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The defense team for convicted murderer Joshua Komisarjevsky has asked that their client be granted a new trial, according to documents filed with the New Haven Superior Court.
The motion, filed on January 10, asks that Komisarjevsky be granted a new trial of the "guilty-not guilty phase, and, should the court deny this motion, grant him a new trial on the penalty phase of the case."
Attorneys for Komisarjevsky mention in their motion a myriad of reasons why a new trial should be granted, including the fact that their client was denied a probable cause hearing. Komisarjevsky had originally waived his right to such a hearing, but changed his mind after new charges were brought against him. However, that request was denied.
Also, the defense team pointed to the "emotional effect" the Petit family and, specific, Dr. WIlliam Petit, the lone survivor of the attack on his family, had on the jury. The motion describes the victims' family as the "Petit posse" and characterizes their presence as "silently but powerfully (advocating) that the defendant be put to death."
Komisarjevsky was found guilty of all 17 counts against him last October, including six capital felony charges, in regards to his participation in the Cheshire home invasion in July of 2007. During that break-in, Komisarjevsky, along with his accomplice Steven Hayes, badly beat Dr. Petit with a baseball bat, took Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, hostage, extorted $15,000 from the family, and eventually killed all three women (Hawke-Petit was strangled to death while the daughters died in a fire set by Hayes and Komisarjevsky).
After being found guilty, Komisarjevsky entered the penalty phase of his trial and, despite attempts by his defense team to paint Komisarjevsky as a victim of his circumstances and troubled childhood, a jury sentenced him to death.
Hayes was found guilty and also sentenced to death in 2010.