Jennifer Dulos’ mother to testify before prosecution rests case against Michelle Troconis

Troconis is accused of plotting with her then-boyfriend to kill his estranged wife, then trying to hide the crime and lying to police.

Marissa Alter

Feb 20, 2024, 10:21 PM

Updated 55 days ago

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The prosecution is expected to rest its case against Michelle Troconis on Wednesday morning, following testimony from its final witness, Jennifer Dulos’ mother Gloria Farber. Farber continues to take care of her five grandchildren, who were ages 8-13 when their mother disappeared on May 24, 2019. Tc The other alleged co-conspirator in the case, Kent Mawhinney, will not testify in the trial, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuinness.
Tuesday marked Day 24 of Troconis’ trial, which picked back up with video of her third interview with state police. The jury began watching the footage, which is from Aug. 13, 2019, on Friday.
“Why did you tell us things you knew were false?” detectives asked in the video.
“Ok, I was in shock. I was nervous,” Troconis responds in the interview. “This is not an easy thing to be sitting here with you.”
"That's why we're giving you several chances," detectives responded.
One of them, John Kimball, returned to the stand Tuesday to testify about inconsistencies in Troconis’ interviews. That included giving Fotis Dulos an alibi for the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Police also recovered timelines written by Troconis and Fotis Dulos that listed the couple showering together that morning.
During the third interview, Troconis said that never happened, and Fotis Dulos told her what to write.
McGuinness paused the footage to address Kimball and point out discrepancies in prior statements.
"As part of this discussion, the defendant is indicating now that she spoke with Mr. Dulos about what to write in the timelines, is that correct?" McGuinness asked.
“That's correct,” Kimball responded, adding she previously said Fotis Dulos had no input in what she wrote.
Police believe Fotis Dulos drove his employee's red Toyota Tacoma from Farmington to New Canaan, then used a bicycle he hauled in the pickup truck’s bed to bike to Jennifer Dulos’ home, where he killed her in the garage and disposed of her body. Jennifer Dulos has never been found but is presumed dead.
In the interview, the detectives questioned Troconis about the bicycle Fotis Dulos allegedly used, an old European racing bike, that they believe he got rid of after the alleged murder. Troconis said he usually kept the bike in their garage at 4 Jefferson Crossing in Farmington, but noted it was not in a picture of the garage that detectives showed her. Troconis told them the last time she saw the bike was the day Jennifer Dulos disappeared at 80 Mountain Spring Road in Farmington, a property owned by Fotis Dulos’ company. Police recovered a logo from the bike in one of the garbage bags Fotis Dulos allegedly dumped along Albany Avenue in Hartford that evening. Police also found bloody evidence that came back to Jennifer Dulos in those bags.
“Why would a construction guy working in the field of construction be driving around Hartford—in a creepy area of Hartford—driving around to multiple garbage receptacles throwing out bags. He has access to dumpsters, right?” detectives pointed out to Troconis during the interview. She said he’d dumped construction bags elsewhere before, but conceded the area was “weird” and she’d told him that.
Troconis was a passenger in Fotis Dulos’ Ford F1 Raptor as he made multiple stops that evening. She told police she was on her phone and wasn’t paying attention to what Fotis Dulos was doing.
“You have to think about how the whole story is going to sound to 12 people sitting in the jury box. Whether you’re on the phone or not while he's driving you around Hartford stopping at either 6 or 30 or some number in the middle, throwing out more bags of garbage that end up being forensically linked back to Jennifer and him,” detectives said.
Troconis’ attorney at the time, Andrew Bowman, was beside her during the interview. At one point Bowman asked Troconis to explain Fotis Dulos’ behavior after police came to the house to notify him Jennifer Dulos was missing. Troconis said Fotis Dulos told her not to worry and said that Jennifer Dulos had done this before, running off to Aspen and changing her name. Troconis told detectives that Fotis Dulos then began calling attorneys and didn’t make any attempt to contact anyone who might know where Jennifer Dulos was.
“He was like talking me down, and I was the one that was more…" Troconis said in the interview, trailing off.
“Did you find that strange? That he wasn't more concerned?" detectives asked. Troconis said she didn’t because the two were going through a bad divorce.
Detectives also showed Troconis photographs of the Tacoma Toyota, including one that glowed with Luminol, which they implied was Jennifer Dulos’ blood. Detectives asked if Troconis thought the truck’s owner, Pawel Gumienny, had something to do with what happened to Jennifer Dulos, to which Troconis said there was no reason Gumienny would.
“What about Fotis?" the detectives asked.
“Fotis, I guess yes. He had a lot of anger and upsetness,” she responded.
"With Jennifer?" they asked.
“Yes. At some point he told me and my mom, ‘Jennifer is a monster,’” Troconis told them.
Troconis also concluded that based on the evidence detectives showed her, “of course Fotis was involved.”
“But did I see something? No. Did I know? No. He made me do things that yes, it was maybe part of his plan, and I helped because I was helping him out—like, ‘Okay, come and clean the house.’” Troconis explained.
Troconis maintained she had no idea what happened to Jennifer Dulos or where she was and was not protecting Fotis Dulos.
“He set me up. He used me,” Troconis said before the interview concluded.
On cross examination, defense attorney Jon Schoenhorn pointed out that Troconis gave police information they would've never known if not for her.
“Michelle at no point said, ‘I want to stop the interview on Aug. 13, did she?” Schoenhorn asked Kimball.
"No," Kimball agreed.
“She at one point towards the end said she was willing to go all night and keep answering questions, right?” Schoenhorn brought up.
"She did say that,” Kimball said after a pause.
Schoenhorn also took issue with Kimball characterizing Troconis’ initial statements as lies. Schoenhorn called them mistakes and pointed out Kimball had a false statement in an arrest warrant he wrote.
“That was a mistake, right? You wouldn’t call that a lie,” Schoenhorn stated.
Schoenhorn also honed in on the interrogation techniques used by detectives, which is expected to be part of the defense’s strategy.
“That seems to be what this case is about really, other than whatever Fotis Dulos did, which is separate,” Schoenhorn told reporters outside the courthouse.
He explained he’ll be calling two experts when the defense puts on its case.
“One is Professor Elizabeth Loftus who is a world-renowned expert on memory and influences on memory—implanting of false memories and how memory works,” Schoenhorn said. “She is one of the foremost experts in the world on that subject.”
He stated the other is an expert on linguistics, specializing in bilingualism, who’ll testify about how people process and respond to questions in a foreign language when English isn’t their native language. Troconis’ first language is Spanish.
Schoenhorn also said that when the prosecution rests tomorrow, he’ll argue a motion for acquittal before the trial moves forward with what he assumes is at least some of the charges. Troconis has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, conspiracy to commit evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. She is the first defendant to go to trial in the case after Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 while facing charges including murder and kidnapping in the case. Mawhinney, Fotis Dulos’ friend and former attorney, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Judge Kevin Randolph went over the trial’s schedule before adjourning for the day. Randolph said after the defense rests, there will be a break for both sides to prepare for the contempt hearing Troconis is facing. It comes after allegations she violated a court order by displaying on her laptop screen a sealed custody report from the Dulos divorce case during court last week. That hearing will take place before closing arguments, but Randolph said if a contempt finding is made, sanctions won’t be imposed then. That’ll come when there’s a verdict.
The trial began on Jan. 11 with the jury being told it would end by March 1. On Tuesday, Randolph said it will likely go “a lot longer.”


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