Washington, DC

Who Killed Robert Wone At 1509 Swann Street?

Author Ed Anderson

Robert Eric Wone married his wife, Katherine, in 2003. In attendance was his good friend and law school buddy, Joseph Price, who brought along his partner Victor Zaborsky. The foursome had a congenial relationship and talk about getting together soon.

When Robert turned 30 on June 1, 2004, Joseph and Victor held his birthday at their Capitol Hill townhouse. Also in attendance at the festivities was Dylan Ward; Joseph and Victor’s other partner. The Wones accepted the relationship and even asked a few questions that they were curious about. However, Robert made it clear that the questions were for information’s sake and not a judgment on their relationship.

Months after Robert celebrated his birthday with them, Joseph, Victor, and Dylan moved. They bought a new townhouse, 1509 Swann Street NW. Their new place had three bedrooms, albeit the guest bedroom doubled as a study, a patio, and a basement apartment. The three men also had a security device setup; the door would chime every time it was opened or closed.

Spurred by his friends’ move, Robert decides it’s time to kick his own career into high gear. He quits the firm he had worked at and takes a job as General Counsel for Radio Asia.

On July 29, Robert decides to stay late one night and speak to the late shift employees at his new work. After talking it over with Katherine, he concludes it would be better for him to stay the night in D.C. First, he asks a female friend if he can stay the night with her. She declines. Then he asks Joseph, who readily agrees to let him stay the night.

Nobody knew what the night would have in store for them.

The Night That It Happened

Robert and Katherine took the train to D.C. together. They kissed before they parted and exchanged ‘I love yous.’ He promised to call his wife later that evening and check in with her.

During the workday, nothing unusual happened. He seemed to be in good spirits. According to those who encountered him, Robert appeared to be tired but determined to make it through the day.

In the evening, he went to a continuing legal education class. A coworker confirmed that Robert was in the class. In fact, the colleague informed police that they went to Subway and got sandwiches together after the class. When they parted ways, he went back to the Radio Asia office to meet with the employees as planned.

On his way, he called Katherine. They talked for a few minutes and hung up when he got to the office. He spoke with a few people on the late shift and decided to pack it up for the night.

At 10:24 pm, Robert called to let Joseph know that he was on his way over. It took less than 10 minutes for him to arrive. When he got to 1509 Swann Street, Joseph and Dylan arrived were waiting for him with a glass of wine. Victor was already in bed, watching Project Runway.

The trio drank their wine and discussed their day. After a few minutes, Joseph joined his partner in their room. They watched TV for a few more minutes before turning in for the evening.

Dylan and Robert finished their wine and retired to their respective rooms.

After a few minutes, Robert went to shower.

Just before midnight William Thomas, a neighbor of the throuple heard a scream of desperation.

On The Crime Scene

Someone killed Robert Eric Wone.

Around 10 minutes to midnight, Victor called 9–1–1. He told them that someone had broken into the house and killed their houseguest. The operator stayed on the phone with him for seven minutes, encouraging him to wrap the wound and apply pressure to it. He said that Joseph was doing that.

When Victor asks the operator what time it is, they answer that it’s 11:54 pm. He is encouraged to go downstairs and open the door for the paramedics, but he says that he is scared. That fear is assuaged when he sees the lights from the ambulance.

The paramedics find Victor and Dylan in white bathrobes. The former points to the guest room before going back into his own room. After going into the room, they find Robert’s body. He seemed to be lying there peacefully. His body at an angle, and the only indentation in the pillow was under his head.

Joseph is sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at his friend. Both men are wearing their nightclothes. And Robert had his anti-teeth grinding guard in. After the paramedics asked him what happened, he moves, and they see that three slit-like stab wounds on Robert’s stomach. It is also noted that the blood appeared to have been wiped off.

Further adding to the puzzle of what happened is that none of the men seemed panicked as one would expect when a friend is killed. Paramedics also noted that it looked as though Robert had been redressed and moved.

When the police started asking questions, the mystery of what happened deepened.

It Doesn’t Make Sense

Joseph admitted to the first officer on the scene that they found Robert at the patio door. The three hosts then dragged him back to his room and laid him on the bed. Shocked at the admission, the cop tells him to get dressed and that there will be many more questions about what he did.

