Troconis attorney: ‘Thousands of pages’ of evidence from Dulos disappearance turned over to defense

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Prosecutors have now turned over “thousands of pages” of investigative materials related to the death and disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, an attorney for defendant Michelle Troconis said during a hearing Tuesday.

Jon Schoenhorn, Troconis’ attorney, said that the documents appeared to include forensic evidence that he sought for months from prosecutors in an effort to defend Troconis against charges of conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with evidence in relation to the disappearance of Dulos, a New Canaan mother of five.

Troconis has pleaded not guilty to each of the charges. She appeared remotely Tuesday for a court hearing in front of Stamford Superior Court Judge Gary White.

“I’m hoping and assuming it will be what I asked for,” Schoenhorn told White when asked whether the documents satisfied his requests for materials.

Schoenhorn added that the documents totaled roughly two gigabytes of information, which he had only begun “flipping through” after the materials were sent electronically within the last week.

The hearing did not resolve Schoenhorn’s most recent request to have Judge White explain his rationale in determining that alleged misstatements by state police investigators in arrest warrants for his client amounted to “inadvertent” errors and “minor inconsistencies.”

Schoenhorn had sought to have Troconis’ two charges of tampering with evidence and a charge of hindering prosecution thrown out based on the “false statements and omitted material facts.”

White said that he was aware of Schoenhorn’s request, which was filed Monday, and would make a ruling on it at a later date. Neither Schoenhorn nor the prosecutor overseeing the case, Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning, raised any objections to having the judge take time to consider the motion.

“I felt that there were a couple of areas that the court might want to reconsider or at least look at,” Schoenhorn said.

Dulos’ estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, was dating Troconis at the time of his wife’s disappearance. Prosecutors alleged that he killed Jennifer Dulos at her New Canaan home in May 2019, and then disposed of evidence with the help of Troconis. Fotis Dulos died of suicide in January 2020, not long after he was charged with murder.

Schoenhorn, however, has argued that police lied, made exaggerated statements and omitted other facts in describing video footage showing Troconis with Dulos as he dumped trash bags along Albany Avenue in Hartford the night that Jennifer Dulos was reported missing.

For example, police said in a warrant that Troconis and Fotis Dulos were seen stopping “30 times” to dispose of trash bags. However, the video footage only showed their truck stopping three times, Schoenhorn said, and Troconis was never seen leaving the vehicle to help Dulos.

Dulos’ body was never found, though police found her blood and clothing in some of the trash bags that were recovered from Albany Avenue, arrest records show.

In addition to the tampering and hindering prosecution charges, Troconis faces a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

In other motions filed ahead of Tuesday’s court hearing, Schoenhorn had also complained that prosecutors are withholding evidence vital to the defense, including documents that he alleged were collected by the federal Department of Homeland Security to investigate Fotis Dulos.

“It is apparent that the absence of court orders has only contributed to unnecessary delays, either due to inertia or intentional suppression of materials by responsible law enforcement agencies that have an obligation to respond to state’s attorney’s requests,” Schoenhorn said in a motion filed last week.

However, Schoenhorn took a more conciliatory tone during Tuesday’s hearing, even praising Manning for her efforts to supply the defense with discovery materials. He said that those efforts have improved since the former prosecutor overseeing the case, Richard Colangelo, left to become the chief state’s attorney in 2020.

Colangelo subsequently announced his decision to step down from that job earlier this year amid accusations of nepotism for hiring the daughter of another state official.

“I have to give her credit,” Schoenhorn said. “We’ve gotten way more accomplished in the few months she's been involved than in the few years under the previous state’s attorney.”

Manning told White on Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge Victor Bolden had unsealed records related to Homeland Security’s investigation into Dulos and unnamed “Greek nationals.”

She said that federal authorities were in the process of creating an external hard drive with those materials to turn over to state prosecutors and the defense.

Schoenhorn did press Judge White to order the state to return laptops and other electronics seized from Troconis on May 31, 2019 as police scoured the state in search of Dulos. One of the laptops belonged to Troconis’ 12-year-old daughter to use on school work, Schoenhorn said.

Manning said the items were among the more than 40 pieces of electronics seized by police during the search, and that Troconis should have to prove they belonged to her and not to Fotis Dulos.

Judge White said that prosecutors should be able to determine which items belonged to Troconis and were no longer of evidentiary value so that they could be returned.

“Just work it out between yourselves and if you cannot, bring it to this court and we’ll work it out,” White said.

Troconis and Kent Mahwinney, Dulos’ longtime friend and attorney who also faces charges in relation to Jennifer Dulos’ death, both remain free on bond. Prosecutors have said Mawhinney will testify against Troconis if her case goes to trial.

White set the next hearing date for Troconis' case on June 7th, adding that Troconis may appear remotely.

Troconis currently splits her time between Florida, Connecticut and Colorado, her attorney has told the court while petitioning to allow her to remove a court-ordered ankle monitor. White declined that request again on Tuesday, saying it was a necessary condition of her release.