Watch CBS News

Michelle Troconis, convicted of conspiracy in Jennifer Dulos murder, was "fooled" by boyfriend, says sister

The Conspiracy to Murder Jennifer Dulos
The Conspiracy to Murder Jennifer Dulos 41:58

It was one of the most anticipated trials in recent memory: the State of Connecticut vs. Michelle Troconis — a case that has haunted the family and friends of Jennifer Dulos for nearly five years.

"I wanted to be there every day because Jennifer couldn't be there and I wanted to be there for her to bear witness," says longtime friend Carrie Luft.

Luft was in court every day as prosecutors Sean McGuinness and Michelle Manning presented their case: that Troconis conspired with her boyfriend Fotis Dulos to murder his estranged wife, and then helped to cover up the crime. Fotis Dulos died by suicide  after being charged with murder.

"This defendant was undoubtedly part of this plan to kill Jennifer Dulos. There's no if ands or buts about it," McGuinness addressed the court.

As the defendant listened in Spanish, her first language, her attorney Jon Schoenhorn described her as just another victim of Fotis Dulos.

"There is nothing to suggest that Michelle had any clue about what was gonna happen in New Canaan on May 24th, 2019. … Michelle simply did not know," Schoenhorn told jurors.

The Troconis family remains steadfast in the belief that Michelle is innocent.

"Unfortunately, he fooled all of us," Troconis' sister, Claudia Troconis-Marmol, tells "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty. "At the beginning, he was this amazing guy. But it turns out, he was this monster."


May 24, 2019, started like any other day for Jennifer Farber Dulos, with the usual organized chaos of getting her five children, ages 13 and under, dressed and off to school. But shortly after 8:05 a.m., Jennifer vanished.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: She was scheduled for a dentist appointment … later that morning in New York City … She never made it to her dentist appointment.

Then Connecticut State Police Sergeant Kenneth Ventresca would become one of the lead investigators.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: People couldn't get a hold of her.

On the stand, the children's nanny, Lauren Almeida, recalled her gnawing sense of dread.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court): How were you feeling at this time?

LAUREN ALMEIDA: Um, really bad. My — the second I called Jennifer it's like my stomach just sank because she never not answered her phone.

Almeida took the children to wait at the home of their maternal grandmother, Gloria Farber, in New York City. The 88-year-old Mrs. Farber says she waited for her daughter to come get them.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): Did Jennifer show up at your apartment that day?


MICHELLE MANNING: Have you seen your daughter Jennifer since she failed to meet you at your apartment in New York City on May 24th, 2019?


By 7 p.m., all-out panic set in. Almeida called police.

Lauren Almeida: We told the police that a mother of five was missing and that she was in a very contentious divorce.

Officers quickly discovered Jennifer's abandoned Suburban SUV in nearby Waveny Park.

Kenneth Ventresca  (in the park): The tailgate was — was backed up against this tree. … The Suburban was not running; keys were not in the ignition. … you could see the cleanup of the blood-like substance all over the passenger side under a flashlight.

New Canaan police launched a massive search.

CARRIE LUFT (to reporter): All I want to say is, Jennifer, we love you and we are doing everything we can to bring you home.

Sergeant Ventresca says the one person who didn't seem worried about Jennifer was the father of her five children, her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.

Erin Moriarty: Did he help at all in the search?

Kenneth Ventresca: No, no

Erin Moriarty: Did he seem concerned about his wife as time went on?

Kenneth Ventresca: No. Never seemed concerned about his wife.

Fotis and Jennifer Dulos
Fotis and Jennifer Dulos Sotiria Kontouli

It wasn't always that way. They met in college — Jennifer, a writer and playwright from a wealthy New York family, and Fotis, an international water-skiing champion raised in Greece — both students at Brown University. It turned romantic some 17 years later after a chance meeting at the Aspen airport. 

Erin Moriarty: What did she like about him, eventually love about him?

Carrie Luft: Well, you know, he was a really … charming person. He was very handsome. He was smart and funny.

And an ambitious real estate developer and builder of luxury homes.

Fotis Dulos and Jennifer married in 2004. Soon there were five children — two sets of twins and then a little daughter. Almeida says Jennifer loved being a mother.

Lauren Almeida: She would sing to them and laugh with them and she never raised her voice. She was just like incredibly nurturing.

