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Troconis Sentenced to More Than 14 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Murder Jennifer Dulos

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A woman convicted of helping her boyfriend plot and cover up the murder of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, during contentious divorce proceedings in Connecticut was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison Friday, after Dulos’ mother and children testified about their heartbreak.

Michelle Troconis, 49, was convicted in March of conspiracy to commit murder, hindering prosecution, evidence tampering and other charges in the 2019 disappearance of Dulos, whose body has never been found. A probate judge declared her legally dead last year.

Prosecutors say Fotis Dulos killed Jennifer Dulos at her New Canaan home and drove away with her body. He died by suicide in 2020, soon after being charged with murder. He had denied killing his wife.

Michelle Troconis stands with her attorneys, Jon Schoenhorn and Audrey Felsen, as she speaks before Judge Kevin Randoph prior to 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 estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

Troconis was living with Fotis Dulos when his wife disappeared. She and her lawyer said she had nothing to do with the plot.

Judge Kevin Randolph in Stamford on Friday issued a 20-year prison sentence, to be suspended after 14 1/2 years. Troconis must then serve five years probation. She could have been sentenced up to 45 years.

Some of Jennifer Dulos’ family and friends said the sentence wasn’t nearly long enough.

Troconis’ lawyer asked the judge to release her on bond pending an appeal. Randolph denied the request.

About 80 people packed the courtroom for the sentencing, with Jennifer Dulos’ family and friends on one side and Troconis’ supporters on the other. All five of Dulos’ children and her mother Gloria Farber attended.

Jennifer Dulos has not been seen since she dropped her children off at school on May 24, 2019.

The above is an undated archival photo from a missing persons flyer produced by the New Canaan Police Department. It shows Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five who disappeared in May 2019. (Photo: New Canaan Police Department via AP, Archive)

Farber told the court she knew “something terrible had happened” when her daughter did not return calls or texts that day. She said her daughter “only wanted to give and get love and be a loving mother.”

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

He said he had been close to his mother but that he struggled during the divorce.

“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, asked Troconis: “Where is she, Michelle?”

Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance was the subject of documentaries and a made-for-TV movie, Lifetime’s “Gone Mom.”

She belonged to 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 also was a niece by marriage of fashion designer Liz Claiborne.

Troconis, a dual American and Venezuelan citizen, said she co-founded a horse-riding therapy program, had 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 asked the judge for mercy Friday, describing her as upright and caring.

Her mother, Marisela Arreaza, said Traconis was a loving mother to her teenage daughter and not the homewrecker 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.”

Michelle Troconis, center, listens as a member of her legal team Andrew Bowman, left, addresses the court during a hearing at Stamford Superior Court, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in Stamford, Conn. Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of his wife Jennifer Dulos. The mother of five has has been missing since May 24. (Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)
Missing Mother

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

Troconis spoke last, saying: “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.” She said she regretted her relationship with Fotis Dulos.

Jon Schoenhorn, Troconis’ lawyer, said she will appeal the convictions.

“I still believe there was not sufficient evidence presented to prove that Michelle knew anything about what Fotis Dulos was planning,” he said outside the court.

Authorities believe Fotis Dulos killed his wife because he was frustrated with their divorce and child custody proceedings.

Jennifer Dulos had been living with the children in New Canaan while Fotis Dulos stayed in another home about 70 miles (115 kilometers) away in Farmington.

Hours after Jennifer Dulos was last seen alive, surveillance video recorded Troconis accompanying Fotis Dulos on a trip to Hartford, where he discarded trash bags from his pickup truck. Police later found some of the bags by using location data from Fotis Dulos’ cellphone.

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

Troconis told police she didn’t know what was in the bags or why Fotis Dulos dumped them.

Prosecutors also said Fotis Dulos left his cellphone at home on the day Jennifer Dulos vanished and Troconis answered a call to it from his friend that morning. They say that shows Troconis was in on the plot and tried to help him create an alibi. She denied the allegation.

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

___

By DAVE COLLINS Associated Press

Associated Press reporters Karen Matthews and Philip Marcelo contributed from New York City.

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