A civil lawyer who was arrested Tuesday in connection with the disappearance of Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos is accused of digging a makeshift grave prior to her disappearance.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 54-year-old attorney Kent Mawhinney, who once represented Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, was arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Fotis Dulos was arrested Tuesday on one count of murder, while Dulos’ girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, was arrested Tuesday on one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
According to a newly-released 35-page arrest warrant, on May 18, two members of the Windsor Rod & Gun Club in East Granby, Connecticut, noticed two barbecue grill grates had been placed over an area of disturbed ground in a restricted area of the club.
Upon looking further they noticed a large hole beneath the grill grates. Branches and leaves were placed beneath the grill grates in an attempt to hide the hole, according to the arrest warrant.
One the members, Jim Lawlor, said he could have easily fit into the hole and he’s 6-feet tall. Inside the hole, they found two bags of lime and a blue tarp. Lawlor described the hole as “100 percent a human grave.”
In June, the same member went back to the grave and noticed that it had been filled up with dirt. He described it as “neat as a pin,” as if the hole was never there. Lawlor initially “shrugged it off” until he later learned that Mawhinney was “involved in that Dulos case.”
Authorities learned that Mawhinney, who was a founding member of the gun club, hadn’t been involved with the club in over five years. However, a few months before Jennifer’s disappearance, he told another club member he wanted to get involved again. He was allegedly given a “hidden key.”
When investigators searched the grave, they didn’t find any evidence.
Investigators learned that Mawhinney’s phone pinged near the gun club on both March 29 and May 31. Mawhinney was also in close contact with Fotis Dulos around the time Jennifer disappeared, although he denied it, according to the warrant.
“I don’t remember having contact with him [Dulos]. If there’s a phone call I guess I did. But I don’t remember having contact with Fotis,” Mawhinney told investigators.
According to authorities, Mawhinney represented Fotis Dulos after Jennifer’s mother, Gloria Farber, filed a $2.5 million civil lawsuit against her estranged son-in-law. Farber claimed Dulos owed her late husband money for real estate development company Dulos borrowed money for.
When Fotis Dulos was arrested last year for tampering with evidence in connection with Jennifer’s disappearance, Mawhinney removed himself from the civil case.
Mawhinney was arrested in Tolland on Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop, allegedly at gunpoint, according to The Hour. He’s being held on a $2 million bond.
What Happened to Jennifer Dulos?
According to the arrest warrant, Fulos is accused of bounding Jennifer with zip ties to restrain her before killing her. Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner James R. Gill indicated that Jennifer Dulos probably endured a “non-survivable” injury which likely included stabbing and blunt force trauma.
“It is reasonable that Jennifer Dulos was alive at the time the zip ties were attached to restrain her movements and to prevent her escape,” the warrant read.
The suspect, according to his attorney, still denies having anything to do with his wife’s disappearance.
WATCH: Fotis Dulos' attorney, Norm Pattis, holds a press conference. Details here –> http://via.fox61.com/VlLqZ
Posted by FOX61 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020
“We categorically deny that Mr. Dulos had any involvement in the disappearance of his wife, and we defy the state to prove that she is actually dead,” Dulos’ defense lawyer, Norm Pattis, said. “If this is all the state’s got we wonder why it bothered.”
Jennifer was last seen at around 8 a.m. on May 24 while dropping her children off at the New Canaan Country School in the prominent New Canaan community in Connecticut.
Police later found her vehicle, a black 2017 Chevrolet Suburban, parked off of Lapham Road. A cleaning service arrived at her home at noon on May 24 but never saw Jennifer.
Jennifer also missed several appointments that day, including one at 11 a.m. and one at 1 p.m. Since she vanished, she has not used her cellphone or her credit cards.
Search dogs and search teams scoured through wooded areas by Jennifer’s home, as well as a 300-acre park, bodies of water and a cornfield within days after she vanished. Authorities also spent days searching at a large dump facility and scouring Fotis Dulos’ property in Farmington.
Both Dulos and Troconis were previously arrested in June after authorities said the pair tampered with evidence in connection to Jennifer’s disappearance. According to the initial arrest affidavit, investigators found, in part:
- Bags of blood-stained clothing and sponges that Dulos allegedly dropped into trash cans at businesses in Connecticut
- Stains of blood on Jennifer’s garage floor
- Blood spatter in numerous areas of Jennifer’s home
- Dulos’ DNA mixed in with Jennifer’s blood on her kitchen faucet
- Obvious attempts to clean up the scene
- Altered Connecticut license plates that belonged to Dulos
- Security footage of Dulos driving his Ford pickup to various locations, dropping trash bags into different public trash receptacles
- Security footage of Troconis “leaning out of the passenger seat of the Ford pickup and either placing something on the ground or picking up an item”
- Blood DNA that matched to Jennifer inside Gummienny’s truck
The pair bailed out of jail, but both were arrested again in September on additional tampering with evidence charges. The second arrests happened after Troconis reportedly turned on Dulos and admitted she lied about seeing him the morning Jennifer vanished.
Troconis told detectives that she did not know where Dulos on the morning of May 24, between 6:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m, taking back her original claim that she was with him.
Authorities believe a “serious physical assault” happened to Jennifer, and the “the crime and the cleanup are believed to have occurred between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.” on May 24.
Trocinis also said that Dulos borrowed a truck from his friend, Pawel Gummienny, around the time Jennifer vanished, according to court documents. Troconis said Dulos later had the truck detailed and washed.
When detectives asked her why the truck was cleaned, Jennifer allegedly referenced to blood inside the vehicle.
“You showed me the picture of the blood in the door. It’s because the body of Jennifer at some point was in there.”
The arrest warrant stated Dulos later offered replacement rear truck seats to Gummienny. The owner of the truck reportedly told police that Dulos instructed him to get rid of the old seats “so they would not be found.”
Gummienny claimed he held onto the old seats, in the event authorities asked for them.
Investigators obtained the old seats from Gummienny and performed a swab test on a “blood-like substance,” which matched Jennifer’s DNA. Further, investigators accused Dulos of “lying in wait” for Jennifer to come home on May 24, when security footage captured her walking into her home at around 8:30 a.m.
Investigators noted that Jennifer’s SUV left her residence at some point on May 24, but they think Fotis Dulos was behind the wheel.
Troconis is behind bars on $2 million bond, while Fotis Dulos remains behind bars on a $6 million. Both are scheduled for arraignment at the state Superior Court in Stamford on Wednesday.
The story continues. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Jennifer Dulos/Handout; Kent Mawhinney /Connecticut State Police via AP]