The growing family moved into one of Fotis Dulos' opulent homes in Farmington, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford. They had all the advantages money affords, and an emphasis on sports, especially waterskiing. But the marriage was increasingly rocky, says Almeida.

Lauren Almeida: So, I was in one of the kids' rooms and … we started to hear screaming and Jennifer ran through the bedroom door … Fotis was yelling … And she closed the door behind her and pushed her body up against the door and he was trying to get in. And I mean her face was just — she was terrified. … And … eventually, he walked away 'cause myself and her daughter were there.

Michelle Troconis and Fotis Dulos
Michelle Troconis and Fotis Dulos Sotiria Kontouli

By 2016, Fotis Dulos was away as many as 10 days a month, often chasing the latest waterskiing competition. On a trip to Miami, he met Michelle Troconis. The Venezuelan-raised single mother was Fotis Dulos' type — she rode horses, reported for ESPN in South America on snow skiing, and even more to Fotis Dulos' liking, she was a competitive water skier. Claudia Troconis-Marmol is Troconis' sister.

Claudia Troconis- Marmol: He was charismatic. He was into sports just like she was. He was a loving father.

Soon Fotis Dulos and Troconis began an affair. It didn't take long for Jennifer Dulos to put two and two together.

Lauren Almeida: Through email and receipts she found out that he went on a trip to Utah with Michelle and a friend of his and his girlfriend.

Jennifer Dulos later told Almeida she confronted Fotis Dulos and he admitted to having the affair. That was it. She devised a secret plan to take the kids and move out with Almeida's help.

Lauren Almeida: She was afraid of what Fotis would do to her or with the kids if she filed for divorce … while they were living under the same roof.

But Jennifer Dulos did file for divorce, took the kids and moved into a rental home in New Canaan. Troconis and her young daughter moved into Fotis Dulos' house in Farmington.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: She fell in love with him and they had a very amazing relationship.

It would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of Troconis' life. 


Friends of Jennifer Dulos showed up to court every day, somber and respectful.

Carrie Luft: We did need to just bring her — her presence, the love for her into the courtroom.

For Jennifer Dulos' loved ones, there has been no body to mourn, no grave to visit. Her remains have never been found. For prosecutors, it added another set of challenges to an already difficult case. To prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Troconis conspired with Fotis Dulos to commit murder, they first had to prove there was a murder, and then, that it was Fotis Dulos who murdered her.

But, eight months after Jennifer Dulos vanished, and long before a trial would begin, Fotis Dulos died by suicide..

Jon Schoenhorn: I always thought … this trial was against a ghost.

Prosecutors essentially brought Fotis Dulos back to life by focusing on the day Jennifer Dulos went missing. They presented what investigators had found at her home.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: When they go to the house, they go in the garage, they noticed blood-like substance.

Jennifer Dulos crime scene
When New Canaan Police arrived at Jennifer Dulos' rented home, they found blood on the floor of the garage. A little over an hour later, detectives found her Suburban SUV — also containing blood evidence — abandoned by nearby Waveny Park. Connecticut State Police

Sergeant Ventresca and Detective John Kimball of the State's Major Crime Squad were summoned to the scene.

Det. John Kimball: There was evidence that someone had attempted to clean up blood. There were … what appeared to be swirl marks on the sides of the vehicles.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: A serious violent assault occurred in that garage. I mean, there's definitely some sort of foul play involved.

Within hours of searching the house, investigators learned Fotis Dulos had a possible motive — that contentious divorce, something Jennifer Dulos expressed in court documents:

"He is dangerous and ruthless when he believes he's been wronged."

"… he must always win at all costs."

And there was little doubt that Fotis Dulos was losing. He had spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs. His business was floundering. And worse, he lost shared physical custody of his children.

Det. John Kimball: I don't think Fotis liked to lose in any aspect of his life, and I don't think that he liked to be losing in court at the hands of his wife.

The day after the mother of his children disappeared, Fotis Dulos was summoned to the New Canaan Police station.

Erin Moriarty: Did he agree to sit down and talk?

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: No.

But they got something more important than an interview. Police took Fotis Dulos' phone.

They tracked it to Albany Avenue in Hartford around 7 p.m. the evening of May 24 — roughly the same time Jennifer was reported missing. It turns out there were security cameras all along Fotis Dulos' route.

New Canaan Police Officer Thomas Patten couldn't believe his eyes.

Erin Moriarty: What are you seeing?

Officer Tom Patten: Well, as he was driving around, he would be — he was depositing black garbage bags in various receptacles.

