Defendant Joseph Price was visibly biting his nails Thursday morning as prosecuting U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner prepared to make his closing arguments.
“They lied to the police, they orchestrated, they tampered,” Kirschner said of Price and fellow defendants Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky. The trio stands accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection to the 2006 death of D.C. attorney Robert Wone, who was fatally stabbed while staying the night in their guest room. The gay threesome maintain that an unknown intruder broke into their home at 1509 Swann Street NW and killed their friend Wone. Prosecutors believe the men know the killer and are covering up to protect him.
Kirschner said Thursday that investigators may never learn the true identity of Wone’s murderer, “or who came along for the conspiracy ride.” But he said the evidence presented in the case proves that the trio had engaged in a coverup.
“A stabbing homicide is a noisy, messy thing,” Kirschner said. Yet, according to the defendants’ story, they didn’t hear much that night, and investigators didn’t find a lot of blood at the scene, he said.
Kirschner also pointed to an apparent discrepancy in the defendants’ story—which City Desk had earlier noted: After finding Wone’s body, neither Price or Zaborsky apparently bothered to check on their fellow housemate Ward, who was supposedly sleeping just down the hall, despite the fact that the killer would have needed to pass Ward’s room twice in order to commit the crime and flee the scene.
“What is the first thing you do?” Kirschner posited. “You make a beeline for your loved one’s room.”
Prosecutors have portrayed Price, who faces additional charges of tampering with evidence, as the leader of the alleged conspiracy effort. On Thursday, Kirschner played a segment of police interrogation video to bolster that claim. “You can’t help but notice that Mr. Price couldn’t be more dismissive, couldn’t be more detached. He’s plainly in control. He’s in control of this interview.”
Kirschner also pointed to the testimony of the defendants’ neighbor, William Thomas, who claimed to hear a scream sometime during the local eleven o’clock newscast that night—a claim that conflicts time-wise with the defendants’ own version of events. “Mr. Thomas, he has no dog in this fight,” Kirschner said, “came in here and said, ‘I heard a single scream of desperation.’ That’s a time stamp. No two ways about it.”
Summing up, Kirschner paid the defendants a backhanded compliment. “This has been a very, very successful conspiracy and coverup,” he said—albeit one that would end in conviction, he added.
“I hate to sound like a b-movie,” Kirschner said, “but three people are there, there’s no forced entry, who did it?”
Judge Lynn Leibovitz asked Kirschner several of questions pertaining to whether the defendants’ actions described during witness testimony technically fits the legal definition of obstruction of justice.
Kirschner simply stated that the three men clearly knew that they were deceiving police. “It might not be the most egregious obstruction in the world,” he said, “but that’s obstruction.”