Kent Mawhinney back in custody on $1.5 million bond after allegedly tampering with ankle monitor
Kent Mawhinney, the former attorney charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Jennifer Dulos, returned to custody Monday after allegedly tampering with his court-mandated GPS ankle monitor. Mawhinney is now being held on $1.5 million bond after a last-minute hearing at Stamford Superior Court.
“This is such an egregious violation in the state’s view that your honor has to exercise your authority and raise his bond,” Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning said to Judge Gary White.
Manning submitted photographs to the judge of the apparent ankle monitor, which has since been replaced. News 12 obtained one of them which shows the device’s strap severed, but the two wires that track location are still in intact.
“I think anybody with any common sense could take a look at that picture and realize that somebody tampered with that bracelet,” Manning said. “The only person in possession of it is Mr. Mawhinney. This is a clear-cut case, in the state’s view, of any individual who is attempting to elude the conditions set by the court. The only inference that can be made on somebody trying to take off their GPS unit is that their intentions are nefarious to some extent.”
But Attorney Jeffrey Kestenband disagreed chalking up any deterioration to normal “wear and tear” over time. Kestenband said Mawhinney’s original GPS ankle monitor was replaced after six months, but he’d been wearing the one in question for one-and-a-half years.
“Why would Mr. Mawhinney after two years of full compliance without any issues with the bracelet suddenly now decide to cut it off? The answer is there is none. And the reason there is none is because he didn’t tamper with it,” Kestenband argued. He pointed out Mawhinney has been given permission to leave Connecticut several times and has always returned. “There has never been a hint that he would ever try to leave or flee or do anything that would violate his conditions of release in that two-year period.”
The judge said it appeared to him from the pictures that the ankle monitor was tampered with. He granted Manning’s request to raise bond and said if Mawhinney can post it, he must do so at the Stamford courthouse.
After court, Kestenband would not answer any questions including whether Mawhinney will post bond. He maintained his client did violate the conditions of his release.
Mawhinney was arrested in Jan. 2020 accused of trying to provide a fake alibi for his friend and former client Fotis Dulos in the disappearance and death of his estranged wife. Jennifer Dulos was last seen the morning of May 24, 2019 after dropping of her kids at school in New Canaan. Her body has never been found, but she is presumed dead. Fotis Dulos killed himself shortly after being charged with her murder. Mawhinney and Michelle Troconis, the former girlfriend of Fotis Dulos, are the remaining defendants in the case. Troconis is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, along with other charges including, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.
Mawhinney’s bond was initially set at $2 million, which he was unable to post until October 2020, when the state lowered it to $246,000 and put conditions on his release. It came after Mawhinney met with investigators on the Jennifer Dulos case. In May 2021, Judge John Blawie denied a request from Mawhinney’s attorneys to remove his GPS ankle monitor so he could wear hockey skates and referee adult hockey games.
The state has said Mawhinney may testify against Troconis at her trial. Troconis is free on $2.1 million bond. She also must wear ankle monitor but has been free to travel within the country and in compliance the whole time. Several attempts by her attorney to get the device removed have been denied.