Daron Wint, accused in the brutal murders of four members of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper, is “not a violent man,” and was “heartbroken” at their death, Wint’s former attorney said following court proceedings Thursday.
“I can assure you that he never intended or wanted anybody…them or anyone else to be harmed,” Attorney Sean Hanover, who was removed from the case, said in front of the D.C. Superior courthouse.
Pressed if Hanover was implying Wint’s involvement but unintended consequences, Hanover–noting prior allegations and violent arguments– said, “He has never intended anybody any harm….of course he was upset by their murder.”
Hanover made these comments about Wint– and reaffirmed his belief that Wint was set up, following court proceedings where Hanover was dismissed and replaced with Wint’s original public defenders, Arthur Ago and Natalie Lawson.
Wint, 34, stood at the judge’s desk for a bench conference with his hired attorneys wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands bound from a chain at his waist and another at his feet. In the courtroom brimming with reporters, Judge Rhonda Reid Winston then announced his current representation would be vacated and replaced with the public defenders.
Asked the reason for the change of representation, Hanover said it was not for financial reasons, but, “It was a difference of opinion that required us to no longer represent him.”
Hanover said the change in counsel decision was made in front of the judge today and is ultimately always up to the defendant.
A preliminary hearing for Wint’s case was again re-scheduled with the new representation. Wint is due again in court on July 20 at 11 a.m.
Wint is charged with first degree murder while armed for the killing of Savvas Savopoulos, 46, his wife, Amy, 47, and Philip, 10, along with their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57. According to police, Wint allegedly held the family and Figueroa hostage for 18 hours while he beat and tortured them until a $40,000 ransom arrived. Hours after the money was dropped, Wint lit the home on fire. Police began a hunt for Wint after his DNA was found at the scene, which took them to New York where his girlfriend lived. Wint was arrested at a stop light in D.C. after traveling back from New York.
One of the Savopoulos’ daughters, Abigail, 19, attended the proceedings.
Hanover maintained the belief that Wint was set up, according to his investigations of the case, but declined to elaborate by whom– though he said it was not the police. Hanover said he believes there are more suspects, but would not comment who they might be and their connection to either Wint or the Savopoulos’.
Police have not ruled out other suspects, but have not made any other arrests. A spokesperson contacted Thursday said the investigation is ongoing and declined to comment further.
“As I said before, I will not state as to his innocence or guilt. I will only say that justice will be served. I am confident [the Public Defender Service] will bring out the truth of this matter,” Hanover said.