DC mansion killings: Daron Wint on trial
202

LiveBlog

DC mansion killings: Daron Wint on trial Live

D.C. mansion killings trial: Follow the key testimony and evidence in our liveblog of the first-degree murder trial of Daron Wint.


     
    Three years after three members of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, were held hostage for a $40,000 ransom and then stabbed and beaten to death, the man charged in their killings finally goes to trial. Daron Wint, a former employee of Savvas Savopoulos' iron works company, has pleaded not guilty. The trial, which is expected to last nearly two months, began Sept. 11, 2018. WTOP's Megan Cloherty is following the trial from the courtroom. This liveblog is maintained by WTOP's Jack Moore. If you have questions about the case, click "Make a comment" below and we'll do our best to answer it. 

Options

Font Size
Viewer Comments
Sounds
Translate posts and comments.
Make a comment
  • As jury prepares to take case: What we still don't know about horrific crime at Woodland Drive

     
    As the attorneys in Daron Wint's murder trial prepare to give closing arguments before the jury, we're reflecting on the facts we still don’t know about the horrific crime at Woodland Drive.
     
    We’ll start with when the crime happened. During their case, prosecutors laid out a general timeline of when the three members of the Savopoulous family and their housekeeper were taken captive and killed. 
     
    A neighbor testified she spotted Amy Savopoulos, 47, out for a walk near a Starbucks at about 3:30 p.m. on May 13. Back at the Savopoulos house on Woodland Drive her 10-year-old son, Philip Savopoulos, is home sick from school recovering from a concussion. Veralicia Figueroa, 57, one of the family's housekeepers, is also inside the house. It's when Amy Savopoulos was out for her walk that phone lines at the house are likely cut and Daron Wint walks in, according to prosecutors.
     
    But there's something odd about the neighbor's testimony. She said Amy was wearing a dressy skirt with a light-colored sweater over her shoulders and looked nice. Why is that strange? Amy Savopoulos was captured on surveillance video at a doctor's office with her son earlier that morning wearing a different outfit. And it was that earlier outfit — a dark tank top and white pants — that Amy Savopoulos' (no body) was found wearing when authorities responded to the burning Savopoulos house the next day. Given the prosecutions timeline, she wouldn’t have time to change back into the tank top and white jeans if she was taken hostage when she arrived home.
     
    We don’t know how the family and Figueroa were taken hostage — if it was one-by-one or otherwise — which would shed light on how many suspects it would take to wrangle four people. More broadly, we still don't know if the crime was the work of just a single attacker. From the beginning, DC police have said they believed the elaborate crime could not have been carried out by a single person. But Daron Wint remains the only person charged and the prosecution has dismissed the defense's contention that it was actually his two younger brothers who carried out the killings. 
     
    Among the pieces of evidence that complicate the prosecution timeline: 
     
    Two workers at the residence of the Australian ambassador — across the street from the Savopoulos house — testified they saw an African-American man with dreadlocks approach the house's garage and duck inside at around noon on May 14. This would have been some 18 hours after the family was first taken hostage. Why would Daron Wint be seen entering the house at that time?
     
    While the victims were held captive, members of the family made a number of phone calls.  One of those calls — The last phone call, according to prosecutors’ timeline — was made by Amy to a lawn sprinkler maintenance company to cancel a planned appointment that day. "She was very nervous," the sprinkler business owner testified. "She said she had to leave the house. She said her son got injured ... she had to go to the hospital and she had to cancel the appointment." 
     
    Amy’s call was made at 1:12 p.m. on May 14 — just 12 minutes before firefighters received the first report of smoke at the Savopoulos house and rushed to the scene. Were the victims — or at least Amy Savopoulos — alive that close to the time firefighters arrived at the scene? It appeared rigor mortis — which usually sets in at least two hours after death — had set in for some of the victims by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. But a medical examiner testified that extreme heat can speed up the process. Given the amount of evidence compromised by the fire, the medical examiner testified she couldn’t provide an exact time of death for any of the victims.
     
    We know given their injuries that the adults were tortured but because so much evidence was destroyed in the fire — including the injuries to their bodies, that’s information the medical examiner says we'll never know. Philip’s body was so badly burned she said there is no way to tell if he died before or after the fire was set on the mattress where he was laying.
     
    The biggest thing we still dont know? Why. 
     
    Daron Wint worked for Savvas Savopoulos' ironworks company for a few years a decade before the killings. 
     
    During opening arguments, prosecutors laid out what they believe is the motive in the case: "Money, greed and ransom." They pointed to the $40,000 that was extorted from Savvas Savopoulos and delivered to the family's house while the victims were held captive. 
    But the killings were so brutal, so horrific, it's hard to think someone would do that for $40,000. 
     
