Troconis, inmate at York Correctional Center, wants out of prison while she appeals her conviction

Michelle Troconis speaks with her attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, during her sentencing in Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., Friday, May 31, 2024. Troconis, convicted of helping her boyfriend plot and cover up the murder of his ex-wife, Jennifer Dulos, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

STAMFORD — Lawyers for Michelle Troconis, who was recently convicted in the death and disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, are seeking her release pending her appeal.

Attorney Jon Schoenhorn, who represents Troconis, filed a motion Monday to reconsider the denial of his client’s appeal bond and requested oral argument.

Troconis, 49, was sentenced May 31 to 14 1/2 years in prison followed by five years of probation. She has been held at York Correctional Institution in Niantic since she was found guilty on March 1.

The sentence, imposed by Judge Kevin Randolph, came after a six-person jury found her guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of second-degree hindering prosecution. .

Troconis’ conviction stems from his involvement in the death of Jennifer Dulos, a New Canaan mother of five who disappeared in May 2019. With the guilty verdicts, the jury found Troconis guilty of attempting to create an alibi for her boyfriend at the time, Fotis Dulos, that morning. his estranged wife went missing and helped clean up a van that police believe was used in the crime.

After the sentencing, Troconis’ defense attorneys announced his intention to appeal and asked the court to set an appeal bond. Randolph denied the request.

In the filing Monday, Schoenhorn said state law allows judges to release a defendant on bond during the appeals process. He said the provisions limit release orders only if the judge determines that detention “is necessary to provide reasonable assurance of a person’s appearance in court.”

The case lasted five years, including several preliminary hearings, a lengthy jury selection process and an eight-week trial. Schoenhorn wrote that it was premature to identify all possible issues on appeal and that appellate attorneys, who may or may not include himself, will have to wade through thousands of pages of transcripts and hundreds of exhibits.

He argued that the case has many problems and that “an effective appellate brief will require in-depth knowledge of several complex issues on an immense record spanning five years of litigation.”

“Several of these issues, if successful, will result not only in the vacation of the conviction, but also in the dismissal of the charges,” he wrote in his Monday filing. The appeal could also result in a mistrial, a new trial or a reduced sentence, he said.

He said this indicates there will be “an inordinate and prolonged delay” before the appeal can be argued and ultimately decided.

“Such delay – while Ms. Troconis is in prison – is one reason why bail on appeal should be granted,” he wrote.

Schoenhorn noted that, if the judge grants his motion and there is a hearing on conditions of release, bail “should be set at the lowest amount consistent with the ‘essential purpose’ of bail ‘call”.

Since her initial arrest in June 2019, Schoenhorn said her client has complied with the conditions of her release. She posted a total bond of $2.1 million through a bail bond company and “remained compliant in all respects and conditions during her time in the community,” Schoenhorn said. He also said she had no criminal record and upon her release she surrendered her passport and was allowed to travel to the United States.

Schoenhorn said that at his sentencing, neither Randolph nor prosecutors argued that his detention was necessary for public safety or necessary to ensure his appearance in court pending the outcome of his appeal.

When Troconis was convicted, Randolph set his bail at $6 million. Schoenhorn said this was “far beyond the means” of his client and her family and she remained incarcerated until her May 31 sentencing.

He argued that this was done “despite the fact that during the five years that she was released on substantial financial and non-financial conditions, she never violated a single one of those conditions”, a Schoenhorn said. “The only reason given is that she was no longer covered by the presumption of innocence.”

At sentencing, Jennifer Dulos’ five children told Troconis that their lives weren’t what they used to be — they no longer had their mother — and that Troconis caused the damage.

“I will never forgive you for what you did,” said Théodore Dulos before encouraging the judge to give him 50 years, or 10 years for each child who lost their mother.

Jennifer Dulos, 50, was last seen returning home the morning of May 24, 2019, after dropping her five children off at school. During Troconis’ trial, prosecutors said evidence, including blood spatter in Jennifer Dulos’ garage, showed the New Canaan mother was killed by her ex-husband, Fotis Dulos, in the middle of their divorce and their custody dispute which had lasted for two years.

Officers were called to the home that evening when Jennifer Dulos failed to show up in New York to meet her mother and children. Investigators said they found signs that a violent crime had taken place in Jennifer Dulos’ garage.

Around the same time she was reported missing, Fotis Dulos was seen on surveillance footage throwing bags into trash cans along Albany Avenue in Hartford. The footage also showed Troconis, his girlfriend at the time, sitting in the passenger seat.

The images were discovered a week later and sparked a search along Albany Avenue where investigators recovered some of the bags. In a trash can, police found a tied black trash bag, slightly open and revealing part of a bra strap. They seized items from the trash, including a shirt and a bra, both cut down the middle and soaked in blood.

Police believe the clothes belonged to the missing New Canaan mother and medical examiners testified the clothes contained Jennifer Dulos’ DNA.

During his trial, prosecutors said Troconis manipulated Fotis Dulos’ phone and answered a call to make it appear he was home when police said he was killing his estranged wife, and later helped destroy evidence.

Although Troconis did not testify, jurors watched videos of his three interviews with police. These showed inconsistencies in her statements, such as whether she had seen Fotis Dulos at their Farmington home the morning Jennifer Dulos disappeared.

The person police believe killed Jennifer Dulos will never face justice. Fotis Dulos committed suicide in January 2020, weeks after being charged with the murder and kidnapping of his estranged wife.

Despite widespread searches by law enforcement, even across state lines, police have not found the body of Jennifer Dulos. She was presumed dead by police and her family for years and was declared legally dead in October 2023.

Troconis also faces a contempt of court charge stemming from the lawsuit. She is next scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford on July 10.