describe Scott’s dealings with Victor — polite, strained, or pathetic?

        • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 5:19 PM

          Clio, your last paragraph has me considering the possibility of Scott Hixson being over there a few hours before the murder. IIRC, Dylan Ward stayed in his room with the door closed when Victor Zaborsky arrived home. Supposedly, he was exercising and didn’t come out of the room or open the door. Wouldn’t it make more sense, with the house empty of people, to put an exercise mat (playmat) on the floor in the family room? That looks like it would have provided more space to exercise than a cramped bedroom. This makes me wonder if someone else was in the bedroom with Ward. Was Scott Hixson in there waiting for Zaborsky to go off searching for Price at the gym? I believe that Hixson testified that he was with Ward on more than one occasion. I wonder how many times Hixson may have trod the path from his front door to the nearby doorway at 1509 on August 2nd.

          • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 6:05 PM

            And, did Victor know of Scott’s encounters with both Dyl and/or Joe at the infamous Mercedes Conference? When that stuff came out at the trial, he must have been even more humiliated as a man and as a husband.

            If Scott was such a distant “relation” or occasional f-buddy, then why was he witnessing private marital moments between Culuket and Ma’am, like those that must have occurred in his own automobile?

            • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 6:29 PM

              It would be bad enough to be in a private situation when you learn about your two “partners” carrying on with a neighbor, but in this instance it comes out in front of Zaborsky’s parents, friends, and the media. The humiliation ends up in the newspapers and on the evening news. This is not just a public humiliation for Victor Zaborsky, it has got to be a humiliation for his parents, too.

              • Bill Orange on 05/08/2011 at 7:09 PM

                Again, I have to stress that I just don’t see Victor as any sort of unsuspecting victim here. There was obviously an arrangement between Victor and Joe by which Joe was allowed to have sex outside of the relationship. This went so far as having another sex partner living in the same house with them. Victor appears to have been irritated by the this, but it was hardly happening without his knowledge. And if you’re tolerating a live-in lover, it’s hard to imagine being bothered by an occasional fling with the neighbors.

                • susan on 05/08/2011 at 7:48 PM

                  It doesn’t seem as if Hixso was “just a neighbor” though. His friend Dee or Dee Dee, who has posted here before, has said how Hix told him/her (meaning Dee Dee) that he was just a casual friend of the trio. But from what’s been reported, he knew the fellas through another friend BEFORE they moved across the street from him, AND he was the person they called to pick them up early in the a.m. on 8/7 in Anacostia. Not just anyone will do that for a friend, let alone a “casual” friend. Then again, maybe he is just distancing himself from an ugly situation that he may have nothing to do with. But I’m sure he knows a lot about the life at 1509 Swann.

                  • cdindc on 05/08/2011 at 8:44 PM

                    Not to forget, he had sexual relations with both price AND ward.

                  • Gloria on 05/09/2011 at 12:58 AM

                    And not to forget that Hixson watched the hoopla of ambulance, stretcher and police cars from his bedroom window. I cannot imagine watching such a scene from a window rather than throwing on some clothes (hot night, to no overcoat, gloves, etc.) to get as close as possible to see what was going on. And ask my friends in that house what happened. I’d do that even for a neighbor acquaintance, much less than for a houseful of close friends. Doesn’t pass MY smell test.

                • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 8:30 PM

                  Maybe, Bill O, but, even with an arrangement, I could see Victor tolerating either the known quantity of Dyl OR a random, anonymous trick never to be seen again. But I could NOT see him tolerating a close neighbor or friend diddling his husband behind his back. Even a Stepford wife has her limits!

                  • Bill Orange on 05/08/2011 at 11:19 PM

                    Alas, dear Clio, Victor’s limits to not appear to have been reached yet.

                • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 9:02 PM

                  A private agreement with his partner to create a trouple is one thing but this whole thing exploded into the news. Then, further details beyond a trouple alliance came out in the court room with his parents and friends sitting right there. The next court case is going to delve into the sex practices of the trouple. Again, his parents will be sitting right there. Will that spineless creature ever wake up to realize the horror and sorrow he’s brought to the Wone family and to his own family with his silence? I wonder if he wished his mother a happy mother’s day today.

