Robert Wone

Robert Wone

Robert Eric Wone, was general counsel for Radio Free Asia, President-Elect of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association-DC, and general counsel to the Organization of Chinese Americans. He was born in New York City in 1974 to William and Aimee Won, the first of two sons. He was fourth-generation Chinese American, with family members living in Chinatown and neighboring areas. He attended a private, all-boys’ Catholic school, Xaverian High, in Brooklyn. During high school, the Organization of Chinese Americans-Long Island chapter printed an essay that he had written about being Asian American. That chapter also supported his participation in the Presidential Classroom program in Washington, D.C.

Wone attended the College of William and Mary as a Monroe Scholar and majored in Public Policy. He became active in student government, through which he met Joseph Price. Wone was also active in reviving the 13 Club, whose members went around campus doing anonymous good deeds, and was elected to the Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, and Golden Key honor societies. At his graduation in 1996, he received the college’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, presented to a student excelling in “characteristics of heart, mind and helpfulness to others.”

At the University of Pennsylvania law school, he was active in the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and published a law review article about racial harassment in the workplace. He received a NLF scholarship and was also senior editor of the law school’s journal on labor and employment law. After graduating cum laude in 1999, he passed the New York state bar and clerked for a year for Raymond A. Jackson, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virgina.

Wone joined Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. in 2000, as an associate focusing on employment law and commercial real estate. In 2002, he met his wife, Katherine Ellen Yu, the daughter of Jing Ja Yu and Myoung Joon Yu of Vernon Hills, Illinois, an attorney, at a conference in Philadelphia. After many weekend flights to Chicago, Wone proposed and the two were married the following year, in June 2003, with Judge Jackson officiating. In 2003, Wone was the lead associate attorney handling a lease at 1601 K Street, NW, named as one of three finalists for “Best Office Lease” by the Washington Business Journal. Wone also advised the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in its lease of new museum space in lower Manhattan.

Wone was active in various community organizations and too many activities to list. He served as a boardmember of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund, chair of the William and Mary Washington Council, member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Community and National Service and American Bar Association public education committee, and treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association-D.C (APABA-DC). He was in charge of organizing a judicial clerkship program for APABA, mentored law school students, and helped to draft the OCA’s personnel manual. He and his wife were members of Grace Community Church in Arlington, Virginia. Less than two weeks after his death, he was to have been ushered in as President at the APABA-DC installation dinner.

This bio is compiled from a Judy Tseng article on ModelMinority.com at
http://modelminority.com/article1086.html .

58 Responses to “ Robert Wone ”

  1. vincentchin on 03/29/2009 at 8:18 PM

    This is not the complete info on Wone. “SwannStObserver” offered in comments that “Robert was a fourth-generation American, didn’t even speak Chinese (much less Mandarin), was open-minded and had a diverse group of friends, and was supportive of gay rights”

    The fourth generation part can be found in the above article, but I can find no supporting evidence for not speaking chinese, nor for the statement that he was open-minded and supportive of gay rights. SwannStObserver may be someone with firsthand knowledge or have been a close friend (or enemy) of Wone.

    Whoever he is, he is convinced that race is “nothing to do with”, he refers to “Asian cuties” , “when it comes to sexual desire, attraction to physical traits is dangerous to debate.”
    and “Not a single hetero friend has said boo about the fact that Wone was Asian-American. It’s only coming from my gay friends” If this person knows the Mandarin language, it may explain the evident disdain for a Chinese that does not speak “his own language”. The mystery grows.

  2. CDinDC on 03/30/2009 at 9:08 AM

    Interesting post, Vincent.

    And SwannSt, just to make us all feel better that you aren’t one of the defendants interloping, where did you find the information that Robert Wone didn’t speak Chinese (or Mandarin)?

    I tried to find that information on the internet, but could not.

  3. Yang on 04/09/2009 at 4:15 AM

    Yes, please do point out your sources, SwannStObserver, as short of calling Mr. Wone’s parents and wife, I am unable to find this bit of remarkably intimate information about him.

  4. CDinDC on 04/22/2009 at 11:50 AM

    I find it interesting that SwannStObserver never came back after these posts.

    Are you out there SSO? If so, where did you get that information?

  5. Anonymous on 04/28/2009 at 8:11 PM

    Because SwannStObserver wasn’t the one with that info. It was me (I). I wish to remain anonymous. I have already replied to Arthur, aka “vincentchin,” in another thread. Use some logic here. Just because somebody happens to know a little more about Robert does not mean he is Dylan Ward or one of the accused. Many of the people checking out this site knew Robert or know someone who knew him. Robert had many friends and relatives who continue to miss him terribly.