Erin Moriarty: And is he alone?

Officer Tom Patten:  No, in one of those pictures, you can see a female that's leaning outside of the passenger side of the truck.

It turns out that female reaching for the sidewalk was Troconis. Within days, a team of detectives was dispatched to go digging through the trash.

Det. John Kimball:  Well, some of the things retrieved … were used zip ties with human blood and DNA of Jennifer Dulos on them … female undergarments … a Vineyard Vines shirt in the size that Jennifer wore.

Jennifer Dulos evidence
At trial, Prosecutor Michelle Manning holds up a bloody shirt belonging to Jennifer Dulos. Pool

At trial for the first time, they showed those bloody clothes.

Carrie Luft:  I think it was really important that they did that. … We had seen photographs of that evidence. So I knew what it looked like. … But being in the same space … the same space and time as Jennifer's clothes just really drove home that she's not here.

On June 1, 2019, eight days after Jennifer vanished, both Fotis Dulos and Michelle Troconis were arrested for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution. They still did not have enough for a murder charge.

Fotis Dulos refused to talk to police but Troconis gave the first of three interviews. Officers made it clear Jennifer Dulos was not just missing; she was murdered.

DET. CLABBY (first police interview): So basically here's a fact.


DET. CLABBY: Fotis killed Jennifer.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: Oh, no [crying].



DET. CLABBY: This is a fact. We know this. And we —


DET. CLABBY: — we need to find Jennifer …

Officers were trying to figure out if she knew where Jennifer Dulos' body was.

DET. KIMBALL: If you had to get rid of a body, which was no longer one piece —


DET. KIMBALL: — where would you go?

MICHELLE TROCONIS: Me? I never would do that.

DET. KIMBALL: Or where do you think Fotis might go? OK? I'm not saying you. Where would Fotis have gone to take either Jennifer or parts of Jennifer to get rid of her?

MICHELLE TROCONIS: Oh, God. I don't know …

Troconis insisted she didn't know anything about a body. She also gave Fotis Dulos an alibi. She told  them he was with her at home that morning at 4 Jefferson Crossing.

"I have no idea where Jennifer is." Detectives grill "the other woman" in Jennifer Dulos case 01:18

MICHELLE TROCONIS (first police interview): Fotis wakes up, too. We — when I go to the bathroom. I brush my teeth. I get into the shower.

OFFICER: Mm-hmm.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: Fotis jumps into the shower with me.

OFFICER: Mm-hmm.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: Probably it's a 5-minute shower.

That statement would come back to haunt her.

Both Fotis Dulos and Troconis were released on bond and ordered not to communicate with one another. Fotis Dulos stayed in his glittering mansion at 4 Jefferson Crossing. Troconis moved into her own apartment and would forever be branded as the other woman.

OFFICER: I'll be honest with you. You're probably one of the most hated women in America right now.


Ten days after Jennifer Dulos disappeared, investigators found papers at Fotis Dulos and Troconis' home that they came to believe were actually "alibi scripts." A timeline, say prosecutors, that Fotis Dulos and Troconis created to keep their stories straight.

Part of what police call Fotis Dulos and Michelle Troconis' "alibi script." "6:40 wake up, alarm … and then took shower together." Connecticut State Police

That timeline became central to the State's case — not only for what was in it, but for what wasn't.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court): The cops asked her why wasn't Hartford in your timeline? Oh, I was going to write that, but I got interrupted. Isn't that coincidence? Isn't that convenient?

Prosecutors set out to show what they say is the real timeline, starting in the early hours of May 24 — the day Jennifer vanished. Surveillance footage shows a truck leaving an empty house that Fotis Dulos had renovated for sale.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: It was — a red pickup truck was seen leaving that residence headed towards Route 4 at approximately 5:30, 5:35 hours.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca, who thinks Fotis Dulos was driving, tracked the pickup truck heading towards New Canaan where Jennifer lived.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: We eventually located a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck … driving southbound.

The Tacoma was spotted two-and-a-half hours later — shortly before 8 a.m. — in New Canaan, near Waveny Park.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: This is where he had parked it. 

Fotis Dulos on bike surveillance video
Investigators believe this surveillance image shows Fotis Dulos, upper right, riding a bicycle to Jennifer Dulos' home on the day of her disappearance.   Connecticut State Police

Investigators believe Fotis Dulos had brought a bicycle with him,  and believe he is seen on surveillance video biking the last three miles to Jennifer's house.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: He came over in the back road over there. He waited for her to drop the kids off at school. She came home in the morning … she enters the garage … that's where the violent assault occurred in the house.

