‘Very grateful.’ Michelle Troconis has GPS monitor removed in Jennifer Dulos case
Michelle Troconis, the woman charged in connection with the disappearance and presumed murder of Jennifer Dulos, no longer has to wear a GPS ankle monitor while she’s free on more than $2 million bond awaiting trial.
Judge Gary White granted Troconis’ request to have the device removed after nearly four years with it during a hearing in Stamford Superior Court Thursday. White cited Troconis’ full compliance with her release conditions and “stellar” court attendance during the past 46 months.
“I disagree with the defense that the bracelet shouldn't have been put on in the first place. But given her history, I don't think the bracelet continues to be necessary,” White said.
Troconis did not hide her elation as the ruling came down, first looking to her father in the gallery, then hugging her attorney, Jon Schoenhorn.
After the hearing, Troconis walked out of the courthouse without the ankle monitor but with a big smile and spoke publicly for the first time.
“I'm very grateful to God obviously, my whole family, my friends, all my support from this community and especially Jon,” Troconis told News 12.
Troconis had worn the device since June 2019, her first arrest in the Jennifer Dulos case. She’s accused of conspiring with her then-boyfriend, Fotis Dulos, to murder his estranged wife. Jennifer Dulos was last seen dropping her five kids off at school in New Canaan on May 24, 2019. Her body has never been found. Troconis is also charged with hindering prosecution, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence. Fotis Dulos, the main suspect in the case, killed himself while out on bond in January 2020, leaving Troconis and alleged co-conspirator Kent Mawhinney as the remaining defendants in the case.
White previously denied multiple motions to remove Troconis’ GPS monitoring with the most recent coming in November. But Schoenhorn appealed that ruling with the state Appellate Court, which overturned it and sent the case back to the lower court. The appellate court ordered a new hearing with the burden on the state to justify the need for continued tracking.
In court, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning argued multiple reasons to maintain monitoring. Manning cited, “the serious nature of the charges, the weight of the evidence that the state has against her, and her lack of ties to Connecticut.”
Troconis, who has dual citizenship in Venezuela, now lives in Colorado with her teenage daughter and often travels to Florida, where most of her family lives.
“You take away the bracelet, Your Honor, there is a reasonable likelihood in the state's view that she will not be compliant and show up in court. There is a reasonable basis to think that the reason why she's been so-called compliant is because of that bracelet, because of that oversight,” Manning said.
Troconis has pleaded not guilty to all the charges she’s facing. Following her third arrest in the case, in January 2020, she was put on house arrest and given a curfew. The court lifted those conditions in September 2020.
Outside the courthouse Thursday, Schoenhorn called White's decision a "small victory."
“I'm happy, I'm relieved that we were able to resolve an issue that I've been trying for since my involvement in January of 2020, when I became involved in this case,” Schoenhorn, noting that the win has nothing to do with the allegations in the case.
Troconis read aloud a quote she said she’d found and liked. “’God will put you together in front of the people who broke you.’ And that means, in my little English, a lot,” Troconis said after court.
The only remaining nonfinancial condition of her release is no contact with Mawhinney, who’s charged with conspiracy to commit murder. The court will also still hold onto her passport.
Troconis is back in court April 20 for a hearing on whether to close the courtroom when the judge hears arguments about motions each side has filed to disqualify counsel from the other.