- Last week, Fotis Dulos was charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, eight months ago.
- His civil attorney Kent Mawhinney, as well as his ex-girlfriend Michelle Troconis, were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case.
- Mawhinney was also going through a contentious divorce at the time of Jennifer’s disappearance. His own estranged wife believes that Fotis and Mawhinney were conspiring to kill her, as well.
- Police alleged in Mawhinney’s arrest warrant that his wife told investigators she thought Fotis tried to lure her to his home during a meeting just a few days before Jennifer’s disappearance.
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When Fotis Dulos initially came under suspicion in his author wife’s disappearance back in May, his lawyer suggested that Jennifer Dulos was trying to frame her husband out of revenge – like the main character in the novel “Gone Girl.”
Following Fotis’ arrest last week on a charge of murder, there’s a new literary connection to the case.
In addition to Fotis, his civil lawyer Kent Mawhinney and former girlfriend Michelle Troconis were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Mawhinney – who represented Fotis on Connecticut real estate cases – was also going through a contentious divorce at the time. His estranged wife told investigators that she believes he and Fotis were plotting to kill her.
The accusation casts striking similarities to the plot of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Strangers on a Train” – the basis for the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name – where two people meet on a train and agree to swap murders so that the crimes can’t be linked back to them.
- NBC New York/New Canaan Police Department
‘Mawhinney wanted her dead’
In the days leading up to Jennifer’s disappearance on May 24, Mawhinney’s wife said she received multiple strange calls from Fotis.
She said Fotis wanted to talk to her about her husband, whom she had a restraining order against.
The voicemails, obtained by Fox 61 on Tuesday, show Fotis trying to get his lawyer’s wife to call him back two times.
Mawhinney’s wife, whose name is withheld in court filings, eventually agreed to meet Fotis at an oyster bar in West Hartford on May 19. According to her husband’s arrest warrant – which was reviewed by Insider and first reported by the Hartford Courant – Dulos kept asking her to come back to his house to speak to her husband.
When she said she wouldn’t meet with Mawhinney without their lawyers present, she said Fotis immediately paid the bill and left.
Her lawyer, Zenas Zelotes, told Fox 61 that she was confused about why Dulos would reach out to her, since they were not particularly close.
“This is not a close family friend, this is not a relative, this is not the type of person who you would expect to reach out and try to mend a marriage,” Zelotes said.
Mawhinney’s wife said Dulos called her again the next day and said Mawhinney was willing to meet with their lawyers present. But during a phone call the following day, on May 21, she told Dulos she did not want to have contact with her husband.
She later told Windsor Police that she felt Dulos was trying to lure her into a trap and that he and her husband were plotting to get rid of her.
“She stated she felt she was being ‘baited’ and was uncomfortable with the fact that Dulos kept inviting her back to his residence,” the arrest warrant said. “She stated that she believed Dulos was ‘indebted’ to Mawhinney and that she believed Dulos was working on behalf of Mawhinney to get rid of her. She stated that she believed that Mawhinney wanted her dead.”
Suspicious cellphone pings and an alibi
Mawhinney has been connected in other suspicious ways to Jennifer’s disappearance, court documents allege.
On May 23, his cellphone pinged near a job site where Fotis had driven to minutes earlier to retrieve an employee’s truck. Prosecutors allege Dulos used the truck to drive 75 miles to New Canaan the next day, kill his wife, and dispose of her body.
According to the arrest affidavit, suspicious “alibi scripts” were found in his home after police carried out a search warrant on the property later. These scripts including key points of Dulos’s activities for the day his wife went missing and the day after. Mawhinney’s name appears in them, but they don’t demonstrate how he was to play a role, according to the affidavit. The handwriting was determined to be that of Fotis and his girlfriend.
Mawhinney’s story about where he was that morning changed over time, according to the warrant, which says his answers were “frequently vague or evasive, at times self-contradictory, and otherwise suspicious to investigators.”
Mawhinney initially denied having been to Dulos’s home the morning of Jennifer’s disappearance, but later admitted that he had a meeting scheduled with Fotis and showed up around 7 a.m. He said he stayed there for about an hour and didn’t see Fotis during this time.
Meanwhile, Traconis initially told investigators that Fotis had been in a meeting with Mawhinney during this time, while later changing her story to say Fotis wasn’t there and she didn’t see him until the early afternoon.
Additionally, when prosecutors obtained surveillance footage showing Fotis disposing of bloodied items hours after Jennifer’s disappearance, they say he made a call to Mawhinney.
A hidden grave
Perhaps most disturbing was the discovery of a grave dug at a gun club where Mawhinney used to be a member, on the same day that Fotis met with Mawhinney’s wife at the oyster bar.
Two members of the club stumbled upon the pit, which had been covered by barbecue grates covered with leaves. It was about 6 feet long and 3 feet deep, the two men later told state police, and inside the pit was a blue tarp and two unopened bags of lime, which can be used to speed up decomposition.
One of the men later said that it was “one hundred percent a human grave.”
- Fox 61
The men didn’t report the grave at the time, but went to police when they realized in August that Mawhinney, a former member of the club, had been connected to the Dulos case.
Mawhinney’s arrest warrant says he inquired about accessing the property back in March or April, and that his cellphone pinged near the grave site on May 31 at 11:04 p.m.
The area of the grave, which had been filled in by June, was later dug up. No human remains were found.
Mawhinney remains locked up at the Bridgeport Correctional Center on $2 million bail. Fotis and Troconis are free on bond.
All of them have pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Fox News. Dulos and Troconis were previously charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution, and pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well. Dulos professed his innocence in interviews with NBC News, and NBC New York.
- Read more:
- Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband professed his innocence in his first interview since he and his girlfriend were accused of throwing away bloodied items
- Missing mother Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband and his girlfriend have been arrested in connection with her disappearance
- A mother of 5 has gone missing in the middle of a bitter divorce
- The family of missing Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos called the claim that she may have staged a ‘Gone Girl’-style disappearance ‘false and irresponsible’