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Judge refuses to dismiss charges in Wone case

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A D.C. Superior Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges against three gay men implicated in the 2006 stabbing death of Washington attorney Robert Wone.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz, who took over the case from Judge Frederick Weisberg earlier this month, called the defense motion to dismiss the two charges “meritless” in her Jan. 15 decision.

Defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward did not seek dismissal of the third charge against them: evidence tampering. But attorneys for the men have said their clients are innocent of all charges. They have said since the men were indicted nearly two years ago that an unidentified intruder killed Wone after entering their house while they were asleep. Authorities have yet to charge anyone with the murder itself.

Members of Wone’s family, including his wife, have said Wone was spending the night at the Dupont Circle home of the three men after working late at his downtown office. The family members have said that Wone, who was straight, was friends with the three men.

Police and prosecutors have released a detailed affidavit alleging that the three men tampered extensively with the crime scene and conspired to mislead police and obstruct the police investigation into the murder. The affidavit says crime scene evidence shows that Wone was sexually assaulted after being immobilized with a paralytic drug before being stabbed three times in a guest bedroom in the men’s home on Swann Street, N.W.

Leibovitz set a March 12 status hearing for the case. A trial is scheduled to begin May 10.

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Baltimore

Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep

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Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Maryland

Moore pardons more than 175,000-plus cannabis-related convictions

Governor signed executive order at State House on Monday

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

BY BRENDA WINTRODE and PAMELA WOOD | Gov. Wes Moore pardoned more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions Monday, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order during a State House ceremony, granting clemency to thousands of people convicted in Maryland. The convictions to be pardoned include more than 150,000 misdemeanors for simple possession and more than 18,000 for possession of drug paraphernalia with an intent to use.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Local

Blade wins multiple journalism awards

Society of Professional Journalists recognizes writing, design work

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The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the work of the Washington Blade at its annual Dateline Awards dinner last week.

The Blade took top honors in the weekly newspaper editorial/opinion writing category for a piece by Michael Lavers, the Blade’s international news editor, titled, “Bearing witness to the unimaginable,” which recounted watching raw footage of Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In it, Lavers wrote, “The Israeli government clearly wants the world to understand the barbarity of what happened on Oct. 7, and that is why it has shown footage of that horrific Saturday to journalists and lawmakers. The footage left me deeply shaken, and perhaps that was the point.”

Washington Blade graphic designer Meaghan Juba won the Dateline Award for front-page design in the weekly newspaper category.

And in the weekly newspaper-features category, the Blade’s Kathi Wolfe was recognized as a finalist for her piece titled, “Meet one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet.”

“These awards reflect our 55-year commitment to journalistic excellence,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “Congratulations to our team for another year of award-winning journalism.”

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