                  • Bill Orange on 05/08/2011 at 11:18 PM

                    I understand your point, but ask yourself this: What’s worse? (1) Tolerating a partner who’s sleeping with the neighbors, or (2) covering for someone who stabbed a man to death in your guest bedroom?

          • Bea on 05/08/2011 at 7:24 PM

            The “exercising in the room” thing never passed the smell test for me. Especially since Joe was “exercising” at the gym. Alas, only Victor was not exercising, only chasing the love of his life around town to find him . . .

            • Clio on 05/08/2011 at 8:24 PM

              One kettlebell swing in that broom closet of a bedroom would have taken out a wall! Was there any room to do even planks and push-ups? Perhaps, one could do crunches on a mat there, but Joe apparently went to the gym to do his circuit. Why wouldn’t Dyl follow suit?

              Finally, where could one set up a sling, if only in the marital bedroom upstairs? Were any strange wall or ceiling fastenings found?

  22. PeteMcLeanVa on 05/08/2011 at 2:24 PM

    Craig, what an incredible photo collection and your matching testimony with the layout. Come move to Fairfax County and run for Sheriff or District Attorney!!

    Did you look at the unfinished areas such as the furnace or water heater room? Was there unfinished space for storage?These “hidden” spaces, depending on their size, could have been the BDSM horrid nests. I use to hide my porn under the basement steps covered by heavy boxes of textbooks.

    Again, Thank you Craig and the posters for their insights.

    • Craig on 05/08/2011 at 9:50 PM

      Pete: I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected, but thanks for the kind words. And as always, thanks to all for the many smart contributions.

      We didn’t get a look at any of the mechanicals, but I assume they were in the basement. We should’ve gotten better pictures of Ward’s room too. No one exercized in there; it was the smallest room in the house. Then again, it all depends on what the definition of exercize is.

      And lastly, if I can shoehorn in just one more clickhe, Zaborsky made his bed, and now he has to sleep in it. Forever.

      • Bill 2 on 05/08/2011 at 10:39 PM

        Thanks, Craig, for that description of the back bedroom. It’s just one more thing that doesn’t match up with the tales told by the trouple.

      • i4Justice on 05/11/2011 at 10:30 AM

        Based on what I read some time ago, at least some of the mechanicals were in a closet in the front room in which RW was killed. Based on the pics, DW’s bedroom could not fit more than a bed, a couple of night stands, and a chest at the foot of the bed, and leave any room to even walk around the bed.

        • Craig on 05/11/2011 at 10:54 AM

          i4J: You may be right. A small closet in the guestroom may have housed the exchanger for one of the HVAC units.

        • Clio on 05/11/2011 at 9:55 PM

          Where then was Mr. Ward’s erotica collection housed? Could all of that stuff be stored in such a broom closet of a boudoir? And, why would one have such an extensive collection, if one did not use it often in one’s own room in part because of lack of space?

          • Bill 2 on 05/11/2011 at 10:14 PM

            There may have been hooks in the ceiling and walls of other rooms where he could be involved in BDSM happenings. They could have gone unnoticed by police. It’s not as if DC cops would be swift enough to notice ceiling hooks and eyes for use with BDSM equipment when their attention is focused on the important job of applying Ashley’s Reagent.

            • Clio on 05/12/2011 at 10:10 PM

              The storage was in Dyl’s room, but any play must have been carried on in the upstairs bedroom, without the participation of the angel of the house. Or, such play occurred outside of 1509 Swann, but where? Mr. Pring may know the answer.

  23. Bill 2 on 05/09/2011 at 11:27 AM

    Replying to Bill O where there’s more room.

    Of course, your #2 choice is the worst, however the information about #1 – carrying on with the neighbor was suddenly put out in front of the public. Up until the trial, the alleycatting could have been put in a DADT corner of Zaborsky’s mind. When those stories came out at the trial, one would think the public humiliation would hit him like never before. (Still that humiliation is nothing compared to covering for a murderer.) BUT, that humiliation should have caused him to rethink his reasons for covering up for people who only need him to water the plants.

    It’s hard to imagine what they could have told him that buys his silence. The public revelations about the men he lived with should have his family hammering him to reveal what really happened on August 2nd. Is he stupid enough to go down with the ship when he could grab a life preserver?

    • Craig on 05/09/2011 at 12:00 PM

      B2: That of course is in line with what many believe as Zaborsky being the least culpable of the three. Could the conventional wisdom be wrong? If as the defense team contends, the housemates are still the focus of the homicide investigation, maybe Zaborsky shares equal risk with Price and Ward?