    The defense says Wint had no reason to have that anger and vendetta against a family that by all accounts — he didn't know
    We'll soon learn whether the jury thinks Wint is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
  • Megan Cloherty recaps the case

  • Oct. 18, 2018 — Day 19
     

    After 5 weeks of gripping testimony, mansion killings case to go to jury

    The prosecution has rested its case against Daron Wint, the man charged with killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015. 

    After five weeks of testimony, including several gripping hours in which Daron Wint took the witness stand himself, attorneys are preparing to turn the case over to jurors to decide Wint's fate. 

    On the last day of the rebuttal phase of the trial, prosecutors called witnesses to contradict the timeline Daron Wint laid out, accounting for his whereabouts on May 13 and May 14, 2015, during the time Savvas, Amy, Philip Savopoulos and Vera Figueroa were taken captive and killed. 
     
    Daron Wint, who has pleaded not guilty, claims it was actually his two younger brothers who planned and carried out the killings. He testified last week that Darrell Wint lured him to the Savopoulos house in May 2015 on the false promise of a painting job but that he — Daron Wint — left after he learned his brother planned to burglarize the residence. 
     
    But in a surprise turn, Darrell Wint took the stand earlier this week, rebutting his brother's testimony and denying any part in the crime or ever being near the Savopoulos house. On Thursday, Darrell Wint's alibi was backed up by cellphone location records, which showed his phone was in Montgomery County, Maryland, for most of the day May 13 and 14 — during the time the four victims were held captive. 
     
    For example, Darrell Wint testified he went to the house of a friend in Gaithersburg that morning and watched a music video his friend had produced. The cell location shows his phone was in Gaithersburg at about 10:24 a.m. on May 13.
     
    He also testified that he might have stayed out late drinking at a bar on the night of May 13 into the early morning hours of May 14. The cellphone location data showed his phone pinging shortly after 5 a.m. near the Odalis bar in Silver Spring. 
     
    However, the defense has sought to raise questions about whether Darrell Wint was actually carrying his phone or whether he handed it over to a friend. Defense attorneys argued strenuously Thursday that they should be allowed to put another witness on the stand to further raise questions about Darrell's whereabouts, but the judge denied the request. 
     
    Closing arguments Monday; jury to consider 20 counts
     
    Closing arguments in the case are set for Monday. 
     
    Overall, the jury will consider 20 counts against Daron Wint, including first-degree premeditated felony murder while armed in the deaths of each of the four victims. The counts also include aggravating circumstances in the death of 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos because he was especially vulnerable because of his age. In addition, Wint faces four counts of kidnapping, one count of extortion, one count of arson and one count of theft. 
     
    Prosecutors allege the motive for the killings was greed. Prosecutors say Daron Wint forced Savvas Savopoulos to withdraw $40,000 from his business' bank account and to have it delivered to the house while the victims were being held captive inside. When Daron Wint was arrested, police recovered a wad of cash amounting to several thousand dollars and several thousand more in money orders. 
     
    Daron Wint worked for Savvas Savopoulos' ironworks company for a few years a decade before the killings.
     
    Daron Wint was initially linked to the killings after forensic experts said his DNA was found on a crust of pizza that had been delivered to the Savopoulos house at the time the victims were held hostage. Prosecutors said Daron Wint's DNA was also found on a knife propping open a basement window, and two hairs found inside the home — including one in the bedding of a bloodstained upstairs bedroom — were also a match to Daron Wint. 
     
    The defense sought to raise questions about how the DNA evidence was collected and processed and noted the two hairs found inside the house share the same DNA signature with Daron Wint's other younger brother, Steffon Wint. 
     
    The defense first argued that Daron Wint's two younger brothers are responsible for the killings during opening arguments in the case last month. Neither brother has ever been charged and prosecutors, who reject the defense's theory, say both of Daron Wint's younger brothers have cooperated with the government. 
     
  • Oct. 17, 2018 — Day 18

    Brother of mansion killings defendant testifies; pizza receipt, YouTube video key to alibi

    In another surprise turn, the brother of the man on trial in the killings of four people inside a D.C. mansion in 2015 took the stand Wednesday, denying that he framed his brother for the killings or that he had any part in the crime as his brother's lawyers contend.

    In gripping testimony, Darrell Wint laid out an alibi — partly corroborated by phone records, a pizza delivery receipt and a YouTube video timestamp —  and said his brother, Daron Wint, “should be ashamed of himself for real” for trying to pin the killing on him.

    Darrell Wint is the younger half-brother of Daron Wint, the lone suspect charged in the killings of Savvas, Amy and Philip Savopoulos and the family's housekeeper, Vera Figueroa.

    In his testimony Wednesday during the prosecution's rebuttal phase of the trial, Darrell Wint laid out an accounting of his whereabouts during the time authorities have said the victims were taken captive and later killed.

    Darrell Wint told jurors he had a job interview May 13 and then spent the day hanging out at a friend's house in Gaithersburg, Maryland, before picking up his son from school that afternoon.

