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The crime scene where murdered Washington lawyer Robert Wone was found had been tampered with before police arrived, according to an affidavit for a warrant to search the office of D.C. lawyer Joseph Price. Price, a partner at Arent Fox, owns the Northwest Washington house in which Wone’s body was found shortly before midnight Aug. 2. Police executed the search warrant Aug. 4 at the Connecticut Avenue Northwest offices of Arent Fox and seized Price’s computer. Price owns the Swann Street Northwest house with Victor Zaborsky, a marketing manager at the International Dairy Food Association. A third man, Dylan Ward, also resides there. All three were home the night of Wone’s murder, according to police and Ward’s lawyer. At least one of the residents told police the night of the murder that Wone was killed by an intruder, according to the affidavit for the search warrant. D.C. Metropolitan Police officers were called to the house at 1509 Swann St. N.W. around midnight Aug. 2. Upon arrival, they found Wone unconscious in a second-floor bedroom, suffering from three stab wounds to the chest. He was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to George Washington University Hospital. According to the affidavit signed by Detective William Xanten III, technicians determined that the “crime scene had been tampered with, including that the area where the victim’s body was located had been cleaned. The use of chemicals and an artificial light source showed trace blood evidence located around where the victim’s body was found. This trace blood evidence was located on the walls, floors, sofa bed and door frame of the bedroom where the decedent was killed.” Investigators were told that Price and Wone, who knew each other through their alma mater, the College of William & Mary, had spoken and e-mailed each other before Wone came over to Price’s house that evening, the affidavit states. Wone, who was general counsel for Radio Free Asia and a former associate at Covington & Burling, had decided to stay with Price that evening instead of driving to his Oakton, Va., home, where he lived with his wife of three years, Katherine Yu, say friends, co-workers, and police. MPD Capt. C.V. Morris told Legal Times that, right now, the residents are considered witnesses, although he says that could change. The three residents have hired criminal defense lawyers. Price and Zaborsky turned to Kathleen Voelker, a former Arent Fox partner who is now running a solo practice. David Schertler, former chief of the homicide section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is representing Ward, who could not be reached for comment. Price and Zaborsky did not return phone calls. Jonathan Rosen, a partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, says he is representing Sarah Morgan, a friend of the owners who lives in the English basement apartment at the Swann Street house. Meanwhile, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. of Covington has been brought in to represent the Wone family. Lawyers for the three men say their clients gave extensive statements to police the night of the murder. Regarding her clients, Price and Zaborsky, Voelker says, “They remain hopeful that the police will identify the intruder who committed this senseless crime.” Of Ward, Schertler says, “My client has not done anything wrong, and I don’t believe he will be charged.” The case is being investigated by a squad of homicide detectives working alongside Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Covell. Police have yet to close their investigation and maintain that witness accounts from that evening aren’t adding up. “Some of the information we were told, I just don’t believe,” Morris said during a televised press interview Aug. 3. Police took custody of the house immediately after the incident and have been searching it ever since. On Thursday, FBI investigators began assisting the probe and were heard sawing and hammering inside. “We don’t think it was a random act of violence,” says Brett Parson, sergeant in the MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, which is aiding in the investigation. According to the police affidavit, one of the residents told police that an intruder had entered the house through the back door. But “there were no signs of any forced entry to the house, either through the back door or any other location,” the affidavit states. “There was nothing that appeared out of place, nothing disturbed, nothing ransacked and nothing was taken.” Morris told Legal Times that the police had not entirely ruled out a break-in. On the night of Aug. 2, Wone, who started his job at Radio Free Asia about a month earlier, met up with his counterpart at Radio Free Europe, John Lindburg. The two shared an early dinner at Subway on 18th Street Northwest and then walked over to a continuing legal education class at the D.C. Bar. During the approximately three-hour-long course on federal grants, the two exchanged notes and whispers, Lindburg says. “He clearly wanted to learn as much as possible that could help him at his job,” he says. The class ended at 9:15, and while the two were walking back to the Metro Center Metro station, Wone told Lindburg he needed to head back to the office to meet up with workers on the night shift. Lindburg last saw Wone when he exited at the Farragut North station. Radio Free Asia Communications Director Sarah Jackson-Han says that Wone returned to the office that night, although she could not confirm whom he may have spoken with that evening. Eventually, Wone showed up at the Swann Street house. At 11:49 p.m. police received a phone call from someone in the house saying that Wone had been stabbed. Police arrived on the scene 13 minutes later. Wone was taken to GWU Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:24 a.m., according to the police report. Wone was found in a second-floor bedroom, but the MPD’s Morris would not say whether he was lying on a bed or a sofa. He was fully clothed, Morris says. The knife used in the attack was located on the table next to Wone and was from a “set of matching knives located in the kitchen of the house,” according to the affidavit. The residents told police that everyone else in the three-bedroom house was sleeping when the incident occurred. Price, who handles litigation and intellectual property at Arent Fox, has also done considerable legal work on gay rights issues. He is general counsel to Equality Virginia, for which he represented Janet Miller-Jenkins, a woman who sought custody rights after she and her partner broke up. Ward is a former spokesman for Equality Virginia, according to the group’s Web site. “Joe’s one of those people in the legal community that everyone looks up to,” says Jeff Trammell, a political consultant and friend. Price and his domestic partner, Zaborsky, bought the Swann Street house last year for $1.2 million. In 2004, Price and Zaborsky were the subject of a USA Today article on gay parents. The two fathered children with a lesbian couple in Silver Spring, Md., by donating sperm. William Charyk, managing partner at Arent Fox, says that Price has been at work all week. “He’s gone through a horrible tragedy,” Charyk says. “We’re just making sure that he’ll hang in there.” Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected] Legal Times’ News Editor Brendan Smith contributed to this article. Legal Times is a sister publication of The National Law Journal.

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