Prosecutors say that while Fotis Dulos was killing Jennifer Dulos, Troconis was back at their house, providing an alibi.

Fotis Dulos had left his phone at home and prearranged a call with a friend from Greece. Prosecutors believe Troconis picked up the call to make it appear that Fotis Dulos was home.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): Make no mistakes, she knew exactly what she was doing when she answered that phone.

Prosecutors claim Troconis then moved it around, locking it and unlocking it to continue to show activity.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): Now, the only person who could have reasonably manipulated Fotis Dulos' phone that morning is Michelle Troconis.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): This is the conspiracy.

During the time prosecutors say Troconis was manipulating the phone,  Ventresca believes Fotis Dulos was cleaning up the crime scene —

POLICE BODYCAM VIDEO: Yeah, it doesn't sit well with me especially because there's like a pattern here.

— and then put Jennifer's dead or unconscious body in the back of her Suburban and drove it away.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: … and then her vehicle is left about three-and-a-half miles away down on Lapham Road near Waveny Park.

Just 100 feet from where police say he had parked the Tacoma.

Investigators cannot account for the next 40 minutes. It's possible Fotis Dulos used that time to get rid of Jennifer Dulos' body, but they think it's more likely that he was transferring incriminating materials from the Suburban to the Tacoma.

Det. John Kimball: If he had things to move, like a lot of bloody clothing ... It could've taken 40 minutes.

Timeline: The disappearance of Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos by 48 Hours on YouTube

What happened to Jennifer Dulos, they don't know. What we do know is that the Tacoma returned to the empty house at 12:22 p.m.

After that, Fotis Dulos met Troconis for lunch.

DET. KIMBALL (police interview): Did you ask him where he was that morning?


That's because, prosecutors say, she already knew. That afternoon, Troconis brought cleaning supplies and garbage bags to that empty house for sale — 80 Mountain Spring Road. Troconis says she and Fotis Dulos were preparing for a showing the next day.

Erin Moriarty: So what do you think was happening that afternoon at 80 Mountain Spring?

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: I think that the evidence that was found in Hartford … was being bagged up.

The prosecution showed Troconis driving back and forth to the house where she lived with Fotis Dulos. Prosecutors believe she was burning evidence. 

Det. John Kimball: And there appears to be smoke coming out of the east chimney.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court): Who's lighting a fire on Memorial Day weekend? Better question, who's lighting three fires on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend on a day like that? … The surveillance shows her going back and forth repeatedly, five minutes at a time, nine minutes at a time. Fire. Fire.

If the prosecution had a star witness, it was Fotis Dulos' employee, Pawel Gumienny, who turns out to be the owner of the red Tacoma. He described a conversation he had with Troconis a month before Jennifer Dulos went missing. Troconis was upset when she learned Jennifer would not let the children say goodbye to the family dog before Fotis had him put to sleep.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court): What exactly did she say?

PAWEL GUMIENNY: Um — can I use bad words?


PAWEL GUMIENNY: She said that "b---- should be buried right next to this dog."

But perhaps Gumienny's most damaging testimony concerned his pickup truck — that Tacoma, which he says Fotis Dulos took without permission. He says he showed up at the house where Troconis and Fotis Dulos were cleaning. He wanted his truck back. But the keys were gone.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court):  What did Mr. Dulos say to you?

PAWEL GUMIENNY: He says that Michelle has the key.

Troconis had already left the premises with the keys.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): She takes the keys to the Toyota Tacoma to prevent Pawel from taking the car for the weekend. After all they need more time, they haven't gone to the car wash yet.

Troconis returned with the keys and Gumienny took his truck home. But, five days after Jennifer Dulos disappeared, Fotis Dulos finally took the old, beat-up Tacoma to the car wash. Troconis met him there.

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: You can eat off the floorboards in this truck. That's how clean it was by the time we got it.

But Fotis Dulos made one major miscalculation. He asked Gumienny to remove the two front seats of the Tacoma and find replacements.

PAWEL GUMIENNY (in court): He was growing angry and — and — and he keep on saying, like, "You gotta do it. You — you — you — can you do it?"

