A federal prosecutor Thursday repeatedly accused Daron Wint, the sole person charged in a 2015 quadruple slaying in the District, of fabricating his testimony in an effort to explain away evidence authorities say links him to the crimes.
Wint, 37, who first took the witness stand Wednesday, told the jury that his half brother took him to a home in Upper Northwest Washington in May 2015 under the guise of helping with a painting and drywall job. Once there, he said, he was asked to help burglarize the home but refused. Wint said he saw no sign of the four victims, who prosecutors said had been restrained in upstairs bedrooms.
On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Bach suggested that Wint crafted his account on the basis of testimony he has heard in D.C. Superior Court in the past five weeks and the thousands of pages of documents prosecutors provided to the defense before trial.
“You had this information from what other witnesses said and knew what they were going to say before they even came into this courtroom,” Bach said.
“I didn’t come up with a timeline, ma’am. I’m just saying the truth,” Wint responded.
In a low, calm voice, Wint responded to each of the rapid questions Bach threw at him as she tried to uncover any inconsistencies in his testimony. He did not waver from his account during four hours of questioning by the prosecutor.
Wint is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, kidnapping and arson in the May 14, 2015, slayings of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, 10; and the family’s housekeeper, Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa, 57. Authorities say that Wint killed the four after obtaining a $40,000 ransom payment.
The victims were beaten and stabbed, and the house was set on fire.
Wint repeated parts of his narrative Thursday. But at times, when pressed by Bach for additional information, he answered, “I forget.”
At one point, Bach asked Wint whether he had reviewed information that authorities gathered about Google searches and calls made from his phone around the time of the killings. The phone was used for searches about extradition rules and “How to beat a lie-detector test,” a government witness has testified.
“I’ve seen the records,” Wint replied. In his direct testimony, he said he made the searches because he feared being wrongly accused.
Bach also probed Wint about whether he might have had a vendetta against Savvas Savopoulos. Wint testified that he worked as a welder for Savopoulos’s company, American Iron Works, from 2003 through 2005, when he was fired for missing work. Wint also testified that he tried to get the company to rehire him in 2008 and 2009 but was turned away.
Wint told Bach he never knew Savvas Savopoulos and said he thought Savopoulos’s father, Philip, was the head of the company while he worked there.
Bach also questioned Wint about physical evidence, asking whether it was his hair that was left on bedding in a room where three of the bodies were found.
“No, ma’am,” Wint said.
In his account, Wint testified that his half brother, Darrell Wint, told him on May 11, 2015, that he had a drywall and paint job for him. But on May 13, Wint said, his brother told him that there was no such work but asked to borrow his minivan.
Wint testified that he was not working at the time and was depending on the $100 he expected to be paid for the painting and drywall work.
He said his brother offered to pay him $300 to use his minivan, a vehicle that had unregistered tags. “It wasn’t strange to you that he would pay you $300 to use an unregistered minivan?” Bach said. “No ma’am,” Wint responded.
Bach asked Wint what he did for work in 2015. He said that family members gave him money and that he found day jobs. Wint said he struggled financially. He said his brother gave him a cellphone, and Bach asked him who paid his cellphone bills.
“I don’t know, ma’am,” Wint replied.
“You don’t know? Did the fairies pay it?” Bach responded.
“I don’t know, ma’am,” Wint said.
A key moment came when Bach pressed Wint about his whereabouts on the night of May 13, 2015 — a time when, prosecutors said, the victims were being held hostage. Wint had testified that Darrell Wint, driving the minivan, dropped him off at a friend’s house and that he spent the night there, unable to get home.
Bach revealed that the friend died a year ago. Wint said he had been locked up in the D.C. jail since his arrest and was not aware of his friend’s death.
The prosecutor also asked about Wint’s account of the morning of May 14, 2015, when he said his brother, driving a blue Porsche, picked him up at the friend’s house and again asked for help with a drywall job. He said they drove to a house on Woodland Drive in Northwest Washington and went inside.
By Wint’s account, he told his brother that he was hungry and Darrell Wint, wearing dirty construction gloves, gave him some cold pizza. It was there, he said, that Darrell Wint said he needed help with a burglary. The defendant testified that he became angry and left the house.
Bach asked Wint whether he had asked his brother whose Porsche he was driving. He said he did not. A blue Porsche was stolen from the Savopoulos home and set on fire in Maryland.
“Your brother lied to you about a drywall job and then told you he planned to burglarize a house, but you didn’t ask him about why he was driving a Porsche?” Bach asked.
“I didn’t think he would be driving around in a stolen car,” Wint responded.
Bach then asked about the $6,000 and two iPhones that Wint said his brother gave him the day after the fire. Wint said he thought his brother found the iPhones in a park. He said he never asked where the money came from.
“You didn’t know that the phones came from the Savopouloses,” Bach asked.
“No, ma’am,” Wint said.
Darrell Wint is not charged in the case. He has not testified in the trial and has not responded to requests for comment.
The trial is to continue Monday.