Legal Experts Say Prosecution Doing Well in Mansion Murders Trial

Legal experts who have been watching the D.C. mansion murders case closely say the prosecution is making a convincing case against lone suspect Daron Wint.

Jurors heard from several of Wint’s family members, including his brother-in-law Derrick Ayling, who testified that Wint showed him a wad of $100 bills and asked him to help burn his blue minivan one day after three members of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper were murdered and their Northwest Washington home was set on fire.

Wint’s former fiancée, Vanessa Hayles, took an immunity deal to testify and told jurors that Wint stayed with her in New York after the murders. She said he told her he won the lottery and was paying for dinner and shopping sprees in cash.

Hayles testified she saw Wint’s mug shot on TV the night of May 20, 2015. She and Wint fled to a nearby hotel before he would take a cab ride back to D.C. the next day, she said.

Wint’s cousin George Elias also was called to the witness stand and told jurors Wint’s brother Darrell Wint asked for help to turn him in on May 21. Elias agreed and said he and Darrell Wint were in a box truck with Daron Wint behind them in a car with Darrell Wint’s friends when U.S. marshals moved in to make the arrest.

The prosecution is trying to show Darrell Wint wasn't involved with the murders and went out of his way to help turn his brother in to police.

The defense will argue Wint’s brothers committed the crime.

“They’re going to have to present evidence that Wint’s brothers are lying and present affirmative evidence,” D.C.-based criminal defense lawyer Bernard Grimm said.

Grimm said the government is doing a good job, and former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner agrees.

“It was really an exercise in alibiing out Daron Wint’s brothers as much as it was proving that Daron Wint was present and was the perpetrator,” he said.

Wint’s murder trial — now in its fifth week — resumes Tuesday, when the prosecution could wrap.

Wint is charged with murder in the deaths of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57. He is accused of holding the victims captive, extorting $40,000 and setting their Northwest Washington mansion on fire.

Wint faces life in prison without possibility for release on each murder charge. The minimum sentence is 30 years on each murder charge.

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