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Defense in Wone case passes on a jury trial

Washington Post editors

UPDATE: The team defending the three men charged with conspiracy in the fatal stabbing of Robert Wone waived their right to a jury trial on Wednesday and requested that their case be heard by a judge.

ORIGINAL POST: Defense attorneys representing the three men charged with conspiracy in the fatal stabbing of Washington attorney Robert Wone asked a D.C. Superior Court judge on Wednesday to delay jury selection in the case because they are considering having the trial heard by the judge instead of a jury.

Attorneys Bernie Grimm and David Schertler told Judge Lynn Leibovitz that they were concerned about picking a jury after the intense media coverage of the case.

Grimm and Schertler, and a team of other lawyers represent Joseph R. Price, 39, Victor J. Zaborsky, 44, and Dylan M. Ward, 39. The three men were arrested in 2008 and charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence after Wone’s body was found in their Dupont Circle townhouse on the night of Aug. 2, 2006.

They each face a maximum of 38 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors are convinced that Wone was sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed after he was physically restrained by either a paralyzing drug or devices similar to those used in sadomasochistic sex. Such a device later was found in the house by police and listed in an affidavit filed in court.

After Schertler said it was a “very strong possibility” that they would prefer the bench trial, Leibovitz ordered her courtroom clerk to call the jury office in the courthouse and instructed officials there not to gather a jury pool.

The defense attorneys said they wanted more time to further discuss having a bench trial over a jury trial. Leibovitz is scheduled to hear their request Monday afternoon.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

-- Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post editors  |  May 12, 2010; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Keith L. Alexander , The District  
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These three freaks should have been behind bars a long time ago when this crime first occured. It is a shame how the Gov't say that blacks are the leading cases of AIDS in DC and gay white men are engaging in this kind of activity three on one with toys, drugs, bondage, and using no kind of protection during intercourse. You will not find this kind of foolishness in the black community. The white community should be studied and profiled if this is what they are in to this is sick ILL!

Posted by: Lamcanady | May 12, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

First of all in response to the last post. How do you know they did not use protection? Where you there?

Second to the Washington Post. You should get your facts straight. Just because it is in an avadavit does not make it so. The Prosecutors have already stated that there was no evidence of paralytic drug or that he was sexually assualted or restrained. Those accusations proved to be false and they are not being admitted into evidence at trial. The Government also said that they "cleaned" the crime scence but they have now reversed themselves and said there is not evidence of this. Maybe if the Post would do their homework and catch up on the actual facts of the case there would not be a need for a bench trial.

Posted by: markbright954 | May 12, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If the police had've found 3 black men in a house with one dead black man and it took that long to call them they whould have already been, tried convicted and serving their time in the Feds already. This case is open and shut. Yes, they killed him, why we will never know. Intruder my a**!

Posted by: kdukes1 | May 12, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@ Lamcanady - sorry bigot, but blacks in DC are by far the leading cases of HIV/AIDS.

Posted by: wjfreeman1 | May 12, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It's easier to pay off a judge than a jury.

Posted by: kinkysr | May 12, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

For a great blog on this case...

Posted by: corgivet | May 12, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: corgivet | May 12, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

wow. seems like a risky strategy...

Posted by: slim4 | May 12, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The moral of the story, sleep in your own house. For those who you think are your friends, just see this a good example.

Posted by: drkly | May 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Lamcanady...what an idiot!

Th HIV rate and birth rate for the black community in DC is so HIGH b/c they fail to use protection. Give me a break...this has nothing to do with race.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | May 12, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

these creeps know no jury of their peers would ever believe their stories. A judge may be their best shot. Hopefully the Judge sees their lies as they are and their cover up just as bad as the crime itself. I say 25 years to life will do for all three goons.

Posted by: espnfan | May 12, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

What a sick and sad case! I send my prayers out to Ms. Wong and his family!

Posted by: stoneyuptwn | May 12, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, a virus and unsafe behavior causes HIV/AIDS, not a race of people. Hello, it's 2010! Thanks.

Posted by: jeffcoud2 | May 12, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyone read "Murder on the Orient Express"? A very interesting plot about a murderer who escaped justice through money and influence. A very novel solution was worked out in Agatha Christie's plot. Nothing to do with this case of course, but interesting reading all the same...

Posted by: gregphillyburbs | May 15, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

This case is an example of law enforcement incompetance, the power of one man and his two polygamous partners to use money and influence to thwart justice and the stench of the lowest orders of the gay community, where the most perverse and obscene sexual practices become predatory and result in a gruesome murder. Justice delayed is justice denied, another reminder that the District is a place without justice and where any crime can be committed and if you are rich and powerful enough, with impunity. Dante's circle of hell is reserved for these three doomed souls.

Posted by: gregphillyburbs | May 15, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

can the judge be rolled? we shall find out.

Posted by: gregphillyburbs | May 15, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

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