Troconis jury hears about phone records, GPS data on day of Farber Dulos’ disappearance

Around the time that investigators say Jennifer Farber Dulos was killed, Fotis Dulos’ friend in Greece sent him a video with a joke about not spending the rest of his life with his wife.

About 10:20 a.m. on May 24, 2019 — two hours after Farber Dulos was last seen — Andreas Toutziaridis sent Dulos a video that shows an older man listening as a narrator says: “You have two options: A. You can send the rest of your life with your wife, or B. …”

“B!” the man in the video interrupts loudly.

The jury saw this video — and other messages sent and received on Dulos’ phone — during the trial for Dulos’ former girlfriend Michelle Troconis on Thursday. Troconis is charged with plotting with Dulos to kill his estranged wife, and mother of their five children, with whom he was in the midst of a divorce.

Thursday marked the 20th day of Troconis’ trial in Stamford Superior Court, with a forensic science examiner from the state lab taking the stand to testify about GPS data pulled from Dulos’ Ford F-150 Raptor and Farber Dulos’ Chevrolet Suburban, followed by a Fairfield police detective who walked the jury through some of Dulos’ phone records from May 23, 2019, and May 24, 2019.

Michael Clark, a police detective from the Fairfield Police Department, was the second witness the state called to the stand Thursday.

Clark said his work centers around cyber investigations, cold case homicides and digital forensics. For this case, he examined data extractions from Dulos’ phone.

“Some of the contents we can view are things like pictures, messages, photos,” Clark said, adding that they can also review location data and phone “events” like when a phone was turned on or off or was plugged in or unplugged.

Investigators allege Dulos, who usually had his phone on him, left his phone at home on May 24.

Dulos allegedly laid in wait in his wife’s New Canaan garage and attacked her, killing her when she got home from dropping their kids off at school about 8 a.m. Later that day, he drove to Albany Avenue in Hartford where he was seen on surveillance video dumping black garbage bags into trash bins and dropping an envelope into a storm drain while Troconis rode in the passenger seat of the Ford F-150 Raptor.

The jury heard testimony Thursday that GPS data showed Dulos’ Ford was on Albany Avenue that evening.

Investigators combed through the items in those trash bins and found things like a Vineyard Vines shirt, a bra, a boxcutter and zip ties, all with blood-like stains that were a likely match to Farber Dulos’ DNA.

Troconis is charged with allegedly helping Dulos cover up his wife’s murder.

Defense attorney pokes holes in testimony of ex-Dulos employee during cross-exam in Troconis trial

According to a warrant affidavit for Troconis’ arrest, she was interviewed by police three times in 2019 and gave a detailed account of her day on May 24, 2019. During the first two interviews, she did not mention answering an incoming call from Toutziaridis on Dulos’ phone on the morning of May 24.

She maintained that she didn’t know that Dulos left his cell phone at home that morning, the warrant affidavit said. But that changed during her third interview.

“In this interview, Troconis changed her entire story regarding the presence/absence of Dulos’ cell phone that day,” the warrant affidavit said. “By acknowledging Dulos’ cell phone was sitting on the Fore Group office as she and Kent Mawhinney stood in the office, and that it received an incoming call on that date.”

Troconis told police that the phone rang and Mawhinney stood up, motioning for her to answer it.

“(Mawhinney) said … like, ‘There’s a phone ringing. Are you going to do something with the phone or the call?'”

She said she then answered it, heard static and then thought she heard someone say the Greek word for hello. She responded in Spanish, saying “Hola.” She said the call was short.

“I’m pretty sure it was Andreas’ voice,” she told investigators.

Mawhinney, a former lawyer of Dulos’, is also charged with conspiring to murder Farber Dulos and is awaiting trial.

Phone records presented in Troconis’ trial on Thursday showed that an incoming call was answered at 8:24 a.m. and lasted 17 seconds.

According to text messages shown in court Thursday, translated from Greek to English, the call was prearranged the day before between Dulos and his friend in Greece.

Clark walked the jury through the records that show that 17-second call, the text messages between Dulos and Toutziaridis and other pieces of information pulled from the phone.

