DNA analysis of Hartford evidence the focus of Troconis trial on Day 17

Day 17 of Troconis’ trial at Stamford Superior Court focused on DNA analysis of evidence seized from Hartford and a red pickup truck.

Marissa Alter

Feb 5, 2024, 10:17 PM

Updated 167 days ago

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Two weeks after the jury in Michelle Troconis’ trial got an up-close look at blood-stained items believed to be connected to the presumed murder of Jennifer Dulos, they heard confirmation Monday that DNA came back matching the missing New Canaan mom. Day 17 of Troconis’ trial at Stamford Superior Court focused on DNA analysis of evidence seized from Hartford and a red pickup truck.
Troconis is accused of plotting with Fotis Dulos to kill his estranged wife.
State forensic scientist Kristen Madel returned to the stand where she went through item after item. Madel testified that stains on a striped shirt, bra, zip ties, gloves, garbage bags, cleaning supplies and a hard whitish material all came back as 100 billion times more likely to be from Jennifer Dulos.
Madel said a DNA profile matching Fotis Dulos was found on some of the items state police recovered from Albany Avenue. That included a black garbage bag, duct tape, and a black glove – all of which were 100 billion times more likely to be from Fotis Dulos, according to Madel.
Madel told the jury that Troconis' DNA came up as likely on only one item she analyzed – the opening of one of the garbage bags Fotis Dulos was seen on video throwing out in Hartford the night his estranged wife disappeared. Madel said Troconis’ DNA was run twice – once in 2019, and then again in 2023 when the state lab switched the type of kits they use. In 2019, the DNA profile was 780,000 times more likely to be Troconis’. That dropped to 250,000 times more likely to be hers when the analysis was redone last year, Madel said.
"I want you to assume that the defendant in her third interview with police indicated to them that she held a bag open for Mr. Dulos as he deposited something in the bag,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuinness told Madel while she was on the stand. “Is it possible that the DNA could've gotten on the bag as she was holding it?"
“Yes, that’s possible,” Madel responded.
The sample from the opening of that bag was a mixture of four DNA profiles, according to Madel. On cross-examination, Troconis' attorney Jon Schoenhorn pointed out it was a very small sample with most of the DNA coming back to Fotis Dulos and Jennifer Dulos. Schoenhorn noted a partial profile from his client made up just five percent of the mixture and was the equivalent of three skin cells.
“Michelle was in a truck with her boyfriend. The fact that three or even 10 cells could've gotten on him when he got out and threw away those bags does not even suggest that she ever touched those bags,” Schoenhorn told reporters outside the courthouse.
Schoenhorn also said there were several garbage bags recovered from Hartford on May 31, 2019, most of them containing cleaning supplies, which aligns with Troconis’ statement to police.
“That was not the bag that they found the shirt,” Schoenhorn stated.
Troconis has maintained her innocence, pleading not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, conspiracy to evidence tamper and hindering prosecution.
Madel also told the jury about testing five human hairs found in the evidence. None came back to Troconis, while one from a stained towel was consistent with Fotis Dulos. Another hair on a green and yellow sponge matched the DNA of Pawel Gumienny, an employee of Fotis Dulos' at the time. Police believe Fotis Dulos was using Gumienny's red Toyota Tacoma when he drove to his wife's house in New Canaan and killed her the morning of May 24, 2019.
McGuinness asked Madel whether it was possible for the hair to have gotten on the sponge if someone used the sponge to clean Gumienny’s truck. Madel replied that people shed hairs all the time and that was certainly possible.
She also testified that a cutting from a car seat that police think was in the pickup truck came back with Jennifer Dulos' DNA. But over and over again, Madel said a DNA profile could not be generated from swabs of evidence from the truck.
“I want you to assume that on May 29, 2019, the Toyota Tacoma belonging to Pawel Gumienny was detailed at a car wash. How if at all could a car being detailed impact potential DNA evidence found in the car?” McGuinness asked Madel.
“As of any wiping or cleaning we talked about before, that can remove any DNA that may be left behind or any biological material,” Madel explained.
Schoenhorn also asked Madel about a second DNA profile found on the Jennifer Dulos’ blood-stained shirt. Madel said every other profile she had—that of Fotis Dulos, Troconis, Gumienny, the five Dulos children and their nanny—all were eliminated from that other profile. Schoenhorn questioned whether she analyzed it against Kent Mawhinney, who’s also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case. Madel was never given a profile for Mawhinney, who was Fotis Dulos’ friend and former attorney.
Mawhinney may testify against Troconis. Gumienny is expected to take the stand soon.


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