  6. Anonymous on 05/01/2009 at 12:33 PM

    One more thing: I didn’t make the comment about dancing at a club with “Asian cuties” or race. You got a couple of different posters mixed up.

  7. Anon. in Arlington on 05/01/2009 at 12:56 PM

    I propose that this page of the blog be dedicated to Robert Wone and comments be solely for those who knew him and wish to convey memories and honors. This page is more of a dedication and perhaps an additional “101” for new visitors.

    • Craig on 05/01/2009 at 1:23 PM

      Good idea AinA. We’re exactly one month away from what would’ve been Robert’s 35th birthday. We’re also hoping to design and establish a permanent theories page as well. Again, better late than later. Thanks.
      -Craig

  8. CDinDC on 05/01/2009 at 3:17 PM

    Ed-Craig,

    It would be really useful, if somehow, the postings were searchable.

    So very often, I remember one of my fellow posters saying something, but I can never refer back to it. It would be great if we could type in a term or wording we remember and have posts that contain that information come up.

  9. Michael on 05/01/2009 at 4:02 PM

    The search box in the right margin will do keyword and tag/category searches on the published posts. Unfortunately, comments are not indexed by WordPress’ search engine. However, Google does index the published posts and comments. If the comment has been up for a few days, you should be able to retrieve it by using Google. I did a test, though, and the results are mixed. For example, your screen name CDnDC does not produce any results in Google associated with the web site. Yet, IKWDI, Kenspeckled, and others do show up in the Google search results associated with their comments.

    We will continue to research and see how we can optimize the site for search engines as a work around for the lack of comment searching within WordPress.

    – Michael, editor

    Update: I guess I should not do research when tired. I was searching CDnDC rather than CDinDC. Many of your comments are retrieved when your proper screen name is searched. LOL

  10. Sandra on 09/15/2009 at 12:43 AM

    My goodness, I’m in utter shock!!! Robert and I were classmates at St. Edmund’s Elementary School in Brooklyn NY. I haven’t seen him since graduating 8th grade, and just happened on this website through the school’s Facebook group page.
    My sincerest condolences to the Wong family, Robert’s wife and friends.
    I am not surprised that he was an attorney. He was such a bright boy; I guess we all knew he would do great things.

    So sorry for your lost.

    • CDinDC on 09/15/2009 at 12:26 PM

      Sandra,

      Do you have any nice stories or memories of Robert you could share with us?

      That would be a treat for us all.

      Something to sweet to mask the sour.

  11. Craig on 09/15/2009 at 10:41 AM

    Sandra – We’re sorry you had to hear about the loss of your friend this way.

    From what we’ve learned Robert did do great things. Unfortunately that promising life was cut short by a vicious, mad dog killer.

    The system has failed him so far; the police, the courts and in some instances the media. His ‘friends’ at 1509 Swann Street seemed to have failed him too.

    Please help us bring his killer or killers to justice, and whoever may have covered up this crime too.

    -Craig, editor

  12. Annik on 01/14/2010 at 4:06 PM

    Wow.

    I did not know Robert. I just read about him on Wikipedia. I am very sad to learn that someone who is so well-liked and has accomplished a lot in his short lifetime had to go through something so terrible like this. It makes me even sadder to know that there are people out there who would go to such great lengths to punish innocent people for no reason.

    I hope everyone who knew and loved him are able to find closure.

    • Doug on 01/14/2010 at 8:34 PM

      We hope for the same, Annik.
      -Doug, co-editor

  13. Delora on 02/18/2010 at 6:45 AM

    I saw the story on Gawker and can’t believe a murder of this viciousness, with the accomplishments of the victim and the purported murderers that this story has remained so… under reported. Add into that the sexual angle, how has this barely made a blip in the media? Is there something about the accused that makes prosecuting them for murder so difficult, cleaned murder scene, missing knife that would match the wounds, delay in calling the police, the glacial pace of the investigation and trial? Is possible that individuals in high political positions were involved with the people accused? All of this seems like it would have made national news long ago, which brings up a whole array of questions.

    At the end of the day, it’s about a man who thought his friends were his friends and instead were his attackers, a wife who lost a loved husband, parents who will suffer every single day for the rest of their lives, and the promise of the life Robert should have had and worked hard to get. 38 years does not seem like much time to serve for what was lost. This is just a true tragedy.

    Thank you for doing such an in depth job with the story, sadly it seems you may be the only thorough voice this story ever gets.

    • CDinDC on 02/18/2010 at 10:04 AM

      Delora says: “Add into that the sexual angle, how has this barely made a blip in the media?”