    On May 14, Darrell Wint said he took his younger children to the house of a friend in Silver Spring who also had young children. His alibi for that day is backed up by a receipt for a pizza that was delivered to his friend's house. The receipt shows his phone number and debit card were used to make a purchase from a Silver Spring Domino's at 12:16 p.m. on May 14 — just over an hour before firefighters responded to the burning Savopoulos house where the bodies of the victims were discovered inside. 

    The use of a pizza-delivery receipt to buttress Darrell Wint's alibi is an ironic twist in a case that began three years ago with evidence recovered from a pizza crust.

    Daron Wint was arrested a week after the killings after authorities said his DNA was found on the crust of a pizza that had been delivered to the Savopoulos home while the victims were held captive.

    In contrast to Daron Wint, whose phone went dark over the two days the victims were taken captive and later killed, prosecutors showed call records for Darrell Wint that showed a steady stream of incoming and outgoing calls on May 13 and May 14.

    But Wint's defense team sought to raise questions about whether Darrell Wint was the one actually making the phone calls because, on the stand Wednesday, he was unable to identify all of the numbers.

    Under pointed questioning by Judith Pipe, with the District Public Defender Service, Darrell Wint was fuzzy on many of the details surrounding his whereabouts over the two days of May 13 and 14. She pointed to all the gaps in his account of his whereabouts over those two days. For example, Darrell Wint said he can't remember if he stayed out late drinking at Silver Spring bars on the night of May 13.

    Repeatedly, when asked to describe his whereabouts, his responses were punctuated with “maybe” and “probably.”

    However, another witness called during the rebuttal phase of the trial backed up part of Darrell Wint's alibi. The friend who lived in Gaithersburg, Anthony Anderson, testified that Darrell did, in fact, stop by at some point on May 13. Anderson, who worked as a videographer, testified he remembers Darrell visiting because it was the same day a music video Anderson had been working was posted on YouTube. The video for “Haters Hate” was posted May 13, 2015, according to the time stamp on YouTube. Prosecutors entered a screenshot of the rap video into evidence.

    Darrell Wint — who was previously convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and of first-degree assault in Maryland — did not testify during the prosecution's initial case, and there was intense speculation about whether he would take the stand during the rebuttal phase. Darrell Wint has not been offered immunity in exchange for his testimony, according to prosecutors.

    After an intense back and forth between prosecutors and the defense before the jury entered the room, the defense was given permission to question Darrell about the 2007 assault conviction that Pipe, the public defender, described as an attack on a man for “snitching” on one of Darrell Wint's friends.

    On the stand, Darrell Wint admitted the conviction but said the man who was attacked had “blatantly lied.” The attack involved a knife, and Darrell Wint was initially charged with attempted murder, neither of which the jury heard during testimony.

    Elsewhere in testimony, Darrell Wint told jurors he met up with his brother, Daron Wint, on the evening of May 14 — several hours after the fire at the Savopoulos house — to make a trip to Walmart. Darrell Wint was due to start a painting job the next day, and he needed to buy painter's pants and other supplies, he said.

    Later that night, Darrell Wint said Daron Wint directed him to an industrial area off Kenilworth Avenue in Prince George's County because he said his van had run out of gas. Daron Wint carried a bucket full of gas off into the dark along with a bag, Darrell Wint told jurors. A few minutes later, Daron Wint returned — but without the bag, and when Darrell drove away, he said he saw smoke.

    Darrell Wint testified the incident didn't sit right with him. 

    "It just seemed suspect to me," he said. Despite having plans to meet up the next day, Darrell Wint said that never happened.

    "I didn't like the vibes that I caught the night before," Darrell Wint told jurors. 

    Prosecutors say Darrell Wint later took police to the spot where he drove his brother on May 14, where they found burned debris. The location is also near where Daron Wint's van was found set ablaze a few days later. 

    Daron Wint's team of public defenders also claims another younger brother — who shares a key DNA signature with Daron Wint — took part in the killings as well. Steffon Wint testified earlier in the trial, rebutting the allegations and providing time sheets showing he was working as a construction supervisor at the time. 

    Neither brother has ever been charged, and prosecutors have dismissed the defense's theory.

    Closing arguments in the nearly six-week trial are expected Monday. 

     
     
  • Oct. 16, 2018 


    About face? Prosecutors want jury to be able to consider possibility of additional suspects 


    As the murder trial of the man accused of killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in May 2015 winds down, prosecutors in the case want jurors to be able to consider the possibility of additional suspects even as they weight the fate of Daron Wint. 
     
    The move, which came in a discussion before Judge Juliet McKenna regarding jury instructions, appears to be an about-face for prosecutors who have argued 37-year-old Wint acted alone. 
     
    The instructions on aiding and abetting would advise jurors they can vote to convict Wint even if they think someone else was involved, according to reporter Meagan Fitzgerald, with WTOP's news partner NBC Washington. She was inside the courtroom as attorneys haggled over the jury instructions.  
     