Assistant Supervisory State’s Attorney Michelle Manning questioned Clark about when certain messages were sent to Dulos by the senders and when they were opened by Dulos.

The data showed that text messages Dulos received on the morning of his alleged crimes were not opened until that afternoon.

Before Clark took the stand, the jury heard again about the whereabouts of the Ford owned by Dulos that his Fore Group employee Pawel Gumienny was driving for a week or two before Farber Dulos disappeared, including the morning she was allegedly killed.

Gumienny was on the stand as a witness for the state on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was offered immunity in exchange for his testimony.

Forensic examiner Mark Newth, who works at the state lab in Meriden, said he received thousands of pages of data downloaded from Dulos’ Ford. Those pages included GPS location data that contributed to a “tracking log,” or data about where the truck was or where it was moving. But he said the data had some holes in it.

“We got a spotty data set, we call it,” he said. “Meaning portions of the timeframe were deleted or not present.”

He said spotty data could occur for two reasons, data was overwritten or the drive it was stored on had started to wear out.

Manning asked if a person could “manually go in and change the data or GPS coordinates?”

“Not to my knowledge,” Newth said.

According to GPS data recorded by a system in the Ford, the vehicle’s first recorded “event” that day was in Simsbury, where Gumienny lived and testified that he started his day.

Gumienny told the jury that he went to a job site in New Canaan on May 24. When he left that site was the subject of much of his cross-examination by Troconis’ defense attorney Jon Schoenhorn on Wednesday.

Gumienny said he may have gone out to lunch around 12:30. He said he went to a Chinese restaurant that he had been to before but said he could not remember the name, what street it was on, what he ate or what his server looked like.

Schoenhorn, in his cross-examination of Newth on Thursday, asked if the GPS data could confirm where the Ford was for all of May 24.

“Was there any data between 7:55 (a.m.) and 9:30 (a.m.) that you were able to recover?”

“No, there was no data,” Newth said.

He said that until about 12:30, there were three “data points” showing the vehicle at the New Canaan job site on Sturbridge Hill Road, at 9:53 a.m., 12:21 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.

“You cannot testify that the vehicle was there the entire time, can you?” Schoenhorn asked.

“I cannot say with certainty that it was,” Newth said.

Gumienny testified that after he left New Canaan that day, he drove to Farmington and got his truck, a red Toyota Tacoma that has been at the center of testimony in this case, back from a Fore Group property at 80 Mountain Spring Road.

The jury has seen surveillance footage of Dulos driving that Ford later that night with Troconis in the passenger seat. The pickup truck’s GPS data confirmed that the Ford traveled down Albany Avenue in Hartford and pulled into a plaza in Bishop’s Corner in West Hartford, where Troconis told investigators she went to Starbucks with Dulos.

The couple was captured on surveillance video from that Starbucks that night, which the jury has also seen.

The subject of the testimony then switched to Farber Dulos’ Chevrolet Suburban, which was found abandoned near Waveny Park after she disappeared. Newth testified that he was also asked to review data from that vehicle from May 23 or 24.

“This was an active investigation and was considered high priority,” he said.

The data he pulled from it included when devices with Bluetooth, like cell phones, connected to the vehicle’s Bluetooth. According to the data, Newth said a device paired to Farber Dulos’ Suburban at about 2:56 p.m. after she had allegedly been killed.

Manning asked if a device could connect to a vehicle’s Bluetooth if the vehicle was off, and he said the vehicle would have to be on.

“How close does it have to be?” Manning asked.

“In my experience, the range for these things can be as much as 50 feet,” Newth said. He also said the device did not have a specific name associated with it and did not know if it belonged to Farber Dulos.

“It’s just called iPhone,” he said. But it was not a new device, meaning it had been paired to the vehicle’s Bluetooth before, first in July 2018.

Schoenhorn said outside of the courtroom on Thursday afternoon that Farber Dulos’ phone has never been found.

The court adjourned at about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The trial will resume on Tuesday at 10 a.m.