Who is Michelle Troconis, the woman found guilty in Jennifer Dulos' murder case?

Michelle Troconis, the woman accused in the mysterious killing of Jennifer Dulos in 2019, was found guilty of conspiracy for helping to cover up the Connecticut mother's murder after a lengthy trial in Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford.

Here's what to know about the case and Troconis' trial.

What happened to Jennifer Dulos?

Dulos vanished on May 24, 2019, after she was last seen dropping off her five children at school. She was at the time going through a turbulent divorce and custody battle with their father, her estranged husband Fotis Dulos, who was about $7 million in debt, according to police warrants. Fotis Dulos was the primary suspect in his wife's killing until his death following a suicide attempt in 2020, shortly after his arrest for her murder.

Jennifer Dulos was last seen dropping her children off at school on May 24, 2019. / Credit: WFSB
Jennifer Dulos was last seen dropping her children off at school on May 24, 2019. / Credit: WFSB

When Jennifer Dulos went missing, Troconis was in a relationship with Fotis Dulos and living with her daughter at his home in Farmington, where his wife had previously lived. She became the focus of the case after his death, and was known infamously around the world as "the other woman" once the scandal consumed headlines and then gained more publicity as the subject of the 2021 Lifetime movie "Gone Mom."

State police accused Fotis Dulos of driving an employee's truck to New Canaan and riding a bicycle to Jennifer Dulos' home on the day of her disappearance. They said he attacked his wife in the garage after she returned home from their children's school before putting her back into her car and driving away. Authorities do not know what transpired after that. Jennifer Dulos' SUV was found empty at a park in New Canaan about three miles from her house.

Was Jennifer Dulos ever found?

Despite searching that park and other locations, including her husband's home, authorities were never able to find a body and Jennifer Dulos was later presumed dead. Police said they discovered enough bloodshed in her garage to suggest that she could not have survived injuries sustained in an attack there. They also said evidence suggested a potential attempt to clean up the scene.

What was Michelle Troconis accused of?

A 49-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Venezuela, Troconis was initially charged in Connecticut with conspiracy to commit murder, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution for her alleged role in Dulos' death. Troconis has maintained that she is innocent since the investigation into Dulos' disappearance began, and was seen telling police in excerpts from early interrogation videos, "I can do whatever you want but I didn't do it." The footage was obtained by "48 Hours."

The night of the killing, Fotis Dulos was captured on public surveillance cameras in Hartford disposing of garbage bags at multiple locations. He drove his truck to each stop and stepped out of it to throw the bags away, while Traconis sat inside the car.

The trash bags were collected days later by police, after they seized Fotis Dulos' phone and used his location data along with Hartford video footage to find the disposal sites. Investigators said that inside the bags were clothes and zip ties, among other items, that had Jennifer Dulos' DNA on them, and others that had her husband's DNA. Some of the items found in those bags contained blood, according to police.

Michelle Troconis, center, is arraigned on conspiracy to commit murder charges in Stamford Superior Court on Jan. 8, 2020, in Stamford, Conn.  / Credit: Erik Trautmann / AP
Michelle Troconis, center, is arraigned on conspiracy to commit murder charges in Stamford Superior Court on Jan. 8, 2020, in Stamford, Conn. / Credit: Erik Trautmann / AP

Authorities also said one of the recovered bags had DNA from Jennifer Dulos, Fotis Dulos and Troconis, who later claimed she was unaware of the contents of the bags being thrown away that night.

In the arrest warrant charging Troconis with conspiracy to commit murder, authorities accused her of giving different answers to police in three different interviews during which they asked her whether she had seen Fotis Dulos at home on the day Jennifer Dulos was killed. Fotis Dulos had planned that morning to meet with his friend and attorney Kent Mawhinney, who later told police that they did not meet in the end. Mawhinney was subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit murder as well, and, like Troconis, has pleaded not guilty. He is awaiting trial.

Who is Michelle Troconis' attorney?

Troconis is being represented by Connecticut attorney Jon Schoenhorn, who immediately requested that his client have a Spanish translator in court after Fotis Dulos' death. Schoenhorn noted that Spanish is Troconis' first language, but the request was still seen as a legal maneuver.

As the trial got underway, his arguments largely focused on the lack of physical evidence connecting Troconis to Jennifer Dulos' murder. The defense has acknowledged that Troconis was in the truck with her former boyfriend as he disposed of garbage bags around Hartford that night, but Schoenhorn said she was mostly on her phone and not really paying attention, thinking that she and Fotis Dulos were "going to Starbucks."

Michelle Troconis  refused to answer
Michelle Troconis refused to answer

"This is really the trial of Fotis Dulos," Schoenhorn said in court, as prosecutors took weeks to present detailed evidence collected from those garbage bags to the jury that did not contain Troconis' DNA and had only traces of blood on them, according to the defense attorney. He said prosecutors first need to prove that Fotis Dulos murdered his wife in order to have grounds to convict Troconis on a conspiracy charge.

What's was said in the criminal trial?

The prosecution has also heard several witnesses. One of them, Pawel Gumienny, a Polish immigrant who worked for Fotis Dulos' building company, described the man as "very hard-headed" and told the court that he and Troconis were upset with Jennifer Dulos at the time of her murder, because she would not allow her children to visit the terminally ill family dog at their father's home.

Gumienny testified that Troconis used aggressive language and slurs when talking about Jennifer Dulos in the context of that situation. "She said, 'That ***** should be buried right next to the dog,'" Gumienny said. A few days after the disappearance, Gumienny testified that Troconis said, "I'm gonna kill that ******* ***** when she turns up," when talking about Jennifer Dulos.

It was Gumienny's vehicle that Fotis Dulos drove to New Canaan on the day his wife was last seen, and prosecutors believe that he deliberately shaved his head and adopted Gumienny's style in order to turn suspicion on the worker. Prosecutors have said they do not believe Gumienny was involved the killing, but he did receive immunity for his testimony.

Troconis reiterated that she is innocent in a post shared on social media in the months leading up to her trial.

"It's been 4 1/2 years since I was wrongly accused," Troconis wrote in October. "I have faith in Justice and the jury system."

Her family has also publicly defended her. Weeks before the trial began, her parents released a statement asking that "everyone involved, especially the investigators, to see the pain and injustice being inflicted upon Michelle and to reconsider the direction of their pursuit."

"It's agonizing for us to watch our innocent daughter suffer under the weight of a system that seems to be turning a blind eye to justice," the family's statement read. "Our family's plea is simple: seek the truth and fairness that Michelle so rightly deserves."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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