Komisarjevsky trial begins - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Komisarjevsky trial begins

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

The second of two suspects in a deadly Cheshire home invasion went on trial Monday morning.

Joshua Komisarjevsky is facing charges in connection with the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela in 2007.

It's been more than four years since the incident made national headlines, and left many people in the state questioning their own safety. In July of 2007, police said Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, who has already been convicted for his role in the home invasion and was sentenced to death, broke into the Petit home and unleashed a night of horror upon the family.

Police said the two men beat and tied up Dr. William Petit, the only survivor, and then killed Hawke-Petit and their two daughters.

Now, after a slew of hearings and motions, it's Komisarjevsky's turn to stand trial.

On Monday, the defense said Komisarjevsky tried to stop Hayes when he first brought up killing the family. The defense said Komisarjevsky said  to Hayes, "we have the money, there's not a problem." That's when the defense says Hayes replied, "we have to kill them." And Komisarjevsky said, "nobody is dying by my hand."

One of the first witnesses to take the stand on Monday was the bank teller who first called police when Jennifer Hawke-Petit was driven to the bank to make a withdrawal.

Komisarjevsky was rushed in a rear entrance under heavy security. After the jury was sworn in, opening statements began.

Prosecutors, like they did for the first case, did not outline their theory of what happened. Instead, they only told the jury what to expect over the next few weeks and months.

The defense said Hayes is the one who raped and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and then poured gasoline throughout the home and lit it on fire.

Attorney Jim Bergenn, an attorney independent of the case, said the defense just wants to make sure Komisarjevsky gets a fair trial. So his attorneys have tried to take Judge Jon Blue off the case, move the trial out of New Haven, sequester the jury and keep Dr. Petit out of the courtroom other than testifying.

All of the requests have been denied.

"They've not been excited about it on the defense side, but I don't think you can get jurors who are not going to be repulsed," Bergenn said. "The most you can hope for are jurors who can resist the impulse to just go with how you feel and who can rigidly follow the law."

There are 12 regular jurors and six alternates that will hear the testimony.

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