    Wint’s team of public defenders sought to keep aiding and abetting from the jury instructions, arguing prosecutors had never presented evidence anyone was involved, but the judge ruled they could be included. 
     
    Daron Wint is the lone person to be charged in the killings of Savvas, Amy and Philip Savopoulos and Vera Figueroa. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys claim it was actually Daron Wint's younger half-brother, Darrell Wint, and Wint's younger full brother, Steffon Wint, who carried out the killings. 
     
    Prosecutors have dismissed the defense's theory. Steffon Wint testified earlier during the trial, denying any role in the crime and providing time sheets showing he was working as a construction supervisor at the time the four victims were taken captive inside the Savopoulos family's Woodley Park mansion in May 2015. Darrell Wint has been cooperating with prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Bach revealed this week, but it's unclear if he will be called to testify in the prosecution's rebuttal phase later this week. 
     
    The defense is scheduled to wrap up its case Wednesday; closing statements are set for Monday. 
     
  • Oct. 15, 2018 — Day 17
     

    Defense aims to shift focus to brother of mansion killings defendant

     
    As defense attorneys for Daron Wint, the Maryland man accused of killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015 make their case this week, they've sought to shift the focus to his younger half-brother Darrell Wint, who they accuse carrying out the slayings — and who has not yet testified in the case. 

    Daron Wint is charged with killing Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and the family's housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, in May 2015 after taking them hostage and extorting $40,000 from the businessman father. The bodies of the four victims were later found inside the family's burning house. 

    Daron Wint had pleaded not guilty and his team of public defenders has sought to pin the blame on Darrell Wint and another younger brother, Steffon Wint. 

    In court Monday afternoon, Det. Darryl Richmond, with D.C. police, testified Darrell Wint initially told police he was working on May 13 and May 14 2015 — during the time the four victims were taken captive and later tortured and killed. Darrell Wint told police he was working at both PCM Services, a construction company, and Unity Disposal, a trash collection company. 
     
    However, neither company had records of Darrell Wint working those days. The trash disposal company said Darrell was working May 12, but not May 13. PCM records indicate Darrell was hired to do a painting job but his orientation wasn't until May 15. 

    Also in court Monday, two of Darrell Wint's friend testified Darrell Wint never asked them to provide a fake alibi or cover for him but both said they couldn't account for his whereabouts over those two days or remember if they even saw him. 

    One of those friends, Garnette Williams, testified that Darrell Wint gave him cash to rent a hotel room in College Park, Maryland, that Daron Wint briefly stayed in before he was arrested a week after the killings. Williams who used his real name, identification and phone number to book the room, said he was upset with what Darrell Wint got him involved in, but he said his friend just kept saying: "It's my brother; it's my brother." 
     
    It was revealed earlier during the trial that Darrell Wint had been working with police to turn his brother in, in the hours before Daron Wint's arrest by U.S. Marshals. 
     
    Federal prosecutor Laura Bach also revealed last week that Darrell Wint had been cooperating with prosecutors — although he was not among the several dozen witnesses the government called to testify. 

    Regarding an alibi for Darrell Wint, prosecutors have already introduced cellphone location data for Darrell Wint's phone for May 13 and May 14 that they say show he wasn't anywhere near the Savopoulos house in Northwest D.C.  
     
    In a surprising turn last week, Daron Wint himself took the stand, testifying he was at the house of a friend's house drinking in Southeast D.C. during the time the time authorities have said the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper were held hostage. He said Darrell Wint tricked him into going to the Woodland Drive mansion the next day on the promise of a painting job but that he left when he found his brother planned to burglarize the house. 

    Daron Wint's attorneys have also claimed his younger full brother, Steffon Wint, played a role in the killings, citing a hair found in bloody upstairs bedding that matches both Daron and Steffon Wint. (The kind of DNA extracted from hair evidence is shared between siblings with the same mother). Steffon Wint testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial, denying any role in the crime and providing timesheets from his job as a construction supervisor showing he was working at the time the four victims were held and killed. 

    Neither of Wint's younger brothers has ever been charged and prosecutor have rejected the defense's theory. 
     
    Oct. 15, 2018 — Day 17


    2 days before fire, defense witness says she saw strange man but it wasn't Wint

     
    Jurors in the trial of the Maryland man charged with killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper heard from a number of witnesses Monday called by Daron Wint's attorneys, including from one woman who spotted a strange man in the neighborhood that she said she's sure wasn't Wint. 
     
    Daron Wint is accused of killing D.C. businessman Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and the family's housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, in May 2015 after taking them hostage and extorting $40,000 from the family. The bodies of the four victims were later found inside the burning house. 
     
