D.C. prosecutors said additional DNA evidence has been found linking a Maryland man to the slayings of three family members and their housekeeper last year and expressed frustration that the case is unlikely to go to trial before mid-2018.
During a brief hearing Friday in D.C. Superior Court, prosecutors said they found evidence on five objects that connects Daron Wint, 34, to the killings of businessman Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy, 47; their son, Philip, 10; and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, 57.
Authorities believe that the victims were attacked in the Savopoulos home in an attempt to extort a $40,000 ransom.
Wint’s public defender, Arthur Ago, told Judge José López that prosecutors spent 17 months examining the evidence and said that the defense would need a “comparable” amount of time.
López said that a trial would not be held until sometime in 2018 but did not set a date. He told both sides to return to court in February so defense attorneys can update the court on how much time they will need.
Wint, who once worked for a Savopoulos family business, American Iron Works, appeared in court wearing a D.C. jail uniform and with his wrists and legs shackled. He has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of murder and other crimes.
After the hearing, prosecutors Laura Bach and Emily Miller called the delay “ridiculous.”
James Martin, Amy Savopoulos’s father, who has attended the majority of the hearings, said the pace of the case has been “challenging” for the family.
“I don’t understand why this is taking so long,” Martin said while walking with the prosecutors.
At least two hearings scheduled for Wint earlier this year were canceled while authorities continued to work the case. Authorities previously said they believed that at least one other person might have been involved in the killings, but no additional arrests have been made.
Margarita Mikhaylova, a D.C. police spokeswoman, said Friday that the investigation was “still ongoing.” She declined to comment further.
Authorities have said that Wint’s DNA was found on pizza crust at the scene as well as on a neon-green construction vest that was inside a blue Porsche stolen from the home. They did not say where else his genetic material was found.
Police have said that the four victims were held captive over the evening of May 13, 2015, and that the attacker or attackers fled with $40,000 in ransom money that had been delivered to the home, in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW. The slayings ripped through the quiet D.C. neighborhood, near the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory.
Police discovered the bodies after firefighters were called to the home to investigate a blaze.
Part of the reason for the delays in Wint’s prosecution, according to two people involved in the case, involves a lengthy investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which was involved because of the fire.
Wint was charged with more than one count of murder in connection with each victim, including murder during a kidnapping and murder during a burglary.
He also is charged with first-degree burglary, extortion, arson and first-degree theft.