In August 2006, Robert Wone, a promising young Asian-American attorney, was murdered while staying at a friend’s house in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. Wone, then general counsel for Radio Free Asia and a former Covington & Burling associate, was stabbed to death. The housemates claimed that Wone had been attacked by an intruder, but the crime scene seemed to suggest that was not the case.
The unsolved murder inspired the birth of the site WhoMurderedRobertWone, which has tracked the progress of the investigation in excruciating detail. Prosecutors charged the three housemates, including former Arent Fox partner Joseph Price, with conspiracy, obstruction, and tampering, but not for his murder.
The verdict in the four-and-a-half week trial came today.
Joseph Price, 39; Victor Zaborsky, 44; and Dylan Ward, 39, were found not guilty. From the Blog of the Legal Times:
In the Robert Wone conspiracy trial, it’s a clean sweep for the defense. Judge Lynn Leibovitz of D.C. Superior Court has found defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward not guilty on all counts.
Specifically, all three have been found not guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Price has also been found not guilty of tampering with evidence.
The question of who killed Robert Wone remains unanswered — though the judge said she thought the housemates knew the answer. From the Washington Post:
Judge Lynn Leibovitz acquitted the three housemates from the bench after explaining her verdict for about an hour. Leibovitz said she believed that the three defendants know who killed Wone, but that the prosecution failed to prove that they did. It came down to the reasonable doubt standard, she said.
“From the beginning, this case has been a test of the meaning of reasonable doubt proof,” she said.
The housemates have claimed to be innocent, saying they are being “unfairly targeted because they are gay,” reports the Washington Post. Well, we’d dare say their being targeted probably has more to do with the fact that Wone was found murdered in their home.
The housemates are surely relieved by the verdict, but they will be going to trial again. Wone’s wife and family have filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against them.