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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
The Mansion Murders. Aired 9:30-10:00p ET.
Aired June 23, 2015 - 21:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: The following is a CNN Special Report.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A model family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are people that really loved each other. This was a really good family.
BROWN: Lived in a charmed life.
PAUL HOWARD, RACER: They were the perfect example of how you lived life.
BROWN: Until, the unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one of the worst kinds of crimes that could possibly happen.
BROWN: The family and their housekeeper held hostage tortured in unspeakable way and left four dead. Their beautiful home torched.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who could commit that crime is just an absolute monster.
BROWN: Then, an incredible clue. How critical is this pizza crust?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That looks like the pivotal piece of evidence.
BROWN: That leads to a 48-hour manhunt and arrest. One suspect behind bars and investigators hunting other leads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four dead bodies, the sense of urgency this people had a plan.
BROWN: Tonight a CNN Special Report, "The D.C. Mansion Murders". Sunday May 3rd in Phoenix, Arizona, a race day for Philip, the 10 year old son of Savvas and Amy Savopoulos.
JAY HOWARD, PHILIP'S COACH: He was passionate. You won't believe no matter how we did on track, he was just be smiling for me through here (ph).
BROWN: Jay Howard, was Philip's coach. In this exclusive interview he recalls their last race.
HOWARD: A typical day we were camp in morning, breakfast get in the track.
BROWN: Amy and Savvas followed Philip to races all over the country completely devoted to their son and his sports.
HOWARD: I believe it was a third time on track that day when Philip had his accident.
BROWN: During the race, Philip crashed his go-kart.
HOWARD: (inaudible) accident anyway (inaudible).
BROWN: Philip suffered a mild concussion and doctors ordered him back to Washington D.C. for bedrest.
HOWARD: In a rest for few days a little bit hang walk (ph).
BROWN: But home be no safe haven. Is that way on you at all like just a, fact that he was...
HOWARD: I was in wish he wasn't at home, assuming where anyone come think about, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sources tell us firefighters believe someone splashed accelerant in various locations around the home.
BROWN: 11 days after that race the bodies of Philip, his mother, father and their housekeeper, Vera Figueroa are discovered in the mansion, all four murdered in cold blood.
MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER, (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: All of us our focus on a finding that perpetrator of this act of evil.
BROWN: Beyond evil, it all happened inside this mansion and one of Washington D.C.'s wealthiest neighborhoods.
KEVIN CHAFFEE, SENIOR EDITOR, WASHINGTON LIFE: Woodland Drive is known for having the biggest most expensive houses in the entire city.
BROWN: Not far from the vice president's home and several embassies.
CHAFFEE: It's the last place you would expect something like this to happen.
BROWN: Voice mails and text messages helped piece together the family's 18 hours of hell inside the mansion.
MELISSA GUTTIEREZ, SAVOPOULOS' HOUSEKEEPER: I'm lucky that I'm still here.
BROWN: Melissa Guttierez the family's other house keeper was supposed to be there, but on Wednesday May 13th her boss Savvas Savopoulos left her a voice mail telling her not to come to work. She played the message for ABC, if you listen closely you can hear some commotion in the background.
SAVVAS SAVOPOULOS, VICTIM: It's Savvas, I hope you get this message. Amy is in bed sick tonight and she was sick this afternoon and Vera offered to stay and help her out so she's going to stay the night here.
BROWN: Ron Hosko was the former assistant director of the FBI. During an investigator listening to that what would that tell you?
RON HOSKO, FMR. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FBI: Well it's going to tell me one I need to get that recording analyze to see are there extremeness noises that are spiking up in the background.
SAVOPOULOS: And she was sick this afternoon and Vera offered...
HOSKO: Is that somebody in the background under the rest hollering.
BROWN: A few hours later Guttierez gets a text from Amy Savopoulos. "I'm making sure you can do not come today."
HOSKO: That would indicate that the event has started that the offender or the offenders are in the house with Amy that she's under their control.
BROWN: What is your first thing when you got it?
GUTTIEREZ: I called her right away.
BROWN: Did she answer?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, (inaudible) which I cannot answer right now.
