Jury in Troconis trial sees cyclist, car wash videos; judge keeps medical examiner off stand

Last week, the trial centered on digital data from Fotis Dulos' Ford Raptor and cellphone. Today will be Day 21 in the trial.

Marissa Alter

Feb 14, 2024, 12:07 PM

Updated 64 days ago

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The trial for Michelle Troconis, charged in connection to the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos, resumed Wednesday at Stamford Superior Court for the first time since last Thursday, but the jury didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the courtroom. Much of the day was filled with arguments from both sides regarding what could and couldn’t be presented to jurors. Testimony from three witnesses totaled less than two hours with court adjourning early after the judge granted a motion from the defense to keep the prosecution’s fourth witness, the chief medical examiner, from taking the stand.
Jurors heard from Cederic Candiotti, the general manager of Russell Speeder’s Car Wash in Avon, where Fotis Dulos allegedly took his employee’s Toyota Tacoma to get detailed just days after Jennifer Dulos disappeared. They also watched surveillance video from the business of the red pickup truck and the driver—a man with a shaved head, wearing a suit who appears to be Fotis Dulos. State police believe he used that truck to kill his estranged wife on May 24, 2019. The footage from the car wash included two clips from the customer lobby—one of Fotis Dulos dropping off the truck, and one of him returning for it hours later and paying in cash. The prosecution also pulled up a log from the business, showing its services that day. The document revealed he got a full detail, which cost $250, and didn’t give his name, just a phone number. According to arrest warrants in the case, police traced that number back to Troconis, who was Fotis Dulos’ girlfriend at the time.
Troconis is accused of plotting the crime with Fotis Dulos, helping him hide it and lying to police. She’s pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, conspiracy to commit evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.
The jury also saw brief surveillance video of a bicyclist on Weed Street in New Canaan from the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Police allege that cyclist was Fotis Dulos, traveling from Lapham Road to his estranged wife’s home at 69 Welles Lane, where he violently attacked her, then disposed of her body. The prosecution’s theory is Fotis Dulos drove his employee’s truck from Farmington to New Canan, parked outside Waveny Park, then used the bicycle he’d hauled in the truck’s bed. Troconis’ attorney said the footage didn’t show anything.
“You've got a person riding on a bicycle unrelated to anything else. To my knowledge, there's not going to be any tie in to either Fotis Dulos or anything else—and more importantly, nothing in regard to my client, so it's little pieces that in my opinion don't even fit together in the puzzle,” attorney Jon Schoenhorn told reporters.
Schoenhorn scored a win in court when Judge Kevin Randolph ruled the jury would not hear from the chief medical examiner. Dr. James Gill had been expected to testify that Jennifer Dulos was the victim of a violent homicide, despite her body never being recovered. But the defense filed a motion to keep his testimony out, saying that Gill shouldn’t be able to offer expert testimony without examining a body or body parts. Schoenhorn argued Gill’s findings were based solely on police statements and a probate court judge declaring Jennifer Dulos dead.
“The medical examiner did not review  anything medical. He read a police report, looked at some pictures, and then looked at what the probate judge down in New Canaan did a couple months ago and was going to render an opinion,” Schoenhorn stated outside the courthouse. “The judge correctly ruled that, you know, he didn't look at anything that required his expertise so anyone could come to the same conclusion if that's where they wanted to go.”
The ruling was a victory for the defense after the judge ruled against him in other motions argued in the morning. That included the judge’s decision that attorney Michael Meehan, who served as guardian ad litem to the five Dulos children during the divorce case, could testify. Supervisory State’s Attorney Michelle Manning said Meehan will testify about conversations he had with Fotis Dulos and Troconis leading up to Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. Manning told the judge the testimony will offer a motive for the presumed murder, showing their state of mind and frustration with the ongoing divorce and custody battle. She said it was especially important because it refutes the narrative put out by the defense that things were going Fotis Dulos’ way in court.
Troconis is the first defendant to go on trial in the case since Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020. His friend and former attorney, Kent Mawhinney, is also charged as a co-conspirator in the case and may testify against Troconis.


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