WASHINGTON - Daron Wint has been has been found guilty of all 20 counts in the brutal slaying of three members of a wealthy D.C. family and their housekeeper, more than three years after the vicious crime that has been dubbed the "Mansion Murders."
Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Philip and the family's housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, were found beaten, strangled and stabbed to death inside the family's mansion on Woodland Drive in Northwest D.C. in May 2015.
Initially, investigators said they thought others were involved in the heinous crime, but the defendant, Daron Wint, was the only person arrested and charged in the case.
As the Mansion Murders grabbed national attention, it took investigators and prosecutors three years to build their case against Wint.
The government's case relied heavily on DNA evidence collected from the scene, and some eyewitness testimony that was far from definitive. Forensic scientists testified that Wint's DNA was found on a pizza crust inside the Savopoulos' house as well as on other items, including a neon green vest discovered inside the family's Porsche that was stolen from the home and set on fire in Prince George's County in Maryland.
The trial featured one bombshell testimony after another. Wint took the stand in his own defense. His brothers, Steffon Wint and half-brother Darrell Wint (who we learned was assisting investigators), testified against him. His former fiancee and his brother-in-law also testified against him. Jordan Wallace, who worked as an assistant for Savvas Savopoulos, took the stand and spoke publicly for the first time since he was asked to hand deliver $40,000 in ransom to the home.
Prosecutors also used Daron Wint's digital footprint against him, noting that he was an avid user of Facebook, but recorded no activity on his cellphone or Facebook account on the days of May 13 and May 14, 2015. They also pointed to suspicious searches made from Daron Wint's cellphone during the days following the murders, including "countries with no extradition treaty" and the "best hideout cities for fugitives."
Prosecutors said Daron Wint was fueled by greed and a thirst for money. They noted that he worked at American Iron Works, the company Savvas Savopoulos owned along with his father, for two nearly years about a decade before the murders.
The defense tried to argue that Daron's younger brother, Darrell Wint, was the mastermind of the murders and that he and the other brother, Steffon Wint, actually carried out the murders. According to the defense, Daron Wint was deceived into going with his brother, Darrell, to the crime scene and was unaware of what was going on upstairs at the home on Woodland Drive.
"Today's verdict holds Darron Wint accountable for the cold-blooded murders of four innocent people, including a 10-year-old child, in a senseless home invasion that ended with him setting fire to the crime scene," said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. "While this defendant was searching for places to hide, a coordinated law enforcement effort was tracking him down and brought him to justice. We hope that the verdict will bring some comfort to the families of the victims."
"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," said D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. "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."
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a statement following the guilty verdict.
Wint was found guilty on four counts of first-degree murder while armed in the course of a kidnapping, four counts of first-degree murder while armed in the course of a burglary, four counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed, four counts of kidnapping and one count each of first-degree burglary, extortion, arson and first-degree theft.
Wint is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison without parole.
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