BROWN: Later at 9:00 P.M., Amy orders two pizzas from Domino's but gives unusual instructions -- ring the bell and leave the pies on the front porch. When the driver arrives, the porch lights are on but the house is dark.
It just so eerie to think about that little do that pizza driver know.
HOSKO: Right. So, he's walking up feet away from torture, from sadism, from mayhem inside that house.
BROWN: The leftover pizza would become a tale, tale clue.
HOSKO: That looks like the pivotal piece of evidence.
BROWN: Later that night, court records revealed Savva's texts his assistant making arrangements for package to be delivered to the mansion the next morning, $40,000 in cash. An agonizing night passes on Woodlyn Drive. The victims are beaten and tortured.
HOSKO: It's just another reflection of how psychotic and sadistic this -- of it was.
BROWN: Thursday morning, Vera's husband finds his wife still not home. He goes to the mansion looking for her. He knocks on the door but nothing.
And then, he gets a phone call from Savass saying, "I'm sorry. I meant to tell you, your wife spent the night here. She's on here at the moment." What does that tell you?
HOSKO: Well, certainly that Mr. Savopoulos is still alive, the manipulation is ongoing because the plot to deliver the money is still on working progress.
BROWN: A short time after, the assistant drops the cash off at the mansion but for some reason that doesn't stop the heinous crimes. Forensic Expert Lawrence Kobilinsky.
LAWRENCE KOBILINKSY, FORENSIC EXPERT: These four victims had been stabbed and (inaudible). Perhaps we will never know where that rage emanates from. Whoever did this had a way quite a long time until he got his money.
HOSKO: It seems as though the killer enjoyed going about his work.
BROWN: At 1:30 P.M., the D.C. fire department gets a call reporting a fire on Woodlyn Drive. Flames are pouring from the second floor coming from Philip's bedroom.
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: We do know at this point that the fire appears to be intentionally set.
BROWN: Then, the discovery of the grisly murders, Savass, Amy, Philip and Vera found in the chard remains of the mansion. Philip was discovered in his bedroom and the three adults were in a separate bedroom upstairs with Vera and Amy bound in chairs and Savass on the ground.
KOBILINSKY: The 10-year old was the bargaining chip. The threat was made against him while getting the adults to do whatever the perpetrator wanted.
BROWN: A gruesome into 18-hour nightmare. When we come back, the Savopoulos family, loving, close knit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a really good family.
BROWN: Why would anyone want to hurt them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really gotten him chained (ph).
BROWN: And why was their suspected killer still walk in the streets?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a breakdown in the system somewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once inside the property, firefighters doused the flames. They quickly found four bodies. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three of the four victims killed yesterday suffered blunt force trauma before the fire began.
LANIER: There were injuries discovered up here to be blunt force or sharp object injuries.
BROWN: It's a nightmare end to a fairly tale life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He tortured them. He killed them even setting their home on fire.
BROWN: And the days after the fire, a possible murder weapon, a bloody baseball bat is found. Police say this shoeprint but the mansion's French door shows the killer or killers forced their way into the home and the autopsies of Savva, Amy and Philips Savopoulos as well as their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa are complete. The results, nothing short of horrific.
KOBILINSKY: I think it became pretty clear to the first responders that the child had been tortured. Multiple stub wounds.
The son was engulfed in flame to the point where the body was surcharged that they couldn't even determine his gender.
BROWN: Veteran forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky.
KOBILINSKY: There's a lot of rage, a lot of anger, a lot of hostility, and it makes you wonder what the motivation would be for somebody to inflict that kind of suffering.
MIKE MANATOS, SAVOPOULOS FAMILY FRIEND: Any human being is capable of that evil is just unthinkable.
BROWN: Mike Manatos was shocked when he heard what happened to their friend he met decades earlier as a church altar boy.
MANATOS: This can really happen in the movies. It doesn't happen in real life particularly (inaudible) and particularly to a couple in the family so well-liked and well-respected in the community.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what so shocking about this that these aren't shady people. These are really family-oriented good people.
BROWN: Until that shocking day in May, the Savopoulos family lived a charmed life. They had it all. Savva's college friend Lori Dimon (ph) remembers the early days.