    Maria DeSilva, who worked as a housekeeper at a home on Garfield Street NW — around the corner from the Savopoulous house on Woodland Drive — testified she saw a man in the neighborhood acting strangely on the afternoon of May 12 — the day before authorities believe the victims were taken captive. 
     
    The African-American man was stopped in front of a house in the neighborhood. He seemed to have an odd attitude and behavior, she testified. He was pacing back and forth and spitting on the ground, she said. He might have been on drugs, she said. "I felt fear," she said.   
    The woman testified the man had short hair and was wearing a baseball cap. She said it didn't appear as if the man had longer hair that was tucked up under the hat, because the hat was tight on his head. 
     
    She said the man did not resemble Daron Wint, although she acknowledged under questioning by prosecutors that she did not see the man's face. 
     
    Jennifer Owens, who works in the ATF forensic science lab and studies tool marks, which is the science of patterns and markings left on objects, testified she couldn't say for sure with what object was used to cut the phone lines at the Savopoulos house. That means there was nothing to indicate the knife found propping open a basement window was used to cut the phone lines. (Forensic experts testified that knife turned up a match for Daron Wint's DNA)
     
    Rolando DeLeon, a mechanic who lived and worked near the industrial parking lot in Prince George's County where Daron Wint's blue minivan was found burning a few days after the killings at the Savopoulos mansion testified he saw a man get into a white pickup truck that then drove away from the area where the van was set on fire. He said he didn't see anyone else but that he had the impression there was another person inside the truck because the man he saw got into the truck's passenger side. 
     
    The mechanic said he wasn't sure what race the person was or how long his hair was only that he was wearing a white T-shirt. 
     
    Overall, the defense has sought to raise questions about how evidence in the case was handled. 
     
    An officer who worked in the Department of Forensic Science's Central Evidence Unit, who played a role in storing evidence in the Savopoulos case, testified Monday that mistakes can happen in storing evidence but that didn't happen as far as she knew in this case. Defense attorneys pointed out the employee was terminated for failing to secure a gun in a separate case. Prosecutors noted the employee did not work on processing evidence and only handled items that had already been bagged. 
     
    Officer Iban Singleton, from the D.C. Police Department's Forensic Science Unit, who took crime scene photos of the Savopoulos house in the first few days after the fire. He testified he didn't recall seeing any windows propped open in the basement on May 14 or May 15. The knife — with Daron Wint's DNA on it — was recovered propping open a bathroom window in the basement on May 20. 
     
    Last week, jurors heard directly from Daron Wint. In several hours of testimony, Daron Wint, who has pleaded not guilty, testified he was at the house of a friend's house drinking in Southeast D.C. during the time the time authorities have said the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper were held hostage. Wint's team of public defenders has sought to pin the blame on Darrell Wint and another brother. Neither of the other brothers has been charged, and prosecutors dismissed the defense's theory.
     
    Oct. 11, 2018 — Day 16
     

    Wint's cross-examination: Prosecutor seeks to poke holes in alibi

     
    In a second day of explosive testimony, the man charged with torturing and killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015 took the stand Thursday, facing a barrage of sharp questions from a federal prosecutor, who accused him of lying and sought to poke holes in his testimony. 
     
    Daron Wint, 37, had testified earlier that he was at a friend's house drinking in May 2015, during the time the four victims were held captive in the family's Woodley Park mansion and that it was actually his younger half-brother, Darrell Wint, who is responsible for the killings. 
     
    But, under intense questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Bach, it was revealed that the man Daron Wint had cited as his alibi — a friend identified only as Ed — apparently died last year. Bach also revealed for the first time that the brother, Darrell Wint, had been working with police and prosecutors, providing phone records and other evidence against Daron Wint.
     
    Daron Wint is accused of killing D.C. businessman Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and the family's housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, in May 2015 after taking them hostage and extorting $40,000 from the family. The bodies of the four victims were later found inside the burning house. Daron Wint has pleaded not guilty, and his team of public defenders has sought to pin the blame on Darrell Wint and another brother. Neither of the other brothers has been charged, and prosecutors dismissed the defense's theory. 
     
    In fact, Bach said Darrell Wint had turned over phone records to police and prosecutors. Cell tower location records show Darrell Wint's phone was never near the Woodley Park mansion where the victims were held on either May 13 or 14, Bach said. Darrell Wint also took police to the area where Daron Wint's blue minivan was found burning a few days after the killings and showed investigators a pile of debris that he said his brother had burned. (Daron Wint's other brother, Steffon Wint, testified for the prosecution last week, denying any involvement.) 
     
    Bach also accused Daron Wint of making up his story on the witness stand, tailoring it around the evidence and testimony introduced over the four weeks as prosecutors made their case. Daron Wint insisted he was simply telling the truth. 
     
    For example, two witnesses said they saw a man matching Daron Wint's description slipping inside the home's garage on May 14 about an hour and a half before the house's upstairs rooms were seen engulfed in smoke, and Daron Wint's DNA was found on the crust of a pizza that had been delivered to the house at the time authorities believe the family was being held captive. 
     
