Prosecutors Push for Trial Date in DC Mansion Murders Case - NBC4 Washington

Prosecutors Push for Trial Date in DC Mansion Murders Case



    DC Prosecutors: More DNA Evidence Links Suspect To Mansion Murders

    In court Friday, D.C. prosecutors say five items in a mansion where a couple, their son and their housekeeper were killed have DNA evidence linking the man accused in the slayings. News 4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports. (Published Friday, Oct. 28, 2016)

    Prosecutors were visibly frustrated Friday after a judge denied their request for a trial date for the man accused of killing a couple, their young son and their housekeeper in a Northwest Washington mansion last year. 

    Darron Wint appeared in court for a status hearing Friday. 

    The victims -- Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57 -- were found dead inside the Savopoulos family's multi-million-dollar Northwest D.C., mansion last May. 

    During the hearing, the prosecution said it has tested hundreds of items found in the Savopoulos home, and DNA linked Wint to five items. But the defense said it needed more time to test the evidence. 

    The judge sided with the defense and set another status hearing for Feb. 3, 2017. 

    Amy Savopoulos' parents were in court for Friday's hearing.

    "They want this to go away and to be over with. Everytime they are in the news, the family, and especially the two daughters, have to relive the nightmare," a source close to the family said.

    Held Captive for Roughly 18 Hours

    Wint pleaded not guilty earlier this year to the 20 felony charges he's facing in the brutal crime. The murder charges include four counts each of felony murder in the course of a kidnapping, felony murder in the course of a burglary and felony premeditated murder.

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

    Wint of Lanham, Maryland, kidnapped the victims inside the Savopoulos home, extorted $40,000 from them, killed them and set fire to the $3 million house, an indictment said. He allegedly held the victims captive for roughly 18 hours.

    Police previously said they believed Wint had help from others holding the Savopouloses and Figueroa captive, according to charging documents, but no other suspects have been identified. 

    There is evidence that the victims were tied up and possibly tortured, and the weapons included a baseball bat, Samurai swords and an unknown sharp object, police said.

    The couple and Figueroa were beaten with a bat and stabbed with a sharp object, according to the indictment. Philip was stabbed and burned.

    Police who investigated the scene said in court filings that Philip was found inside a bedroom that had been burned so badly that it was impossible to identify the boy.

    Police also found a bloody baseball bat at the scene.

    "I Am Making Sure You Do Not Come Today."

    The amount of time the family may have been held can be traced through phone calls and texts from the Savopoulouses and their housekeepers. 

    A source close to the family detailed a call from Amy to Savvas on May 13, asking Savvas to come home. Police believe Amy, Philip and Figueroa were already being held at that time. 

    Hours later investigators believe Wint forced Savvas to make a call to another housekeeper, known as Nelly, to make sure she would not come to the house that day.

    On a voicemail, Savvas was heard telling Nelly to stay home because Amy wss home sick, Vera was staying with her and the couple was "going through some stuff with Philip." He asked that Nelly send a text message to confirm the voicemail was received.

    On the morning of May 14, 2015, a final text message was sent to Nelly from Amy's phone."I am making sure you do not come today," the message said.

    The family's 2008 blue Porsche was later found torched in the parking lot of a church in New Carrollton, Maryland, about 13 miles from the Savopoulos home. A detective said Wint's DNA was found on a construction vest inside the car. 

    The detective also revealed that $30,000 of the $40,000 ransom has been accounted for. Police found $10,000 in money orders inside the vehicle Wint was in prior to his arrest. Cash and money orders worth $20,000 were also found inside a panel truck that was accompanying Wint. 

    Wint, who also goes by Daron Dylon Wint, was identified as a suspect through DNA found on a Domino's pizza crust found at the crime scene. But he had already fled the D.C. area, authorities said. Investigators tracked him to Brooklyn, New York, where they barely missed him. Wint paid someone in cash to drive him from Brooklyn back to Maryland, sources said.

    He was arrested May 21, 2015, after police found him riding in a two-vehicle caravan in Northeast D.C. Authorities say they found cash, cellphones and knives in the vehicles.

    Savvas Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier that played a role in rebuilding the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Wint once worked for the company as a welder.

    The murders, just blocks from the National Cathedral on a street lined with privacy fences and hidden cameras in one of D.C.'s wealthiest neighborhoods, stunned the city. The Savopoulos family was well-known there and in the community of their church, Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

    Savvas gave to charities for children's health; Amy was known as a go-to volunteer and for get-togethers she hosted for the neighborhood.

    The couple also had two daughters, who were away at boarding school at the time of the murders.