2nd Man Gets Death Sentence in Home Invasion

Joshua Komisarjevsky and accomplice killed mother, two daughters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 9, 2011 3:01 PM CST
2nd Man Gets Death Sentence in Home Invasion
This June 2007 file photo shows Dr. William Petit Jr. with his daughters Michaela, front, Hayley, center rear, and his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, on Cape Cod, Mass.   (AP Photo/William Petit, File)

A jury condemned a Connecticut man to death today for killing a woman and her two daughters during a night of terror inside their suburban home, rejecting defense attorneys' request to spare his life in light of the abuse he suffered as a boy. The jury deliberated over the span of five days before returning the verdict against Joshua Komisarjevsky, who will join accomplice Steven Hayes on death row. Komisarjevsky had no visible reaction.

The two paroled burglars tormented a family of four in the New Haven suburb of Cheshire in 2007 before killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leaving her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, to die in a fire. The only survivor, Dr. William Petit, was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up but managed to escape. In closing arguments, a prosecutor said the two men inflicted psychological and physical pain on the victims that amounted to torture. In arguing for a life sentence, Komisarjevsky's lawyers said his ultra-religious family never got Komisarjevsky proper psychological help after he was repeatedly sexually abused as a child by his foster brother. (More William Petit stories.)

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