      • Bill 2 on 05/09/2011 at 1:05 PM

        I don’t feel he would be sharing equal risk simply because he’s too much of a wuss to be involved in the actual stabbing. He’s willing to tolerate the infidelities of a partner and that’s a clear indication that he’s a very weak character.

        But then, there was the scream that we’re told came from Zaborsky. That alone separates him from the others.

        Today, I see his silence as a sign of weakness along with his stupidly thinking there’s a loving bond with his legal partner. The public humiliation at the trial should have awakened him but, if it did for a moment, he’s too much of a wuss to deal with reality. Anyone who covers up a murder deserves punishment, of course, but it’s not “equal” to someone who wielded the knife. Telling the truth, at this point, should lessen the punishment for someone who did not do the actual stabbing and it could bring justice to the person(s) responsible.

        • mw on 05/09/2011 at 1:16 PM

          I would hope, at this point, the district would be willing to offer immunity to any of the 3 who could bring admissable testimony/evidence that could sink the other two. But who knows if such a thing was ever even on the table. Nothing about the investigation/prosecution of this case has filled anyone with confidence about how they’ve handled it.

          • susan on 05/09/2011 at 7:50 PM

            Because of the news I’m reminded of the “real housewives of bin Laden” and VZ reminds me of the youngest wife in the compound who charged the Navy SEALs in defense of her shared spouse. I’d venture he’d be willing to take a bullet in the leg for JP, whether JP is seriously complicit in RW’s murder or not.

            • Clio on 05/11/2011 at 10:08 PM

              Susan, Ma’am may see himself as a martyr, a Christian or otherwise martyr, the real “victim” of the murder.

              “My life will never be the same again” — well, at least, you still have a life, sort of, sweetie.

          • Craig on 05/10/2011 at 9:53 AM

            There was a deal floated by the AUSA after the summer acquittal. You’ve got to wonder about the timing. Not sure which filing mentioned it, but one from a month or so ago, a P or D doc regarding the pas de trois on the cinquième.

            • Gloria on 05/10/2011 at 10:51 AM

              Translate, please. Both the French and the English (P or D).

              • Craig on 05/10/2011 at 5:42 PM

                Ooops! Paris still on the mind… P=Plaintiff and D=Defendant(s). Then a reference to the threesome’s dance around the 5th Amendment.

  24. boofoc on 05/09/2011 at 4:30 PM

    If the government were to ever come to the point of being able to indict dw and/or jp for murder and try them separately and force vz, as a unindicted witness (not co-conspirator), to testify, he would have difficulty using the 5th amendment before a jury. Even without a pretrial deal. There’s no statute of limitations on murder.
    Just an out-of-the-blue thought.

    • Bea on 05/09/2011 at 5:57 PM

      I like this boofoc – they need to start with indicting Dylan because he has no marital privilege to hide behind with respect to VZ. Perhaps then he’d roll too. Unless he wielded a knife, then it would be a no-go for the prosecution. Of course, if there was someone other than the defendants who did the killing it shouldn’t be that hard for VZ to tell what he knows. My guess, however, is that he’d sit in jail for contempt in his unwillingness to testify, thus validating that Joe does have something to hide, since it seems Victor will do ANYTHING to save his precious Joe.

      • Bill Orange on 05/10/2011 at 8:43 AM

        Hmmm. If I were the prosecutor, I would wait until the end of the civil trial, and then indict and try them sequentially. I’d hit Victor first, then Dylan, then Joe. A not guilty verdict basically eliminates 5th Amendment rights for that person, and they become a witness at the next trial.

        An alternative strategy would be to wait for discovery to end for the civil trial, and then charge Victor, which would presumably suspend the civil trial. If Victor is found not guilty, then the plaintiffs might get another crack at him in discovery. He could then invoke spousal privilege with respect to Joe but not with respect to Dylan, and there would be no 5th Amendment issues for him.

        • CDinDC on 05/10/2011 at 8:58 AM

          My first thought after reading your post, Bill O., was that 3 trials would cost a lot of money for the city.

          Here’s my question…..how do city finances effect criminal trials without slam-dunk evidence?

