Wone’s body showed “no defensive wounds” and no sign of struggle. “Moreover,” the affidavit said, “there was little to no blood on his hands, indicating that he did not even clutch his hands to his chest at the time of or immediately after the attack, as would be a natural human response if one were conscious/not incapacitated.”
There were only two spots of blood on the bed.
“The forensic pathologist opined that the three stab wounds were inflicted while the victim was incapacitated,” the affidavit said.
What happened to all the blood?
“The cadaver dog alert on the rear stairwell drain and the lint filter of the clothes dryer suggest that bloody clothing or items were cleaned off in the backyard stairwell and then placed in the clothes dryer to dry,” the affidavit said.
A police dog trained to detect cocaine, marijuana, and opiates was taken through the house. He “alerted” to two locations, giving handlers the suggestion that there had been drugs in the house. They recovered only Ecstasy.
Prosecutors also posited that the housemates had delayed their call to 911 for “as little as 19 minutes or as many as 49 minutes.”
The affidavit also described in detail the “three-way” relationship among the housemates. Price and Zaborsky shared a bedroom and had been in a committed relationship for years. Ward, a relative newcomer, had his own room and had a “personal, intimate” relationship with Price.
“This relationship included a dominant-submissive sexual relationship with Ward in the dominant role and Price in the submissive role,” it said, “as related by witnesses and as captured in multiple photographs of Price recovered from his computer.”
Police recovered implements of sexual bondage and torture from Dylan Ward’s room. These included racks, shackles, metal and leather collars, metal penis rings, penis vices, studded penis bindings, and an electrical shock device. There were books “relating to inflicting pain on others for purposes of sexual gratification. . . . Many of these books contained passages highlighted by the reader.”
Goslinoski and the FBI lab found Robert Wone’s semen on various parts of his body.
“The fact that Mr. Wone’s semen was found on and around his genitals, on his anus, and in his rectum is consistent with a sexual assault of some kind,” the affidavit concluded, “especially in light of the assertions of Price, Zaborsky, and Ward that Mr. Wone was heterosexual and had showered right before going to bed in the guestroom.”
Though the 13-page affidavit was full of crime-scene details and autopsy results, it did not make sense of the actual crime. With no evidence or confession, prosecutors couldn’t charge anyone with murder.
“By all accounts and evidence,” the affidavit said, “Price, Zaborsky, and Ward have a very close relationship and clearly have motive to preserve and protect the interests of one another.”
Kathy Wone was with Benjamin Razi, her attorney, when she first read the affidavit.
She hadn’t broken down in public—ever. As she read, she tried to maintain her composure. She failed.
“It was as if Robert had gotten killed all over again,” she says.
“I couldn’t stop crying.”
Glenn Kirschner was bent on getting one of the three residents of 1509 Swann Street to break ranks.
Kirschner, the lead prosecutor in the US Attorney’s homicide section, had taken over the case in February 2007 and begun to turn the screws. He had interviewed Ward and Zaborsky. The two also had agreed to testify before a grand jury investigating a burglary at the house after the murder.
The three housemates had remained together, repaired damage from the crime searches, and sold the Swann Street home in June 2008 for $1.47 million. After first moving in with Zaborsky’s aunt in McLean, Price and Zaborsky bought a home in Miami Shores, Florida, but wound up staying in an apartment in the District.
Three months before filing the affidavit and the arrest warrant for Ward, Kirschner told Ward’s attorney he intended to arrest the three. If it was an attempt to make them talk, it failed. Through their attorneys, they said they would turn themselves in.
The government obtained an arrest warrant for Dylan Ward on October 27 and arrested him two days later in Florida. He was shuttled to federal prisons and kept in custody for nearly a month.
Prosecutors thought they might turn him against his friends. A slight man, Ward was 38 at the time, the son of a cardiologist in Tacoma, Washington. He had graduated with honors from Georgetown University in 1992. He’d studied cooking, worked in publishing, moved to DC, and, thanks to Price, gotten a job raising funds for Equality Virginia. He then studied massage in Thailand. He had never been in jail. But he didn’t change his story.
While Ward was in jail, prosecutors called in Price and Zaborsky. With their attorneys, they met with prosecutors in DC. Both were told they would be arrested if they refused to cooperate with investigators. Neither talked.
Kirschner then charged Price and Zaborsky with obstruction of justice and demanded cash bonds of $100,000. They turned themselves in and went free. Price spent one night in jail while lawyers negotiated the terms of his release.
“Collectively,” Ward’s attorney, David Schertler, wrote in asking for his release, “these facts underscore the Defendants’ intent to continue to participate in good faith in the judicial process and to vigorously defend their innocence.”