Both sides rest in Conn. home invasion sentencing

AP News
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 4:08 PM
Both sides rest in Conn. home invasion sentencing

The defense and prosecution rested Tuesday in their arguments over whether a man convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in a 2007 home invasion should spend the rest of his life in prison or be put to death.

The jury that convicted Joshua Komisarjevsky of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, in their Cheshire home will now decide whether he should live or die. Closing arguments are expected Friday, with jury deliberations starting Monday.

Komisarjevsky's attorneys ended their defense in New Haven Superior Court earlier Tuesday. Prosecutors also rested after playing an audiotaped confession of two burglaries the men committed in Cheshire the night before the killings, The Hartford Courant reported.

Komisarjevsky and co-defendant Steven Hayes were convicted of capital felony, murder and sexual assault in the killings. Hayes is on death row after he was convicted last year of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit and killing her daughters, who died of smoke inhalation after they were tied to their beds and left to die in a fire. The girls' father, Dr. William Petit, was beaten but survived.

Jurors were shown a videotaped interview of Komisarjevsky's 9-year-old daughter last week over his objections. Komisarjevsky said he didn't want his daughter to feel compelled to help "one of the most hated people in America."

Prosecutor Michael Dearington reminded jurors that Komisarjevsky was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a girl less than two years older than his daughter.

Komisarjevsky was repeatedly sexually abused by his older foster brother as a young child, according to testimony. His defense argues that his staunchly religious family didn't get him proper help as he developed psychological problems.