What to Know
- Fotis Dulos, accused in the murder of his estranged wife, died two days after being found unresponsive in his Farmington home on Jan. 28
- Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five from suburban Connecticut, vanished in late May after dropping her children off at school
- Fotis Dulos was previously arrested on murder and other charges; his ex-girlfriend is charged with conspiracy
The lead attorney for Fotis Dulos, the husband accused of murdering his long-missing wife who died 48 hours after his suspected suicide attempt, told News 4 in an exclusive interview Friday that the legal team was "heartbroken" by the latest development.
"We promised we would protect him to the end when we couldn't protect him from himself," Pattis told News 4 Friday.
Dulos died at the Bronx's Jacobi Hospital on Thursday at 5:32 p.m.; he had spent about two days there, following his attempt to kill himself in his garage via carbon monoxide poisoning ahead of a bond hearing Tuesday.
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Jennifer Dulos' community and many national spectators presumed the apparent suicide attempt to be a clear indicator of a guilty conscience. To that, Pattis Thursday said simply, "We say, 'No," -- a contention he reiterated in an exclusive interview with News 4 on Friday.
"There was nowhere in the world where he could go without whispering, hateful comments being made about him," Pattis said. A day earlier, he described Fotis Dulos' potential suicidal motivation as being "a conscious overborne with the weight of a world that was too busy to listen, and it wanted a story more than it wanted the truth."
Dulos' organs were donated; burial plans have yet to be finalized but the body may be moved to his home country of Greece to avoid any potential desecration of his remains, Pattis said Friday. Pattis says the luxury home builder's relatives want his name cleared of the charges, and his legal team filed a motion in Connecticut court to substitute an estate for Fotis Dulos for the defendant, which would serve as a means to continue the trial.
Not only did Pattis say Friday that he was confident his legal team could secure an acquittal, he vowed that should his motion fail in the lower courts, he would appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in his quest to clear his late client's name. Pattis expressed concern that "the anger and bitterness over Fotis' death" would mean the court where he filed the initial motion may not even give the chance a case to be heard.
As for the possible note left in Fotis Dulos' vehicle, Pattis said he had "been told by reliable sources there was a note" on the seat of the car saying he was innocent. He said he felt uncomfortable speaking further about what he had heard about the note because "I have not seen it." But he also said he filed a motion on Thursday that the purported note and any other evidence found at the home be preserved as evidence.
According to the filing, the note was found as police were investigating Dulos' suicide attempt at his Farmington home on Tuesday. The next day, police in Connecticut executed a search warrant at the home. They declined to elaborate on what, if anything, they found.
Sources told NBC New York that a potential battle may be brewing over the Farmington house where Dulos was found. The family of Jennifer Dulos claims they have an interest in the property, sources said.
On Thursday, Jennifer Dulos' family asked for privacy.
A statement from Carrie Luft, on behalf of the missing mother's family and friends, described Fotis Dulos' death -- and the entire case -- as a "horrific tragedy all around."
Pattis declined to answer any questions about the couple's five children Friday. Every time he was asked for comment on the entirety of the case while he was alive, Fotis Dulos said nothing about his wife -- he only said he missed his children and was desperate to see them again.
The 52-year-old father had been under house arrest since he was cuffed earlier this month. He was arrested on murder and kidnapping charges Jan. 7 in connection with what authorities say was the killing of Jennifer Dulos, who hasn't been seen since she dropped her children off at school on May 24. No body has ever been found. Authorities cited circumstantial evidence, including DNA testing and surveillance camera footage, in arrest warrants. He had denied any involvement in her disappearance or death.
Police alleged Fotis Dulos lay in wait at Jennifer Dulos' home in New Canaan for her to return after dropping the children off at school. Authorities say Fotis Dulos attacked the woman in her garage, leaving behind a bloody crime scene, and drove off with her body.
To all of that, Pattis said Friday, "Check your presumptions at the door. This is a case steeped in reasonable doubt."
Dulos' former girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. She is also under the same house arrest and GPS monitoring conditions. Also facing that charge: Dulos' friend, attorney Kent Mawhinney. Police said they helped Fotis Dulos try to cover up the killing, including by creating bogus alibis.