Defense Challenges Alleged ‘Wipe Marks’ on Victim Robert Wone in Cover Up Case
Defense attorney Bernie Grimm on Thursday cross-examined the D.C. Fire and EMS staffer who previously testified to finding "wipe marks" on the torso of slain attorney Robert Wone on the night of Aug. 2, 2006.
Grimm's client, Joe Price, and two Dupont Circle housemates, stand accused of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence in connection to Wone's murder. The defendants blame an unknown intruder for breaking-in and killing their friend.
Grimm pointed to grand jury testimony in which EMS worker Jeff Baker previously made no reference to any purported "wipe marks" on the victim. Baker said he didn't recall whether he mentioned the marks to the grand jury or not.
"If it's not in there, it's not in there, right?" Grimm said.
Baker yesterday testified about his suspicions of the housemates upon first responding to the scene of the stabbing. "My radar was up," he said.
The defense asked Baker whether suspect Victor Zaborsky, described as standing outside the house in a terry cloth robe, was "sobbing uncontrollably" when paramedics first arrived at the Swann Street address that night.
Baker confirmed Zaborsky's tears, adding, however, "I didn't feel like his crying was sincere."
Grimm further challenged Baker's prior testimony that suspect Dylan Ward, standing atop an interior staircase in a similar robe, also acted strangely when paramedics arrived.
Baker said Ward remained silent when asked what was going on. "He saw me and he heard me," Baker said. But he just turned and walked away.
Grimm pointed out that Baker was a big guy, ascending the stairs with a stretcher: "He could have been just trying to get out of your way, correct?"
"I don't think that's what was going on?" the paramedic replied. In similar situations, Baker said, "People tend to help you out." Baker said Ward made no effort to even show him where the victim was. "I didn't feel like I got an appropriate response," Baker said.
Grimm then pointed to police records indicating that Baker had previously told detectives on the case that Ward did, in fact, point to the room in which the victim was located.
Baker said he didn't recall telling detectives that.
"Somehow you know to go into that front room," Grimm says. "How did you know?"
Baker called it a "lucky guess."
Images of the guest room where Wone's body was found were displayed on a large, drop-down screen inside the courtroom during Baker's testimony on Thursday. An IKEA catalogue sat atop a desk in the room. Wone's body was found atop a green fold-out sofa bed.