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Komisarjevsky Defense Team Expected To Rest Today, Closing Statements Tentatively Scheduled For Next Tuesday

October 6, 2011 by John Rook

The trial of accused killer Joshua Komisarjevsky began on Sept. 19. It appears that the judgement phase of the proceedings is about to come to an end.
The defense team for Komisarjevsky, who is alleged to have taken part in a home invasion in Cheshire on the night of July 23, 2007 that resulted in the murder of three women — Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11 — are expected to rest after prosecuting attorneys finish cross examining Dr. Leo Shea, a psychiatrist who examined Komisarjevsky and testified on Wednesday that he believed the defendant had diminished intellectual skills and would have had a difficult time making decisions under stress.
Leo stated that Komisarjevsky had sustained five concussions early in life, and had also been sexually abused and tortured with burns at a young age. That, according to Leo, could have led to cognitive brain disfunction that would have prevented him from resisting his accomplice, Steven Hayes, whom the defense insists was the one who escalated the violence on that night.
However, prosecutors vigorously pressed Leo during cross examination, asking if Komisarjevsky's cognitive brain disorder would have come into play when he first saw Hawke-Petit and Michaela Petit at a local Stop & Shop. Komisarjevsky has admitted that he followed the mother and daughter back to their home and began hatching a plan to burglarize the home.
Prosecutors pointed out that, at that time, Komisarjevsky was not under stress.
The state also hammered Leo on the fact that his report does not take into account a span of four years during Komisarjevsky's life, including a time when he worked as an EMT. The fact that the defendant worked in a high-stress job with quick, immediate decisions are required would seem to bely Leo's testimony that Komisarjevsky is incapable of reacting decisively in extreme circumstances, the prosecution suggested.
Cross examination of Leo is expected to end this morning. Closing arguments are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday of next week. Court will be closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.
Continue to check back here for any updates on the Komisarjevsky trial.

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