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Before the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky began this week, there were some that felt the graphic nature of the case would be easier to handle since, essentially, the same evidence had been used to convict his accomplice, Steven Hayes, last year.
That notion was thrown out the window yesterday, as jurors and members of the Petit family listened as a taped conversation between Komisarjevsky and a Cheshire police detective, recorded shortly after his apprehension in July 2007, was played in court.
On the tape, Komisarjevsky gives a near blow-by-blow account of the hours that led up to the murders of Cheshire residents Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two teenage daughters, Hayley and Michaela. Komisarjevsky is accused of entering the home in the early morning hours of July 23, 2007, beating Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the attack, with a baseball bat, holding the three Petit women hostage, and, ultimately, aiding in their murder. Hayes was tried and convicted of similar charges last year and was sentenced to death.
On the tape, Komisarjevsky describes what led to the two men choosing to burglarize the Petit home, and how that eventually turned into a plan to hold them hostage and extort money. Komisarjevsky, on the tape, lays much of the blame for the escalation of violence at the feet of Hayes, stating that, as the night wore on, Hayes became more agitated and determined to kill the family to conceal any evidence of the two men's crime. Komisarjevsky has insisted from the beginning that he had no intention of killing anyone or allowing anyone to die, which he is heard explaining to the detective on the tape.
However, the most graphic and disturbing portion of the recording dealt with Komisarjevsky explaining how and why he sexually assaulted Michaela Petit, 11 at the time. The testimony provided on the tape caused one juror to become visibly shaken, so much so that Judge Jon Blue, who is presiding over the case, ordered that the recording be stopped and court was recessed until today. It is believed that the rest of the tape will be played for the jury when session begins this morning.
For more on the Komisarjevsky trial, check back here periodically.
For a full story on the first few days of the case, including testimony from Dr. William Petit, see today's edition of The Cheshire Herald.