      The gay S&M sexual angle is probably what keeps it out of the media. A bit too salacious for the dinner time news.

      • Rangle on 09/30/2011 at 11:03 PM

        If time is money you’ve made me a waelihter woman.

  14. [...] downtown at the Moultrie Couthouse; the editors may also provide Twitter updates (@wonetrial). Wone was murdered on the evening of August 2, 2006, at a house on the 1500 block of Swann Street NW. He [...]

  15. Bluediamond on 05/14/2010 at 12:05 PM

    My condolences to the family. I saw the article on msnbc.com today and am in total shock. How could the investigation have ended up with nothing. Did anyone take a lie detector test. My niece was also murdered, in fact stabbed by her attacker. He is now serving a life sentence in a VA prison. The person who killed him is utterly depraved and a coward. I can’t imagine that person still walking around the streets.

    • MotherOfInvention on 05/14/2010 at 10:46 PM

      I’m sorry to hear about your niece.

      Dylan Ward took a polygraph, but we don’t know the result. The defense wanted it excluded, for what it’s worth.

  16. Patti on 05/15/2010 at 4:25 PM

    I read about Robert Wone last night (5/15) when I purchased The Washingtonian and I am in disbelief that someone could get away with his murder. My heart goes out to his wife, how she has lived through this hell is beyond my comprehension.

    It seems Robert was an amazing human being, touched many lives and had so much more to give. I hope the sorry excuse for a man or men that took his life pay for this horrible crime.

  17. makende on 05/17/2010 at 2:59 AM

    It’s sad he got killed like a dog. why? Was he really gay?

    • anon on 05/17/2010 at 12:05 PM

      Why would that matter? What a stupid thing to say

  18. Phillip on 05/17/2010 at 9:21 AM

    I have been following this story and it touched me as it is apparent Mr. Wone was a gracious individual who did not limit his friendships based on cultural or sexual preferences. He has a great smile and I am sure an enormous heart. He is truly an innocent victim. Whether he died at the hand of his so called friend Mr. Price it doesn’t matter his friend let him down in life and in death. Bless his family and God rest his soul.

  19. Edward Jenkins on 05/17/2010 at 12:09 PM

    Robert Wone was a victim of a sexual crime period. Why have the law authority taken their sweet time in solving this case. There are four suspects that are sexually kinky and gay. What a lost of life and mhy condolence to his family.

  20. MK on 05/18/2010 at 1:32 PM

    I did not know Mr. Robert Wone but wish I did. Has anyone considered contacting Nancy Grace. She has helped others.

    • Clio on 05/20/2010 at 9:07 AM

      I think that the former Lisa Goddard, in particular, has considered that intervention of Grace, but, for some strange reason unbeknownst to the general public, she has apparently decided not to follow through on this invitation. Surprising? Not exactly.

  21. A Friend on 05/18/2010 at 8:28 PM

    I want to thank the editors of this blog, and all the people who expressed caring for Robert, his family, the case and justice. Robert’s death was an unnatural rip in the universe. I felt grief beyond measure. Thank you for organizing such a central site of information and a forum for people to connect, and attending to it with professionalism. You’ve helped me heal. Best wishes to you all, A Friend.

  22. John on 05/19/2010 at 1:49 PM

    How could Joe have reported to Kathy that Robert was stabbed in the back? It was in the that the wounds were in the front of the body. Will this ever be addressed? Curious

    • whodoneit on 05/19/2010 at 3:47 PM

      The defense’s cross-examination suggested that she misheard “back” for “bed.” She insisted he said “back.” The defense explanation on this point seems plausible to me, but that plausibility does not extend beyond this particular point.

      • AnnaZed on 05/19/2010 at 6:20 PM

        It has also been suggested that what Joe was doing was mixing up his versions of events and telling Mrs. Wone the version that he had told responding officer Diane Durham; that he found Robert on the patio bleeding ~ thus “in the back” as in back of the house.

        Since Joe abandoned that version for the “we found him on the bed” version he can hardly say that that was what he meant at this point, but it seems the most plausible thing to me.

      • Miss Marple on 05/26/2010 at 6:16 AM

        it probably means he was stabbed in the back (figuratively) by people he thought were his friends. so sad.

  23. Kate on 05/20/2010 at 8:43 AM

    This is my first post to the site after having read the Washington Post story on Monday.

    Most importantly, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Wone family and hope that there will be justice for you and your wonderful Robert.

    I would also like to thank the Editors and their many contributors for the site. Extraordinary work.

    Finally, I have a simple question: I am uncertain as to the correct pronunciation of the Wone name. Broadcast media seem to choose between “W-one” as in Stone or “W-one” as in Gone. A simple matter, but it would be appropriate to know the correct pronunciation.

