Following an April 5 status hearing ahead of the trial in the death of Robert Wone, set to begin May 10, there was a lessened likelihood that the prosecution would be allowed to use a sexual-assault theory in its case against the defendants, three gay men.
Wone, a 32-year-old attorney living in Oakton, Va., was found dead from stab wounds inside the Swann Street home of his college friend Joe Price on Aug. 2, 2006. Price, a prominent local gay attorney, shared the space with his partner, Victor Zaborsky, and their then-roommate Dylan Ward. All three men claim an intruder killed Wone. They face obstruction of justice charges for allegedly tampering with the crime scene. No one has been charged with killing Wone.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz spent much of the status hearing talking about what may or may not be argued at the trial.
Lois Goslinoski, deputy medical examiner in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia, had stated in a 2008 court affidavit that she concluded the following when observing Wone’s body: ”The fact that Mr. Wone’s semen was found on and around his genitals, on his anus, and in his rectum is consistent with a sexual assault of some kind, especially in light of the assertions of Price, Zaborsky and Ward that Mr. Wone was heterosexual and had showered right before going to bed in the guestroom. Moreover there were many items and devices recovered from Ward’s bedroom designed to be inserted into one’s anal cavity.”
But Leibovitz told U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner at Monday’s hearing that Goslinoski may not be able to use that argument during her testimony if it’s based solely on speculation.
”She shouldn’t be allowed to burst out an opinion… [if it] holds no medical certainty, or reasonable medical certainty,” Leibovitz said.
Leibovitz also set an April 16 deadline for the prosecution to describe how it plans to use interviews and recordings of the defendants during the May trial: ”They talked a lot, and I need to know how you’re going to use it.”