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Wone verdict expected Tuesday

The judge overseeing the Robert Wone conspiracy trial is scheduled to announce her verdict on Tuesday, deciding the fate of the three men prosecutors said covered up Wone's 2006 slaying at their home in Northwest Washington.

Joseph R. Price, 39, Victor J. Zaborsky, 44, and Dylan M. Ward, 39, each were charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. More than halfway through the 4.5 week trial, Judge Lynn Leibovitz ruled that prosecutors failed to prove Zaborsky and Ward tampered with evidence and acquitted the two men on that lesser charge.

Still, all three men face a maximum of more than 30 years in prison. Leibovitz began reviewing the evidence following closing arguments Thursday.

Leibovitz, a former prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District, is the sole arbiter because the defense requested that the judge, and not a jury, hear the trial. Prosecutors did not object to the defense’s request.

Wone, 32, was stabbed three times in the chest on the evening of Aug. 2, 2006, after he asked to stay at Price’s lavish town home at 1509 Swann St. NW near Dupont Circle. No one has been arrested in his slaying.

The Wone conspiracy trial has captured the attention of many in the District and across the nation. Web sites have emerged about the crime. It is a horrific case with captivating elements: murder, money, class and sex.

Price, Ward and Zaborsky, who were arrested in 2008 and later released on their own recognizance, say they are in a committed romantic relationship. Prosecutors say the men refer to themselves as a “family” and based on that relationship, were willing to cover for each other or the actual killer. Attorneys for the men say their clients were unfairly targeted because they are gay. Police failed to fully investigate what the defense has called a home invasion and murder, the lawyers say.

Wone’s widow along with his parents, brother and other family attended much of the trial. The Wone family has filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the housemates.

By Washington Post editors  |  June 29, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , The District , Unsolved  
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