Gumienny, who was later given immunity, did remove the seats, but he handed them over to police. And sure enough —

Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: On the passenger seat … there was a blood-like stain on the fabric of the seat, which was cut out, tested at the lab, and it came back to Jennifer Dulos's DNA blood. … And that was paramount for this investigation.

They finally had enough evidence to arrest Fotis Dulos for the murder of his wife. Troconis was arrested for helping him plan the murder. The two would never see or speak to each other again. 


Day after day, Troconis sat in the courtroom with her family behind her. She showed little emotion other than a few tears. 

Michelle Troconis trial
Michelle Troconis looks back at her family during her trial.  As the defendant listened in Spanish, her first language, her attorney Jon Schoenhorn described her as just another victim of Fotis Dulos. Law & Crime Network

Jon Schoenhorn: Let me say something about not showing emotion. … If we smile as we're coming into the court … everything she does … someone is gonna comment on that.

Troconis, out on bail, left court quietly each day, but her family was outspoken.

CLAUDIA TROCONIS-MARMOL (to reporters outside court): She's a mother, a daughter, a sister … and just an amazing human being. And we know that the truth will prevail.

Her father, cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Carlos Troconis, and sisters Claudia and Daniela spoke to "48 Hours" in 2020. Then, as now, they refused to believe that Michelle could have been involved in Jennifer's disappearance.

Erin Moriarty: What makes you believe that your sister had absolutely nothing to do with this?

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: How we were brought up, our principles … just that she's never been a violent person.

Carlos Troconis: She wouldn't harm anybody.

Erin Moriarty: Sometimes women do ridiculous things for love.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: Not my sister.

Daniela Troconis: That's not Michelle.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: Other women but not my sister.

Daniela Troconis: Michelle would never harm anybody, anyway.

Michelle Troconis' attorney Jon Schoenhorn says she was fooled by Fotis Dulos.

Erin Moriarty: Fotis Dulos lied to Michelle?

Jon Schoenhorn: It appears that he did on more than one occasion.

According to Troconis, Fotis Dulos told her he believed his wife had run away — something he claimed she had done in the past.

MICHELLE TROCONIS (first police interview): I said, "what, what do you mean that she disappeared?" And he said, "don't — don't worry, she's done it in the past. She went to Aspen and she changed her name 20 years ago."

OFFICER: That's false.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: I'm telling you what he told me.

Schoenhorn says Fotis Dulos was also lying to her that night he was dumping bloody evidence on Albany Avenue in Hartford.

Erin Moriarty:  And you're saying she had no idea what was in those bags that Fotis was getting rid of?

Jon Schoenhorn: She not only did not know what was in those bags … she had no idea what he was actually doing. He'd invited her to go out to Starbucks. … Practically the entire time … she's on either WhatsApp, texting or making phone calls during that whole time.

DET. KIMBALL (first police interview): Do you know what was in the bags.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: No. Bueno. My mind's always like construction things. Even maybe I don't know, the cleaning from the house. I don't know.


Fotis Dulos surveillance
Surveillance video shows Michelle Troconis leaning out of Fotis Dulos' vehicle. She would later tell police that she had spit out gum and since her hand was sticky, she decided to wipe it on the sidewalk. Jon Schoenhorn

Troconis-Marmol, speaking on behalf of her sister after the trial, says it wasn't unusual for Fotis to dump construction debris in public trash cans instead of paying for a dumpster.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol:  I had gone in 2018, and he had done it in my presence. So it was very common for — for him to do that.

But prosecutors portrayed that footage of Troconis leaning out of the truck as something nefarious. They told the jury she was purposely giving cover to Fotis Dulos while he dumped two altered license plates down the sewer.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): While they opened the door at the exact same time, conveniently at the right time to block the view from the tan car.

Troconis says it was an innocent gesture.

DET. KIMBALL (first police interview): You're actually leaning out at one point of the car.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: No. I told him. I, I lean — I had a, a chewing gum. I took it. I spit it. I spit it.


MICHELLE TROCONIS: And my hand got, uh, sticky and I went like this (demonstrates by moving  her hand to the floor) and like this to clean.

The state's case was built on speculation, not facts, says Schoenhorn. Take that smoke rising from the fireplace.

Jon Schoenhorn: She would have fires going in the fireplace all the time.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: Remember my sister lived in Argentina before. So it's very common to put the fireplace on and to just sit around … have your wine. And my sister would do it.