LORI DIMON (ph), SAVVA'S COLLEGE FRIEND: He said there was somebody that he always had a crush on and that all she had to do was say yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That someone was Amy Martin, the daughter of an army colonel. Savvas was the privilege son of a wealthy Greek Aristocrat. They first met in high school and both went to the University of Maryland where Savvas seriously pursued Amy four years.
DIMON: I think he had asked her out a lot and she finally could say yes.
BROWN: So what we see like after that?
DIMON: The happiest person you've ever seen.
BROWN: From then on, they were inseparable.
[21:45: 00] After graduation, Savvas went to law school. Amy went to work. They married in 1994.
DIMON: She was his whole world and off they went on their journey.
BROWN: A journey that quickly led to children. Abigail was the first, Katerina next, then Phillip. As Savva's family grew so did his bank account. He joined his father's business, American Iron Works.
DIMON: He was excited about it and he wanted to help his dad and be successful right along with him.
BROWN: A partnership that brought abundant wealth and abiding friendship.
DIMON: We went to dinner one night and he and his dad were like the two kids that needed to be separated in class. And they were so close and so funny and I think he really looked up to his dad.
BROWN: And followed in his philanthropic footsteps. Savvas and Amy were acted in Washington charities. Amy was a regular volunteer at their kids' school.
CHAFFEE: They did seem like a very nice, quiet, Washington couple who had lived under the radar and if anything they deliberately kept a very low profile.
DIMON: This guy didn't care about wealth. He would have given money away. He was all about the experience and it sounds like that's what he was like with his family.
BROWN: A tight knit family whether it was Amy leading them on hikes or Savvas taking them on their long gateway to the Caribbean.
DIMON: Family to him was the most important thing. He was just the kind of person that wanted to be in love and have a family and grow old with them.
BROWN: And as summer 2015 approached, the Savopoulos family was certainly growing up. Abigail was graduating from high school. Katerina was searching for colleges with her mother. Savvas was opening a new martial art studio something he had dreamed off since he was a teenager and Phillip was leading his dream as a go-kart racer.
HOWARD: Very fast leaner, definitely no fear. He wasn't scared at all.
BROWN: Phillip's coach Jay Howard spoke to us exclusively about his young student within an old soul. HOWARD: He was best way I describe him like 10 years old going on 35. I mean he was so mature say well-spoke, he's very clear, he had a great education, great parenting, and...
BROWN: Howard remembers one of the (inaudible) they had together.
HOWARD: The (inaudible) comes over and says, "Would you like bring basket," and Savvas says, you know, "Philip, would you like some bread," and he was, "Yeah, I think I'm going to have to pass on the bread. I'm trying to watch my carbs this week", you know, and I'm like.
BROWN: 10 years old.
HOWARD: 10. You may eat as much carbs as you want..
BROWN: And Phillip was inseparable from his dad especially since his sisters Abigail and Katerina were away at boarding school.
HOWARD: He was with him 24/7, you know, wherever he went Savvas was with him.
BROWN: A bond investigators believe the killer used to get what he wanted.
KOBILINSKY: It became clear that he was torturing the child. I tend to believe it was to intimidate the parents.
DIMON: Savvas was always someone who was in control with situations. He would have done anything, his only son, his beloved wife and Amy would have done anything for them. He was a protector for him to not be able to protect. It must have been awful.
BROWN: And awful end but who was behind it and why? A dramatic manhunt for one alleged killer leads the discovery of new clues exclusive information when we come back.
BROWN: A city in shock, a neighborhood in fear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen anything like this.
BROWN: A family devastated. As Washington D.C. morns for the Savopoulos family investigators begin their search for who could be behind such a horrific crime.
LANIER: At least on three of the four victims, there were injuries discovered up here to be blunt force or sharp object injuries.
BROWN: Hours after the killings, 13 miles from their home police found the family's blue Porsche engulf in flames.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, this is smoke fire coming out from the front side of the car.
BROWN: And police released dramatic grainy surveillance video showing an unknown individual flamed that burning vehicle.
LANIER: Anybody who may have information about the blue 2008 Prosche please call us of what information that you may have.
BROWN: Then a major break from an unlikely source pizza crust found by investigators at the mansion.
