Page 2 of 2   <      

As Wone trial closes, judge questions defendants' reticence

Prosecutors admitted that they might never know who killed Wone or why. "This has been a very, very successful conspiracy and coverup," said Glenn Kirschner, assistant U.S. attorney. "But that's about to end." Kirschner highlighted several examples of the alleged coverup, including inconsistent statements the men gave to detectives as to how the body was found and where the knife was on Wone's body.

Prosecutors said the men never mentioned that Price's younger brother, Michael Price, who was arrested for burglarizing the Swann Street home two months after Wone was killed, had a key to the house. Not mentioning that Michael Price had a key, prosecutors said, was evidence that the men cover for family members who might be involved in a crime.

The men's attorneys said that their clients were truthful when they spoke to detectives and that any discrepancies in their statements were largely because they were in shock after finding their friend dead in their home a few hours earlier.

Defense attorneys said Wone was killed much later than prosecutors theorize. They said that Wone was stabbed a little after 11:45 p.m. and that the men called 911 within a minute or two of discovering Wone's body. Ward's attorney, David Schertler, argued that it was illogical for any of the three men to go to the kitchen, remove one of the knives from the counter and plant the knife on the body if the real murder weapon had been successfully hidden. "It defies logic," he said.

Schertler also reminded Leibovitz about how the prosecution had backed away from some of its original theories, such as that Wone had been drugged before he was killed and that Price's younger brother might had been involved in Wone's death.

Schertler said that the prosecution's case was based largely on "assumptions, speculations and innuendo" and that prosecutors had "cobbled together a patchwork of suspicious circumstances."

"The government has taken innocent behavior and tried to turn it into a web of guilty knowledge," he said.

<       2

© 2010 The Washington Post Company