          • Bill Orange on 05/11/2011 at 6:43 PM

            Does anyone know the answer to this? I’m not clear on who’s footing the bill here, because of DC’s not-a-state status. Does DC actually pay for the trial, or is it paid for by the federal government?

          • Also from the Post story on 05/19/2011 at 12:05 PM

            Well this isn’t a shoplifting case; it’s a VERY high-profile murder that still has the public buzzing. A conviction would be a huge vindication for the embarrassed law-&-order forces at this point.

            • Clio on 05/20/2011 at 9:06 AM

              The general public and police have moved on, even if Chief Lanier keeps spouting the same boilerplate. It is unfortunately a truism that DC officials of whatever level are rarely embarrassed because they have no shame — just like our trouple, perhaps. “Every cop a criminal, every sinner a saint” may be true in that warped sense. Yes, Bill O., there will not be three trials because of limited funds, attention spans, and political pressures.

  25. boofoc on 05/10/2011 at 3:17 PM

    Totally agree, Bea; neglected to fatcor in the spousal thingie for jp and vz.
    Oh, of course I meant wait till after the civil trial concludes; expect a trove of evidence therefrom. Great analysis, Bill, except I’d not deprive Mrs. W for a minute of the information she deserves from the civil trial.
    I do hope the prosecutors are reading this; they obviously need help!

    • Bea on 05/10/2011 at 8:51 PM

      I agree they need to wait to see what, if anything, new falls out in the way of new evidence from the civil trial (and having the defendants cement stories/info except where they take the 5th). I really hope Covington is working with investigators about the extra curriculars of J & D as well as leaning on the Tom and John and Sarahs of the world.

      The only reason for them to wait for murder charges (aside, of course, if they really expect that someone else (not a ninja) is the killer) is to allow a bit of time for marital difficulties. I know it seems like there’s nothing that Victor won’t accept from his beloved (how low a bar is there?) but after the cars have been repossessed and the paychecks have been garnished, will Victor be able to live in such shame forever? It’s one thing to “get through this together” but it’s pretty clear that Dylan has moved on. Victor is more marketable than Joe in terms of keeping his basic salary level as before while Joe will be lucky to make half of his earlier income – and will Joe continue to blow cash on boys and party favors? Will there be an epiphany headed Victor’s way when he’s so fed up with Joe’s antics, his far less appealing lifestyle, and the no-end-in-sight life with murder charges just beyond the surface? I can only hope.

      • Bill Orange on 05/11/2011 at 6:40 PM

        The fifth amendment issues are obviously still pending, but I expect the judge to rule largely for the defendants on those. (I think everyone else involved thinks this way, too, because I can’t see any way that a federal prosecutor would drop in on last week’s scheduled status hearing–while the plaintiffs are arguing that the defendants aren’t at significant risk for criminal prosecution–unless this was already a foregone conclusion.) So once the fifth amendment issues are sorted out, is there really any reason for the prosecution to wait? Anything that’s going to “come out” at the civil trial should already be known to the plaintiffs as part of the discovery process, and I can’t imagine that they’re not sharing their info with the criminal team.

        My strategy would be to wait for discovery to end, then hit Victor with murder charges, and make sure that all of the S & M gear that was found in Victor’s house is featured prominently in the indictment. If he wants to argue that the S & M gear didn’t belong to him, but rather to his domestic partner’s live-in sex slave, who was an undocumented tenant in the house at the time, then he can waive his fifth amendment rights and make this claim to the jury. Otherwise, he can go to trial and take his chances.

        • Bea on 05/11/2011 at 7:08 PM

          We’ll be back to BARD on a murder charge so the civil case needs to finish and Victor needs to feel the pressure of losing his assets and having his wages garnished. Joe’s shiny charm may fade when Victor has to pay the load on the cheap apartment and Joe, in a discount suit, is still chasing lesser and lesser conquests. If Joe used to be Prince Charming, will he still be? Perhaps Joe can change his ways, but I think Victor used to dismiss a lot because Joe was “special” and golden and so misunderstood – will he continue to dismiss this?

          One would think he’d have said NO much earlier, and perhaps having all the sordid detail dragged out in the courtroom and the press for his family and friends to see sucked dry whatever spirit Victor had left. But they’ve been in Emergency Mode for a long time now, and once the civil trial is over may be the best time to make the move on Victor, particularly if there’s some good testimony from the inner circle that wasn’t available during the criminal trial.

