WASHINGTON — After three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper were killed and the family’s mansion set on fire in May 2015, traffic cameras tracked the family’s stolen blue Porsche through D.C. and into Maryland, where it was later found on fire.
The traffic camera footage was played in court Tuesday — a key piece of evidence in the case against 37-year-old Daron Wint, who’s charged with first-degree murder in the killings of 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy, 47; the couple’s 10-year-old son, Philip; and the family’s housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, 57.
Wint, a former employee at Savvas Savopoulos’ ironworks company, is accused of holding the family against their will, extorting $40,000 from the businessman, then killing them and setting the family’s house ablaze.
Just minutes after D.C. firefighters said the Savopoulos home went up in flames, a traffic camera at 600 New York Avenue in Northeast D.C. picked up the sports car heading east toward Maryland. A few minutes later, another camera at New York and Montana avenues picked up the car; another camera at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road captured the car at 1:42 p.m.
Later that afternoon, traffic cameras also picked up images of a white tow truck heading into D.C. from Lanham. Prosecutors said Wint flagged down the tow truck and requested a ride into D.C. He wanted to pick up a blue van, which was parked near 24th and K streets in downtown D.C., and wanted it towed back to Lanham. Traffic cameras first captured the tow truck solo, heading into D.C. at New York and Montana avenues, at 2:25 p.m. on May 14.
About an hour later — at 3:41 p.m. — traffic cameras showed the tow truck, with the blue van hitched to the back, at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, heading back into Maryland.
Police have said they found the burning blue Porsche in the back of a church parking lot off Annapolis Road in Lanham at about 5:30 p.m. Inside the car, investigators found a green construction vest that contained Wint’s DNA, prosecutors said.
During the trial Tuesday, prosecutors focused on the spot where the burning car was found — about a two-minute walk from an apartment complex where they said Wint once lived.
However, Wint’s public defenders — who claim it was actually Wint’s two younger brothers who planned and carried out the killings — noted that surveillance video from behind a nearby restaurant showed a figure running from the scene of the burning Porsche in the opposite direction from the complex where Wint once lived. One of Wint’s brothers also lived in the area and in the direction of where the figure was seen running, defense attorneys said.
Wint’s stepmother testifies; thousands of pages of Facebook records revealed
Later Tuesday, Wint’s stepmother testified that Wint went unseen over a period of some 36 hours between May 13 and May 14 — during the time prosecutors said Wint held the Savopoulos family hostage.
The stepmother’s testimony marked the first time a member of Wint’s family has testified against him.
The stepmother testified Wint started living with her, her husband and her teen daughter in a house in Lanham a few months before the killings. He was looking for work, working out at the gym, and spending hours and hours on the phone and computer communicating with friends.
The stepmother testified Wint’s absence from the house worried her. In the two months he had been living there, he had never been gone overnight before, she said.
The stepmother testified she woke up about 7 a.m. on May 13, but by that time, Wint and his blue van were already gone. She told jurors she didn’t see Wint all that day, sparking concern from the family about his whereabouts.
It wasn’t until 6 p.m. the following day, she said, that Wint returned to the Lanham home. He argued with his father after he returned, she testified. According to the stepmother’s grand jury testimony, which she gave in June 2015, Wint told his dad he was stressed out. “I just didn’t feel like coming home,” he said, according to her testimony. “I don’t have a job.”
Later Tuesday, an intelligence-research specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told jurors he reviewed thousands of pages of records from Daron Wint’s Facebook page, including messages, photos, and calls logs. (Wint frequently used Facebook Messenger and a Wi-Fi connection to place phone calls, his stepmother testified.)
Although Wint was a frequent Facebook user, the specialist, Joshua Kaufmann, said Wint’s account went dark — no outgoing messages or calls sent — between 6 a.m. on May 13 and 6 p.m. on May 14.
During that time, Facebook records indicate, friends tried to get in contact with Wint. His girlfriend sent a message on May 14 reading: “Hey babe you said not to worry about you if I didn’t hear from you. But I love you I just wanna hear ur OK.”