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Glenda King noticed something strange when the one-time nanny and housekeeper at 1511 Swann Street NW arrived for work one August day in 2006. Something was wrong with the backyard sandbox in which the child she cared for sometimes played. “The sandbox was crushed in,” she said. On the witness stand Monday, King explained that a rubber top used to protect the sand when the box isn’t in use had apparently given way. It had never done so in the past, she said.

Just next door, of course, police were investigating a murder from the night before. Alarmed, King alerted the cops and investigators photographed the sandbox.

Defense attorneys had called the former housekeeper to the stand in order to help support the defense’s theory that someone besides the housemates next-door at 1509 Swann Street NW may have been around during the death of D.C. attorney Robert Wone.

Defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward maintain that an unknown intruder broke into their home and stabbed their friend Wone, who was sleeping in their guest room.

In order to do so, the mysterious perpetrator may have needed to scale a tall fence behind the house-a scenario the cops dismissed as unlikely.

Police photos displayed  in the courtroom showed the crushed sandbox located not far from that same fence.

Authorities nonetheless arrested the housemates. Defendants Price, Ward, and Zaborsky are charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection to the Wone’s death. Price also faces charges of evidence tampering.