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In a scene reminiscent of the Steven Hayes trial from a year ago, jurors presiding over the case against defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky were shown graphic photos of the Petit murder crime scene on Wednesday.
The photos, according to reports, showed the aftermath of a fire, allegedly started by Hayes and Komisarjevsky, after the two had held Cheshire residents Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her two teenage daughters, Hayley and Michaela, hostage during the night in an attempt to extort money from the family. Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the attack, testified Tuesday.
The pictures showed the charred remains of the home and the bodies of Hayley Petit, who was found at the top of the home's main staircase, and Michaela Petit, who was found still tied to her bed. Both died from smoke inhalation during the fire. Hawke-Petit had been strangled and killed by Hayes before the fire was started.
According to reports, several jurors were barely able to look at the photos as they were passed along in a folder. Petit and his family and friends, who have accompanied him to every proceeding in the last two years, could be seen weeping as the details of the women's deaths were described.
Later, the first portion of a taped conversation Komisarjevsky had with police after being taken into custody was played, where Komisarjevsky stated that he had seen Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughter leave the local Stop & Shop the night before the murder and had thought that it "would be nice to be there" and not have the stress of finances over him. Later, as he and Hayes were concocting ways to illegally obtain money, Komisarjevsky remembered the mother and daughter he had seen and subsequently followed to their home, and advised that breaking into their house might allow them to steal a sizable amount.
For more on the first few days of testimony, including that of Dr. William Petit, see tomorrow's Cheshire Herald. Also, check back here to see updates on what is happening at the trial.