Prosecutors are insistent that the bloody knife found near to the body of Washington attorney Robert Wone was not the blade that someone plunged into his chest three times, killing him in August 2006.
The murder weapon, the government maintains, has never been found.
But Dr. Lois Goslinoski, deputy medical examiner for the District of Columbia, testified today in D.C. Superior Court that she cannot say for certain that the knife found in the room was not the one used in the killing. Goslinoski performed the autopsy on Wone, a former Covington & Burling associate.
Three men, Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward, are on trial for crimes tied to the homicide, but none of the men are charged with murder. Prosecutors allege the men set up the crime scene and obstructed the police investigation of the murder.
Goslinoski faced cross-examination today in the courtroom of Judge Lynn Leibovitz by defense attorneys David Schertler, Bernard Grimm and Thomas Connolly.
The defense attorneys are building a case that the knife on the nightstand near Wone’s body was, in fact, the murder weapon and not planted there to throw off investigators. Goslinoski said the knife found in the bedroom could have caused the same-sized slits on Wone’s chest.
Prosecutors allege a knife missing from a cutlery set found in Ward’s bedroom closet is the likely murder weapon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner said it’s more than a coincidence that the knife is missing. The defense attorneys say the knife set has changed hands several times and suggested earlier this week that the knife was in Seattle at the time of the murder.
Presented with two different knives, Goslinoski said today she could not state a “preference” regarding whether one of the knives was more likely to cause the perfect slits on Wone’s chest.
Goslinoski also testified that she thinks Wone wasn’t likely rendered unconsciousness until at least several minutes after the stabbing. Her testimony conflicts with the opinions of two defense experts who are expected to testify that Wone could have been dead within seconds. Grimm, Schertler and Connolly maintain Wone was killed in his sleep.
Wone should have been able to reflexively respond to the pain of the stab wounds, Goslinoski testified, after taking questions from Leibovitz.
Trial wrapped up about 1:50 p.m. for the week, and the prosecutors and defense attorneys packed up the gear and left the courthouse. Kirschner, chief of the homicide section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is being honored this afternoon for distinguished service, a colleague said. Kirschner was among several prosecutors expected to receive awards today at an annual event.