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Friday, November 02, 2018

Darron Wint Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder While Armed and Other Charges in Killings of Four People in Northwest Washington Home Invasion


Jury Finds Defendant Guilty of All 20 Charges Against Him

WASHINGTON - Darron Wint, 37, also known as Daron Wint, formerly of Lanham, Md., was found guilty by a jury today of 20 felony charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder while armed, for the May 2015 slayings of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife, Amy Savopoulos, their son, Philip Savopoulos, and a household employee, Veralicia Figueroa.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Thomas L. Chittum III, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The jury’s verdict came on the third day of deliberations and followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Wint, who has been in custody since his arrest a week after the murders, is to be sentenced on Feb. 1, 2019 by the Honorable Juliet McKenna. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison with no possibility of release.

“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 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 Chief 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."

“ATF is grateful to see that justice has been served today by this guilty verdict,” said Special Agent in Charge Chittum. “We hope this conviction brings a measure of comfort to the Savopoulos and Figueroa families, and to the community that suffered and mourned with them. ATF is proud we could contribute to the successful prosecution of Darron Wint and his unspeakably violent crime. I commend ATF’s Forensic Laboratory and the ATF/DC Arson and Explosives Task Force for their role in bringing him to justice, and admire the effort that our partners from so many federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office put into this case.”

During nearly six weeks of testimony, the government presented testimony from more than 60 witnesses, including some that linked him to the crime scene through DNA on a pizza crust and other items. The jury found Wint guilty of all charges that were filed against him in an indictment, including the murder counts and kidnapping, burglary, extortion and theft.

The charges involved a series of crimes that took place May 13 and May 14, 2015, during a home invasion of the Savopoulos family residence in Northwest Washington.

According to the government’s evidence, on May 13, 2015, Wint entered the Savopoulos home and seized and kidnapped the four victims. The following day, he stole $40,000 through means of extortion, murdered the victims, and set fire to the house.

After responding to reports of the fire, authorities discovered the bodies of Savvas Savopoulos, 46, Amy Savopoulos, 47, Philip Savopoulos, 10, and Veralicia Figueroa, 57.

In the aftermath of the murders, Wint performed a series of Internet searches for subjects such as how to beat a lie detector test, 10 hideout cities for fugitives, and five countries with no U.S. extradition treaty. According to the government’s evidence, he fled to New York after he was publicly identified as a person of interest in the case and hid in a hotel. He eventually returned to the area and was arrested on May 21, 2015. He has been in custody ever since.

All told, Wint was found guilty of a total of 12 counts of first-degree murder while armed, all with aggravating circumstances. The charges include four counts of first-degree murder while armed (felony murder) in the course of a kidnapping; four counts of first-degree murder while armed (felony murder) in the course of a burglary, and four counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed.  In addition, Wint was found guilty of four counts of kidnapping and one count each of first-degree burglary, extortion, arson, and first-degree theft.

In addition to the various substantive crimes specified in the indictment, the jury found the offenses carried specified “aggravating circumstances,” including one finding that the murders were especially heinous, atrocious or cruel. Wint could face a maximum of life imprisonment without the possibility of release on each of the 12 murder charges. Each of the murder charges carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 30 years.

Additionally, each of the kidnapping counts involving the three adult victims carries a maximum sentence of 30 years; the kidnapping count involving Philip Savopoulos carries up to 45 years. First-degree burglary also carries a 30-year maximum prison sentence, and arson, extortion, and first-degree theft have maximum prison terms of 10 years each.

This case was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistance was provided by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the District of Columbia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the Prince George’s County, Md., Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences.

The case was investigated and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura R. Bach, Christopher Bruckmann, and Emily A. Miller, and tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bach and Bruckmann.

Assistance was provided by a team at the U.S. Attorney’s Office that included Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker; Paralegal Specialist Stephanie Siegerist; Deputy Chiefs Chrisellen Kolb, John Mannarino, and Elizabeth Danello, of the Appellate Division; Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Sharon Newman; Paralegal Specialists Lornce Applewhite and Meridith McGarrity; former Paralegal Specialist Kendra Johnson; Supervisory Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling; Litigation Technology Specialist Anisha Bhatia; Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Criminal Investigator John Marsh;, Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington; Victim/Witness Services Coordinator La June Thames; former Forensic Operation/Program Specialist Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie; Law Clerks Siri Palm and Julie Bessler, and former Law Clerk Jim McNally.

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