Family of Slain Lawyer Sues Three Former Housemates

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The widow and family of a prominent Washington lawyer who was stabbed to death in 2006 filed a $20 million lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court yesterday, alleging that three friends of his concealed evidence and lied to police in a cover-up.

The civil suit was filed against Dylan M. Ward, 38, who was arraigned on an obstruction of justice charge yesterday, and Joseph Price, 37, and Victor J. Zaborsky, 42, who were arraigned last week on the same charge.

The complaint alleges that the three former housemates "conspired to thwart the investigation" into the slaying of Robert Wone, 32. It said they "fraudulently concealed the existence of facts" in the case, including "cleaning up and staging the crime scene, planting and destroying evidence, delaying the reporting of the murder to the authorities and lying to police."

According to prosecutors, the men waited 19 to 49 minutes before calling 911 after coming across Wone's body.

The 16-page lawsuit recites many details that were in a police affidavit filed last month.

In the wrongful death suit, Wone's widow, Katherine, said that within days of her husband's killing, the three housemates visited the Wones' home in Oakton, Va. She and other relatives pressed them for details about what happened the night Wone died, but the men replied that they did not know. They later told police, according to the affidavit, that an unknown "intruder" entered the house.

In a statement, Benjamin J. Razi, the attorney for the Wone family, called the suit "another step in the effort to seek justice" in the slaying of their family member.

"This effort will not end until all persons responsible for his murder and the cover-up of his murder are held to account," he said.

Razi is a lawyer with Covington and Burling, the same D.C. firm that employs Eric Holder Jr., President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general. Wone worked for the firm for six years before joining Radio Free Asia.

Just hours before the suit was filed, a D.C. Superior Court judge allowed Ward to be released from jail and return to live with Price and Zaborsky.

With his wrists and ankles shackled, Ward stood before Judge Frederick H. Weisberg and pleaded not guilty. Like Price and Zaborsky at their hearing last week, Ward was ordered to wear a monitoring device on his ankle.

Wone had worked late Aug. 2, 2006, and arranged to spend the night in a guestroom of the four-bedroom Dupont Circle townhouse where the three housemates lived. Wone and Price were college friends, and Wone became acquainted with Ward and Zaborsky through Price. Sometime that evening, police say, Wone was drugged, sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed. No one has been charged in Wone's slaying.

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