Victor recounts the claim that they heard the alarm chime on the door, indicating that someone came into or left the house. He is asked if it could have been Sarah Morgan, the woman who rented the basement apartment from them. He says it might have been, but she indicated that she would not be returning home that evening.

Police look at Robert’s Blackberry and see there are two emails in the draft folder. One is to Katherine, telling her that he is showered and ready to turn in for the evening. The other is confirming a business lunch for the next day. They are time-stamped with 11:05 pm and 11:07 pm, respectively. Questions remain as to why neither missive was sent.

None of Robert’s possessions are missing. Both wallets are filled with cash; he carried two in case he was mugged. His Blackberry and cell phone were on the nightstand. Towels were draped over the back of the chair. Katherine told investigators that her husband was fastidious about making sure that things were neat.

The only odd thing about the room was a bloodied knife by his belongings; it appeared to have come from the kitchen. Next to the knife was a towel with Robert’s blood on it.

Dylan, Joseph, and Victor continued to contend that someone broke into the house and killed their friend.

Deeper Into The Investigation

There was a call for backup officers and detectives to help with the investigation. Electronics were strewn throughout the house; none seemed to have been touched or missing. This confused investigators because if someone had broken in, why would they leave valuable equipment that would have been easy to take.

While looking through Dylan’s room, they found BDSM books that were heavily highlighted. An Erostek machine, a tool to cause a man to ejaculate. There is also a three-piece knife set, with the 4 1/2 inch knife missing.

Further damning evidence is uncovered by cadaver and drug dogs. Ecstasy pills are uncovered in Dylan’s belongings. It is also uncovered that someone in the house washed clothes that had blood on them. Outside, the hose was uncoiled. The drain cover was askew, which raised questions about why it was touched.

Interrogators continued to question the men who lived in the condo. Joseph and Victor continued to say they heard the door chime. They claimed that it was the back door chime, and they are worried about what the intruder wanted. Officers checked the back door, and it was unlocked; however, the security gate was firmly locked. Making it unlikely that someone broke into the house.

Joseph and Victor continue to claim the chime woke them up. They also said they heard a low scream and ran downstairs to find Robert on the ground. Joseph admitted to taking the knife out of his friend’s body without prompting, which he said explained why his fingerprints are on the weapon.

An officer asked Dylan a question when he went to answer; his two partners give a warning look. Detectives decide it’s time to split the three up and interrogate them at the station.

Wall Of Solidarity

Uniformed officers transported the three partners to the police station separately. There was hope among detectives that one of the men would break from the story, and they would get a lead to go on.

What they came up against was the same story the partners had been telling them from the time cops arrived on the scene. Officers tried different tactics to get one of the men to break. They tried to say that the story was different from what the others were saying, tried to offer a deal if one of them would break. But nothing worked. Joseph, Victor, and Dylan were adamant that what they said was the truth.

Detectives asked sexually explicit questions of each of the men. A theory emerges that one of the men must have had an intimate relationship with Robert that ended badly. None of the men changed from their initial story that an intruder was responsible for the death.

Frustrated, the three men were released. There wasn’t enough evidence to hold them.

Robert Wone’s body arrived at George Washington Hospital. He is declared dead on arrival. An autopsy is conducted, but it raises more questions than answers. There are three stab wounds about 4–5 inches deep. The knife penetrated the right lung, abdomen, and heart.

There were needle marks on his right ankle, left side of his neck, chest, and left elbow. Curiously, there were no drugs found in his system. Thought Katherine has noted that not every drug was looked for during the check. She also said he did not have any needle marks when she last saw him.

Semen was found under Robert’s genitals and in his anus. A DNA test proved that it was his. No one else’s DNA was found on his body.

The Mystery Stalls

Detectives ask Joseph, Victor, and Dylan to come back in for questioning. They are not surprised when the three decline without having lawyers present. The three men do agree to submit DNA, hair samples, and fingerprints.

On August 4th, the three men traveled to see Katherine. They relayed what they knew about the case to that point. She seemed to be sizing them up, trying to figure out which one killed her beloved husband. The men seemed to be surprised when she tells them that she will be interviewed by the police the next day.