    Daron Wint's version of events: He claimed his brother lured him to the Savopoulos home with the false promise of a painting and drywall job, and that he ate a slice of pizza while he was inside, but that he stayed downstairs and had no idea anyone was being held captive upstairs.
     
    Daron Wint also told jurors it was his brother who drove the Savopoulos family's blue Porsche from the home on May 14 and to a parking lot in New Carrollton, where it was later found set on fire. A green construction vest found inside the car had Daron Wint's DNA on it, forensics experts testified. Daron Wint said he put on the vest inside of the Savopoulos garage when he initially thought he would be doing painting work, and that he didn't realize he still had it on when his brother Darrell drove him to New Carrollton. 
     
    Bach reacted incredulously at times to Daron Wint's testimony. 
     
    Traffic cameras and witness testimony indicated that a tow truck driver gave Daron Wint a ride from the New Carrollton area into downtown D.C. on the afternoon of May 14, and then towed his blue minivan back to New Carrollton — near the area where the blue Porsche was later found burning. 
     
    Daron Wint testified he had the van towed back to New Carrollton because Darrell Wint had borrowed it and then dropped him off there without the keys. Daron Wint said he then discovered the keys inside the van's glove compartment after it had been towed back. 
     
    Bach noted that a few months before the killings, Daron Wint was pulled over for driving an unregistered vehicle — his blue van — and suggested he wanted the van towed on May 14 so he wouldn't be pulled over again, in case there was anything incriminating inside. (Bach also noted that when Wint was pulled over in March 2015, he initially lied to police and gave his brother Steffon's name and date of birth to police.) 
     
    That same van was later found set ablaze shortly after midnight on May 16 — about an hour after Daron Wint called his brother-in-law asking for help burning it. But, Daron Wint insisted he had nothing to do with actually burning the van. He said he woke up one morning and it had disappeared. He said he suspected his brother, Darrell Wint, had something do with the missing van, but he didn't go to police. 
     
    The van was found burning in an industrial parking lot near a metal working plant where Daron Wint had worked for several years. 
    Oct. 10, 2018 — Day 15
     

    Man accused in DC mansion killings says brother duped him but denies role in killings

     
    In a stunning move, Daron Wint, who's charged with killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015, took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, tearfully telling jurors he was tricked by his brother into going to the family's Woodley Park mansion but that he had nothing to do killing them or setting the house on fire. 
     
    Wint is accused of holding Savvas, Amy and Philip Savopoulos and their housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, captive in the family's home for several hours; extorting $40,000 from the businessman father; then beating and stabbing the victims, and setting the family's house ablaze. Wint's felony murder trial is now in its fifth week at D.C. Superior Court. 
     
    Breaking into tears at some points, Wint told jurors he did show up to the Savopoulos mansion on May 14, 2015 — during the time authorities have said the victims were being held captive inside — because his brother drove him there and he thought he would be doing painting and drywall work. He said he stayed downstairs the entire time and had no idea anyone was being held hostage upstairs. And when his brother told him they would be "unloading" the house — stealing — he said he became upset and demanded that he be taken home. 
     
    Wint also denied any involvement in burning one of the family's cars, a blue Porsche, which was driven from the family's house and later found engulfed in flames in a church parking lot in New Carrollton several hours after the fire at the Savopoulos home. Wint also denied torching his own van, which was found burning in an industrial parking lot in Prince George's County, a few days later. 

    Wint's team of public defenders has argued it was actually Wint's two younger brothers who planned and carried out the killings. Neither of the two younger brothers — including one who testified for the prosecution last week — has been charged in the crimes and prosecutors have dismissed the defense's theory. 
     
    Prosecutors have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Wint. 
     
    In questioning carried out by his defense attorney, Judith Pipe, of the District's Public Defender Service, Wint laid out a series of explanations for why his DNA turned up on key pieces of evidence found at the house by crime scene investigators after the killings.
    For example, forensic experts testified Wint's DNA was found on the crust of a pizza that had been delivered to the house while the family was being held captive.
     
    Wint said he did, in fact, eat some of the pizza when was he was inside the Savopoulos house. He said Darrell brought him a box of pepperoni pizza from upstairs while he waited in the downstairs living room. Darrell was wearing construction gloves, Wint testified.
     
    A hair linked to Wint was also found inside a hard hat in the garage and his DNA was found on a green construction vest found inside the burning Porsche. Wint told jurors when he was inside the Savopoulos house, his brother Darrell gave him the hard-hat and the construction vest to wear, so he wouldn't "stick out" as the house was being cleared out. He said he forgot he was wearing the construction vest and was still wearing it when Darrell later gave him a ride to the New Carrollton area in the blue Porsche. 
     
