Defending Murder With A Side of Pizza

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

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

22 thoughts on “Defending Murder With A Side of Pizza

  1. Turk

    Why the hell was Flicker giving interviews about the eating habits of the defendant when those eating habits may be at issue?

    If the defendant’s defense counsel asked him to, it would be one thing, but if not, he disclosed a confidence.

    While it was likely irrelevant when learned, it could be relevant now and it isn’t for him to use it to use as fodder for self-promotional interviews.

  2. Richard G. Kopf


    For the life of me, I don’t understand the popular myth that public defenders aren’t good lawyers. My experience is just the opposite. Some of the best.

    All the best.


    1. Dave

      Yes, I would concur with that. And it only makes sense, having an office full of people who are dedicated full time to criminal defense work, who have a guaranteed stream of clients and cases (so they don’t need to waste time on sales) and from that office can draw upon the expertise of other experienced criminal defense lawyers, it is a damn shame that every county in the country doesn’t have a PD office.

      1. SHG Post author

        Let’s not go from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are some great PDs. There are some horrible PDs. There are an awful lot of PDs who are overburdened by volume and can’t do the job they would like to do. And there are great private lawyers who are better than PDs.

        Every county in the country should have a PDs office, as it serves a critical role. But that doesn’t mean we get stupid about PDs either. Curb your enthusiasm.

        1. Dave

          I did not mean to say that PDs walk on water or that there aren’t any bad ones (nor that they are always better than all private attorneys), merely that having a PD office is better than not having one for all of the reasons I outlined, and that PDs can be quite good for those same reasons.

          1. SHG Post author

            And yet you said more, some of it wrong and simplistic, and, more importantly, it had nothing to do with the point of the post. You want a soapbox, get your own. Don’t be an asshole here by using my post for your pet issue.

            1. Gideon's Girlfriend

              On behalf of PDs who aren’t assholes, your point is well taken and we appreciate your support. On behalf of PDs who are assholes, I defer to their spokesperson, Dave.

            2. Dave

              I apologize profusely for being an asshole. (And make no claim to speak for PDs, asshole or otherwise).

        2. Jonah

          The DC Public Defender’s office happens to be truly first rate. And within the office, murder cases get staffed by top lawyers, and get tremendous investigatory resources. (They also know the local law enforcement system well, so are likely to know when a report seems fishy or where a weak link might be found.). Pro tip for those accused of murder in DC: If you’re trying to do better than your DC PD, you need to do more than just see where your finger lands in the yellow pages..,

          1. SHG Post author

            As tempted as I am to smack the living shit out of you for this asshole comment, I’ve decided to let it stand. But someone who has a beef with DC PD is now going to feel compelled to comment about the shitty representation they got, and how the DC PD sucks. Was that what you were hoping to solicit? Was this post all about your puffing the DC PD so that others could tell you how much you suck?

            And I will not post the comment, because this post is neither about how great the DC PD is or how bad the DC PD is, and I’ve had my fill of assholes today.

      1. John Barleycorn

        You are thinking about “The Pretenders” but their efforts were of the genera that figured sappy could attempt rock and roll and no one would notice. A lot of private practice CDL’s and Public Defenders are lost in this very trap though, with equally unimpressive results.

        Not enough evangelical fire to define their sappy let alone their rock and roll.

        Speaking of which…

        If CDL’s in private practice took justice church more seriously more of them would tithe ten percent to the public defenders ministry fund that goes forth daily to evangelize where few dare to tread.

        P.S. Pro Tip: Immediately fire your CDL if they itemize out emergency room visits for stage diving and or mosh pit injuries on their billing statements unless they include broken bones. Minor stitches and tetanus shots should be put under office supplies if they are included whatsoever.

  3. Jeff Davidson

    Just as an FYI – the first attorney is Robin Ficker – no L. Time had the name wrong. Ficker’s kind of a gadfly in the DC area – he’s in Wikipedia if anyone cares.

    1. SHG Post author

      Someone else pointed this out in a comment earlier (that was trashed), with some particularly nasty things to say about Ficker. But when commenters don’t use their real name, they don’t get to slam other people by name. I don’t like cowards who hide behind walls and throw rocks.

      So thanks for the info.

      1. Patrick Geisler

        Had I known it was a requirement I certainly would’ve used my name for the comment (though point taken on the issue of anonymous criticism).

        1. SHG Post author

          In the instructions below the comment box, “I allow anonymous comments, but will not tolerate attacks unless you use your real name.” I know, most people don’t read it. But I appreciate that you understand why.

          1. SHG Post author

            Thank you, Patrick. Most people yell at me by this point. I appreciate your apology and understanding.

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