And, in fact, says Schoenhorn, the police brought in cadaver dogs but they never found any trace of evidence in the fireplace.

JON SCHOENHORN (in court): What was she burning in that fireplace? Firewood.

As for those missing keys to the Tacoma, Troconis-Marmol says Troconis told her that the keys had been left out in the open, sticking out of the door of the truck.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: Culturally, we don't trust. We always lock doors. We always lock houses. Everything. … So she told me she took them … because of how we are, that she's just not gonna leave keys hanging from the door.

Schoenhorn says that not only is there an innocent explanation for every one of the State's accusations, but his client's willingness to help speaks volumes about her involvement — or lack of it. She not only gave three interviews, she walked the police around the grounds near Fotis Dulos' house to help them look for Jennifer Dulos' body.

DET. KIMBALL (second police interview): We think you have information.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: I told you I don't, John, but I can walk the whole world with you if you want. … I can do whatever you want but I didn't do it.

Erin Moriarty: If, in fact, your sister knew where Jennifer's body was … wouldn't she have tried to make a deal with that information?

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: Of course. … my sister is not the person that the media has portrayed, that the police and the state have wanted to portray … My sister would have said it. She would have stood up.

In the end, Schoenhorn says, her good intentions to help police worked against her. It was Troconis' apparent contradictions in those three interviews that seemed to incriminate her. At the time, she had a different lawyer.

Erin Moriarty: Do you wish she had never talked to the police?

Jon Schoenhorn: Let — let's put it this way … I would never have put my client in that situation when she was under arrest.

MICHELLE TROCONIS (first police interview): Fotis jumps into the shower with me.

Remember, in the first interview she said she and Fotis Dulos took a shower together the morning Jennifer Dulos disappeared. But she changed that story in the second interview. She told officers she didn't see Fotis at home that morning.

DET. CLABBY (second police interview):The first time you told us that you were in the house and woke up, you took a shower with Fotis. Now you didn't take a shower with Fotis.


DET. CLABBY: So, this is all gonna come out and it makes you look like you're not telling the truth.

MICHELLE TROCONIS: That I'm a liar, I know.

This is how she later explained it:

DET. CLABBY (third police interview):  Why did you tell us things that you knew were false?

MICHELLE TROCONIS: OK, I was in shock. I was nervous.

Police and the prosecution were convinced Troconis had helped plan an alibi,  including that call Troconis picked up on Fotis Dulos' phone. But Marmol says there's an innocent explanation for that, too. It turns out Fotis Dulos' friend, attorney Kent Mawhinney, was at Fotis Dulos' home office at 8:26 a.m., when Dulos' phone rang.

Claudia Troconis-Marmol: She was with Kent Mawhinney in the office. And Kent was actually the one that signaled to her, "Aren't you gonna answer the phone?" … So then she did.

But why didn't Troconis mention that phone call to investigators?

Erin Moriarty: She never mentioned that phone call in the first two interviews. She never mentions it until the third time. Why not? Was she trying to keep that from investigators?

Claudia Troconis- Marmol: No, because again, I don't remember verbatim every single thing that I did … So, our memory— can fool us … and just because she didn't mention it doesn't mean that she was hiding it    

Schoenhorn called to the stand a memory expert, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, to explain the changing stories.

ELIZABETH LOFTUS (in court): People with a lot of life stress are not gonna be, their memory is not gonna be operating optimally.

Next he called Viorica Marian, a professor who specializes in the relationship between language and memory. She testified that Troconis, who you'll remember listened to the trial in Spanish, had only medium proficiency in English.

JON SCHOENHORN (in court): Does that play a role when you're asked to retrieve or recite something that you had encoded in your memory?


After three days, the defense rested. Troconis never took the stand. It was time for the attorneys to present their closing arguments to the jury.


When jury selection began in the trial of Michelle Troconis, Jennifer Farber Dulos had been missing for 1,594 days. For Carrie Luft, the courtroom became a place to pay homage to a friend whose absence has left an unbearable silence.

Carrie Luft: I was there to be a presence for Jennifer.

After six weeks of testimony, it was finally time for the attorneys to sum up their cases in a narrative. A story. No longer than an hour. Their chance to put all the pieces together.

"48 Hours" met up with Jon Schoenhorn as he put the finishing touches on his closing arguments.

Jon Schoenhorn: I feel apprehensive, but I feel that we have a good shot.

The following morning, Jennifer's five children, now 17, 15 and 13 and living with their grandmother, sat in the gallery as the closing arguments began.

