Scene of Wone killing 'very unusual,' prosecution witness says

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 17, 2010; 11:18 AM

Robert Wone may have remained conscious between 45 seconds to a minute after he was stabbed three times in his chest, enough time for Wone to have clasped his wounds or to try fight off his attacker, Maryland's top medical examiner testified Wednesday at D.C. Superior Court.

But there is no evidence suggesting that Wone did either of those things, the medical examiner said.

David R. Fowler, Maryland's chief medical examiner, was one of the prosecution's final witnesses in the trial of Joseph Price, 39, Dylan M. Ward, 40, and Victor Zaborsky, 44. The housemates each are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence in connection with the killing of Wone, 32, who had planned to sleep at the men's house after working late at his job as general counsel for Radio Free Asia. Their D.C. Superior Court trial is in its third week, and the prosecution rested its case Wednesday.

Wone was fatally stabbed Aug. 2, 2006, at 1509 Swann St. NW. Prosecutors believe the three housemates know who killed Wone and are covering up for the killer. No one has been charged with killing Wone.

Fowler, who trained in South Africa and has specialized in fatal stabbings, said the significant lack of blood found on Wone's body or bed was "very unusual." Fowler also said it was strange that the three stab wounds to Wone's chest, all four to five inches in depth, were even and the same size, which Fowler says rarely occurs during a knife attack.

Fowler also told Judge Lynn Leibovitz that there should have been some sign of a struggle or defensive wounds on Wone's hands or arms, but there wasn't. If nothing else, Fowler said, there should have been blood on Wone's hand, indicating he grabbed one of the wounds. Other than a smudge of blood on a finger, there was none. Fowler found that "somewhat remarkable."

"This was not a normal knife attack," he said.

Prosecutors allege the three housemates cleaned up the crime scene.

As poster-size photos of Wone's body on an autopsy table were shown during the trial, Price, sitting behind his attorneys, often looked at the photos in between taking notes. Ward glared at each photo, while Zaborsky turned his head away.

Prosecutors believe Wone was restrained during the attack and was unable to fight off his attacker. Defense attorneys argue that Wone was attacked in his sleep by an unknown intruder and was unable to fight off his attacker. The men face more than 30 years in prison.

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