Testimony surrounding evidence from Toyota Tacoma, items dumped in Hartford at Troconis trial

A fingerprint expert took the stand in the trial for Michelle Troconis on Wednesday and testified that fingerprints matching Fotis Dulos were found on a garbage bag and tape that investigators pulled from trash bins in Hartford just days after Dulos’ estranged wife, Jennifer Farber Dulos, disappeared on May 24, 2019.

On the 14th day of the criminal trial for Troconis, the jury also heard briefly from two of Dulos’ former neighbors, who said police took surveillance footage captured from cameras at their Farmington homes. The testimony then turned back to one particular vehicle that has been a main focus of state prosecutors so far this week: a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Retired Connecticut State Police Sgt. Matthew Reilly, who previously testified in this case, returned to the stand Wednesday morning and told the jury about how he and other investigators examined, tested and took apart a Tacoma owned by Dulos’ employee, Pawel Gumienny.

When police seized the Tacoma, seats from a Porsche were in the truck in the driver and passenger seat spots but weren’t fully installed. The driver’s seat, Reilly testified, was propped up against a bucket. Another pair of seats were found in the bed of the truck.

Gumienny told police that those seats were taken out of the truck at Dulos’ urging.

Red pickup truck seen on day of Farber Dulos’ disappearance at center of testimony in Troconis trial

Investigators allege that Dulos took Gumienny’s Tacoma on the morning of May 24, 2019, drove it to New Canaan via the Merritt Parkway, then laid in wait in his estranged wife’s garage at her home at 69 Welles Lane.

When Farber Dulos returned home from dropping their five children off at school, investigators allege Dulos attacked her. Her body has never been found, but she has been legally declared dead.

After she was reported missing, Dulos allegedly pressured Gumienny, a project manager for his company Fore Group, to remove the seats from his Tacoma.

Gumienny, who is expected to testify soon in the case against Troconis, told police that Dulos “told him to switch out the seats and get rid of them so they would not be found,” police said in the arrest warrant affidavit for Troconis.

“Dulos continued to express his concern that police might find an incriminating hair,” on those seats, Gumienny told police, according to the warrant affidavit.

The warrant affidavit said Gumienny told police he eventually did as Dulos wanted and put in seats from Dulos’ wrecked Porsche to get his boss off his back — but he kept the other seats in case police wanted to examine them.

“When he did remove the seats on this date, Gumienny decided to himself to keep the seats without telling Dulos in the event they may be needed by police,” the warrant affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, the seats were sent to a forensic lab for testing and the results showed that Farber Dulos’ blood was on the passenger seat.

Troconis is charged with conspiring to commit murder, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence in connection to the disappearance and presumed death of Farber Dulos, who vanished during a divorce and custody battle with Dulos. Dulos died after attempting suicide in 2020.

Next on the stand Wednesday was fingerprinting expert Kevin Parisi from the state forensic lab in Meriden. Parisi walked the jury through the process of looking for fingerprints on multiple pieces of evidence. Some pieces of evidence brought up Wednesday, like ponchos investigators said had blood-like stains on them, didn’t have any fingerprints on them. Other items did.

Most of the evidence Parisi testified about Wednesday, including trash bags and pieces of tape, was found in trash bins on Albany Avenue in Hartford. Investigators allege Dulos dumped evidence related to his wife’s murder in those bins. Earlier in the trial, the jury saw multiple surveillance videos of Dulos driving a black Ford F-150 Raptor in Hartford with Troconis riding in the passenger seat the night Farber Dulos disappeared.

Parisi told the jury that he compared prints on a black garbage bag and tape and got a match to Dulos, but none of the fingerprints brought up Wednesday involved matches to Troconis’ fingerprints.

“I noticed that in none of the comparisons that you did, did you mention my client Michelle Troconis. Is that correct?” Troconis’ defensive attorney Jon Schoenhorn asked Parisi.

Parisi said Troconis’ prints were only compared to prints on a doorknob. She wasn’t a match.

During his testimony earlier Wednesday, Reilly also described other evidence collected in the truck, besides the seats. He testified that the truck was “extremely clean.”

“It was very clean for an 18-year-old truck,” he said.

Reilly testified about presumptive blood testing done on parts of the truck, including the use of Luminol as the jury was shown a photo of Luminol glowing in the dark in a part of the truck.

Lead detective testifies about discrepancies in Troconis’ timeline on day of Farber Dulos’ disappearance

Schoenhorn has repeatedly objected to the jury seeing similar photos, arguing that Luminol is a presumptive blood test, not definitive, and that it can light up if exposed to other things like certain vegetables, cleaners or rust.

On Wednesday, he said such photos are “misleading” and “confusing” to the jury without the context of lab results on those spots being provided to the jury at the same time.

“The jury is hearing this testimony about something that will prove to be completely irrelevant,” he said.

He moved to have testimony about the Luminol stricken from the record Wednesday, but Judge Kevin A. Randolph ruled that the jury could discuss the evidence during their deliberations.

“The court thinks the concern about the jury is unfounded,” he said.

The court adjourned early Wednesday, around 4:20 p.m.

Troconis’ trial is set to resume in Stamford Superior Court at 10 a.m. Thursday, with two retired members of the state lab expected to take the stand.