Judge denies venue change in Jennifer Dulos case, sets jury selection for Oct. 4
Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 4 for Michelle Troconis after a judge granted her attorney’s motion for a speedy trial. But Judge Kevin Randolph also denied the defense’s motion to change the venue when Troconis goes on trial in connection to the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos.
Both sides appeared in Stamford Superior Court Wednesday for continued arguments over what evidence will be allowed at trial, but before testimony on that resumed, attorney Jon Schoenhorn argued his recent filing for a speedy trial.
Schoenhorn called attention to how long the case has been going on—over four years.
Jennifer Dulos was last seen on May 24, 2019. Police believe her estranged husband Fotis Dulos killed her in her home in New Canaan and got rid of her body, which has never been found. Troconis was Fotis Dulos’ girlfriend at the time and living with him in Farmington. She was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution and has pleaded not guilty to all of those.
In court, Schoenhorn said with the rate the case is currently moving, his client’s trial wouldn’t happen this fall, which the judge had intended.
“We just need some certainty of the pace,” Schoenhorn explained.
He said it’s been difficult to prepare for this case and run his practice with the case lingering. Schoenhorn also brought up that Troconis and her family have to prepare for when they’ll need to be in Connecticut for an extended period of time.
“I have witnesses from out of state. Some of them are older. They travel,” Schoenhorn said. “It's hard when people say, ‘When will I be needed?’ if I don't have some kind of approximate date for when they may be called as witnesses.”
The prosecution took no position on this motion, unlike the others.
“We're going to leave it to the court's discretion. Of course, the state's always ready to proceed at the court's pleasure, so court's discretion on this motion,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuiness.
The judge granted the motion and scheduled jury selection for next month. On Wednesday afternoon, he also issued his ruling on the defense's motion to move the trial from Stamford to Hartford due to extensive pre-trial publicity. Randolph wrote, “The Stamford/Norwalk Judicial District is the proper venue for prosecution. There is insufficient evidence that pretrial publicity will preclude a fair and impartial trial.”
Troconis is one of two remaining defendants in the case after Fotis Dulos died by suicide in 2020 while facing several charges in the case, including murder, kidnapping, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. Fotis Dulos’ friend and former attorney, Kent Mawhinney, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but the state has chosen to try Troconis first.
In a typical case, jury selection is followed right away by the trial, but this hasn’t been a typical case. Schoenhorn told News 12 he couldn't say whether that will happen here. There are still several motions from the defense that have to be heard and ruled on, and the motions primarily deal with that evidence will be allowed at trial.
MORE: Attorney in Jennifer Dulos case argues to toss evidence from Farmington home search, cellphone data
The judge on Wednesday also continued the previous hearing on the defense’s motion to toss evidence seized by state police during a search of Fotis Dulos’ home. Schoenhorn has argued that the search was illegally executed because it went beyond the scope of the warrant.