    Wint did not have an explanation for why his DNA was recovered from a handle of a knife found propping open a basement window. Wint testified he never touched the knife and didn't use it to prop open a window. Overall, the defense has sought to raise questions about how evidence at the home was handled and processed. 
     
    A hair found in the bloodstained bedding in one of the upstairs bedrooms where some of the victims were found was also linked to Wint through DNA. But the type of DNA is what is known as mitochondrial DNA — and also matches Wint's siblings and his mother. Wint's public defenders have argued the hair belongs to Wint's other younger brother, Steffon, who they say played a role in planning and carrying out the killings. Steffon Wint testified for the prosecution last week, denying any role in the crime. 
     
    As for his whereabouts on May 13 — the day the victims were taken captive in the Savopoulos mansion — Wint testified he met up with Darrell early that morning to help with a "side job" doing painting and drywall work. But when Darrell showed up, the plan had changed and he no longer needed Wint's help. Instead, Darrell gave him $300 to use his minivan for the day, Wint testified. 
     
    Wint told jurors Darrell dropped him off at the house of a friend identified only as Ed, who lived in Southeast D.C. Wint said he started drinking vodka that afternoon, began to feel sick and passed out until 10 a.m. the next morning when Darrell drove up in the blue Porsche. 
     
    In certain key places, Wint's explanation aligned with testimony supplied by witnesses called by the prosecution. 
     
    Two people across the street from the Savopoulos home, who worked at the residence of the Australian ambassador, both testified they saw a man watching Wint's description approaching the house's garage and slip inside one of the doors at about noon on May 14. Wint agreed that was him, coming back to the house after eating the pizza and later going outside to retrieve his cellphone from the Porsche. 
     
    Traffic cameras, cellphone records and witness testimony indicated that a tow truck driver gave Wint a ride into downtown D.C. to tow his blue minivan back to the New Carrollton area on the afternoon of May 14. 
     
    Wint testified he had the van towed because Darrell had earlier borrowed the van and then dropped him off without the keys. Wint said he later found the keys — inside the glove compartment — after it had already been towed back to the New Carrollton area. 
     
    A woman who worked at a restaurant near where the Porsche was found burning testified she saw Wint pacing near that area that afternoon. Wint told jurors that restaurant is where Darrell dropped him off and he was pacing because he was trying to pick up a Wi-Fi signal on his phone. 
     

     
    Oct. 10, 2018 — Day 15
     

    Wint takes stand as defense begins case

     
    In a stunning move, Daron Wint, who's charged with killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015, has taken the stand  in his own defense. 
     
    Wint is accused of holding the four people captive in the family's home for several hours, extorting $40,000 from the businessman father, then killing the victims and setting the family's house on fire in May 2015.

    On the stand Wednesday, Wint appeared emotional at times and told jurors he was nervous as his public defender, Judith Pipe, questioned him.
     
    Wint testified that on May 13 — the day the victims were taken captive in the Woodley Park mansion — he met up with his younger half-brother Steffon Wint and his younger half-brother Darrell Wint, who had offered him a "side job" doing painting and drywall early in the morning. When he showed up at Steffon's work around 6 a.m., the plan had changed, he testified. The younger brothers no longer needed his help, he testified, and instead gave him $300 to use his minivan for the day. Wint said he was dropped off at the house of friend, identified only as Ed.  
     
    Prosecutors have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Wint. 
     
    Wint's team of public defenders has argued it was actually Wint's two younger brothers who planned and carried out the killings. Neither of the two younger brothers — including one who testified for the prosecution — has either been charged in the crimes and prosecutors have dismissed the defense's theory. 
     
    The prosecution rested earlier Wednesday after four weeks of testimony and several dozen witnesses. The prosecution case ended with graphic testimony from the medical examiner describing in detail how the adult victims — Savvas and Amy Savopoulos and their housekeeper, Vera Figueroa — were restrained, asphyxiated, beaten and stabbed. The body of 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos was found inside the burning home charred beyond recognition. 
     
    Prosecutors say Wint's DNA was found on several items recovered by crime scene investigators after the killings, including from the crust of a pizza that had been delivered to the house while the family was being held captive. The prosecution also contends circumstantial evidence ties Wint to the killings. Members of Wint's family say he was not seen or heard from for more than a day during the time the Savopoulos family was held captive and later killed. A regular Facebook user, his account went dark and he didn't respond to any messages during that time, either, according to searches of his phone.
     
    After the killings, Wint's minivan was found in an industrial parking lot in Prince George's county set ablaze — a few days after a blue Porsche that had been stolen from the Savopoulos home was found on fire in a church parking lot in the New Carrollton area. 
     
     
    Oct. 9, 2018 — Day 14
     
    Mansion killings update: Jurors shown gruesome images of victims as medical examiner testifies

    Jurors in the felony murder trial of the 37-year-old Maryland man charged in the brutal killings of three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015, were shown graphic photos of the victims Tuesday as the prosecution prepares to wrap up its case. 
     
