Woman convicted of conspiracy to murder, cover-up in 2019 disappearance of Connecticut mother

Woman convicted of conspiracy to murder, cover-up in 2019 disappearance of Connecticut mother

A woman was convicted Friday of conspiring to kill Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five who disappeared from an affluent Connecticut enclave in 2019 and has never been found.

Michelle Trokonis49, was convicted by a jury in Stamford after a lengthy trial in which prosecutors laid out a case that she helped her then-boyfriend, Dolus’ husband, plot and cover up his estranged wife’s murder while they fought each other at divorce and custody proceedings.

Photis Dolus, who denied having anything to do with the disappearance, was never tried: He he killed himself in January 2020, shortly after he was charged with murder.

Trokonis sat with his head down and cried as jurors were polled to confirm they agreed with the verdict. She could be heard sobbing before marshals handcuffed her and led her out of the courtroom.

A spokesman for Jennifer Dulos’ family, Carrie Luft, thanked the jurors, judge and prosecutors, but stressed that a “mother, daughter, sister, cousin and dear friend” is still missing.

“Today’s verdict is a decisive attribution of responsibility, not a victory. There can be no victory when five children grow up without their mother,” Luft said in a statement. The family hopes the verdict will spur new leads.

In addition to the conspiracy to commit murder charge, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the jury convicted Trokonis of hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. Her bond was set at $6 million and she is scheduled to be sentenced on May 31.

Trokonis’ attorney, John Schoenhorn, said he respected the jury’s decision but did not understand it and planned to seek a new trial.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s not like I’m being cynical or hard-boiled about it, but I really just don’t see how the jury could have reached that verdict,” he told reporters, adding that “Michelle is devastated.”

Trokonis likely won’t be released on bail for several days, he said. Meanwhile, she is due in court on Tuesday for a hearing on whether she should be held in contempt over an incident during the trial.

Jennifer Dulos, 50, is missing on May 24, 2019, after dropping her children off at school. At the time, she lived with them in New Canaan, while Fotis Dulos stayed at the family’s spacious home about 70 miles (115 kilometers) away in Farmington. At the time, Trokonis and her daughter were living with Fotis Doulos.

The case garnered widespread attention and was the subject of Lifetime’s made-for-TV movie Gone Mom.

Jennifer Dulos was a member of a wealthy New York family whose father, the late Hilliard Farber, founded his own brokerage firm. She was also the niece by marriage of fashion designer Liz Claiborne. Fotis Doulos builds luxury houses and is from Greece.

Trokonis, who holds dual American and Venezuelan citizenship, is described as a co-founder of equestrian therapy programs in various parts of the world, who once had her own television production company in Argentina and hosted a snow sports show for ESPN South America.

Trokonis’ family members were shocked and angered by the verdict and said she was unfairly accused.

“Selecting and placing my sister as guilty is not the right thing to do because she is innocent,” sister Claudia Trokonis-Marmol told the court through tears. She described the sentence as an injustice.

Police allege that on the morning of Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, Fotis Dulos drove his employee’s pickup truck to a park in New Canaan, rode a bicycle to her house, assaulted her in the garage and drove off with her in her Chevy Suburban, which was later found abandoned in the park.

Although her body has not been found, a judge declared her legally dead last October. The coroner also concluded that evidence from the garage, including suspected blood spatter, showed she could not have survived such an attack.

Hours after Jennifer Doulos disappeared, Trokonis was seen on surveillance video accompanying Fotis Doulos on a trip to Hartford, where he threw trash bags out of the back of his own pickup truck.

During the trial, the prosecution and state forensic experts showed a bloodstained shirt, bra and zip ties that were found in one of the bags. Experts testified that DNA samples from the items were a very likely match to Jennifer Dulos’ DNA.

They also said DNA and fingerprints on some of the items and bags were a high-probability match to Fotis Doulos, and DNA that was a high-probability match to Trokonis was found in one of the bags.

The jury watched nearly seven hours of police interviews with Trokonis on three different days, which showed her saying she didn’t know what was in the bags.

In court, Trokonis’ lawyer also argued that her probable DNA was only found on a microscopic sample of one of the bags, and that Fotis Doulos may have spread it there after having contact with Trokonis.

Prosecutors said Trokonis lied to police during her first interview, saying Fotis Doulos was at her Farmington home when she woke up the morning Jennifer Doulos disappeared. She admitted during a subsequent interview that this was not accurate.

“While we hope that today’s sentencing will bring some peace to Jennifer’s family and friends, we also hope that someday we will be able to provide a solution to the still unanswered question of where Jennifer rests,” said State’s Attorney Paul J . Ferencek in a statement.

Kent Mauney, a friend of Fotis Dulos and his one-time attorney in the civil case, is also awaiting trial on conspiracy to murder charges in the case. He pleaded not guilty.

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