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Washington (AFP) – After following a DNA lead gleaned from pizza crust, authorities have arrested a suspect in the grisly murder of three members of a wealthy Washington family and their maid.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, was arrested Thursday night in the nation’s capital, Washington Metropolitan Police said.

Three other men and two women who were with Wint as police pounced late Thursday night were also arrested, a U.S. Marshals Service official said.

The case has shocked the city because of the violence employed in last week’s murders — one of the four bludgeoned victims was a 10-year-old boy — and because the neighborhood where it happened is posh and hardly used to such bloodshed.

The manhunt for Wint began after the DNA was collected from pizza delivered to the slain family’s home and matched to him. The chase stretched all the way up to New York where he was said to have relatives.

In fact he was arrested after having returned from that city, authorities said.

In the crime, businessman Savvas Savopoulos, president and CEO of American Iron Works, a building materials company in Maryland, his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Philip and the family’s housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa — were found bound and bludgeoned May 14 after a fire gutted the millionaire’s mansion.

Wint used to work for that company, officials say.

The motive of the killing is not known.

But police say that while the family was being held, an assistant of Savopoulos delivered $40,000 in cash to the home.

Savopoulos’s blue Porsche turned up shortly after the murders, abandoned several miles from the crime scene, authorities said. It also had been set ablaze.

Wint is now charged with first degree felony murder while armed.

He was captured with five other people — three men and two women — who were also arrested.

U.S. Marshals tailed two cars as they left a hotel in the neighboring state of Maryland, Commander Robert Fernandez of the U.S. Marshals Service said Friday.

“We could tell that they were together. They were going north bound. They did sort of a strange U-turn and we suspected they may have thought that they were being tailed,” Fernandez said.

“Once we reached a location in DC where we felt we could take them down, we did a pin maneuver on both vehicles and we arrested everyone,” he added.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Wint has had several brushes with the law over the years, often for allegedly violent behavior.

But Wint’s former attorney said on CNN Friday the police have the wrong man.

“It’s not his act. He’s a nice guy. He’s patriotic,” lawyer Robin Fickers said. He said he had defended Wint in six cases in 2005 and 2006 and he was never found guilty.

Fickers said Wint is being tried in the media, criticizing Mayor Muriel Bowser for holding a press conference to name Wint before he had even been questioned.

Fickers also challenged the pizza evidence, saying authorities have not said where the pizza was when it was found.

“Was it in the trash behind the house?” he asked. “I’ve had many cases where the DNA results were thrown out of court because they simply were not valid. And they may well have been contrived in this case.”

Screenshot via CNN/YouTube

Sen. David Perdue

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) pulled out of his final debate against Democrat Jon Ossoff on Thursday —because he'd rather attend a Donald Trump campaign rally.

The Nov. 1 Senate debate was planned months ago, but Perdue's campaign said he could not participate as promised because he has been too busy doing his job.

"Senator Perdue will not be participating in the WSB-TV debate but will instead join the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, for a huge Get-Out-The-Vote rally in Northwest Georgia. For 8 of the last 14 days of this campaign, Senator Perdue went back to Washington to work for much needed COVID relief," his spokesperson John Burke said in a statement, referencing a failed attempt by Senate Republicans to pass Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) "skinny" $500 billion proposal.

"To make up for the lost time, Senator Perdue has over 20 campaign stops planned for the closing days of this race, and he is excited to welcome and join President Trump in Georgia before November 3rd to campaign for both of their re-election efforts," Burke added.

WSB-TV noted on Thursday that it offered Perdue's campaign other time slots to accommodate the Trump rally, but the overture was rebuffed.

Ossoff's campaign blasted Perdue's "cowardly withdrawal," saying in a statement that the move "says it all: David Perdue feels entitled to his office, and he'll do anything to avoid accountability for his blatant corruption and his total failure during this unprecedented health crisis."

The incumbent's decision to break his promise to debate came one day after a video of Jon Ossoff criticizing Perdue's anti-Obamacare record at a Wednesday debate went viral. As of Friday morning, a 72-second clip of Ossoff has been viewed more than 12 million times.

Perdue responded to that attack by making the odd claim that he repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act — which would take insurance away from hundreds of thousands of his constituents — because he believed doing so would cover more people.

"I voted against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, because it was taking insurance away from millions of Georgians. Today almost 18 percent of Georgians don't have any health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act," he falsely claimed.

This is not the first time Perdue has put Trump ahead of the interests of Georgians. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted with Trump about 95 percent of the time, including backing his right-wing Supreme Court nominees, his tax cuts for large corporations and the very wealthy, and his repeated attempts to take money from military families to pay for a massive Southern border wall.

Medical experts and data analyses have suggested Trump's rallies have been super-spreader events for the coronavirus. Trump has refused to adhere to social distancing rules or to require mask usage at the events and the mass gatherings have frequently been immediately followed by case spikes in the communities where he holds them.

One poll this week found that voters across the country said they are less likely to vote for Trump because of his "large, in-person campaign rallies where wearing a mask is not required of attendees."

The race between Ossoff and Perdue is considered a "toss-up" by election experts, and polls show it as virtual tied.

If no candidate gets a majority on Tuesday, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.