    The photos of 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, 47-year-old Amy Savopoulos; and housekeeper Vera Figueroa, 57 were shown to the jury as the medical examiner Dr. Nikki Mourtzinos testified in grim, precise detail exactly how they died. (Dr. Mourtzinos' testimony about the youngest victim — 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos — will be presented Wednesday morning). 
     
    Savvas Savopoulos suffered multiple stab wounds in his back. One stab wound in his upper back was so forceful, it went through his neck, the medical examiner said. There was also evidence of blunt force trauma to his head, including multiple skull fractures. Bruising on the side of his face was consistent with a round, large heavy object, Mourtzinos testified. Police found a bloodied baseball near the bodies in one of the home's upstairs bedrooms. 
     
    Amy Savopoulos had been stabbed eight times, including three times in the neck, which would have caused significant blood loss, the medical examiner testified. She also suffered skull fractures and blunt force injuries. She appeared to have been struck in the back of the head so severely, parts of her skull were exposed. 
     
    Vera Figueroa, who was initially rushed to the hospital and believed to be alive when firefighters arrived at the burning mansion in Woodley Park, was likely already dead by the time emergency responders got there, Mourtzinos testified. She said a stab to the woman's neck fractured her spinal cord, causing heavy bleeding. She also suffered a fractured skull. 
     
    All of the adults victims, except for Amy Savopoulos, also showed signs of being asphyxiated, Mourtzinos testified. Bruising and cuts on all the victim's wrists and ankles — along with tape residue — indicated they had been restrained before they were killed, she said
     
    In one disturbing moment in the D.C. Superior Court room Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Bach pulled from an evidence container, the crumpled, bloodstained shirt Savvas Savopoulos was wearing at the time he was killed. Wearing gloves, Bach displayed the four rips in the back of the shirt where he had been stabbed. Once the clothing had been pulled from the sealed, airtight container, it began emitting a strong odor of decay and the prosecutor appeared to briefly struggle to compose herself. 
     
    Daron Wint is accused of holding the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper captive in their home for several hours, extorting $40,000 from the familly, then killing the victims and setting their house on fire in May 2015. He has pleaded not guilty. The defense is set to begin its case this week. 
     
    Oct. 9, 2018 — Day 14
     
    Mansion killings defendant's online searches: 'How to beat a lie detector,' '10 hideout cities for fugitives'
     
    In the days after the bodies of four people were found beaten and stabbed inside a burning Woodley Park mansion, the man charged in their killings scoured online news coverage of the brutal crime, according to searches made on his phone. 
     
    Other searches made on the phone belonging to 37-year-old Daron Wint included: "How to beat a lie-detector test"; "10 hideout cities for fugitives" and "5 countries with no extradition treaties," a digital expert testified Tuesday in Wint's felony murder trial. Wint is accused of holding the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper captive in their home for several hours, extorting $40,000 from the businessman father, then killing the victims and setting their house on fire.
     
    Wint's team of public defenders argue there's no way to tell Wint himself conducted the online searches found on his phone. 
     
    Wint's trial is now in its fifth week in D.C. Superior Court. 

    Special Agent John Marsh, a computer examiner in the U.S. Attorney's office, testified Tuesday that searches on Wint's phone on May 15 — the day after authorities responded to mansion on Woodland Drive for — included: 
     
    • "how to beat a lie-detector test"
    • "tonight evening news fire in Wash DC
    • "tonight evening news fire Woodland Ave"
    Cached images saved on Wint's phone showed multiple visits in the days after the killings to websites that captured photos of the victims: 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, 47-year-old Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and Vera Figueroa, 57, the family's housekeeper.
     
    Also of note, there were more than two dozen photos taken on the phone over the two days the four were held captive and killed that were later deleted. 
     
    On May 14, Wint's phone was used to search for doing a "master reset" on an iPhone 6. Police have said two iPhones, belonging to Savvas and Amy Savopoulos, were stolen from the family's home after the slayings. Wint messaged a photo of two white iPhones to his then-fiancee and asked her if cellphones could be tracked, the ex-fiancee testified last week. 
     
    On May 18 — after Wint had traveled to New York City to stay with his fiancee — Wint searched: 
     
    • "10 hideout cities for fugitives"
    • "5 countries with no extradition treaties"
     
    The digital expert also testified about searches Wint made on his phone before the killings. Marsh told jurors Wint searched YouTube extensively for luxury cars. 
     
    A blue 2008 Porsche 911 belonging to Amy Savopoulos was driven from the family's home after the house was set on fire and was later found set ablaze in a parking lot in the Lanham/New Carrollton area. 
     
    About two weeks before the killings, Facebook messages between Wint and his half-sister in Guyana, where Wint is originally from, indicated he had been asked to leave his father's house, where he had been living, by the end of the month. 
     
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform