In May, Savvas and Amy Savopoulos;
their 10-year-old son, Philip;
and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, were brutally killed inside.
Now, less than six months after the shocking quadruple homicide that horrified Washington,
the house is for sale.
ASKING PRICE: $3.25 MILLION
Even if you had the money,
would you pay that price?
The mansion is what real estate experts call a “stigmatized property” —
jargon for a listing with a grisly back story.
Such houses combine two of
America’s great obsessions:
Real estate and true crime.
You would think a real estate agent would have to tell you of such a grisly history to a house.
You would be wrong.
In 2003, Brian Betts paid $324,000 for a cute four-bedroom brick Colonial on Columbia Boulevard in Silver Spring.
Within days of his moving in, a neighbor shared something that his agent had not:
A year earlier, Gregory Russell and his 9-year-old daughter, Erika, had been shot and killed during a robbery in the house.
Betts, hysterical, called his agent.
He couldn’t live there, he told her, and he wanted out of the contract.
But the deal was done, and Betts was stuck.
He asked two ministers to bless his new home and began renovating it.
In fact, his agent was under no obligation to disclose the home’s tragic past, even if she knew every detail.
The District and most states (including Virginia and Maryland)
have laws that shield real estate professionals from personal liability for failing to share “non-material” facts
— such as anything that doesn’t deal with the home’s physical structure or improvements —
with a prospective buyer.
In April 2010, Betts
— then a beloved middle-school principal —
was shot and killed during a robbery in the house.
The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in Fall River, Mass.
— the original site of the 1892 double murder immortalized in a children’s rhyme —
is now a popular tourist destination.
The bedroom where Lizzie’s stepmother was bludgeoned to death is the most requested room.
The gift shop offers souvenir hatchet key chains, earrings, T-shirts and more,
but the best-selling item is
the Lizzie Borden bobble-head doll.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS SAYS
OF OUR SOCIETY?