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Who Murdered Robert Wone?

Washington DC is talking about the first day of the trial of the murder of Robert Wone. If you haven't heard about this case, please check out the wiki page at:


On August 2, 2006, Robert Wone - a 32 year old lawyer for "Radio Free Asia" - was working late at 10:30 pm and decided not to go home. Instead, he called his wife Kathy, and told her that he was going to crash at the Dupont Circle home of his William & Mary college buddy Joe Price. That night, Price and his renter Dylan Ward were drinking water in the kitchen, while Price's gay partner, Victor Zaborsky was alone in his bedroom watching "Project Runway". Price and Ward welcome Wone, showed him to a spare bedroom, and everyone went to bed for the night. Around 11 pm, Price and Zaborsky said they heard the beep of the security system from the back door. A few minutes later, they heard a low scream, and then another. When they got to the second-floor bedroom, they found Wone in bed, stabbed to death.

Certain details of the murder are odd. The paramedics found almost no blood in the room, as if Wone's corpse had been showered and all evidence cleaned up. The bloody knife by the bedside table was too small to cause the stab wounds in the body, and fibers were wiped on the blade to make it appear as if it was the murder weapon. Instead, a knife fitting the description was missing from a cutlery set that Dylan ward kept in his rented downstairs apartment. It was soon revealed that the Dylan Ward was not just a renter, but was an S&M Top who was the third in a "thruple" relationship with Price and his partner. Price initially lied about finding Wone's body by the patio door, then changed his story to has they found him in bed. Price (a lawyer), his partner (a marketing executive for the "Got Milk" campaign), and Dylan Ward have all stuck to their story and have not provided any details on the night's events over the last three years.

Pardon me for being morbid, but I wanted to post about the murder. I am interested in this case, not so much for the "CSI: DC" details, but because it's gotten me thinking about gay life in the 2010s, and how the media sensationalizes BDSM. Check out this webpage describing the S&M toys found in Dylan Ward's room:


The prosecution's current theory is that Price and Dylan Ward gave Wone a paralytic drug that knocked him out. That explains why there were no defensive wounds on Wone's body, commonly found with knife attacks. Price and Dylan Ward stuck an electro-ejaculator in Wone's ass, and smothered him with a pillow. Then, they stabbed him to death three times. One theory is that Price and Ward thought Wone was dead when he was just unconscious, and they stabbed him to cover up the accident during sex play.

Could any of this be true? Here are some of my thoughts:

Was Robert Wone gay? Wone's wife says he wasn't. The DC detective said Wone was "straight as the day is long". However, to me, the "working late" story sounds false. Wone lived in Oakton, a DC suburb just 18 minutes away. I can't think of anybody who would crash at a friend's house when he could be at home by midnight in his own bed with his wife. One internet blogger insists that in this modern age, surely a straight man could stay as his gay friend's house without any sex happening. But even though I have a spare bedroom myself, I've never had a straight co-worker ask to crash near work so he didn't have to go home.

Was Robert Wone killed during a hard-core BDSM scene? It came out last year that Joe Price had a profile on ALT.com. Pardon me, but ALT.com? I know a whole lot of gay people, and *none* of us have a profile on ALT.com. The site is kind of a "BDSM-lite" hook-up site for straight people. Neither Price nor Dylan Ward were known in the DC leather scene, nor are the details in Price's ALT.com profile very extreme. "Light bondage" and "preppie dress"? It doesn't sound like a couple who would try to do a hardcore chemical immobilization scene. Who keeps a cutlery set in their bedroom? Then again, Dylan Ward was a graduate of culinary school. It all seems very slap-and-tickle S&M to me.

Did Price, his parter, and Dylan Ward have a three-way relationship? This was the thing that first had me thinking about media coverage of the trial. Newspaper reporters seemed dazed at the idea of an S&M Master living in the house. "How does a three way relationship work?" asked an article in this month's Washingtonian magazine. To me, it sounds rather expected. Price and his parner were affluent gay guys who had been together for years. I imagine that Price discovered BDSM later in life. His partner wasn't really into it, but since they were both rather well-off and had an unused basement apartment, Price found a live-in Top who he could play with. To me, it's almost sappily domestic, and I find it odd that the mainstream media can't understand a polyamorous dynamic like that.

What will happen at the trial? The DC police really messed up this case. A lot of evidence was destroyed, such as all the messages on Wone's Blackbery, and all police radio records from the night of the murder. There is no evidence to charge anybody with murder. More than likely, Price will serve time for changing his story of discovering the body, and if they can prove the crime scene was tampered with. I am more interested at the other details. Since the murder, Price and his partner moved into an apartment, while Dylan Ward moved to Florida to live in a house Price bought for him. Recently, Dylan Ward moved back to DC to be with Price and his partner. It is details like that which seem everyone seem very human and the events seem very tragic and sad. All three men are still living together, pending the outcome of the trial, but I don't think the world will ever know what the three men talk about amongst themselves when nobody else is around.

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i read about this, maybe vampires?

where is Miss Marple when we need her?

i think the police really screwed this up, especially today when they are so good at finding risidual blood no matter how good anyone cleans.

As far as them not being known to the leather community, that is a non-starter. i know a lot of SM people that are not known to the community at large, both gay and straight.

Perhaps their fantasies will finally be properly realised in prison.

I don't think this has to do with a snuff killing - someone's desire to do a BDSM scene on an unwilling victim. Why kill someone in your own house and then call the police? If you're going to kill someone on purpose in an S&M scene, you'd do it somewhere else than your own spare bedroom. I still say it was an accident, then covered up.

If there's blood in the victim's intestines, meaning he was alive while bleeding, then there should have been blood from the knife wounds. That seems to be contradictory.

As far as cleaning towels or clothes that have absorbed blood, an hour and a half (10:30-11:54) isn't enough time to do a load of laundry, particularly a blood-soaked one.

Perhaps Wone simply wanted to do a snuff scene. Perhaps he was unhappy with his wife...er...life.

But that's really not enough time to do a decent scene of any kind AND clean up after. Maybe if he was already at the house on Swann when he made his 9:30 phone call. I wonder if his voice was quavery to his wife.

Yeah, weird about the laundry, huh? The police say there were blood-soaked fibers in the lint trap of the dryer, because cadaver dogs found them. However, one writer noted that cadaver dogs (and drug-sniffing dogs in general) are turning into the new dowsing rod for CSI.

Police look at the dog, and if the dog does *anything* - turns it's head, sits down, or better yet... DOESN'T sit down, that is evidence that it found evidence. I have a feeling that the police walked the dogs by the dryer, the dog looked up, and the police are citing that as evidence.

Wow, that's just fucked up.

I see the pattern - murderer kills, thinks it's the perfect crime until they get caught and convicted.

Such is our primitive species. :(

(Deleted comment)
Don't get me started... last month the guy said that videogames aren't art, and can never be art. (http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html)

Just FYI, I have both had straight friends crash over and stayed at straight friends' places, all without sex occurring.

You're right... I've done it too. But I've never done it because I didn't want to drive 18 miles after work.

Do you think there's anything weird about this case? I mean... not wanting to go home at 10:30 pm? Do you think Robert Wone was completely straight and ignorant of BDSM? Or did he go over to Price's house in order to hook up?

Edited at 2010-05-18 08:11 pm (UTC)

I honestly don't know. But I do know that sometimes the strangest, most outlandish, sounds-like-bollocks reasons for something are actually true.

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