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Michelle Troconis sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping her boyfriend murder his wife

Michelle Troconis, the Connecticut woman convicted of helping her boyfriend murder his estranged wife in 2019, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday.

Tronconis, 49, was convicted this year of six counts, including the primary charge of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five in New Canaan.

Troconis' sentence will be suspended after 14 1/2 years and she will serve five years of probation, under the sentence handed down by Stamford Superior Court Judge Kevin Randolph.

The defense had argued for probation, contrary to the prosecution's request for 45 years.

“Some questions are old,” Randolph said from the bench. “When does punishment turn to revenge? What is the role of empathy? Should the court show sympathy for one party or another? These are age-old questions.”

But with proper time credit, Troconis could be eligible for parole after spending only 7 1/4 or 12 ⅓ actual years behind bars, Hartford attorney James Bergenn said.

Emotional testimony from both sides was difficult to hear Friday, Bergenn said, but the judge made an appropriate ruling.

“He was more moved by his duty,” Bergenn told NBC Connecticut. “He explained it as succinctly and logically as possible.”

Before sentencing, Judge Randolph vacated Troconis' conviction on one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence. This decision did not impact the final sentence, as his punishments are concurrent.

Troconis' boyfriend, Fotis Dulos, a luxury home builder and suspect in his ex-wife's disappearance, died in 2020, two days after a suicide attempt.

Jennifer Dulos. New Canaan Police via AP

The man was suspected of killing Jennifer Dulos at her home before leaving with her body, which was never found.

Fotis Dulos has denied killing his wife, who disappeared on May 24, 2019. She has since been declared dead by a probate court.

“I'm left with a hole in me that I can never fill,” the victim's son, Petros Dulos, who was 13 when his mother was killed, told the court Friday. “My mother was everything to me.”

While his parents were going through a divorce, the teen said he often lashed out at his mother.

“The defendant’s actions mean I will never be able to tell my mother how sorry I am for not being a better son when she needed me,” he said.

“I will never be able to tell mom how proud I am of her courage (and) above all how much I love her. This fact haunts me every day.”

Troconis mounted a rigorous defense at sentencing, fending off allegations that she planned to displace Jennifer Dulos and become a wealthy suburban mother.

Family and friends described Troconis, a native Spanish speaker who listened to the proceedings through an interpreter, as an animal lover and selfless volunteer for the underprivileged.

“Empathy and compassion are at the center of his being, in my opinion,” said the Rev. Christopher Solimene, his pastor at Avon Congregational Church. “I heard his prayers for Jennifer and his children as well as all his anxieties related to this difficult ordeal.”

Solimene said his testimony Friday carries great risks for him and his church.

“I had nothing to gain and perhaps, on many levels, much to lose by offering pastoral guidance to Michelle or opening the doors of my church to her,” Solimene said.

“But today I can honestly say before God and the world that Michelle Troconis is a woman not only of substantial character, but also of almost singular ethics and goodness.”

Fotis Dulos, center, at Stamford Superior Court in Stamford, Connecticut on January 8, 2020.Erik Trautmann / AP file

The victim's mother, Gloria Farber, said the family still holds out hope that the body will be found. Every year on the victim's birthday, September 27, the family releases purple balloons in Central Park with messages addressed to the victim.

“We have been searching for his remains for years, every year. This search continues,” she said. “Jennifer filled her children with love, wisdom and humor. Jennifer would have been very proud of her children's accomplishments. They will always remember her, as will I.”

The victim's longtime friend, Laurel Watts, said Jennifer Dulos' loved ones are still hurting.

“I gave a eulogy at a memorial without a body. His mother put a headstone on an empty grave,” Watts said. “Because Troconis helped (Fotis) Dulos dispose of Jennifer's body, all we have is a bloody bra and a stiff shirt with Jennifer's blood sliced ​​down the center and all the horror engendered by these, our only artifacts, are what the children said left their beautiful, sweet mother.

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