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Michelle Troconis sentenced to 20 years for helping 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.

The 49-year-old Tronconis was convicted this year on six criminal counts, including the top charge of conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the death of Jennifer Dulos, a New Canaan mother of five.

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

The defense had pleaded for probation in stark contrast to the prosecution’s request of 45 years.

“There are some questions that are age-old,” Randolph said from the bench. “When does retribution turn into revenge? What’s the role of empathy?  Should the court exercise sympathy for one side or another? These are age-old questions. ”

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

The emotional testimony of both sides was tough to hear on Friday, Bergenn said, but the judge came down with a proper ruling.

“He was more moved by his duty,” Bergenn told NBC Connecticut. “He explained it in the most succinct and logical way that you could.” 

Prior to sentencing, Judge Randolph vacated Troconis’ conviction on one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence. That ruling didn’t impact the ultimate the sentence, as her punishments run concurrently.

Troconis’ boyfriend, Fotis Dulos, a luxury home builder and suspect in his estranged wife’s disappearance, died in 2020, two days after attempting suicide.

Jennifer Dulos. New Canaan Police via AP

The man was suspected of killing Jennifer Dulos at her home before driving away with her body, which has never been found.

Fotis Dulos denied killing his wife, who vanished May 24, 2019. She’s been since declared dead by a probate court.

“I’ve been left with a hole inside of me that I will never be able to 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.”

As his parents were in the midst of divorce, the teen said he’d often lashed out at his mother.

“The defendant’s actions mean that 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.

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

Troconis mounted a rigorous defense at sentencing, pushing back at allegations that she schemed to displace Jennifer Dulos and become a wealthy suburban mother.

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

“Empathy and compassion are at the center of her being, in my estimation,” said the Rev. Christopher Solimene, her pastor at Avon Congregational Church. “I’ve heard her prayers for Jennifer and her children and all her anxieties related to this harrowing ordeal.”

Solimene said his testimony Friday comes at great risk for him and his church.

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

“But today I can honestly say before God and indeed the world, Michelle Troconis is a woman of not only substantive character but with an ethic and kind-heartedness that is almost singular.”

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

The victim’s mother, Gloria Farber, said the family still holds hope of finding the body. Every year on the victim’s birthday, Sept. 27, the family releases purple balloons in Central Park with messages to the victim.

“For years, we search for her remains, tracking down 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 have their memories of her, as do I.”

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

“I gave a eulogy at a memorial without a body. Her mother put a headstone over an empty grave,” Watts said. “Because Troconis assisted (Fotis) Dulos in the disposal of Jennifer’s body, all we do have is a bloody bra and a shirt stiff with Jennifer’s blood sliced up the center and all the horror engendered by these, our only artifacts, that’s what the kids have left of their beautiful, gentle mother.”

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