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It is now in the hands of the jury.
After three weeks of testimony, the jury in the trial of accused killer Joshua Komisarjevsky began its deliberations today. The group will now decide whether he is guilty of the charges levied against him, including six capital felony counts that could carry the death penalty.
Before the jury was officially handed the case, however, the defense team for Komisarjevsky tried one last time to score a victory for their client. On Tuesday, defense lawyers asked for a continuance as new evidence was presented in regards to Komisarjevsky's accomplice, Steven Hayes, who stood trial last year and was eventually found guilty and sentenced to death. In numerous letters written to an unidentified woman in North Carolina, Hayes reportedly spoke about the night of July 23, 2007, when he and Komisarjevsky reportedly entered the Petit home in Cheshire. The home invasion eventually led to the murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. Dr. WIlliam Petit, the sole survivor of the attack on his family, was beaten with a baseball bat.
In the letters, Hayes describes the crime as a "dry run" for he and Komisarjevsky to see if their criminal alliance would work. Hayes also claims that, had the two men escaped, he would have killed Komisarjevsky, whom he described as being "unworthy" of his partnership.
Hayes allegedly claims that the killings in the Petit household were not his first, commenting that he has killed 17 people on the East Coast, and raped countless others. The defense team asked that the trial be continued until they could review Hayes' statements further, and there was even a suggestion made that Hayes could be called as a witness.
However, Judge Jon Blue state that, whatever Hayes had written in his letters did not impact the trial of Komisarjevsky and overruled the motion. Then, on Wednesday, the defense again moved for a mistrial, claiming that the prosecution had made contradictory statements during closing arguments. According to the defense team, prosecutors insisted during the Hayes trial that he and Komisarjevsky were equally responsible for the crimes committed. However, in closing statements Tuesday, prosecutors identified Komisarjevsky as the "mastermind" of the plot.
Blue denied that motion as well.
For more on the trial, continue to check back here, and see tomorrow's Cheshire Herald for a full story on the closing arguments offered by both the defense and prosecution.