[www.inewsguyana.com] – More than one person was likely involved in the slayings of four people who were held captive inside a Washington, D.C., mansion until $40,000 was delivered last week, authorities revealed Friday.
Daron Dylon Wint, a welder with a criminal record of assaults who once worked for the mansion’s owner, has been charged with murder. He appeared before Guyanese-born US Judge Errol Arthur. But authorities said they believe he did not act alone. A court document made public Friday said they believe the crimes “required the presence and assistance of more than one person.”
Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47, and their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, died from “blunt force and sharp force trauma.” The couple’s 10-year-old son, Philip, died of “thermal and sharp force injuries.” All four bodies were found by firefighters after a flammable liquid was spread around the home and set ablaze.
“The crimes described in this affidavit required the presence and assistance of more than one person,” said a court document made public Friday.
The document says authorities believe “Wint and others” held the group captive until $40,000 was delivered to the home by an employee of Savopoulos. The family was then killed and the house set on fire, the document says.
The ex-convict was arrested Thursday, a week after authorities said the family was killed.
Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier based in Hyattsville, Maryland, that has been involved in major projects in downtown Washington.
Wint was born and raised in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000, when he was almost 20 years old, according to court records filed in Maryland. He joined the Marine Corps that same year and was discharged for medical reasons, the records show.
The Savopouloses lived in a $4.5 million home in Woodley Park, a neighborhood where mansions are protected by fences and elaborate security systems and local and federal law enforcement officers are a constant presence, in part because Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence is nearby.
Text messages and voicemails from the Savopouloses to their confused and frightened household staff suggest something was amiss in the house many hours before the bodies were found. Their blue Porsche turned up in suburban Maryland hours after the slayings. It too had been set on fire.
DNA analysis at a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lab linked Wint to the crime, a law enforcement official involved in the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to discuss the investigation publicly.
During the family’s final hours, someone called Domino’s from their house and ordered pizza. The Washington Post reported that the DNA was found on a pizza crust. At a Domino’s about 2 miles away, a worker told the AP that a pizza was delivered from there to the mansion that day.
Wint was convicted of assaulting one girlfriend in Maryland in 2009, and he pleaded guilty the next year to malicious destruction of property after he allegedly threatened to kill a woman and her infant daughter, breaking into her apartment, stealing a television and vandalizing her car.
“I’m going to come over there and kill you, your daughter and friends,” Wint told that woman, according to the records. “The defendant advised he was good with a knife and could kill them easily and was not afraid of the police,” a detective wrote.
Also in 2010, Wint was arrested carrying a 2-foot-long machete and a BB pistol outside the American Iron Works headquarters, but weapons charges were dropped after he pleaded guilty to possessing an open container of alcohol.
Attorney Robin Ficker said Wint didn’t seem violent when he defended him in earlier cases.
“My impression of him — I remember him rather well — is that he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s a very nice person,” Ficker said.
A housekeeper who worked for the Savopoulos family for 20 years, Nelitza Gutierrez, told the AP that she believes the family and Figureroa were held captive for nearly a day before they were killed, citing an unusual voice mail she got from Savopoulos and a text message sent from the phone of his wife, telling her not to come to the house.
The Savopouloses had two teenage daughters who were away at boarding school at the time of the slayings. [Details extracted from Fox News and AP]