    • MRT on 07/16/2010 at 10:37 AM

      Rhymes with Schwann

  24. dcattorney on 05/21/2010 at 12:38 PM

    Robert and I started at Covington together on the same day. He immediately struck me as a kind person and very bright. He always had a great sense of humor as we would talk about our first year at a big firm. I wish I had kept in touch after I left rather than just the random encounter on the metro. But he always greeted me with a smile and a cheerful word. He was a great person, and all of this is just a horrible tragedy.

  25. Phillip on 05/21/2010 at 4:21 PM

    I know there is frustration about the police not solving this case. But the threshhold is high for a murder charge. The police can prove from statements all 3 were in the house. They can prove no one “broke” in, they can prove the evidence “blood etc” was tampered with (cleaned up) and changes in the suspects stories. The current charges are reasonable.

    Without physical evidence linking an individual(s) or an eye witness they have no chance of a conviction on murder. And the suspects know that! The prosecutors waited to bring charges in hopes one of the 3 would finally tell the truth-they put them under a tremenous amount of pressure-search warrants, questioning over and over, etc. This may be the only justice Mr. Wone and his family gets other than the civil damages.

  26. Linda on 06/27/2010 at 10:44 AM

    What seems to me to be totally lacking in the trial and police work is any explanation of the motivation for the killing. SOMEONE killed Robert Wone, obviously,and did so intentionally. But from all I’ve read, he seems an unlikely murder target. Who would have wanted to kill Robert Wone, and why?

    • Bob on 06/27/2010 at 1:25 PM

      That is why, as is being discussed in “Cauldron”, all scenarios are “crazy”. There is no rational motive for the murder, so that there must have been an irrational motive. As some detective was quoted, when there are no rational motives for a murder, irrational sexuality is sometimes an explanation.

  27. Joshi on 07/03/2010 at 2:03 AM

    Of course it was an irrational murder. Friends do irrational stuff when they are high. People here keep getting accused of making slanderous statements on this site about Joe Price’s drug and alcohol issues. All thru the nineties he was frequently passed out drunk and also a very heavy sniffer of white powders because he was seen at clubs doing that. He did like to date the Asian boys at the gay clubs around here. His brother is a drug dealer, very convenient for Joe, who is always making it sound like it’s his brother who has the problem and he has none. Since Joe was seen using in the nineties over many years it might make sense that his friends from the nineties indulged, too. Perhaps they were what is known as “weekend wariors” as they say in any 12 step program. It would be fascinating if somebody from one of these 12 step programs were to come out of the woodwork and start talking. Maybe the detectives should be hanging out at the gay men’s AA and drug addiction meeting house on P street near Dupont Circle.

    Robert Wone was a nice guy but perhaps he is bi. He looks very much like a guy I spoke with several times while hanging out at Secrets and La Cage occasionally in the late nineties. I can’t be sure. However, I remember his car because he gave me a ride home. I wonder if there is a way to find out what kind of car he had then?

    Maybe one of Joe’s housemates got jealous while high. Ecstasy or meth don’t leave much in terms of traces. It’s odd that two of the housemates said they took sleeping pills that night in the court documents. That’s a convenient way of covering up the drugs I mentioned. That’s a very handy way of coming down from them in a quick fashion because, otherwise, their hearts would have been racing and they would have been perspiring more than usual. They would get a normal heartbeat fast but would not have fallen asleep from the sleeping pills due to both drugs counteracting each other.

    • Clio on 07/03/2010 at 10:05 AM

      Your last paragraph about sleeping pills does make a lot of sense to this non-expert on drugs, but why didn’t Mr. Price also take a Lunesta and/or Ambien that evening if he wanted to hide something else?

      So, if the nineties for Culuket were especially decadent and that’s a big if, then Victor must have been a grounding and calming influence on Joe. Dyl then may have counteracted that influence, and we had 08/02/06. This dialectical view of relationships and drugs is interesting and somewhat clear, but it obviously needs more documentation.

      I cannot see Robert hanging out at Secrets or La Cage (part of the infamous and late O street “strip”) in the late 1990s — didn’t he leave DC and Virginia for Philadelphia for most of that era anyway?

      P.S. I love your gravatar (symbolic picture accompanying your post)!