KOBILINSKY: There's a lot of DNA and saliva and every time you bite into something you are leaving small amounts of saliva behind.
BROWN: The pizza is taken to a forensic lab and immediately tested for DNA.
HOSKO: They compared that developed DNA to a national database and all pops there it went.
BROWN: Police have their suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect is 34-year old Daron Dylon Wint...
BROWN: Almost a week after the shocking murders, Wint's face is every where.
Daron Wint was born in Guyana. He is a marine recruit who dropped out a basic training and has a violent criminal past.
From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, the same company owned by Savvas Savopoulos.
[21:55:03] And sources say he had a reputation as a problem employee.
KOBILINSKY: If you're going to commit a crime like this and the victim knows you I think he had made up his mind that when he came in to that house, they would leave no witnesses.
BROWN: Police truck went to his girlfriend's house in Brooklyn, New York but just missed him. Then, a desperate search leads to a hotel not in New York but all the way back to very near, Washington D.C...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So then, you said...
BROWN: ... where U.S. Marshal, Robert Fernandez awaits.
ROBERT FERNANDEZ, U.S. MARSHAL: We knew he was probably staying in this hotel, so we sent an advance team to figure out which room he was in.
BROWN: The timing is incredibly fortunate.
FERNANDEZ: Well, the advance team told us, "Hey, they just took off. They're going up roof one."
BROWN: Fernandez and a small fleet of law enforcement officials chase two vehicles, the white Chevy crews went as riding in along with a truck of unknown associates.
FERNANDEZ: I could see the truck and the car and so we pulled in right behind.
BROWN: After the suspect's vehicles perform a bizarre U-turn, Fernandez radios for helicopter backup and makes his move.
FERNANDEZ: I decided that we just had to take the cars out.
BROWN: And it was right here, right?
FERNANDEZ: That's right. Command was given, go, go, go. And we did it just like we practiced. Pinch the car in, other car came around on the side, block it off.
BROWN: Fernandez and his team quickly removed the occupants of those vehicles.
What was Wint like? Was he combative at all, was he compliant?
FERNANDEZ: When he came out, his body posture and the look on his face was like he was thinking about running. But, we were right on top of him and he never got a chance.
BROWN: Finally after an intense 48-hour manhunt, Wint is captured.
FERNANDEZ: It was such a horrible situation. He's such a monster. I felt great.
BROWN: Officers fined at least $10,000 in the vehicles, $100 bills, the same denomination as the stacks of money dropped up at the house. For now, only Wint is charged with the killings.
And CNN has learning the police are investigating whether Daron Wint's cousin is an accomplice. His cousin also worked at American Iron Works and was fired around the same time Wint left in 2005. We've learned through his resources that his cousin threatened to burn down the headquarters right behind me here. A threat taken so seriously a restraining order was taken out against him.
JOHN TORRES, FORMER ICE SPECIAL AGENT: It leads to motive. Even though it's been almost 10 years for some people they harbor that resentment and that resentment builds up until they feel that they get an opportunity to strike back.
BROWN: And police are looking into whether one of Wint's brothers was also involved. He was in Wint's convoy during the manhunt.
And what about the man seems driving Savopoulos's porsche?
The witness said that he had short well groomed hair, very different description from Daron Wint.
BROWN: What does that tell you? HOSKO: Is this a coconspirator? Did he call a friend and say, "Come get this car for me?" And if so, who's the friend?
BROWN: Police were interested early on in Savvas's assistant Jordan Wallace because he lied several times about the money drop off. But at this point, investigators don't believe he committed the crime.
As of now, Daron Wint is ordered held without bail. And CNN has obtained new information Wint, his green card was already in jeopardy when he was arrested in March for receiving stolen property, but immigration was never notified about that arrest.
TORRES: If Daron Wint is arrested in March and I never received those fingerprints until or after he's arrested for the quadruple murders. Then it tells me that there's a breakdown in the system somewhere.
BROWN: So many questions still remain as family and friend say goodbye to Philip, Amy, Savvas and Vera. Mainly, why would anyone want to hurt this family?
We may never know the true story.
HOSKO: We may never know. We may never know.
DIMON: I just picture the three of them together and that's the only thing that makes me feel better. I thought at least they're together.