Alum murdered in Northwest D.C.

A GW alumnus and his wife were brutally murdered in Northwest D.C. late last month, and police have charged two people with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths.

Michael Spevak, who graduated from GW in 1961, and his wife Virginia were found dead in their home on Nov. 22.

Police found their bodies bound and surrounded by large amounts of blood in their house, located on Belt Road, according to court documents.

Michael Spevak, 68, was a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist who worked from home and volunteered as a neighborhood watch captain. Virginia Spevak, 67, taught fifth and sixth grade at the Green Acres School before retiring to take an active role in the D.C. foster-care system.

Beverly Fields, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, said Michael Spevak died of sharp and blunt force injuries to the head and neck, while Virginia Spevak died of sharp force injuries to the neck, chest and abdomen and blunt force head injuries. Fields said both deaths were ruled homicides.

Angela Hernandez, 20, and Piero Fuentes Hernandez, 21, were arrested separately and charged with the murders. The two suspects are not related to each other. A third conspirator was mentioned in charging documents, but has not been arrested.

It was through Virginia Spevak’s foster-care work that Hernandez and Fuentes Hernandez targeted the couple for robbery. Hernandez told police she was friends with a former foster child of the couple and had visited and slept at the Spevaks’ home several years ago, according to court documents.

On the day of the murder, Fuentes Hernandez, armed with a metal baton, rang the doorbell of the Spevaks’ home. When Michael Spevak opened the door, Fuentes Hernandez pushed him into the house and dragged him inside, according to court documents. Hernandez told police she briefly entered the house before she left to wait in the car. Fuentes Hernandez and the third conspirator came back out after 10 minutes, carrying computers.

Three computers, a blue Toyota Scion and a cell phone and PDA were missing from the Spevaks’ home, according to the police report.

The Scion was discovered ablaze on the street the following day. Fuentes Hernandez told police he set it on fire to burn any incriminating fingerprints.

The Spevak’s community activism touched many, and more than 500 people attended the standing-room-only funeral, according to the Washington Post. A memorial Web site with testimonials paying tribute to the couple was constructed online in response to the murders.

The couple also volunteered in rebuilding New Orleans, and their solar-powered home in D.C. was featured as part of the 2005 Solar Home Tour.

In a statement, GW Law School professor and D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, D-Ward 1, called the Spevaks’ deaths a “tragic loss for the community and the city.”

“Virginia was an amazing woman who was really dedicated to helping people from all walks of life,” said Claire Duggan, a spokeswoman for the Law School who worked with Virginia Spevak on the D.C. Re-entry Task Force project to help reincorporate former prisoners into the community. “It’s just such a tragedy what happened.”

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