Carrie Luft: They wanted to support their mom. They wanted to support their grandmother. And they wanted to know what happened.

Prosecutor Michelle Manning was the first up.

MICHELLE MANNING (in court): This trial is very simple. It's about a conspiracy and about a coverup. It's about Michelle Troconis' actions, and about how she and Fotis Dulos conspired together to murder the woman who was standing in their way.

JON SCHOENHORN (in court) : It is, and I will say this multiple times, speculation. It's conjecture. It's guesswork, which is not the standard of evidence in a criminal case here.

Prosecutor Sean McGuinness delivered a powerful finish using one simple word: coincidence.

SEAN MCGUINNESS (in court): I want to just pose these questions to you as you head into your deliberations. Is it really just a bunch of coincidences? Is it just a coincidence that the defendant answered Dulos' phone at Four Jefferson Crossing when he was murdering his wife in New Canaan? … Is it just a coincidence that Dulos' phone is being moved and manipulated when only the defendant is home? Is it just a coincidence that the defendant travels with Dulos to Hartford as he disposes of the evidence on the same day? Is it just a coincidence that the defendant brought black garbage bags to 80 Mountain and Jennifer's shirt and bra were found inside black trash bags?

For alternate juror Patrick, who wanted "48 Hours" to only use his first name, the prosecution's closing put weeks of testimony into perspective.

Patrick:  Where it all came together really was in closing arguments. That's when it all made sense to me. And really up to that point, I had entertained both sides in my head.

As an alternate juror, Patrick was released before deliberations.

Michelle Troconis duing her trial.
Michelle Troconis faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.  Law & Crime Network

After a little more than two days, the jury sent word of a unanimous verdict to the judge: guilty.

Erin Moriarty: What did that feel like hearing "guilty"?

Jon Schoenhorn: Well, I held her arm and … I could just feel the energy leave her body. … everything was dead silent.

Erin Moriarty: Everything just stopped at that moment.

Jon Schoenhorn: Yes.

Carrie Luft: And — it was really stunning. And I guess, I mean that in the ... physical sense of being stunned and just, sort of ... Hanging on every word.

Patrick says he agreed with the verdict, including the most serious charge: conspiracy to commit murder.

Erin Moriarty: What makes you believe that she helped plan it?

Patrick: I think the totality of the evidence. Not only when I thought she was deceptive in her interviews, but even just absent of that— the moving around of Fotis' phone in the morning, the answering the phone call … Covering for him. … even if there was an explanation for it, that certainly shows that you had — some reason to do that.

Troconis family
Michelle Troconis' family says they believe in her innocence. CBS News

The Troconis family spoke to the press after the verdict.

CLAUDIA TROCONIS-MARMOL (to reporters): And we continue standing here because we too care to know the truth of what happened to Jennifer, but we don't know what happened to Jennifer. And choosing and putting my sister as the guilty person is not the right thing to do because she's innocent (crying)."

For Jennifer Farber Dulos' family and friends, it was the verdict they had hoped for. But it did little to ease the anguish they feel every day that she remains missing.

Jennifer Dulos
Jennifer Dulos Carrie Luft

Carrie Luft:  And that's what's the most painful. We don't know. We don't know where she is.

Erin Moriarty: Do you think you ever will?

Carrie Luft: I don't know.

Carrie Luft: We'd like to find her and bring her home. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't change our love for her. … she's in each of our hearts. … She's in her five children. You see her face in Gloria's. So, you know, Jennifer's still here in so many ways. But — I think it would- bring some peace to be able to let her rest in peace.

Michelle Troconis is expected to be sentenced on May 31. She faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.

"48 Hours" Post Mortem Podcast

Host Anne-Marie Green, Erin Moriarty and producers Liza Finley and Emily Wichick Hourihane give an insider's look into the trial of  Troconis, and discuss the  conflicting stories Troconis told police, the emotional toll the trial had on both families, and the prosecution's pivotal closing arguments.  

Listen to this episode on ART19

Liza Finley, Emily Wichick Hourihane, Mary Ann Rotondi and Richard Fetzer are the producers. Mead Stone is the producer-editor. Elena DiFiore and Marc Goldbaum are the development producers. Elizabeth Caholo and Emma Steele are the associate producers. Mike Baluzy, Michael Vele, Chris Crater, Ken Blum and Diana Modica are the editors. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.