Robert Wone was found murdered at his friend's home in 2006 and — in a bid to help finally solve the case — it is being brought back into the public eye through Sky documentary Who Killed Robert Wone?
On the night of 2 August, 2006 Wone — a lawyer for Radio Free Asia in Washington D.C. — stayed over at his college friend Joseph Price's house, approximately one mile away from his office. Price lived in the residence with his partner Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward, the three men were in a polyamorous relationship at the time.
On 2 August, 2006, at 11:49pm, Zaborsky called emergency services. Wone, who had been fatally stabbed, was pronounced dead at 12:24am on 3 August. He was 32. A murder investigation was soon launched, but the police have yet to apprehend the person, or people, responsible.
Despite this, there are suspects and theories around what happened on the night of Wone's murder. These are investigated further in Sky's new documentary.
Who are the suspects in the Robert Wone murder case?
Wone arrived at Price's home at 10.30pm on 2 August after working late. A neighbour who was watching an 11pm newscast was reported to have heard a scream from the Price residence during the broadcast, which ended at approximately 11.35pm. Zaborsky called the emergency services at 11:49pm, Wone was found stabbed but there was no blood at the scene of the crime.
Price, Zaborsky, and Ward denied any involvement in Wone's murder, they also denied having any kind of sexual relationship with Wone. The three men told police that they believed an unknown intruder had come into the house and murdered the lawyer.
The three men said they believed an intruder had entered their home via the back door which had been left open and could have been accessed by someone if they had scaled their garden fence. They testified that they had not seen the intruder leaving the residence but had heard someone going down the stairs of their home after they went to investigate a series of noises from the room Wone was in.
While police dismissed this theory, their defence attorney Bernie Grimm later tested whether it was possible to jump the fence and enter the home as his clients had claimed and found that it was. After their initial interview with police, Price, Zaborsky, and Ward pled the fifth amendment and did not speak publicly on the subject again.
Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward
Police suspected that one or more of the three men in the home could have been involved, and focused efforts on trying to prove this was the case. In the documentary it was explained that Wone was found to have been sexually assaulted, and police believed he had either been restrained or given a drug that paralysed him so that he could not move whilst being stabbed.
The autopsy report from the investigation did not suggest Wone was given a drug, and while police found a collection of BDSM items in the home none of them could be linked to the murder itself. Police were also unable to find the weapon that had been used to kill Wone.
Although the police believed a cutlery set Ward owned had a knife missing that could have matched the lawyer's stab wounds, Ward's mother testified that she had kept the knife when she originally gave it to her son as a gift. As the police were unable to find definitive evidence that pointed to Price, Zaborsky or Ward being the culprit, and their defence attorney had proven the investigation had not adequately looked into the viability of their claim an intruder was responsible, none of the three men were charged.
What are the other theories in the Robert Wone murder case?
The murder was covered up
In 2008, police charged Price, Zaborsky and Ward with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and tampering with evidence. Investigators believed that the three men had not told the truth about what happened, and believed that they had covered up the crime.
As there was no blood at the scene of the crime police believed that it had either been cleaned up or that Wone's body had been moved. Police found trace evidence of blood in two locations of the house but were unable to investigate sufficiently enough to find evidence that suggested the crime scene had been tampered with.
This and the lack of a murder weapon meant there was no definitive proof of the allegations made against the three men. In 2010, a judge found all three not guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and tampering with evidence.
Wone's widow Katherine Yu also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Price, Zaborsky and Ward in November 2008, the civil case similarly alleged the three men had destroyed evidence and obstructed the police investigation. The lawsuit was settled in August 2011 for an undisclosed sum and agreement.
Who Killed Robert Wone? airs on Sky Crime at 9pm, and is available on demand now.