‘Thousands of pages’ of evidence of Dulos’ disappearance turned over to defense

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

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

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

“I hope and assume that will be what I asked for, Schoenhorn told White when asked if the documents satisfied his material requests.

Schoenhorn added that the documents totaled about two gigabytes of information, which he only started “scanning” after the documents were electronically sent over the past week.

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

Schoenhorn had sought to have both charges of tampering with evidence and one charge of obstructing Troconis’ prosecution dismissed based on the “false statements and omitted material facts”.

White said he is aware of Schoenhorn’s request, which was filed Monday, and will make a decision on it at a later date. Neither Schoenhorn nor the prosecutor handling the case, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Manning, raised any objections to the judge taking the time to consider the motion.

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

Dulos’ ex-husband, Fotis Dulos, was dating Troconis at the time of his wife’s disappearance. Prosecutors alleged he killed Jennifer Dulos at her New Canaan home in May 2019, then disposed of the evidence with the help of Troconis. Fotis Dulos committed suicide in January 2020, shortly after being charged with murder.

Schoenhorn, however, argued that police lied, overstated and omitted other facts when describing video footage showing Troconis with Dulos as he tossed trash bags along Albany Avenue in Hartford la night 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, 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, although police found his blood and clothing in some of the trash bags that were recovered from Albany Avenue, according to arrest records.

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

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

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

However, Schoenhorn adopted a more conciliatory tone during Tuesday’s hearing, even praising Manning for his efforts to provide the defense with discovery documents. He said those efforts have improved since former prosecutor leading the case, Richard Colangelo, left to become attorney general in 2020.

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

“I have to give him credit,” Schoenhorn said. “We accomplished a lot more in the few months she was 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 of Dulos and unnamed “Greek nationals.”

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

Schoenhorn lobbied Judge White to order the state to return laptops and other electronic devices seized from Troconis on May 31, 2019 as police scoured the state for Dulos. One of the laptops belonged to Troconis’ 12-year-old daughter for schoolwork, Schoenhorn said.

Manning said the items were among more than 40 electronic devices seized by police in the search, and that Troconis would have to prove they belonged to him and not Fotis Dulos.

Judge White said prosecutors should be able to determine which items belonged to Troconis and no longer had probative value so they could be returned.

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

Troconis and Kent Mahwinney, a longtime friend and lawyer for Dulos who is also facing charges related to the death of Jennifer Dulos, both remain free on bail. Prosecutors said Mawhinney would testify against Troconis if his case goes to trial.

White set the next court date for Troconis’ case for June 7, adding that Troconis could appear remotely.

Troconis currently splits his time between Florida, Connecticut and Colorado, his attorney told the court during a petition to allow him to remove a court-ordered ankle monitor. White again declined the request on Tuesday, saying it was a necessary condition for his release.

Calvin W. Soper