NEW HAVEN — With a pandemic-caused court backlog expected to continue easing in 2022, the year could bring resolutions, or at least progress, in several notable criminal cases in Connecticut.
Courts in Connecticut and nationwide were forced to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and switched to video for many proceedings before eventually returning to in-person hearings.
State and federal jury trials were among the last to resume, as districts grappled with keeping larger numbers of people safe during the jury selection process.
Among the cases to watch for as the court calendar slowly returns to pre-pandemic levels:
— Michelle Troconis faces conspiracy to commit murder and evidence tampering charges in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos. Troconis is accused of being with Jennifer Dulos’s husband, Fotis Dulos, when he threw out bags in trash bins on the night of the disappearance. Fotis Dulos later committed suicide. Troconis is scheduled to appear in court in Stamford on Feb. 15, the Connecticut Post reported.
— Kent Mawhinney is Fotis Dulos’ lawyer and longtime friend. He faces conspiracy to commit murder in the Jennifer Dulos case and was jailed on $2 million bond before being released in 2020 after the bond was reduced to $246,000, the Post reported. He is scheduled in court in Stamford on Jan. 18, and could testify against Troconis if she goes to trial.
— Qinxuan Pan, who faces a murder charge for the shooting of Yale graduate student Kevin Jiang in February. Pan was apprehended in Alabama in May, and is petitioning to have his $20 million bond reduced. He is scheduled to appear in court in New Haven on Feb. 2.
— Former UConn student Peter Manfredonia, charged for 2020 killings in Willington and Derby, has court appearances scheduled for January and early February. He’s being held on a combined $12 million bond and has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, felony murder, attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and first-degree assault.
— Former CNN producer and Stamford resident John Griffin, who has pleaded not guilty to federal charges after authorities say he forced a 9-year-old girl into sexual activity and tried to lure others to his Vermont ski home. The case has been transferred to U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont.