three men acquitted in robert wone murder cover-up

Yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, all three defendants accused of covering up the murder of Robert Wontwere found not guilty. The judge acquitted the three housemates, saying she believed that the defendants know who killed Wone, but that the prosecution failed to prove that they did: D.C. judge acquits 3 of Wone slaying cover-up, cites reasonable doubt.

I don't doubt that something shady happened the night of August 2, 2006, when Wone was stabbed to death -- and Joseph R. Price, Victor J. Zaborsky and Dylan M. Ward are indeed hiding something. The judge knows they know something. But it comes down to the reasonble doubt standard:
D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz said she thinks that the three defendants made up a story about an intruder breaking in and stabbing the overnight guest at their Northwest Washington home. But in the end, prosecutors had not proved their case, she said, concluding a trial that captivated the region and much of the nation with its most salacious elements: money, class, sex and homicide.

The key to the verdict was the strong distinction between what she might feel in her gut and what was proved beyond a reasonable doubt in her courtroom, the judge said.

"In the ordinary decisions we make in our daily lives, a person who believes something strongly, but without evidentiary support beyond a reasonable doubt, may still be correct in her belief and responsible in her decision-making," Leibovitz said.

"But to convict an accused, a trier of fact must be firmly convinced based on evidentiary certainty."
And with that came the end of the one of the most sensational, salacious criminal trials in D.C. history. And still, no one has been arrested for the murder of Robert Wone. But the case isn't exactly over. Wone's family has a $20 million wrongful-death lawsuit pending against the men. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for September. More here: Judge rules not guilty in Robert Wone case.

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