Judge rules most evidence found in Fotis Dulos' home can be part of Michelle Troconis' trial
As jury selection in the Jennifer Dulos case begins Wednesday, the judge ruled most of the evidence found at the home Michelle Troconis shared with Fotis Dulos when his estranged wife vanished can be presented at Troconis' upcoming trial.
Troconis has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, hindering prosecution, and conspiracy to evidence tamper in the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos on May 24, 2019.
Troconis' attorney has challenged all the evidence state police seized during a search of Farmington home where she was living with her then-boyfriend. Attorney Jon Schoenhorn attacked the methods used by police, calling them unreasonable and beyond the scope of the search warrant. Schoenhorn likened it to "the Wild Wild West" and argued because of that, everything found there should be tossed in the case.
But in a written decision filed Monday, Judge Kevin Randolph said only privileged communications between Fotis Dulos and his attorneys should be suppressed. That includes an attorney's bill.
It does not include handwritten timelines of the day Jennifer Dulos went missing, which police have termed "alibi scripts." Randolph said the notes were covered by the warrant and supported by probable cause. The judge also didn't include them as privileged communications though the defense argued he should and claimed the timelines were written at the suggestion of Fotis Dulos' attorney.
Randolph also said along with those, the seizure of 20 electronic devices from the house was not unreasonable and can go also be presented to the jury.
The defense's final argument for suppression had to do with police kicking everyone out of the home for the search and holding it for four days, a length of time Schoenhorn called outrageous.
Randolph said it's "a close case," but he disagreed. The judge also said even if the court found the length of time was unreasonable, "suppression of all the items seized is unwarranted in the case." Randolph ruled that's a matter for Troconis to take up in civil court.
The motion does not address Troconis' cellphone which was seized from her on the day of the search. There's a separate motion to suppress that. It's one of several outstanding motions filed by the defense to throw out evidence in the case. With arguments and rulings are on those matters still to come, the jury won't start to hear the case until January.
Jury selection is expected to take at least a month with several additional alternates chosen due to the trial not beginning until the new year.
Troconis is the first of two remaining defendants to go on trial. Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 while facing charges, including murder and kidnapping in the case. Police believe he killed his estranged wife in her home in New Canaan, then disposed of her body. Jennifer Dulos is presumed dead though her remains have never been found.
Fotis Dulos' friend and former attorney, Kent Mawhinney, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and has pleaded not guilty.