Jury sees texts between 2 men in home invasion

AP News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2011 5:15 PM
Jury sees texts between 2 men in home invasion

Jurors on Wednesday saw text messages between two men charged with killing a woman and her two young daughters, including one in which one told the other he was "chomping at the bit to get started." The other man responded that first he had to put his 5-year-old daughter to bed.

Prosecutors showed the texts that Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes sent to each other in the hours before they broke into a Cheshire home in July 2007. Hayes was convicted and sentenced to death last year. Komisarjevsky is on trial and could join him on death row if he's convicted.

"I'm chomping at the bit to get started," Hayes wrote, according to testimony. "Need a margarita soon."

After Hayes sent another text later, Komisarjevsky replied that he was putting his daughter to bed, adding "Hold your horses."

"Dude," Hayes responded, "the horses want to get loose. LOL."

The two men broke into the Petit home in the middle of the night, and Hayes later drove Jennifer Hawke-Petit to a bank to withdraw money, prosecutors said.

Hawke-Petit was strangled after she returned to the home. Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley, died of smoke inhalation. The two girls were tied to their beds and left to die in a fire authorities say the men set after dousing the house with gas.

Prosecutors on Wednesday showed jurors explicit cellphone photos Komisarjevsky took of 11-year-old Michaela Petit. Komisarjevsky planned to send the photos to Hayes so that he could show them to the girl's mother if she didn't cooperate while the two were outside the home, authorities said.

Komisarjevsky is charged with sexually assaulting Michaela, and Chief State Medical Examiner Wayne Carver testified that he found evidence of that in an autopsy.

He said the girl would have been alive when the carbon monoxide from the smoke came into her body. Carver said breathing in smoke is "very irritating." An autopsy alone cannot determine if she was alive when she sustained injuries from the fire, he said.

Connecticut lab officials told the jurors that blood samples turned up no alcohol or illegal drugs in the two men.

Hayes was convicted last year of strangling Hawke-Petit and killing the girls.

Komisarjevsky admits he beat Dr. William Petit with a bat and molested his younger daughter, but he blames Hayes for the three killings. Hayes blamed Komisarjevsky for escalating what the men said was supposed to be a robbery. Prosecutors say both men are equally responsible.