Fotis Dulos’ ex-employee wraps up testimony after hours of cross-examination on Day 19 of Troconis trial

Pawel Gumienny, who was a project manager for the Fore Group, continued to testify about his interactions with Troconis and his old boss around the time the New Canaan mother of five went missing.

Marissa Alter

Feb 7, 2024, 10:13 PM

Updated 103 days ago

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Fotis Dulos' former employee was back on the witness stand Wednesday for a second day in the trial of Michelle Troconis, who’s pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, conspiracy to commit evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance and presumed death of her then boyfriend’s estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos.
Pawel Gumienny, who was a project manager for the Fore Group, continued to testify about his interactions with Troconis and his old boss around the time the New Canaan mother of five went missing.
Gumienny began his testimony  Wednesday morning by identifying pictures of a red pickup truck as his 2001 Toyota Tacoma. He explained how he knew it was his due to the snowplow hitch and chrome running boards. One picture was a surveillance camera still from the Merritt Parkway on May 24, 2019, the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Gumienny told the jury he wasn’t driving the truck that morning and as far as he knew, it was parked at one of the Fore Group’s properties, 80 Mountain Spring Road in Farmington.
Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuinness pointed to an object in the bed of the truck, resembling a bicycle wheel.
“The last time you'd possessed your truck prior to taking it back on the 24th, was there anything in the bed of your vehicle?" McGuinness asked.
“Other than like bungee cords and tie-on straps that I used to tie down dirt bike, there should not be anything,” Gumienny answered.
“So, nothing that resembled this object here, correct?" added McGuinness.
“No,” Gumienny responded.
State police believe Fotis Dulos drove the truck to New Canaan to kill his estranged wife, taking with him a bicycle that he rode the last couple miles to her house. Gumienny testified Fotis Dulos usually kept the bicycle on a hook in the garage of his home at 4 Jefferson Crossing in Farmington. 
McGuinness showed Gumienny a picture of Fotis Dulos’ garage packed with sports equipment and several bicycles.
“You'd previously been shown that photo by police, correct?” McGuinness asked.
“Yes,” Gumienny said.
“And did you tell them the bicycle, the French-model bicycle, was not in that particular photograph?" McGuinness continued.
“Yes,” Gumienny stated.
McGuinness also played security camera video from the evening before Jennifer Dulos vanished and the day of her disappearance to seemingly corroborate Gumienny’s narrative to the jury. Gumienny then spent several hours undergoing cross-examination from the defense, which lead to some snippy back and forth comments between Troconis’ attorney Jon Schoenhorn and McGuinness. Schoenhorn tried to impeach Gumienny's credibility as well as reverse some potentially damaging statements Gumienny made about Troconis on Tuesday.
Schoenhorn began his questioning of Gumienny by focusing on the immunity agreement Gumienny received, reading part of it out loud.
“Pawel Gumienny may not be charged with the crime of hindering prosecution if he cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of others in connection with the disappearance ect. of  Jennifer Dulos,” Schoenhorn stated.
But Gumienny's attorney told reporters that his client had nothing to do with Jennifer Dulos' presumed murder and in his view, was never a suspect, adding that Gumienny was overly cooperative.
“Look, he went in there and talked to the police before he hired me, before he had the immunity agreement. He talked to the police even after he hired me against advice,” Lindy Urso said outside of the courthouse.
During cross-examination, Schoenhorn tried to show inconsistencies in Gumienny's testimony. Schoenhorn also attempted to clarify derogatory comments Troconis allegedly made about Jennifer Dulos. One was before her disappearance when Fotis Dulos said his estranged wife wouldn't allow the kids to say goodbye to his dying dog. "’That b**** should be buried next to the dog.’ That's your testimony, right?" Schoenhorn said.
“Correct,” Gumienny replied.
"And you said it was an effort—it was an effort for Ms. Troconis to cheer up Fotis, right?" Schoenhorn asked.
“That's how I understood it,” agreed Gumienny.
"So, as like a joke, right? A sick joke but still a joke, right?” Schoenhorn continued. 
Gumienny paused for several seconds before he answered, “I wouldn't call it a joke but yeah.” 
Schoenhorn also circled back to an alleged comment Gumienny told the jury was made by Troconis after Jennifer Dulos vanished.
“She said, ‘I’m gonna kill that f****** b***** when she turns up,’ right?” Schoenhorn said. “She was very upset, right?”
“Yes,” Gumienny answered.
“And she was telling you that her face and her daughter's face was all over the internet, correct?” Schoenhorn asked. 
“Correct.” Gumienny said.
“Her daughter was 12 years old at the time, right?” Schoenhorn explained.
“I believe so,” Gumienny responded.
Schoenhorn also got Gumienny to admit that in the days after Jennifer Dulos went missing, he thought she’d turn up.
“You believed Mr. Dulos when he said she may have just disappeared and run away, correct?” pressed Schoenhorn.
“Yes,” Gumienny said.
“And he told you he'd done it before?” added Schoenhorn.
“Yes,” Gumienny agreed.
The afternoon session of court led to lots of back and forth with Gumienny occasionally not recalling things from his prior testimony or from interviews with police in 2019.
Schoenhorn got Gumienny to reiterate that he initially didn’t believe Fotis Dulos could’ve been connected to his wife’s disappearance because Gumienny had known him for years and trusted him. Gumienny also confessed that when Fotis Dulos got the Tacoma washed and detailed on May 29, 2019, Gumienny didn’t think it was suspicious.
Gumienny testified those actions by his boss, along with Fotis Dulos pressuring him to change out the Tacoma’s seats, while Gumienny was on the stand Tuesday. Gumienny said he eventually did after Fotis Dulos suggested using the seats from his wrecked Porsche Cayenne. 
Gumienny’s testimony wrapped up late Wednesday. His attorney explained how Gumienny was doing.
“It's been very difficult. The whole thing's been very difficult the last five years. I think the last two days are sort of mixed because he hates the spotlight, he's a very private individual. But by the same token, we're here now, and this is the beginning of the end of the circus for him, so he can get back to his life,” Urso said.
Troconis is the first defendant in the Jennifer Dulos case to go to trial after Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 while facing murder and other charges. His friend and former attorney, Kent Mawhinney, has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Troconis’ trial continues Thursday at 10 a.m.


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