She asked her friend, Jason Torchinsky, to sit with her during the interrogation. Afterward, she heads back home to put the finishing touches on the plans for Robert’s funeral.

The day after Katherine’s interview with the police, Joseph calls Jason. He asks about what was discussed with the police. Taken aback by the bizarre call, Jason tells his friend that he can’t talk about anything because of client/attorney privilege. He makes a note of the call and theorizes that Joseph wanted to know so he could coordinate the stories he would tell authorities.

Joseph served as a pallbearer for Robert’s funeral at Katherine’s request. Mourners noted that while she was congenial with her husband’s long-time friend, his partners were given the cold shoulder.

Police search Joseph, Victor, and Dylan’s cars to find evidence that will crack the case. It turns out to be another dead end.

They returned Robert’s Blackberry to Radio Asia, failing to fingerprint it or duplicate it. The company wiped it clean, destroying any evidence that it might have contained.

Years Gone By

With precious little evidence to go on, the police let the case go cold. Every few months, prosecutors look at the evidence to determine whether or not they could make charges stick. To that point, none of them felt any charges would stick.

In October 2006, 1509 Swann Street NW was burglarized. The culprit was Joseph’s brother. He took nearly $7,000 worth of electronics from the house. When he was arrested, it was revealed that the younger man was an addict who wanted money from his older brother. It turned out to be fortuitous for Joseph and his partners as prosecutors were planning to unveil charges until the robbery happened.

It appeared as though the stress of what happened to Robert became too much for Joseph, Victor, and Dylan. They sold the condo for $1.4 million, a substantial profit in June 2008. Joseph and Victor move to another apartment in D.C. While Dylan moves to Florida, living in a house the three of them bought.

In October, mere months after he left the area, Dylan is charged with obstruction of justice. The charges indicate that prosecutors believe he is the murderer. They allege that he injected Robert with a paralytic, raped him, then killed the man when he started to come to.

Prosecutors dismissed the argument that an intruder could have been the killer completely. It is believed that authorities were hoping to push Dylan to admit what happened and implicate his former lovers in the scheme. But it backfired on them; he stuck to the story that was laid out.

The Jolt Stops

In November 2008, Joseph and Victor were charged with obstruction of justice. A week after the charges are handed down, Katherine sues them for $20 million, citing Robert’s wrongful death. Both men declined to testify at either trial citing the Fifth Amendment.

Many believed that the mystery would finally be solved with all three men charged in connection to the case. Advocates prayed that justice would be done for Robert. Even Katherine hoped that she would get the answers she desired.

After hearing arguments over the course of several months, Judge Lebovitz finds Joseph, Victor, and Dylan not guilty. In her opinion, the intruder story is implausible and even flimsy. However, the evidence presented by the prosecution does not prove that any of the men had information or were the murderer beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prosecutors decided to leave the case alone. They would likely not get a conviction with any other charges unless one of the men changed his story. It did not seem likely.

Katherine settled the wrongful death lawsuit with Joseph and Victor. None of the parties disclosed the amount, nor did anyone admit wrongdoing. When both cases were finished, the men said they just wanted to put this nightmare behind them.

Where Are They Now?

To that end, Joseph changed his name to Joseph Anderson. He worked at a few other law firms before settling in at Gapingvoid, a communications and consulting firm. He is currently an attorney there, as well as a member of the Florida Bar association.

Like his former lover, Dylan also changed his name. He is now known as Dylan Thomas. He has bounced from job to job, briefly working as a fitness trainer for a gym in Seattle. Eventually, he made his way back to Florida. As of 2021, he is an instructor at Pilates instructor.

There is no indication that the two men are in contact with one another. Nor is there anything tying them to their previous partner.

Victor has not changed his name, nor has he changed his job. He is still in D.C., albeit he is living a quieter life than he had in the previous decade.

Katherine seems to have slid away from the spotlight that was thrust upon her with the murder of Robert.

Robert Wone’s murder may never be solved, save for an impromptu deathbed confession from one of the men. Over the years, theories have risen and fallen about which of the three might have been the true murderer. Only they know for sure.

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

Rochester, MI

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