Another juror in Michelle Troconis trial dismissed; lead detective cross-examined
The Michelle Troconis trial lost another juror before testimony even began Monday, Day 12 of the prosecution presenting evidence against Troconis in connection to the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos.
Judge Kevin Randolph said the clerk received a voicemail from one of the jurors saying there was a personal emergency and that person had to leave the country to attend to it. One of the remaining alternate jurors was then chosen at random to replace the juror, bringing the total remaining alternates to just two for a trial that’s expected to last six weeks. It began with five alternate jurors, along with the six regular jurors, but two alternates were previously dismissed—one for talking to a prosecutor, another for making a reference about the movie “Gone Girl” in relation to the case.
After swearing in the new juror, the lead detective in the Jennifer Dulos case returned to the stand for a third day. Former Connecticut State Police detective John Kimball spent most of Monday on the stand as cross-examination continued about the first two police interviews with Troconis. Defense attorney Jon Schoenhorn questioned the interrogation tactics used to get information on the missing wife of Troconis' then-boyfriend, Fotis Dulos. Jennifer Dulos was last seen May 24, 2019. “You are allowed to make up stuff, aren't you, to them?” Schoenhorn said to Kimball. “You're allowed to provide false information as a means of trying to illicit information from that individual, right?” Kimball replied that that was correct.
Schoenhorn attributed discrepancies in Troconis’ interviews with coercive tactics and police repeatedly cutting her off when she was speaking. He then went through multiple times when police “lied” to Troconis during the interviews. He pointed out Troconis repeatedly said she didn't know what happened to Jennifer Dulos, volunteering information police didn't have, and even offering to help in the search. “Didn't she say she'd dig holes?," Schoenhorn asked.
“She did say that," Kimball responded.
“And she would trek through the woods, right?" Schoenhorn added.
“In the interview, yes," Kimball said.
“She actually did, didn't she? Went into the woods, didn't she?" Schoenhorn prodded.
“She did," Kimball answered. Schoenhorn also played a portion of Troconis' second interview with police when Troconis and her previous lawyer left the room. The prosecutor who'd been in charge of the case then, Richard Colangelo, was in the room off-camera and is heard on the video. “Mr. Colangelo said twice, ‘She doesn't know. I don't think that she knows.’ Do you remember hearing him say that?” Schoenhorn asked Kimball, who said he did. “The last thing I hear Mr. Colangelo say is that, ‘She's great.’ Or words to that effect.”
“Didn't hear that,” replied Kimball. “I didn't hear the word great."
“Was the purpose of any of this conversation for her to be a witness against Fotis Dulos?” Schoenhorn asked. He also questioned why the state’s attorney was present for the interview at all.
“This interview was designed to obtain full information, truthful information through Michelle Troconis regarding what happened to a missing mother of five,” Kimball responded.
Troconis is on trial for allegedly plotting with Fotis Dulos to kill his estranged wife, then helping him hide the crime. Police believe Fotis Dulos attacked Jennifer Dulos in the garage of her New Canaan home, then disposed of her body. She’s never been found but has been legally declared dead. Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 while facing murder and other charges in the case.
Troconis has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, conspiracy to commit evidence tampering, and hindering prosecution. Jurors previously saw surveillance video of Fotis Dulos dumping evidence in Hartford with Troconis as a passenger in his truck. The prosecution also previously presented handwritten timelines seized by police from the Farmington home where Troconis lived with Fotis Dulos—timelines that didn’t mention the Hartford trip.
On Monday, the prosecution again brought up that discrepancy, even showing video of the couple in Starbucks shortly after they were seen on surveillance cameras in Hartford.
“The entire trip to Hartford and back including Starbucks was not included in this timeline, correct?” Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuinness said.
“That’s correct,” Kimball replied.
McGuinness also had Kimball repeat his prior testimony about Troconis giving Fotis Dulos a fake alibi for the morning Jennifer Dulos vanished—both on the timelines and in her first interview with police. Troconis put Fotis Dulos at home in Farmington, not in New Canaan. "She stated she saw Mr. Dulos," Kimball reiterated. "Towards the back of the office with Kent Mawhinney."
Mawhinney is also one of the remaining defendants in the case. He’s charged with conspiracy to commit murder and has also pleaded not guilty. The prosecution has said he may testify against Troconis.