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Grandfather of youngest victim in 2015 quadruple killing tells jurors about boy’s love of Harry Potter, trains and sports

An investigator walks out of the home in northwest Washington where four people were found dead in May 2015. Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy , 47; and their son Philip, 10, were killed along with the family’s housekeeper Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa, 57.
An investigator walks out of the home in northwest Washington where four people were found dead in May 2015. Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy , 47; and their son Philip, 10, were killed along with the family’s housekeeper Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa, 57. (AP, Tony Powell/Washington Life Magazine, Courtesy of Veralicia Figueroa's family)
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Philip Savopoulos, the youngest victim of a 2015 quadruple killing in the District, loved Harry Potter and could recite statistics of players on his favorite sports teams, his grandfather testified Wednesday.

James Martin said his daughter Amy Savopoulos, the 10-year-old boy’s mother, was devoted to her three children and her volunteer work. And he described his son-in-law as “a son to me.”

Smiling at times, and his voice cracking at other moments, Martin took the stand in D.C. Superior Court to describe a close-knit family that was devastated by violence in May 2015. Amy Savopoulos, 47; her husband Savvas Savopoulos, 46; and Philip were killed along with the family’s housekeeper Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa, 57. A Lanham man who once worked for a Savopoulos family business is charged in their killings.

When the prosecutor asked Martin how many children he has, Martin responded “two,” mentioning Amy and her brother.

“Amy is still present in my life,” he said.

Daron Wint, 36, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, kidnapping, arson and other crimes in connection with the killings. Prosecutors say that Wint held the victims hostage inside the Savopoulos home in May 2015, beating, strangling and stabbing them before setting the house ablaze and fleeing with $40,000 in ransom.

Wint has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys Monday told the jury that Wint was set up by his two brothers, who the defense alleges killed the family as part of a robbery. The brothers have not been charged.

In his testimony, Martin talked about how Savvas Savopoulos and his daughter knew one another when the two were in high school, but said Amy wasn’t interested at the time. The two, though, began dating in college and eventually married. Savvas Savopoulos was about a year younger than Amy and often joked that he married an older woman, Martin said through a slight laugh.

In surprise twist, defense attorney says client’s brothers carried out D.C. quadruple killings

Several jurors smiled as Martin described happy times with the family. Savvas Savopoulos’s parents sat in the audience of the D.C. Superior courtroom and listened.

Martin broke into a big smile when he began speaking of his grandson Philip, who on the day of the killings was home ill from St. Albans, a private, all-boys school.

Martin doted on his grandson, describing the boy’s interests from reading to trains to sports. “Philip knew a lot about sports teams in Washington. He knew about batting averages of the Nationals. He know about shooting averages of the Wizards. He was great at critiquing all the players,” Martin said.

In one of the more emotional moments, Martin spoke of a gift he and his wife had given Philip. It was a Louisville Slugger baseball bat with his name engraved on the bat.

Authorities say the victims were beaten with baseball bats, and two blood-covered bats were recovered at the scene.

Martin remembered the kitchen as the center of activity at the family’s home on Woodland Drive in Northwest Washington. He saidSavvas Savopoulos would make breakfast for Philip, and the two would perch at the kitchen counter. “This was a very lively family place for all of us,” he said.

Timeline: The Savopoulos killings

Martin also talked about his granddaughters, Abigail and Katarina, who were at boarding school on May 13 and 14, 2015, when their parents and brother were killed. They are now in college.

Another witness testified she called the house at 3:14 p.m. on May 13 and got a message that the phone had been disconnected. Prosecutors said they believe Wint had entered the home and cut the phone lines by then.

Later Wednesday, Det. Michael Pavero of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed a video of the house depicting a pool of blood on the floor of a bedroom where Savvas Savopoulos’s body was found atop his wife’s body.

The trial continues Thursday.

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