By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 31, 2008
Authorities arrested a man this week on obstruction of justice charges in the two-year-old investigation into the slaying of a prominent lawyer found stabbed in a townhouse near Dupont Circle.
Dylan Ward, a resident of the home where Robert Wone was killed, was arrested Wednesday in Dade County, Fla., where he now lives, authorities said yesterday.
The arrest is the first in the case since Wone, 32, was stabbed three times in the chest as he stayed overnight in the home Aug. 2, 2006. Wone was general counsel for Radio Free Asia.
Police have said that the crime scene was altered and cleaned and that they did not get full cooperation from the three men known to have been in the house at the time of the killing: Ward and his housemates, domestic partners Victor Zaborsky and Joe Price, the latter a longtime friend of Wone's. The three housemates have denied impeding the investigation.
Ward's attorney said his client is "completely innocent" and will not fight extradition to the District. "He has not committed any crime, he has not obstructed justice and will prove this in court," attorney David Schertler said.
Attorneys for Wone's widow, Katherine, said in a statement that the developments "appear to confirm our worst fears" about the night Wone was killed. The Wone family called on the former housemates to provide "a full and honest account" of what happened. "It is never too late to tell the truth," the statement said.
Ward, 38, appeared before a state judge yesterday and was scheduled to appear in federal court in Florida today before being brought to the District.
The arrest warrant is under seal. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to say how Ward allegedly obstructed justice or why he is being charged now. "This case has been worked aggressively, but I don't think it would be proper or appropriate to comment right now," he said.
The three housemates were interviewed by police for hours and later voluntarily submitted DNA samples and fingerprints.
Although police initially said they expected to solve the case swiftly, the investigation soon grew complicated. One of the residents told investigators that an intruder had come in through the back door, but police said they found no sign of forced entry. Police took over the house for three weeks and removed a large amount of potential evidence, including flooring, pieces of walls, a chunk of staircase, the washing machine and sink traps.
Wone and Price, also a lawyer, were close friends from their days at the College of William & Mary. Wone spent the night at Price's house, in the 1500 block of Swann Street NW, rather than drive home to Oakton after working late in the District.