Washington mansion murder mystery deepens

WASHINGTON — Five months have passed since a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper were murdered, and the mystery has only deepened.

The bodies of 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos, his parents, Amy and Savvas, and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, were found on May 14 in their red brick mansion, just a few blocks from the vice president’s house. They had stab wounds and blunt force trauma, and the house was set ablaze.

All for a $40,000 ransom?

That’s how much investigators say the killer or killers escaped with. A substantial amount of money — tens of thousands of dollars — was left behind somewhere in the home, along with millions of dollars in art and jewelry, according to multiple sources close to the investigation.

Why would the killer have Savvas Savopoulos arrange to have $40,000 in ransom money delivered to the house — and then knowingly leave behind tens of thousands of dollars?

“I’m sure that Savvas would have given everything away to save his family,” said longtime friend Laurie Diamond.

Former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko said the evidence makes him think this was about more than money.

“There is an element here that seems personal. There are indicators of anger in this, all over a relatively small amount of money,” he said.

Philip was home from school that day because the avid go-kart racer was recovering from a concussion he received during a race in Phoenix. He and his parents and Figueroa were held hostage inside the mansion for 20 hours. Philip was found alone in his bedroom. His body was so badly burned that first responders could not tell if it was male or female.

“There was almost a prolonged suffering and torture for the sake of suffering and torture,” said Hosko.

Investigators found a bloody baseball bat in the upstairs bedroom where the three adults’ bludgeoned bodies were found. They also found duct tape, believed to have been used to restrain the victims, and matches thought to have been used to set the house on fire. Another possible murder weapon was found inside the mansion — a samurai sword taken from Savvas Savopoulos’ martial arts collection.

“This person is getting off on hearing the screams and the cries and is enjoying the power, is enjoying the thrill,” said former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole. Based on her experience as a profiler, she believes “being able to come in there, control this family, and inflict these injuries was something that (the killer) actually enjoyed doing.”

Darron Wint, 34, is in jail accused of killing the victims, but police and prosecutors say they believe he did not act alone.

Wint worked at the family’s company, American Iron Works, as a welder 10 years ago. Sources say he was arrested in 2010 behind a dumpster near AIW carrying a 2-foot machete.

But it’s still unclear why Wint resurfaced so many years later, allegedly to target the family.

His former defense attorney in this case, Sean Hanover, maintains Wint was framed.

“We believe he was set up and that there are more people involved in this,” said Hanover.

Wint has pleaded not guilty and is now represented by a public defender.

In court, Wint’s lawyers raised questions about another man — Jordan Wallace, 28, Savvas Savopoulos’ new assistant, who delivered the $40,000 ransom to the house. Court records show his boss instructed Wallace to deliver the money, but before he did he sent a picture to a friend showing only two of the four bundles of cash taken from the bank.

No charges have been filed against Wallace in this case.

CNN research has uncovered records suggesting a possible link at one time between the accused killer and the assistant.

In 2006, Wint lived in the same Maryland apartment complex as Wallace’s father — but it isn’t clear if Jordan Wallace actually lived there or just visited. CNN has found no other indications that Wint and Wallace knew each other.

Neither Wallace nor his family would comment on the case.

Police continue to follow leads about other possible suspects.

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