      • Anonymous on 07/03/2010 at 3:44 PM

        AFAIK, Robert didn’t move to DC until fall 2000, although he spent a couple of summers during college and law school interning in DC. However, Robert was the most unlikely person to be partying at Secrets, La Cage, or any gay or hetero club. He was like a goody-two-shoes, not a drinker or partier by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Joshi on 07/18/2010 at 12:46 AM

        Sorry I haven’t replied in a long time. I would speculate that since Joe was not on the sleeping pills to cover the other drugs being used, like his two partners, then one of his partners did the murder and Joe organized the coverup to protect his relationships. There will never be a motive because people that high don’t have one. It’s just random bad luck. All three of them are pretty rotten scoundrels.

        • Clio on 07/18/2010 at 9:41 AM

          Yes, thus, that irrationality, brought on by drug use, was not enough/was incomprehensible for the uber-rational Judge Lynn, whose overmeticulousness toward “reasonable doubt” could not even consider irrational causation. And, of course, the gambler Bernie Grimm may have sensed this “opening” long before his embarrassing client ever did. (Why did Detective Folts indirectly suggest Bernie’s name to Joe that night in the ride to Anacostia — talk about official coddling of a “witness”!)

          To me, Joe probably organized the cover-up to cover his own Speedo-clad rear end: given what we know about him and his personality, everything in this case was/is about him and about protecting his interests.

  28. susan on 09/07/2010 at 10:37 PM

    “Robert would put change into expired parking meters as he walked down the street. When funds ran out for campus beautification, he bought sod for the quad.”

    Just read that again in the H. Jaffe article from the Washingtonian. I hope his parents and wife realize that many people who never met Robert Wone realize what a great human being he was and what a great spirit and inspiration he will eternally be.

  29. Jim McGrath on 08/19/2011 at 10:11 AM

    Were any of Robert’s tissues saved from the autopsy and frozen? I’m at a loss as to why there was no further investigation into the drug or drugs that may have incapacitated him.

    • Nelly on 08/19/2011 at 2:20 PM

      I have not heard anything about tissues being frozen, but the standard tests run during the autopsy do not test for every single illicit drug that may have been administered to Robert Wone to incapacitate him. From what I’ve read, some substances (such as GHB) don’t linger in the blood system for long. Others probably have more knowledge on this issue.

  30. Jim McGrath on 08/19/2011 at 3:13 PM

    It would be good to know what if any of his tissues or autopsy samples remain regardless. Forensic evidence may be part of the solution. Much of the evidence is circumstantial and supposition leaving room for reasonable doubt. Obviously they are guilty but to what degree and whose actions did what and when is the only hope of conviction for murder.

    • AnnaZed on 08/19/2011 at 3:34 PM

      I don’t recall any record of there having been used tissues at all left at the murder scene by anyone. Where is this indicated?

      (sorry if I am forgetting some glaring thing)

  31. Jim McGrath on 08/19/2011 at 6:44 PM

    Tissue like skin cells and organ samples…not Kleenex dear.

    • AnnaZed on 08/19/2011 at 7:07 PM

      Well … yes, obviously, … [sorry, senior moment or something], thanks.

  32. Jim McGrath on 08/20/2011 at 6:51 AM

    Happens to the best of us…now where’s my glasses?

  33. Jim McGrath on 08/20/2011 at 6:54 AM

    Has the national investigative media been feed this story? 60 minutes, 20/20, Unsolved Mysteries? All of their staff’s have been reduced but still it’s a fascinating story. Very sad but continued attention will keep the pressure on the perps.

    • AnnaZed on 08/20/2011 at 11:03 AM

      Hi Jim, I’m glad to hear a new voice joining the conversation. I fear that you may be languishing here on an old post page. I get an RSS feed of every post on every page (because I am a tad zealous) but most posters might not notice your questions here. Go to the home page then enter you comment or question under the most current post. That’s where the ongoing conversation about the case is usually being advanced (or bickered about) and I think that this question could use an airing.

  34. Jim McGrath on 08/20/2011 at 7:10 AM

    I just finished reading the Op-Ed from this blogs Editors and learned that only Three Cubic Centimeters of untainted blood from Robert Wone remain. I was unaware of the hugely bungled investigation and the haphazard treatment of the crime scene. So unless one of the suspects breaks ranks justice for Robert Wone may never occur.

  35. Phillip on 08/20/2011 at 11:26 AM

    They did a complete blood screen for toxins, barbituates, drugs and alcohol during the autopsy.(this is normal protocol for unexplained deaths, murders or suicides) The investigation was not flawed, they noted no forced entry, whether the alarm was on or off. The perps had time to “clean” the crime scene, make up a story & vow to stick with it. One of the perps actually “washed” the body. It was a difficult case to prove who actually murdered Robert, the government gave it there best shot charging them with other charges tampering with evidence etc……

  36. sam on 08/29/2012 at 6:53 PM

    Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all vital infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .

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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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