Judge grants motion to suppress seizure of Michelle Troconis' phone in Dulos case
A judge ruled on Tuesday morning that prosecutors will not be able to use the cellphone of Michelle Troconis in her upcoming trial in the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos.
The phone was taken from Troconis on May 31, 2019 at the home she shared with Fotis Dulos in Farmington — he was her boyfriend at the time. State police had a warrant for the home and to get DNA from Troconis but not a warrant to take her phone.
Attorney Jon Schoenhorn argued Monday that it was unconstitutional for police to take Troconis’ cellphone without a search warrant. Connecticut State Police Sgt. Michael Beauton testified that police took Troconis’ phone under exigent circumstances — pointing to Troconis being seen on security footage in Fotis Dulos’ truck, as he allegedly disposed of evidence connected to the disappearance and presumed death of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos.
Beauton said they believed the phone had additional information connected to Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance and were concerned about the potential for evidence on it to be destroyed if they waited for a warrant.
During a recess at court on Monday, Schoenhorn told News 12, “mere presence or living with someone does not make you guilty of any kind of crime — not as an accessory, not as co-conspirator."
Schoenhorn also said there was nothing incriminating on Troconis’ phone, “but in the absence of a warrant, you can’t just grab people’s phones because it might be ‘helpful’ to an investigation.”
In Randolph’s ruling, he agreed with Schoenhorn, writing, “the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement does not apply to the warrantless seizure of the defendant's cell phone.”