Lawyer Killed In Stabbing At Rowhouse In Northwest

Robert Wone, general counsel for Radio Free Asia.
Robert Wone, general counsel for Radio Free Asia. (Mel Barnhart, Radio Free Asia - Mel Barnhart, Radio Free Asia)
By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 4, 2006

A lawyer known for being active in the Asian American community was stabbed to death Wednesday night at a townhouse in Northwest Washington, police said.

Robert Wone, 32, who lived in Oakton, was discovered about 11:45 p.m. in the 1500 block of Swann Street NW, on the eastern edge of the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Police have made no arrests.

Detectives are looking into the possibility that Wone was killed by an intruder who broke into the home, which sits in the middle of the block on a narrow, tree-lined street. Wone was stabbed in the chest three times with a butcher knife, police said.

For the past month, Wone had been general counsel for Radio Free Asia, a nonprofit group that broadcasts news in Asian countries that do not have free media. Before that, he had worked for six years as an associate at the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington.

Wone, who grew up in New York, was president-elect of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Washington area chapter.

"We are devastated," said Sarah Jackson-Han, communications director for Radio Free Asia. "He had been here since July, and he had already made a terrific impression on everyone. He was a self-effacing, charming, lovely guy."

Wone lived in the 10400 block of Graystone Court with his wife, Katherine Wone, whom he married in 2003. She did not wish to speak with reporters yesterday, according to someone who answered the door at the home.

A source familiar with the case said Wone was working late Wednesday night and had stayed at a friend's house rather than drive home to Oakton. The source said an intruder broke into the house and found Wone, who had just gone to bed, on the first floor.

Officials would not confirm this account, saying detectives were investigating. There were no immediate signs of forced entry into the house, said an investigator, who did not want to be identified because the case is open.

Capt. C.V. Morris, head of the police department's violent crimes unit, said yesterday that detectives were interviewing the other people who were in the home at the time. Morris did not say how many people live there.

Nobody else in the home was attacked, Morris said. "We're trying to find out if anything was taken from the home," he said.

In the hours before he was killed, Wone spent time with John Lindburg, general counsel of Radio Free Europe. Lindburg, who has been in the business for many years, said he had taken an immediate liking to Wone and was "taking him under my wing."

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