- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - A District of Columbia judge approved a new attorney Tuesday for a man charged in the slayings of a wealthy family and their housekeeper inside a Washington mansion.

Defense attorney Sean Hanover of Fairfax, Virginia, appeared in court Tuesday to represent Daron Wint. During a brief hearing, Wint told Judge Rhonda Reid Winston that he wanted new representation. Wint made no other statements in court.

Wint is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Philip and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa. Police said Wint held the four victims captive for roughly 18 hours until he was paid a $40,000 ransom, and then killed them and set their house on fire. Neighbors in the wealthy Washington neighborhood found the house burning May 14.

Hanover was hired by Wint’s family, and he has handled other murder cases. Wint was previously represented by public defenders.

The new defense will also advise Wint on the potential consequences he could face as a non-U.S. citizen, including possible deportation. Wint is a legal permanent resident of the United States and was born and raised in Guyana.

After meeting with Wint, Hanover said his client was “encouraged about the case. He feels good that justice will be served.”

In court documents, investigators said DNA evidence linked Wint to the scene of the crime after his DNA was found on the crust of a partially eaten slice of pizza ordered the night of May 13. Authorities have said Wint likely had help from others in holding the family captive.

The judge scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for July 2.

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