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Fotis Dulos girlfriend Michelle Troconis accuses police of manipulating evidence in an attempt to vacate her arrests for murder conspiracy and evidence tampering

Hartford Courant logo Hartford Courant 12/3/2021 Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant

STAMFORD — Michelle Troconis’s defense lawyer was in court Friday trying to persuade a judge that the state police manipulated evidence in order to obtain warrants for her arrest two years ago on charges that she helped her ex-boyfriend Fotis Dulos kill his wife and cover up evidence of the crime.

In what unfolded as an uphill legal fight, Troconis defense lawyer Jon Schoenhorn argued to a Superior Court Judge Gary J. White that the warrants the state police prepared to arrest Troconis “contained falsehoods, recklessly disregarded the truth, and omitted material facts, that negated” the legal grounds for arrest.

Jennifer Farber Dulos disappeared in May 2019 and is presumed dead. State police detectives suspect, based on bloodstained car seats and other evidence collected through searches of locations across the state, that Dulos may have cut the body of his estranged wife and mother of his five children into pieces that have never been found.

Dulos was charged with murder in January 2020, but died in a New York City hospital a month later after trying to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of a home on Jefferson Crossing in Farmington — a home he shared with Troconis after his wife disappeared. In the affidavits for her arrest, state police detectives accuse Troconis of conspiring with Dulos to murder his wife and later trying to help him avoid arrest by concealing evidence.

With Dulos dead, detectives believe the best hope of finding the remains of Farber Dulos lies with Troconis, who they claim changed her story and concealed facts during repeated interviews. She is free on a combined $2.1 million bond and is accused, among other things, of accompanying Dulos to Hartford the night after the murder while he stuffed bags of bloody evidence into storm drains and garbage cans.

Troconis has pleaded not guilty to all charges and insists she had nothing to do with the murder or cover-up. She did not attend the hearing in Stamford, which was devoted to legal questions about evidence collection, tampering crimes and the probable cause required for an arrest. Schoenhorn argued she should not have been arrested in the first place because he said detectives manipulated the facts in her arrest warrants.

Assistant state’s attorney Daniel Cummings accused Schoenhorn of trying to capitalize on trivial inconsistencies and one factual error. Even if a court were to remove the inconsistencies and errors pointed to by the defense, Cummings said the warrants would still be “teaming with probable cause,” meaning they contain more than enough evidence for a judge to order an arrest.

Schoenhorn and Cummings even disagreed on what legal remedy is available to Troconis, should White conclude at some point in the future that the arrest warrants are defective. Schoenhorn wants charges dismissed or, alternatively, evidence suppressed. Cummings said state courts have held that dismissal of charges is not a valid option.

White suggested to the lawyers, repeatedly, during the argument that it might be more appropriate for Troconis to attack the police arrest warrant affidavits before a jury during a trial than during a pretrial attempt to dismiss charges or suppress evidence.

White did not rule on the evidence question and it appeared a resolution could be months away. White also ruled against Troconis by ordering in a separate matter that she must continue to wear an ankle monitor that tracks her location. Schoenhorn said Troconis now divides her time between Florida and Colorado and has been permitted to travel frequently while released on bond.

One point Schoenhorn returned to repeatedly during the hearing arose from the drive Troconis took with Dulos to Hartford apparently in an effort to dispose of bloody clothing and other evidence the night after Jennifer Farber Dulos disappeared. One of the Troconis arrest warrants charges that she was with Dulos in the truck that stopped 30 times on Albany Avenue while he got out to stuff bags of presumed evidence in garbage cans and at least one storm drain.

Schoenhorn said his review of traffic camera video recordings collected by the police show the Dulos truck stopped only three times. What’s more, he said Troconis never got out of the truck, was never recorded throwing anything away and told detectives she was preoccupied with a call on her cellphone. Troconis’ claim that she was not aware that Dulos was hiding evidence sounds more plausible with only three stops rather than 30, Schoenhorn argued. He said a judge might have denied the arrest warrant had he known the truck stopped only three times.

Crummings said the number “thirty” was an inadvertent error made by police detectives who were rushing to gather evidence in hopes that Farber Dulos might be found alive in the days immediately following her disappearance. He said the word “thirty” in the affidavit has been corrected to “multiple.” In practical terms, Cummings said it didn’t matter how many times the truck stopped. He said Troconis was with Dulos and had to have recognized he was acting oddly by driving from their Farmington home to Hartford to surreptitiously dump plastic bags in someone else’s receptacles, hours after his wife disappeared.

“People involved in murder conspiracies don’t invite spectators,” Cummings said.

White permitted Schoenhorn on Friday to challenge two of the three arrest warrants issued for Troconis. The second warrant asserts that Troconis was present when Dulos was attempting to sanitize a pickup truck that may have been used in the murder.

Schoenhorn also is challenging several police searches of Troconis’ home and possessions.


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