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Defense rests in Robert Wone trial

Washington Post Editors

The defense attorneys in the Robert Wone conspiracy trial rested their case Wednesday.

Defense attorneys took five days and called seven witnesses to defend the three housemates charged with covering up the August 2006 fatal stabbing of Wone after he spent the night at the men's house at 1509 Swann Street NW. Wone, who was general counsel for Radio Free Asia, went there after working late.

The prosecution intends to call a rebuttal witness Wednesday afternoon. Both sides are scheduled to give their closing arguments before Judge Lynn Leibovitz Thursday.

Leibovitz instructed each of the three lead defense attorneys to keep their individual closings to an hour.

The judge also instructed the lead prosecutor, Assistant U.S Attorney for the District Glenn Kirschner, to keep his closing and rebuttal argument to no more than 75 minutes.

Although no one has been charged with Wone's murder, the trial, which has now lasted 21 days, often resembled a murder trial.

Prosecutors have charged housemates Joseph R. Price, 39, Victor J. Zaborsky, 44, and Dylan M. Ward, 40, with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with Wone's slaying.

At Wednesday's proceedings, all three men told Leibovitz they chose not to testify.

-- Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 23, 2010; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Keith L. Alexander , The District  
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Comments

Robert Wone was murdered shortly after I arrived in DC, and this trial began shortly after I left.

From the beginning, the 3 defendants came across as 100% guilty, but now that the trial is over I feel like both the prosecution and defense have helped change my mind about what happened.

Going in I believed:
* Ward was the murderer/Price and Zaborsky were accomplices
* Wone was sexually assaulted

Now I believe:
* Michael Price was the murderer
* Wone was not sexually assaulted
* Joe Price encouraged the other two men to not implicate his brother
* Zaborsky is 100% innocent of all charges * Ward isn't quite as demented as I originally thought, but he's probably guilty of obstruction
* Price is clearly guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy

In the end, I hope Robert and his family get the justice they deserve. Unfortunately, that won't happen unless Joe AND Michael Price are held accountable. Not one, not the other, but BOTH.

Posted by: alc0f7 | June 23, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Robert Wone was murdered shortly after I arrived in DC, and this trial began shortly after I left.

From the beginning, the 3 defendants came across as 100% guilty, but now that the trial is over I feel like both the prosecution and defense have helped change my mind about what happened.

Going in I believed:
* Ward was the murderer/Price and Zaborsky were accomplices
* Wone was sexually assaulted

Now I believe:
* Michael Price was the murderer
* Wone was not sexually assaulted
* Joe Price encouraged the other two men to not implicate his brother
* Zaborsky is 100% innocent of all charges * Ward isn't quite as demented as I originally thought, but he's probably guilty of obstruction
* Price is clearly guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy

In the end, I hope Robert and his family get the justice they deserve. Unfortunately, that won't happen unless Joe AND Michael Price are held accountable. Not one, not the other, but BOTH.

Posted by: alc0f7 | June 23, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I think the defense did a good job at proving the possibilty that the events happened as the men who lived there claimed and disproving most of the prosecutors assertions.

The defense showed how easy it would be to hop over the backyard fence.
they had an expert testify that those wounds wouldn't nessarily be very bloody.

The prosecutor failed to prove any blood was cleaned up or murder weapons cleaned and wiped of prints.

Not only does there not seem to be any proof of any kind of conspiracy to cover anything up, I think the prosecutions theory that the brother did it came across to me as a last ditch attempt that also failed.

As for the brother; being a thief/drug addict doesn't automatically make someone a murderer, nor would it be a motive to kill.
The prosecution has continuely made the point that it didn't look like a robbery to them, when robbery would of been a motive for the brother to do it.
The prosecution can't have it both ways.

All in all, both sides presented their theories with little in the way of physical evidence.
Without that evidence, I don't see how any of them can be convicted of anything.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 23, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The EKG in the ambulance showed Wone was killed just minutes before the 911 call. Case closed, acquit.

Posted by: tomdc1 | June 23, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Marilyn is correct that the prosecution's belated attempt to attribute the murder to the brother doesn't wash, after they had taken great pains to say he was irrelevant and to exclude robbery/burglary as the motive.

What seems more likely is that Wone and the other three engaged in consensual sexual activity with some kinky and dangerous toys, something went wrong, Wone ended up dead, and a "murder" was concocted so that the death could be attributed to an unknown outsider.

The evidence that Wone failed to fight his attacker is overwhelming, indicating he was already dead or incapacitated. There is no conceivable reason the brother would have stabbed a dead or incapacitated man and then fail to take anything.

Nor is there any reason to assume Wone was sexually assaulted. Yes he was married, but he wouldn't be the first married guy to explore playing for the other team. The story that he went to stay at the Corcoran St house because Oakton (a 30 min. drive) was too far away was never convincing.

But it is increasingly looking like we will never know exactly what happened unless one of the three men, for whatever reason, decides to speak.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 23, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. There is no way that this murder could have happened under those circumstances in that house without a single person noticing. Those three ghouls are clearly hiding something.

I suggest any and all defenders of the "trouple" check out the whomurderedrobertwone.com site for comprehensive coverage of this case.

Posted by: mz2010 | June 23, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know what the 7 witnesses said to support the defendants. Were they there? Did they get telephone calls or emails? What did they witness other than mother saying something about the knife belonging to a set and traveling back to DC to complete a set. But maybe there was more than one set of knives? Still not sure about the "evidence" that supports the notion that the 3-some did not tamper with the crime scene.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | June 23, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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