Death Penalty

Conn. Home Invasion Killer of Three Is Sentenced to Death


The second of two men convicted in a Connecticut home invasion and triple murder has been sentenced to death.

Jurors deliberated for five days before voting unanimously Friday to send Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, to death row for the 2007 killing of a New Haven-area woman and her two daughters after subjecting them to a night of terror, the Associated Press reports.

Komisarjevsky and his accomplice, Steven Hayes, tormented a family of four in the affluent New Haven suburb of Cheshire before killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leaving her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, to die in a fire the men set.

Jurors said they wept as they weighed the horrific brutality of the crime against the defendant’s misfortunes as a child. Defense lawyers had said Komisarjevsky was sexually abused as a child, suffered mood disorders and head injuries, abused drugs and cut himself with glass, knives and razors, the New York Times reported. They also said that his evangelical Christian adoptive parents denied him proper care, relying instead on religion.

“Everybody wanted to find a way to keep Joshua alive. That’s why we cried,” said one juror, Tashana Milton-Toles. “I walked away feeling like I did the right thing, but it wasn’t easy getting there.”

Another juror, Timothy Anderson, said he was the last to decide to vote for death, but added, “when you look at the whole thing, it’s so horrific.”

Dr. William Petit, the only survivor of the attack, told a crowd outside the courthouse after the verdict that “God’s will has been done,” but said the “pain is there forever.”

Prior ABAJournal.com coverage:

Lawyer for Co-Defendant in Conn. Home Invasion Case Tries ‘Scorched-Earth’ Approach

CT Parole System Hit

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