March 3 (UPI) -- A judge in Connecticut dropped the murder and kidnapping case against Fotis Dulos after he died last month, despite objections from his attorneys who sought to prove his innocence.
The judge issued a nolle prosequi in the case, which does not constitute an acquittal of the 52-year-old Dulos but acknowledges that the prosecution against him cannot continue and allows prosecutors one year to re-file charges in addition to lifting gag orders and freeing witnesses from their obligations.
Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo asked the judge to dismiss the case against Dulos after his death but Norm Pattis, a defense attorney for the late Connecticut real estate developer, asked to allow the case to continue with his estate serving as the defendant.
Pattis said he would seek permission from Dulos' estate to pursue an appeal through probate court.
"Mr. Dulos' memory remains stained by these scandalous accusations and we'd like a chance to raise them in an open court. Whether we get that chance is an open question and remains to be seen," he said. "This was not the ending we anticipated in the form we hoped. We hoped fully well to stand in front of you someday with the charges against Mr. Dulos ended by way of an acquittal."
Dulos died on Jan. 30, two days after an apparent suicide attempt while he faced charges in the May 2019 disappearance of his estranged wife Jennifer Dulos, whose body has not been found.
Pattis said his team was investigating a theory that she had been killed by someone else and Dulos had no involvement in her disappearance but panicked when garbage bags filled with her bloody clothes were placed in his backyard.
Investigators said that Dulos' DNA was found in her home along with her blood and that both of their DNA appeared in bags full of items including zip-ties, gloves, cleaning supplies and clothes he was seen putting into trash bins with his girlfriend Michelle Troconis.
Troconis and Dulos' friend Kent Mawhinney have both pleaded not guilty in ongoing cases charging them with conspiracy to commit murder.