WASHINGTON — Jury selection is underway in the trial of Daron Wint, the man charged with killing three members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper in 2015. As lawyers question potential jurors — including asking whether they could remain impartial after seeing graphic photos of the victims — prosecutors shed light on some key testimony expected at trial.
“Good morning, everyone. I am Daron Wint,” the 37-year-old defendant said Wednesday morning, addressing the 80 D.C. residents who could serve in deciding his fate in the quadruple murder trial. Wearing a white shirt and yellow tie, Wint listened as his defense team and prosecutors hammered out some details around evidence ahead of the trial.
Wint is charged with felony murder, as well as kidnapping, extortion and other offenses in the May 2015 killings of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47; their 10-year-old son Philip; and 57-year-old housekeeper Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa.
Before 80 potential jurors filed into the courtroom, unaware of what trial they were about to be chosen to decide, the defense team and prosecutors told Judge Juliet McKenna they had come to an understanding regarding how evidence will be presented during the trial on myriad topics. Previously, the defense and the prosecution had clashed over questions concerning the handling of the victims’ bodies, the authenticity of Wint’s Facebook activity and the analysts chosen to explain DNA findings.
It is difficult to know how the evidence will be used in either team’s strategies, but the conversation provided a glimpse into what is expected to be a two-month-long trial.
So did the witness list. Assistant U.S. Attorney for D.C. Laura R. Bach read an expansive list of the witnesses the government plans to call. Surprisingly, she named multiple members of Daron Wint’s family members expected to testify against him or mentioned during his trial.
Among the first group of 30 jurors, the majority told Judge McKenna they had read or heard news reports about the crime inside the Savopoulos home in May 2015. Many said they had heard reports in the last 24 hours.
Another question of interest put to potential jurors was whether hearing testimony from witnesses who are immigrants would affect their ability to remain impartial and fair. Wint himself is an immigrant, originally from Guyana. Attorneys wanted to know if any jurors spoke Spanish and if they had any medical or legal training.
Also of note: the prosecution potentially plans to show photos of the victims after their deaths. Jurors were asked to affirm they could make a fair and impartial ruling after seeing what are likely to be graphic, upsetting images.
Opening arguments are set to begin Sept. 11 for a trial expected to go to deliberations in early November.