Murder case against Fotis Dulos dropped after his death, against wishes of defense

Dulos, 52, was arrested and charged in January with capital murder, murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance in May of his wife, Jennifer Dulos.
Fotis Dulos is arraigned on murder and kidnapping charges on Jan. 8, 2020, in Stamford, Conn.
Fotis Dulos was arraigned on murder and kidnapping charges in Stamford, Connecticut, on Jan. 8, 2020.Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media via AP file

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A Connecticut judge decided Tuesday to drop the murder and kidnapping case against the late Fotis Dulos over the objections of his attorney, who said he wished to pursue a trial to prove that his client did not kill his estranged wife.

Dulos, a Connecticut real estate developer, died Jan. 30 at a New York City hospital two days after attempting suicide at his home in Farmington, where he was on house arrest.

Earlier that month, Dulos, 52, had been arrested and charged with capital murder, murder and kidnapping in connection with the May disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Dulos, whose body has never been found. He pleaded not guilty.

The Duloses, who had five children together, were in a contentious and drawn-out divorce and child custody battle when she disappeared.

Jennifer Dulos in a family photo.Courtesy Carrie Luft

Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo had asked the judge to drop the case against Dulos because he is dead. But Dulos' attorney, Norm Pattis, argued that Dulos' estate has the right to clear his name at a trial.

He said he wanted to pursue an appeal through probate court in the name of Dulos' estate, whose permission he would seek to take on the appeal.

"Mr. Dulos' memory remains stained by these scandalous accusations, and we'd like a chance to raise them in an open court. Whether we get that chance is an open question and remains to be seen," Pattis said outside court Tuesday. "This was not the ending we anticipated in the form we hoped. We hoped fully well to stand in front of you some day with the charges against Mr. Dulos ended by way of an acquittal."

In court, Pattis said his team was investigating a theory that Jennifer Dulos was killed by someone else and that her husband had no involvement but panicked when garbage bags full of her bloody clothes were dropped in his backyard.

Investigators had laid out a bevy of evidence against Dulos in multiple arrest warrants. Early on, they said his DNA was found mingled with hers in bags full of items, like zip ties, gloves, cleaning supplies and clothes, which he was caught stuffing into trash bins in Hartford with his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, after Jennifer Dulos went missing.

His DNA was also found in her home, along with her blood, court documents said.

Pattis said Tuesday that he was also trying to get his team's defense work to the attorneys of Troconis and Kent Mawhinney, who are charged as co-conspirators. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Dulos' suicide attempt came after he got word that he was due at an emergency court hearing to address a discrepancy with the $6 million bond he had posted.