2nd DNA sample links Md. man to slain D.C. family; judge finds probable cause

WASHINGTON – The discovery of a second sample of DNA linking a Maryland man to the killing of a corporate executive, who was held captive and killed along with his wife, son and housekeeper in the family’s Northwest home in May, was enough to convince a D.C. judge that there was sufficient evidence to charge him with murder.

Superior Court Judge Rhonda Reid Winston’s decision means that prosecutors can proceed with their case against Daron Wint, 34, of Lanham, who is the only person police have arrested in connection with a crime that involved kidnapping, ransom, theft and arson.

Wint is charged with first-degree murder of Savvas Savopoulos, 46, who was found along with his wife Amy, 47, son Philip, 10, and housekeeper Vera Figueroa inside the family’s burning Woodland Drive home on May 14.

Reid Winston said that she found the two DNA samples linking Wint to the crime, evidence that the family was kidnapped and that Wint left D.C. after the crime compelling enough evidence to allow the case to continue. She set a status hearing for September.

Wint was in court with his new defense team as his lawyers questioned police during Monday’s hearing.

Investigators testified that they found a second sample of Wint’s DNA from a vest inside Amy Savopoulos’ stolen car. Her burned Porsche was left in New Carrollton with a neon green construction vest inside.

Police have said previously that they identified Wint as a suspect from DNA evidence left on a partially eaten pizza crust found inside the family’s home. Despite the DNA, police have found no other evidence in the house connecting Wint to the crime and investigators have not explained what role Wint played.

But police also testified that Wint had access to a significant portion of the $40,000 ransom money, which was delivered to the Savopoulos home in cash. When Wint was arrested on May 21, police found $7,000 in cash in the car Wint rode in plus money orders worth $10,000. A box truck that was accompanying Wint contained money orders totaling $13,000.

The lead detective Jeff Owens testified that Wint, who is from Guyana, paid an immigration attorney $1,100 in cash two days after the family was killed.

Detectives also testified that the medical examiner has revised the cause of death for Savvas Savopoulos and Figueroa. They were both strangled to death and also died of blunt force trauma.

Initially the medical examiner’s office ruled that Savopoulos and Figueroa died of both sharp force and blunt force trauma.

Philip was burned to death and also suffered sharp force trauma. And his mother died of sharp force and blunt force wounds, according to court records.

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Ironworks, a Hyattsville construction materials supply company, where Wint once worked.

Two previous hearings for Wint were delayed after he fired his attorneys and switched back to public defenders.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

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