The Robert Wone Stabbing: Anatomy of a Murder Case
Sunday, May 31, 2009; 9:22 PM
First of two parts
A 911 call from a million-dollar townhouse in Dupont Circle on a sweltering summer night three years ago:
"We need an ambulance," Victor Zaborsky blurted, his delicate voice pitched so high that the operator mistook him for a woman.
"What's wrong, ma'am?"
"We had someone . . . in our house, evidently," Zaborsky said, gasping, "and they stabbed somebody."
Over the next eight minutes, stammering breathlessly on the phone, he would report that while he and his two housemates were asleep, an unseen "intruder" had slipped into the residence and attacked a visiting friend of theirs.
"Are they bleeding?" the operator asked. "See someone bleeding?"
"Yes," said Zaborsky, then 40, in words that echo today: "Someone is bleeding in our house."
So began a real-life parlor mystery -- an unsolved killing and alleged coverup in the guest room of an elegant home in the heart of Washington's gay community, with a trio of seemingly unlikely suspects: a self-described "polyamorous family" of three men. The bizarre murder that evening of a young Ivy League lawyer named Robert Wone, still grist for gossip and conjecture on the city's gay blogosphere, has vexed police and prosecutors since the 911 call just before midnight Aug. 2, 2006.
"Is he conscious?" asked the operator. As she spoke, paramedics and patrol cars were being dispatched to 1509 Swann St. NW, the 19th-century townhouse where Zaborsky, a marketing executive for the milk industry, lived with his registered domestic mate, Joseph Price, then 35, a partner in a major D.C. law firm, and another gay man, Dylan Ward, then a 36-year-old massage student with degrees in international relations, children's literature and culinary arts.
"He's not conscious," Zaborsky said of Wone, 32, who lived with his wife in Fairfax County.
Earnest and meticulously efficient, Wone had planned about two weeks in advance to stay in the city that evening to introduce himself to the night-shift staff at Radio Free Asia, where he was the new general counsel. Rather than trek home late on the Metro, he had arranged to bunk at the townhouse, a mile from his office, with his old college pal Price and his friends Zaborsky and Ward, whom he had met through Price.