STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It was back to the Stamford courtroom Thursday morning for the man charged with conspiring in the murder of missing New Canaan mother, Jennifer Dulos.
Thursday, Mawhinney, wearing a khaki-colored prison jumpsuit, entered a plea of not guilty through his attorneys, Gold and Jeremy Donnelly of the West Hartford law firm Butler, Norris and Gold.
He was in the courtroom for less than a minute, his lawyers and state prosecutors already having arranged that he would plead not guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
After the hearing, Mawhinney’s two attorneys spent nearly a half an hour meeting with their client after he passed them a note that was tucked into the pocket of his prison jumpsuit during the brief hearing.
Gold and Donnelly did not discuss what the note may have said. But, Attorney Gold did tell News 8 exclusively following the hearing that their client, 60, is “doing as best as he can be considering the circumstances that he’s in.”
Mawhinney was charged last month as a co-conspirator in the disappearance and alleged murder of Jennifer Dulos—in part due to another note, one State Police investigators said they found in the trash at Fotis Dulos’s Farmington home in the days after Jennifer disappeared. Investigators alleged the note appeared to script a possible alibi for Dulos that involved Mawhinney.
According to investigators, Mawhinney was Fotis Dulos’ friend and civil attorney.
Dulos, who is the main defendant in the murder case and was charged with the kidnapping and felony murder of Jennifer, killed himself three weeks ago.
Mawhinney is no stranger to courtrooms. He is a lawyer, after all, but he has also been a defendant before. Last year he was charged with violating a protective order against his own wife. She said she was scared of what he would do to her.
As for the charges he plead not guilty to on Thursday, police say Mawhinney worked with Dulos and Dulos’ then-girlfriend Michelle Troconis to develop an alibi for where Dulos was the day his wife Jennifer disappeared. And in maybe the strangest turn of the whole case, a couple of hunters found what looked like an empty grave dug in the woods at a rod and gun club Mawhinney helped found.
The hole had bags of lime in it and was covered with old barbecue grates. When the hunters checked again, they found the lime was gone, and later the hole was filled in. Police say Mawhinney’s phone was in the area of that ‘grave’ on dates matching Jennifer’s disappearance.
The question everyone is asking – Was that grave meant for Mawhinney’s wife or Dulos’ wife or was it just a coincidence?
The third accused conspirator, Michelle Troconis, remains on house arrest.
We asked Mawhinney’s attorneys if he was considering cooperating with prosecutors. Gold said he would not be discussing any part of the defense strategy.
His is expected back in court on March 31st.
WEB EXTRA: News 8’s Sabina Kuriakose discusses Kent Mawhinney’s court appearance and the note he presented to the judge in court