In opening statements in the D.C. mansion murders trial Tuesday, defendant Daron Wint’s lawyers said his brothers committed the quadruple homicide, not their client.
“This is what nightmares are made of,” the prosecution said as opening statements began.
Sixteen jurors listened closely as prosecutors described in detail what they believe happened in the hours leading up to the murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57. They say Amy Savopoulos was outside walking about 3:25 p.m. May 13, 2015, while Philip and Figueroa were inside the Savopoulos home on Woodland Drive in Northwest Washington.
Before she returned, Daron Wint entered the house, prosecutors said. When she got home, Wint forced her to call her husband and have him come home, they said.
When he arrived at 7 p.m., all four victims are tied up and tortured before their home is set on fire, Philip burned beyond recognition, they said.
Prosecutors say five pieces of DNA evidence link Wint to the crime scene: from a pizza crust, the handle of a knife that was propping open a basement window, hair found inside a construction hat and on bedding in the same room where the adult victims were found. DNA also was found on a construction vest.
Prosecutors also explained how Wint was constantly using Facebook, but there was no activity during the crime.
The defense said Wint had nothing to do with the crime. They said it was his brother and half-brother instead.
The defense said they used Wint’s blue minivan to drive to the Savopoulos home. They tricked Wint to go to the house, the defense said.
The defendant didn’t know he was at a crime scene when he ate a piece of pizza downstairs, the defense said.
Wint’s legal team also said Savvas Savopoulos’ assistant, Jordan Wallace, knows Wint’s half-brother and also was familiar with the family and the inside of the home, which they say will also tie Wallace to the crime.
“In the end it will be clear that the government got this one wrong,” the defense told the jurors.
Wint is charged with murder in the four deaths. 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.