It’s not easy to turn a quadruple murder into an internet joke, but that’s what happened after police used the DNA found on Domino’s pizza crust to identify the accused murderer of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their son Philip and their housekeeper Veralicia Figureroa. Who orders pizza during a robbery and resultant murder? According to the police, that would be Daron Wint.
The first effort at defending came from Robin Flicker:
Robin Flicker, a lawyer who has represented suspect Wint in the past but has not been officially hired as his defense attorney, says police are zeroing in on Wint because his DNA was found on pizza at the crime scene. The only problem, Flicker said is that Wint doesn’t like pizza.
“He doesn’t eat pizza,” Flicker told ABC News. “If he were hungry, he wouldn’t order pizza.”
Two notable things here: first, Flicker isn’t Wint’s lawyer, but already he’s giving press conferences? Second, how exactly does he plan to prove that Wint “wouldn’t order pizza”? Maybe he had a coupon.
But no matter, because Flicker was never retained to represent Wint, so his “out of school” remarks on Wint’s culinary preferences (pizza, extra mitochondria, please) may not frame the defense.
Instead, Wint’s family apparently turned to the most trusted source of fine legal talent available: Avvo.
Initially, Wint was represented by the D.C. Public Defender Service, but Hanover said that the family preferred to hire a lawyer. He thinks they found his contact information on an Internet legal referral service such as Avvo.com.
And so they found an immigration lawyer?
The lone suspect arrested in connection with a quadruple D.C. homicide has hired a defense attorney specializing in immigration issues after the federal government flagged him for potential deportation.
While it’s true that Wint could face deportation as a collateral consequence of conviction for four murders, that’s probably not the biggest issue he’s facing at the moment. Who can predict the state of immigration laws when he finishes his four consecutive life without possibility of parole sentences?
While Sean Hanover’s practice is primarily directed toward immigration, he’s not quite the same as that other paragon of the D.C. murder scene, Joseph Rakofsky, who decided to try his hand at a murder defense his first time out of the box.
Hanover has built his practice primarily on immigration cases and has handled only one other murder case. The former jeweler has been practicing law since 2008 [Ed note: per Avvo, admitted in Washington, D.C. in 2011.], the year he graduated from law school at the University of the District of Columbia.
This isn’t his first rodeo. It’s his second. But that doesn’t mean he’s not up to the task of defending a high profile murder.
Hanover has been courted for interviews by CNN and held an impromptu news conference outside court. He said he’d never heard of Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren prior to receiving an invitation to be on her show. When he was told that Van Susteren is a former Washington defense attorney, Hanover quipped that he’d reconsider his decision to appear. “Oh [expletive], that means she’s going to ask me tough legal questions,” he said.
On a more serious note, Hanover seems to recognize that this isn’t a joke any longer, and that he has assumed responsibility for the defense of some very significant charges.
Hanover, 41, jokes often, sometimes using self-deprecating humor to overcome a speech impediment that can result in a stutter whenever Hanover has to pronounce the letter S or the number seven.
But putting the humor aside, he said he works hard for his clients, and his experience with other cases has prepared him well.
“We are confident we have the capabilities, the staff and the resources to handle this case,” Hanover said recently over a lunch at the McDonald’s just blocks from D.C. Superior Court.
Of course, Rakofsky was similarly confident in his mad skillz, not to mention the efficacy of his bricks of love defense. For his client’s sake, Sean Hanover better be damn certain that he’s good enough to provide Daron Wint with a zealous defense. Just because Wint’s family found him on Avvo isn’t an excuse for ineffective assistance of counsel.
H/T Jeff Davidson