After a beautiful wedding, Robert Wone and his wife Kathy began building on the future they’ve both been dreaming of. Since that special day, every stone seemed to fall into place and life was working in their favor. The Wones were in love, had just moved inside a new home in Oakton, Virginia, and Robert had a well-paying job working as a lawyer.
More good news came when Robert, only thirty-two-years-old, accepted a prestigious job as the general counsel of Radio Free Asia in D.C., and with Kathy’s full support, he started planning for his new position.
On any other day, Robert would have driven home after stopping by the station — a thirty minute commute — but on this night, August 2, 2006, he sought to make a favorable first impression from the night shift employees. So he dropped in for a surprise visit. It was already a long day for Robert; after an early wake up, a ride on the Metro, and an all-day Continuing Law Education class, he was drained by the time he left the station. Sleep was the only thing on his mind.
Fortunately, Robert was an expert planner, and two weeks prior, he reserved the guest bedroom at a friend’s home — a stunning three-story row house, 1509 Swann Street N.W. in downtown D.C.
Around 11:30pm that same evening, a 911 dispatcher received a frantic call from the Swann Street residence. The caller, Victor Zaborsky, was talking fast, sounding hysterical, and clearly shaken up by something.
Zaborsky told the dispatcher that his partner, Joseph Price (more on him later), heard the chime of the front door, which was immediately followed by a harrowing scream from the second-floor bedroom.
Both Price and Zaborsky, who were on the third-floor, hurried down to the bedroom where Wone had been sleeping and discovered his body sprawled on the fold-out guest bed. Beside him was a bloody knife resting on the nightstand; Robert Wone was dead.
Paramedics arrived at the Swann Street home at 11:54 pm — while on the phone with 911, Zaborsky had asked the dispatcher for the current time, which is unusual.
EMTs and police also found it odd that Zaborsky, still on the phone with 911, wore a white bathrobe, stood in the doorway, and was still wet from showering. Casually, he showed the paramedics upstairs.
With their stretcher unfolded, the medical team walked up the stairs, not knowing who, or what, to expect from this already bizarre scene. Upon reaching the top stair, another roommate, Dylan Ward, greeted them.
It would later be noted that the feeling in the house was odd, as if some vital information was being concealed by the men who lived there. For instance, even though Dylan Ward was on the top stair, he deliberately kept his mouth shut, as if under lock and key, and when asked the whereabouts of the victim, Ward simply pointed to the guest bedroom and walked back into his own room.
Paramedics could not revive Robert Wone and noted he was “pulseless, unresponsive, pale and cold to the touch.”
Wone’s night guard was in his mouth, which, according to his wife Kathy, he wore to bed every night. He was wearing green nylon gym shorts and a grey and white William and Mary tee, something his wife said he would never wear to bed because he suffered from “excessive sweating.”
Robert’s wallet and personal items were laid neatly on the room’s desk, and on the nightstand next to his dead body was a black handled steel bladed kitchen knife; it had been smeared with Robert’s blood.
An hour after Wone arrived at his friend’s townhome, he was fatally stabbed, but none of the three men in the house would admit to any knowledge of the crime.
These three men were living in a “polyamorous” relationship — threesome partnership with consent of each party — and considered themselves a “family”.
The house’s owner, Joseph Price, had known Wone for several years when they first met at William and Mary University. The other two men, Victor J. Zaborsky (the 911 caller), and Dylan M. Ward — a massage therapist, met Robert Wone later, but still considered themselves “friends”.
Joseph Price was a successful lawyer, focusing much of his energy on gay rights equality campaigns. Price began a relationship with Victor Zaborsky in 2001, including Dylan Ward into the group in 2003.
The entire relationship revolved around Joseph Price, whom shared half of his personal time with Zaborsky, and the other half with Dylan Ward separately.
Both Price and Zaborsky attended the Wones’ wedding in 2003.
The official autopsy of Robert Wone introduces more questions than it gives answers. All three of the stab wounds in the victim’s chest were “unusually uniform in dimension, orientation, and depth.”
Usually, when a victim is repeatedly stabbed, the incisions differ in depths and dimensions. This results from the victim struggling for survival. However, this was not the case in Wone’s murder, meaning that he must have been incapacitated (drugged) or bound up so he could not control his movements.
Also noted were many small “needle puncture marks” on the right ankle, left neck, chest, hand, and forearm inside the left elbow, all of which showed “evidence of medical intervention.”
Was Robert Wone drugged? And if so, with what?
It is no doubt that Wone died a horrific and agonizing murder. The medical examiner noted one stab perforated his heart at the aortic root and transected his left anterior descending coronary artery, causing acute cardiac tampeneade, which effectively shut down his heart and caused him to become unconscious within sixty seconds of the injury.
The autopsy also mentioned two other stab wounds, one penetrating the diaphragm, the third incision shredding through his small intestine.
Dissatisfied with the lack of cooperation with all three tenants, police decide to tear apart the Swann Street home, determined to find any clues.
What they uncovered was rather disturbing.
One man’s closets contained a large box of Ecstasy pills and BDSM sex toys, including, but not limited to, an electric shock simulation device known as the Erostek 302R.
This device includes a cock ring that fits around the user’s — or victim’s — penis. The goal being to stimulate an arousal effect ending in a forced ejaculation either desired or not.
Robert Wone was bounded and/or drugged and forced to ejaculate.
The medical examiner also ascertained that this device was most likely used on Robert as his own semen (just his) was found on his testicles and inside his anus.
With the evidence made publically available, one can easily deduce that one, two, or all of the three roommates were involved, or knew who was involved, in the murder of Robert Wone.
Charges were raised on all three roommates, including tampering with evidence and conspiracy charges, but a bench judge acquitted all men. The judge believed the men were guilty of the murder, or knew who was, but there was not enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Robert Wone’s killers still walk free, even today.