An alternate juror has been dismissed from Michelle Troconis’ murder conspiracy trial after reportedly making remarks to prosecutors.
The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon outside the Stamford, Connecticut courtroom where Ms Troconis is standing trial on charges in connection to the murder of her ex-boyfriend Fotis Dulos’ estranged wife Jennifer Dulos, who disappeared on 24 May 2019. Investigators believe Dulos killed Jennifer in the garage of her home and that Ms Troconis helped him cover up the murder.
Ms Troconis faces charges of conspiracy to murder, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Fotis killed himself in 2020 after being charged with murder.
Judge Kevin Randolph dismissed the alternate juror who reportedly said “We love you” to two prosecutors involved in the case. The comment gave the appearance of favouring the prosecution, the judge explained.
Assistant State Attorney Liz Moran brought the incident to the court’s attention upon returning from the lunch recess. Ms Moran said that she and fellow prosecutor Michelle Manning tried to go inside an elevator but realised two jurors and a bailiff were inside.
Ms Moran said she had heard the bailiff say “We love you,” to the two attorneys as the elevator doors closed. Judge Randolph and the defence first agreed that the exchange was inadvertent and that the juror would be advised to dismiss the remarks allegedly made by the marshal.
But moments after, Judge Randolph interrupted testimony from Jennifer Dulos’ nanny Lauren Almeida to note that the court had learned new information.
Once jurors were removed from the room, Judge Randolph explained that the comments made to prosecutors came from one of five alternate jurors.
“I was on the elevator, coming back from lunch with the two jurors and it made a stop on the second floor,” bailiff Christian Alvarado said under oath. “Attorneys Moran and Mannin tried to get in the elevator, they turned back around and in the midst of this I said, ‘Thanks, Liz.’ The juror stuck his head out and said, ‘We love you’. The door closed and we went on our way.”
The juror accused of making the remarks was questioned by Judge Randolph without cameras present in the courtroom. When cameras were brought back in, Judge Randolph announced that the juror had been dismissed.
“The appearance that there was a favourable opinion to the state’s case indicates to the court that it would be difficult to proceed with him as a juror because the impartiality and fairness of that juror can reasonably be questioned,” Judge Randolph said.
The judge also advised the other juror who was present in the elevator to dismiss the ‘We love you’ comments. There are four alternate jurors remaining.