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Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 06/29/2010

Not guilty verdicts in Wone case

By Washington Post editors

A judge has found the three men charged with conspiracy in the Robert Wone slaying not guilty on all counts.

Prosecutors had accused Joseph R. Price, 39, Victor J. Zaborsky, 44, and Dylan M. Ward, 39, of covering up the slaying of Wone in their Northwest Washington home.

Each was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. More than halfway through the 4½-week trial, Judge Lynn Leibovitz ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove Zaborsky and Ward tampered with evidence and acquitted the two men on that lesser charge.

The three faced a maximum of more than 30 years in prison.

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

Attorneys for Price, Ward and Zaborsky, who were arrested in 2008 and later released on their own recognizance, say they were unfairly targeted because they are gay. The men are in a committed romantic relationship.

Wone's family has filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the housemates.

Stay with postlocal.com for more details.

By Washington Post editors  | June 29, 2010; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC  
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Comments

Yay! I think justice was well served today.
I totally agree with the verdict.
the police zeroed in on the housemates from the begining and I dont think they did a decent investigation at all.

My theory is that Wone had arranged to meet someone there and that person killed him.

I don't think the housemates had anything to do with his killing nor was there any kind of conspiracy on their part.
they talked to the police for hours and cooperated as much as anyone could be expected.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 29, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

They may have not proved their case, but that doesn't mean those men are innocent. I don't agree with the verdict at all, they are just as responsible for that man's death. They know things and have not been forthcoming since day one. They are lucky because they sure all got away with murder.

Posted by: love2much SE | June 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

This case has cost taxpayers $100's of millions of dollars and for four years MPD has neglected to solve 300 unsolved murders since this one because of their obcession with it.

Even if someone is not a friend of the Attorney General or a rich suburbanite, their murders matter too.

Posted by: tomdc1 | June 29, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Marilyn, your theory is wrong. Why would he have gone to bed and put his nightguard in if he was expecting someone?

I'm disappointed in this verdict. I do think it was the correct verdict. Based on what I read I don't think the DA proved the case which is a shame.

I can only hope that Mrs. Wone has better results with the civil trial.

Posted by: at0165 | June 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Price, Ward and Zaborskysay they were unfairly targeted because they are gay. The men are in a committed romantic relationship"

The THREE of them are in a committed romantic relationship? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???

Posted by: JERRYB1 | June 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Attorneys for Price, Ward and Zaborsky, who were arrested in 2008 and later released on their own recognizance, say they were unfairly targeted because they are gay."

I don't know whether they're guilty or not, but I have to laugh at the notion that they were "targeted because they're gay." Are they serious? DC has two openly-gay council members, the three men live in the gayest part of town and there's frickin' gay MARRIAGE in DC. I don't think you could get any more gay-friendly than that.

"The men are in a committed romantic relationship."
Hmm, exactly HOW is a threesome "committed"? I guess Hugh Hefner's "committed" to his multiple girlfriends, too, LOL.

Posted by: linguist64 | June 29, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This verdict smells to the rafters and I hope the Wone family receives every penny of their $20million lawsuit.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | June 29, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

love2much they might be guilty of even more than they were charged for, but I am delighted with the verdict, because as you and other posters point out, the prosecution didn't prove they did it. That principle is far more important than a single trial. I've seen cases where people were sentenced to death, and life in prison where there was less evidence that this, and whether or not they were guilty wasn't the point, the point is the state didn't prove they were guilty, but rather convinced a jury of their guilt. I'm thinking in particular of Jay Lents and Michael Skakel. No one should be convicted if their guilt has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you or I are accused of a crime, we certainly wouldn't want to be convicted on a lesser standard or burden of proof. This is a victory for the law of the land, and for justice being served as it was intended to be.

Posted by: red2million | June 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

When the defendants asked for a Bench Trial they knew they were going to win, this is no surprise.....

The Civil Trial will most likely be non-suited or dropped, no deep pockets, no recovery....Tort claims and money judgments are dis-chargeable in BR....I fail to see a firm going to the expense of a trial when there will not be a payday....

Posted by: nvalwyer | June 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I am GUTTED by this decision. Talk about getting away with murder. How anyone can possibly believe he was killed by an intruder is beyond me. An intruder who had to climb though a window at the back of the house on the 2nd story. Oh and the fact that Robert Wone's own semen was found in his own rectum is more than suspicious. This is a travesty. I feel so bad for the Wone family.

Posted by: claudiahowardfha | June 29, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

They covered up the murder of Robert Wone- period.

Posted by: claudiahowardfha | June 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

How Disappointing!!!!! First of all Price requested this judge immediately after Wone's death and she was sure to rush the trial right along as she did. The nit wits that arrived at the crime scene should have never treated them unfairly which caused all of the valuable evidence to become inadmissable especially the sadomachistic device found at the scene.... MY GOODNESS!!! Well Price I see you got what you paid for. BRAVO! It's just such a shame that during the only night a guest stays over your house HE is the murder victim and not the morons staying there. BIZZAR....

Posted by: wonderingwhy | June 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think these guys are guilty of the charges and maybe even additional charges. However I can understand the verdict because the government did not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

I think the DC police totally botched this case and I am not surprised about that at all.

Posted by: larrydrakeford | June 29, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

claudia, you might not agree with the verdict, but if the defendants' story had been beings from planet zebulon 54 arrived with an anal probe and we ran from the room and when we came back he was dead, they don't have to prove it's true. The government has to prove it isn't, and that they did what they were acccused of. I'd rather see someone get away with murder than Americans convicted of criminal offenses on a standard of less than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It seems most here would prefer to see people convicted upon the appearance of some kind of complicity. I sure hope if I'm ever charged with a crime none of you people are on the jury. quite prudent of the defendants not to take that chance and to let someone who understands that basic principle of innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Posted by: red2million | June 29, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If the HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTS in DC would only make gay "marriage" available to committed threesomes, this never would have happened!

Posted by: JERRYB1 | June 29, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

why we dont see all of you crying in the streets and on television? And saying how ignorant this judge is as you did with the jury in the OJ Simpson trial? lol...you hypocrites always try and play innocent! Congrats crims - you got away with murder...welcome to DC Justice.

Posted by: DCYoungin | June 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

DCYoungin- uh maybe because the verdict just came in less than an hour ago

Posted by: claudiahowardfha | June 29, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad day for the family of Robert Wone. IMO, There is no way that these three do not know what happened that night.

Posted by: hugmekatie | June 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

If you idiots would research the case, you would see that Price and Zaborsky were in a domestic partnership and Ward was just a fellow roommate.

Posted by: thomasAlex | June 29, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Oh and the fact that Robert Wone's own semen was found in his own rectum is more than suspicious. "

Sounds like Wone wasn't too Straight huh??? Why would he had agreed to stay the night in a house with 3 Gay guys anyways??? Sounds like a closeted homo to me!

Posted by: thomasAlex | June 29, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Robert Wone was a very kind, gentle, funny, smart man. I worked with him for years. It is a shame we are no closer to knowing what happened to him that night. I feel very sorry for his family. His death is a very sad thing.

Posted by: TrixiesMOM | June 29, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Um, thomasAlex, you might want to do your research. It's part of the legal record that two of the housemates are in long-term relationships with the third, and it's nothing but speculation, not borne out by any emails or anyone coming forward over the last four years, that the victim, Robert Wone, was anything but straight.

Generally, it's not supposed to be scary to spend the night at the house of people you've known for 15 years, regardless of their sexuality.

Posted by: dclioness1 | June 29, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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