Woman Gets 20-Year Sentence for Plotting to Kill Connecticut Mom


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A woman found guilty of assisting her boyfriend in the murder and cover-up of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, amid a bitter divorce and custody battle in Connecticut, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday.

A state judge in Stamford issued the sentence to Michelle Troconis for her involvement in the 2019 disappearance of Dulos, whose body has not been recovered since she vanished from her New Canaan residence.

Troconis, 49, was found guilty in March of conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering, and hindering prosecution. She denies the charges and intends to appeal.

Prosecutors allege that Dulos’ husband, Fotis Dulos, murdered her at her New Canaan home and disposed of her body, which remains missing. He died by suicide in 2020 shortly after being charged with murder, maintaining his innocence until his death.

Troconis lived with Fotis Dulos at the time of his wife’s disappearance and was found guilty in March of conspiracy to commit murder, hindering prosecution, and tampering with evidence.

Currently detained in state prison, Troconis maintains her innocence and plans to appeal.

Jennifer Dulos has been missing since she dropped off her five children at school on May 24, 2019.

The courtroom was filled with about 80 people, including Jennifer Dulos’ family and friends on one side, and Troconis’ supporters on the other. All five of Dulos’ children and her mother, Gloria Farber, were present.

Before the sentencing, they expressed their anger and heartbreak.

Farber said she knew “something terrible had happened” when her daughter did not return calls or texts, describing her daughter as someone who “only wanted to give and get love and be a loving mother.”

Jennifer Dulos’ oldest child, 18-year-old Petros Dulos, stated that his mother’s death left him with “a hole inside of me that I know I will never fill.”

He mentioned his close relationship with his mother and his struggles during the divorce.

“The defendant’s actions mean that I will never be able to tell my mom how sorry I am for not being a better son when she needed me,” he said.

Lauren Almeida, the Dulos family’s nanny, addressed Troconis: “Where is she, Michelle?”

Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance has been featured in documentaries and a made-for-TV movie, Lifetime’s “Gone Mom.”

She was part of a wealthy New York City family. Her father, the late Hilliard Farber, founded the brokerage Hilliard Farber & Co. after running Chase Manhattan Bank’s bond trading desk. She was also a niece by marriage of fashion designer Liz Claiborne.

Troconis, who holds dual American and Venezuelan citizenship, co-founded a horse-riding therapy program, owned a TV production company in Argentina, and hosted a snow-sports show for ESPN South America. Fotis Dulos was a luxury home builder from Greece.

Troconis’ family and friends characterized her as an upright and caring person on Friday.

Her pastor, the Rev. Christopher Solimene of Avon Congregational Church, mentioned that Troconis attended Bible study and cooked for the church soup kitchen. “Her heart is big for all of God’s creations, especially for children and those afflicted with disability,” Solimene said.

Troconis’ mother, Marisela Arreaza, described her daughter as a loving mother to her teenage daughter, refuting the homewrecker image portrayed by Dulos’ friends.

“When Michelle met Fotis Dulos, he presented himself as a family-oriented man going through an amicable divorce,” Arreaza said. “Michelle believed Fotis and had no reason to doubt him.”

Troconis’ daughter, Nicole, 17, told Judge Kevin Randolph: “Michelle isn’t just my mother. She’s my best friend, my rock, and my guiding light.”

Troconis spoke last, stating: “I am a person of profound faith and I have been praying and continue to pray for those who have suffered and continue to suffer.”

Authorities believe Dulos killed his wife due to his increasing frustration with their divorce and custody proceedings.

Jennifer Dulos had been living with the children in New Canaan, while Fotis Dulos stayed at the family’s 10,000-square-foot (929-square-meter) home approximately 70 miles (115 kilometers) away in Farmington.

Hours after Jennifer Dulos was last seen alive, surveillance footage captured Troconis accompanying Fotis Dulos to Hartford, where he discarded trash bags from his pickup truck. Police later recovered some of the bags after analyzing Fotis Dulos’ cellphone data and reviewing the surveillance footage.

During Troconis’ trial, forensic experts presented a shirt, bra, and zip ties with blood-like stains found in one of the trash bags. DNA testing linked the items to Jennifer Dulos.

Troconis told police she was unaware of the contents of the bags or why Fotis Dulos disposed of them.

Prosecutors also claimed that Fotis Dulos left his phone at home the day Jennifer Dulos vanished, and Troconis answered a call to it from his friend that morning. They argued this proved Troconis was complicit and tried to help create an alibi. She denied the accusation.

Kent Mawhinney, a friend and former lawyer of Fotis Dulos, is awaiting trial on a murder conspiracy charge related to Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. He has pleaded not guilty.

Although Jennifer Dulos’ body remains missing, a probate judge declared her legally dead last year. The Dulos children are now in Farber’s custody in New York City.

Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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