Waiting game for verdict continues in Michelle Troconis trial; jury asks for charge clarification

On Thursday, it appeared the jury had made progress in their work. They had a note for the judge about two hours into the day’s deliberations.

Marissa Alter

Feb 29, 2024, 5:10 PM

Updated 45 days ago


The waiting game in the Michelle Troconis trial continues. Another day of jury deliberations ended without a verdict from Stamford Superior Court on Thursday. The six jurors in the case, three men and three women, must determine whether the prosecution proved—beyond a reasonable doubt—that Troconis plotted with Fotis Dulos to kill his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, and then helped him cover up the crime. The jury first got the case late Tuesday and has deliberated for about 12 hours in total so far.
On Thursday, it appeared the jury had made progress in their work. They had a note for the judge about two hours into the day’s deliberations. Their question referred to the wording of one of the charges, which may suggest jurors are getting into the nitty gritty of their decision.
Troconis is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of hindering prosecution.
“Your Honor, can we please receive clarification as to the verbiage of Count 3? Specifically, in order to constitute tampering, does the defendant need to have physically altered, destroyed, concealed or removed an item or thing, i.e. physical contact?” Judge Kevin Randolph read aloud in open court. “Further, the information never mentions the term accessory or accessorial liability. Following the juror instructions would lead one to believe having accessorial liability would be enough to prove a defendant guilty of tampering with physical evidence. Is that the case or is the section titled accessorial liability from page 44 of the jury instructions misleading?”
The jury’s note pertained to the tampering charge that’s connected to Albany Avenue in Hartford. That’s where security cameras captured Fotis Dulos dumping trash bags into garbage cans with Troconis as a passenger in his truck. State police later recovered some of those items, which included Jennifer Dulos’ blood-stained shirt and bra.
Under Connecticut law, accessorial liability refers to the intentional aiding of someone else who carries out the crime. Randolph told the jury that statute is included in the charge. Randolph also said accessorial liability does not require physical contact.
Troconis' attorney later characterized the note as "neutral." Jon Schoenhorn told reporters the jury instructions on the charge weren't clear, and he would've had that same question.
Jennifer Dulos vanished on May 24, 2019, while in the midst of a contentious divorce and custody battle with Fotis Dulos. Troconis was Fotis Dulos’ girlfriend at the time. State police believe he violently attacked his estranged wife in her garage in New Canaan, then disposed of her body, which has never been found.
Troconis is the first defendant in the case to stand trial after Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 while facing murder and other charges in connection to his wife’s disappearance. Kent Mawhinney, Fotis Dulos’ friend and former attorney, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and is awaiting trial.
The jury in Troconis’ trial began hearing testimony on Jan. 11. The prosecution spent about 25 days building its case while the defense presented evidence for just over two days. Dozens of witnesses took the stand during the trial and about 200 exhibits were presented.
If Troconis is convicted of all charges, she faces a maximum penalty of 50 years if the sentences are consecutive and 20 years if they run concurrently.
On Wednesday, jurors asked to rehear testimony from Clara “Petu” Duperron, Troconis’ close friend. Duperron was the final witness to take the stand before the defense rested.
The jury continues deliberations at 10 a.m. Friday.

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