When I was growing up, my family ate dinner at precisely 6:00. My father, who liked to remind us that a family is not a democracy,  served as those meals’ moderator. If, God forbid, one of us should stray from daily, generalized check-ins to a personal, detailed, granular gripe, or recount at length some drama on the school bus or during lunch, Dad would interrupt: “Not of general interest,” he’d decree. And the miscreant would have to quickly change the subject. Or stop talking.

So, dear friends,  knowing that what I am about to write about is probably not of general interest, you might justifiably ask, “Why?” And the (whoo hoo) answer is that, sometimes, I sense there’s Something I am supposed to better understand. And invite you to join me as I ponder.

Okay. I’ll begin with a confession: Sometimes, dear friends, I watch televised, IRL trials. Like, last year, Alex Murdaugh’s. And for the past couple of weeks, the trial of Michelle Troconis. Who, yesterday, was found guilty of conspiring to murder missing Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos.

But is Ms. Troconis guilty? Although the State did a stellar job recounting the numerous instances where timing, lies, omissions, and her own statements point to “the socialite’s” guilt (and they’re probably right), two things concern me. One is a wonderful quote from Tara Brach: “Vengeance is a lazy form of grief.” It’s highly probable that Jennifer Dulos, a sunny, beautiful, doting mother of two sets of twins and a singleton, was viciously murdered by her ex-husband, Fotis Dulos—who committed suicide without confessing. Imbedded in Ms. Troconis’s resounding conviction on all counts, might we detect our collective grief not only for a loving, lovely young mother’s death but for the next-to-impossible-fact-to-accept that her body may never be found. To mention closure might seem hackneyed to some. Overdone. A joke. But closure is a genuine, human need, isn’t it? Fotis Dulos, the real perpetrator, is dead. But somebody “needs to pay,” right? On some primal level, is that not what we secretly believe?  Is Michelle Troconis our collective, lazy-thinking scapegoat?

Daughter of that dinner-table autocrat and, like all women, no stranger to oppression, abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, or just plain fear and, like everyone believing they’re in a loving relationship, susceptible to the wiles of a charismatic partner, I have to wonder when Michelle Troconis, the owner of her own successful business, told the police, “I’m the stupid girlfriend,” (Not an exact quote. But close) she was telling the truth?

I know, I know, it’s a stretch. Watching the trial, most of the time I’d snort,” How could she possibly not know?” But not all the time. Sometimes I’d wonder if despite all her wealth and seeming competency,  Michelle Troconis is a very special version of a battered woman. Especially when I watched the Connecticut police’s clumsy, almost ludicrous interrogation process!  Several male officers and detectives (There might have been one woman) barraged; they threatened a woman whose first language is Spanish, a fearful woman, no doubt, who’d lived with a volatile, murderous man whose anger issues were at the heart of his contentious divorce. Yes, Ms. Troconis initially lied to protect Fotis Dulos. But because of the police’s clumsy treatment and her pervading fears, she’d then doubled down. And felt stuck. A feeling strangely comforting; known.  And so, there she remained. (Another confession: I am also a huge fan of The Behavior Panel. I have watched skillful interrogations.)

Beyond a reasonable doubt?

(What’s reasonable?)





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