          • Bill Orange on 05/11/2011 at 11:06 PM

            Ah, very good point. Better to wait until the civil trial is over. I would still hit Victor first, though. Think about how that would would work if there was a big judgement in the civil suit. Victor would obviously want to spend whatever’s left of “their” money on his own defense, whereas Joe would want to hoard as much as possible for his own upcoming indictment.

        • Gloria on 05/11/2011 at 9:07 PM

          Hmmm, good point about Kirschner’s visit. Might there have been criminal prosecutorial strategy for Glen K dropping in on the hearing? He’s very distinctive in looks (very imposing). Maybe he was sending a message to the judge and/or the defendants’ side. In fact, was that smart (or not so smart) strategy? I could argue either way. Maybe he was just in the courthouse and had some time to kill so decided to drop in. If it was a planned visit, he could have sent a less distinctive looking underling to gather info and report back. Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

          • Clio on 05/11/2011 at 10:14 PM

            As one may have gleaned from Lynn’s court room, Glenn is not the sharpest tool in the shed, though, despite his “distinctive,” if fading, good looks. So, my guess is that he had no alumni or awards ceremonies that day and needed to fill up his schedule.

  26. susan on 05/12/2011 at 12:32 AM

    Off the immediate topic, but was revisiting info. re Phelps Collins III and wondered about Jerry Clark, the guy he was reported to have been living with. Pretty odd combo.-the previously convicted P. Collins and the atty/trustee, L&G Task Force guy. Wonder if he ever socialized with the fellas at Swann. Also wonder how M. Price knew how to turn off the alarm when he entered his brother’s home to rob it.

    • Clio on 05/12/2011 at 10:05 PM

      Yes, Susan, why would a respectable “old troll” be dallying with a would-be designer with a record? Judgment does not seem to be an activist’s trait in the District. Perhaps, Phelps will do a tell-all memoir on Facebook about his encounters with the great and the gay: who else besides Mr. Clark enjoyed his embraces?

      Did Uncle Michael know the alarm code, thanks to Big Bro? Of course, didn’t he have a key as well?

      • susan on 05/13/2011 at 12:01 AM

        Yes, and I wonder if JC’s home was where the cat-torturing episode happened. And did Clark hang out at Swann? Other pals of Michael P’s seemed to be extended family of the Swann gang.

        • susan on 05/13/2011 at 1:47 AM

          Just read the crime report again and it looks like he wasn’t living with Clark. But there is no question that P. Collins III is seriously demented and disturbed. Wonder how close he was to Michael Price and how often he was in the Swann home. He really should have been locked up–in either a prison or a psych ward for his daily torture of those cats.

          • Clio on 05/13/2011 at 9:07 AM

            Well, we do know that Phelps was there at least once, probably hauling off a few of Dyl’s treatises on torture while traipsing with Uncle Michael up the narrow staircase. Did Phelps and Uncle Michael realize how their escapade would be covered in the local press?

  27. boofoc on 05/12/2011 at 7:31 AM

    Back on the immediate topic (’scuse me,Susan): The above posting by Clio, our in-house wordsmith, deserves comment. Picture this stupid old guy who used to be distinctively good looking, aimlessly wandering around the courthouse simply because he has nothing better to do. Recognize Kirschner from bygone days?

    • Craig on 05/12/2011 at 10:21 AM

      I can’t speak for Mr. Kirschner’s intentions on the drop by, but it appeared that the visit was just to say hi to the Wone family members.

      And completely unrelated, he’s still a striking gentleman with considerable bearing. And to be perfectly fair and balanced, so is Zaborsky’s criminal mouthpiece, Tommy Connolly. So much for my nominations for the ‘Men of Moultrie’ calendar.

      • Clio on 05/13/2011 at 9:01 AM

        And, don’t forget clean-up man and possible “power bottom,” Spag! Due to age and appearance, Judge Weisberg may not be included, however.

  28. boofoc on 05/12/2011 at 7:42 AM

    But, Gloria, I doubt that there was deliberate “criminal prosecutorial strategy” involved in Kirschner’s appearance in Judge R’s courtroom; not likely he was the only one who didn’t get the memo. Agreeing with Clio, he probably just misread his schedule.

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Purpose of this Site

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

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

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

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

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

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