WASHINGTON - It was a big week in the D.C. Mansion Murders trial, starting off with a key witness on the stand and disturbing photos shown to the jury. Fire investigators also testified about where and how they think the fire at the Savopoulos home on Woodland Drive started.
On Thursday, before the jury came in, there was an argument between the prosecution and the defense about whether to show a very graphic photo of the body of 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos. The defense said that it was too disturbing. However, the prosecution said it was important to show the picture so that the jury could see the extent of the damage.
Some family members did choose to leave the courtroom when the photo was presented. A D.C. Firefighter testified that when he went into the blackened and smoke-filled room, he fell into a hole in the floor. As he fell, he reached out, felt a bed and then a body so badly burned there were no features left.
The fire in the bedroom where Philip Savopoulos was found was so hot there was a flashover, officials said. Fire investigators told the jury that means everything in there burned simultaneously. Photos of furniture, doors, walls and ceiling beams looked like they were made of charcoal.
As to the cause of the fire, investigator Tomi Rucker testified "we believe an unknown person used gasoline and an open flame." We know that matches and a matchbox were also found at the scene.
A D.C. police evidence technician also took the stand to discuss evidence found at the scene. A photo was shown of two gray telephone boxes located in the back of the house near the white French doors that open into the kitchen. Five wires coming out of that box had been cut.
Police detailed many of the items that were collected as potential evidence including a baseball bat, pieces of duct tape, a shirt, a knife that was used to prop open a basement bathroom window, some fire debris and pieces of bedding as well.
There have been more than 30 witnesses so far and there are more to come.