No shocker here: The prosecution announced in court on Tuesday that they will drop the Fotis Dulos murder case. The state can’t go after someone who is dead. The defense, however, still wants to see their client exonerated. To that end, they came up with a new theory in the matter. Attorney Norm Pattis said that if this went to trial, they would have argued that third parties killed Jennifer Dulos.
#BREAKING: Judge dismisses murder case against Fotis Dulos. Pattis says he has reason to believe Jennifer “met her end at the hand of third parties unrelated to Mr. Dulos and without his knowledge.” #nbcct pic.twitter.com/E3sVWdXnz4
— Shannon Miller (@_ShannonMiller) March 3, 2020
Jennifer went missing last May 24. Police say that her estranged husband Fotis Dulos killed her, and helped cover it up with the help of his then-girlfriend Michelle Troconis and attorney-friend Kent Mawhinney. Each of the defendants pleaded not guilty.
Pattis previously argued that Jennifer Dulos staged her own disappearance. Now he suggests that his client was a victim, who disposed of suspicious material relevant to Jennifer’s disappearance.
“and he panicked and disposed of that debris. While he may have had suspicions of what that debris was, he did not in fact knowingly dispose of items that were associated with a pending investigation.” @News12CT
— Marissa Alter (@MarissaAlter) March 3, 2020
Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January. He asserted his innocence in a letter.
Authorities said they have the evidence to prove the late defendant attacked his wife at her New Canaan home on the morning of May 24, and went to great lengths to hide evidence. The couple was in the middle of an ugly divorce. Jennifer claimed her husband had “sickening revenge fantasies.” Her whereabouts remains publicly unknown.
Pattis says he will attempt to appeal the dismissal of the case.
Pattis says he will appeal the state’s decision to nol pros the case. A ‘nol pros’ (nolle prosequi) is a prosecutor’s decision to not to move forward with a case. I do not predict Pattis will be successful. @LawCrimeNetwork
— Aaron Keller (@AKellerLawCrime) March 3, 2020
Julie Rendelman, a Law&Crime analyst and criminal defense attorney who is unaffiliated with the case, cast doubt on the new argument.
“It’s interesting to note that when Fotis Dulos was alive, Pattis wanted the public to believe Jennifer was still alive and simply framing Fotis, i.e. Gone Girl,” she said in an email. “Now the new version is that she was in fact murdered but someone else did the crime without presenting any evidence that supports either theory.”
Correction — March 3, 12:43 p.m.: The original version of this article inaccurately stated that the judge dismissed the case. The state said it was dropping the case. Dismissal will happen in 13 months as a matter of law, assuming the state does not re-file the charges, which is extremely unlikely given the defendant’s death.
[Image via Law&Crime Network / Pool]