Murdered D.C. family has ties to Eagle County ranch west of Vail | AspenTimes.com

Murdered D.C. family has ties to Eagle County ranch west of Vail

Randy Wyrick
rwyrick@vaildaily.com

EAGLE COUNTY — The tentacles of a gruesome Washington, D.C. quadruple murder case reach into Eagle County.

Savvas Savopoulos, 46; Amy Savopoulos, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, were held captive through a night May 13 in their multimillion-dollar Northwest Washington home, then killed before the house was set afire the following day.

Savvas Savopoulos owns part of the Diamond Star Ranch, between Eagle and Wolcott. Savopoulos' ownership is listed under an LLC, through a corporation based in Hyattsville, Md.

On social media postings, Amy Savopoulos said she was looking forward to visiting.

Last Thursday, U.S. Marshals arrested Daron Dylon Wint, 34, on a first degree murder warrant. The manhunt stretched from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Washington. He is being held without bond.

Wint made his first court appearance last Friday. Public defender attorney Natalie Lawson insisted to reporters that her client is innocent.

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However, law enforcement officials told the Washington Post that Wint's DNA was a match for DNA found on a Domino's pizza delivered to Savopoulos' home the night they before the family was slain. Law enforcement sources also told the Post that Wint appeared to have eaten the pizza while wearing gloves, apparently not realizing he was leaving his saliva behind.

What police say Wint did

Wint, an ex-convict, held the family bound and in their home for at least 18 hours, according to charging documents obtained by the Associated Press.

During their ordeal, Savvas and Amy told others to stay away.

They even ordered pizza. Amy paid with her credit card, telling the delivery person to leave the pies on the porch because she was nursing her sick child.

Wint's DNA was found on a partially eaten slice of pepperoni.

During their ordeal, Savvas and Amy arranged for $40,000 in cash to be dropped off at their home.

Once the money was delivered, the house was set on fire with matches and a flammable liquid.

The fire began on the queen-sized mattress where the boy's body was stabbed and burned, authorities said.

Firefighters found the adults' bodies in the next room. Evidence shows the women suffered "blunt force and sharp force trauma" before the $4.5 million home was set on fire.

Wint formerly was a certified welder for American Iron Works, an iron supply company based in Hyattsville where Savopoulos was the CEO.

Who they were

Savvas married Amy at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in 1994, according to their obituary in the Washington Post.

"They were a devoted couple in love. This love was represented in their daughters Abigail, and Katerina, and their son Philip," the Post obit says.

"Amy had the rare ability of spotting four-leaf-clovers even when she was not looking for them. She was a world traveler who loved gathering shells from beaches, touring monuments, visiting art galleries, and attending performing arts. Amy was extremely charismatic and had a huge heart. To her family and many friends, Amy represented the same loyalty and devotion, integrity, compassion, and courage as Savvas — values and behaviors they instilled in their children," the obit reads.

Savvas Savopoulos started in martial arts at 17 and had long dreamed of owning a traditional Japanese-style martial arts center, both in architecture and spirit of the facility, the obit said. His dream center recently opened and had expansive luxury offerings, including amenities for live-in students. He donated his time and money to Starlight Children's Foundation, Children's National Medical Center, the National Child Research Center and St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

Who Wint is

Wint's criminal record is extensive. He was arrested three times for assault in 2006 and 2007, serving a 10-month sentence in New York, and then convicted of assaulting a girlfriend in Maryland in 2009.

In 2010, he pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property after he allegedly broke into a woman's apartment, stole a television, vandalized her car and threatened to kill her infant daughter. 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.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.