What to Know
- A jury found Daron Wint guilty on all 20 counts brought against him, including aggravated murder, burglary and arson.
- Wint faces up to 30 years in prison on each of four murder convictions.
- Family members wept as the verdict was read.
A jury has found the sole suspect in the D.C. mansion murders case guilty in the killing of three members of a Northwest D.C. family and their housekeeper.
Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their 10-year old son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, were found dead after their multimillion-dollar home on Woodland Drive NW was set on fire May 14, 2015.
Daron Wint was convicted of 12 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of all four people. He faces life in prison without the possibility for release.
After less than two days of deliberation, the jury found Wint guilty of all 20 charges brought against him, including burglary, theft and arson.
The minimum sentence is 30 years on each murder charge.
Family members of the victims wept as the verdict was announced. Walking out of court, prosecutor Laura Bach said she was relieved that the jurors did the right thing.
"We hope that the verdict will bring some comfort to the families of the victims," by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu said in a statement.
Prosecutors argued Wint was backed into a corner and had nowhere to go after getting kicked out of his family’s home, so he held the victims hostage in their home on May 13, 2015, to get a $40,000 ransom from Savvas Savopoulos, who was his former boss.
The defense argued Wint’s brothers committed the crime and set him up.
Investigators believe Savvas Savopoulos’ wife, son and housekeeper were already being held hostage when his wife called him to come home about 5:30 p.m. May 13, 2015. About three hours later, he called his personal assistant with instructions for getting the cash, which was left in a sports car in the Savopoulos garage about 10:30 a.m. the next day.
Another three hours later, firefighters arrived at the home to find smoke and fire coming out of the roof. The three adults had been stabbed and beaten to death, while Philip was found stabbed, beaten and burned in his bedroom.
Police identified Wint as a suspect based on DNA found on a piece of pizza delivered the night of May 13 and arrested him during a traffic stop May 21.
Witnesses for the prosecution testified about Wint flashing cash in the days after the crime. His brother-in-law Derrick Ayling said Wint showed him a wad of $100 bills and asked him to help burn his blue minivan the day after the crime. Wint’s former fiancée, Vanessa Hayles, testifying under an immunity deal, told jurors 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 half-brother Darell Wint asked for help to turn him in on May 21. Elias agreed and said he and Darell Wint were in a box truck with Daron Wint behind them in a car with Darell Wint’s friends when U.S. marshals moved in to make the arrest.
Daron Wint told jurors his half-brother asked him for his help with a painting job he was doing with their brother Steffon Wint. Daron Wint said Darell Wint borrowed his blue minivan May 13, 2015, and dropped him off at a friend’s house, where he spent the night after his half-brother didn’t return with the minivan. The prosecution noted that friend has died and none of Wint’s family members can confirm the alibi.
Wint said his half-brother picked him up the next morning in the Savopoulos family’s blue Porsche and took him to the mansion.
Wint said he ate a piece of stale pizza and was asked by his Darell Wint to put on a construction vest and hard hat. He said his half-brother said he was going to steal from the home. Daron Wint testified he refused to participate.
Daron Wint's DNA was found on the pizza, the vest, the hard hat and a knife that propped open a window in the basement. He could not explain how it got on the knife.
"I know District residents were particularly outraged by this case because of the extreme atrocities that were inflicted on the Savopoulos family and Ms. Figueroa," Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a statement. "Acts of violence such as this are unacceptable and not welcomed in our city. As promised, the individual who committed this heinous crime was brought to justice today."
The guilty verdict does not preclude prosecutors from bringing more charges in the case in the future.
Kirschner says Wint will probably appeal but said it's unlikely a higher court would reverse the verdict.
"I didn't really see any significant missteps," Kirschner said. "It will be appealed. I predict the case will be upheld on appeal."
Wint will be sentenced Feb. 1.