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Death Penalty Phase Begins In Petit Murder Trial, Sole Survivor Is 'Optimistic'

//joshua komisarjevsky death penalty phase

Oct. 25 2011, Published 11:30 a.m. ET

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By Staff

After finding him guilty on all 17 counts in the Petit family murders, jurors are back in court to decide if Joshua Komisarjevsky should be sentenced to death, has learned.

The penalty phase of the trial began on Tuesday and the sole survivor of Connecticut's most horrific home invasion, Dr. William Petit, said he hopes that it will be over quickly, reported the Hartford Courant.

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"We'll be taking it a day at a time," said Dr. Petit, who added, "We're optimistic" that the second phase will be over within three weeks, although the defense is predicting that is could take twice as long.

As previously reported, the multiple guilty verdicts were announced on October 13 for charges of murder, abduction and assault in the triple homicide of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, and the vicious beating of their father, Dr. Petit, on July 23, 2007.

The prosecution kept it brief on the opening day with a clerk testifying in the New Haven courtroom giving details of the 31-year-old convicted killer's past criminal record.

The long list presented by Jack Dziekan included 19 offences of burglary and larceny in 2001 and 2002, for which Komisarjevsky received a five-year prison sentence.

The criminal spree began when the former troubled teen, who allegedly suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse himself as a child, was just 14. Prosecutors said he stole more than $20,000 worth of property from his victims.

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Meanwhile, the past crimes that Komisarjevsky's accomplice Steven Hayes claims to have committed are far more horrific, as the convicted killer - who was sentenced to death for his part in the triple murder last year - recently bragged to a woman that he had '17 kills,' as previously reported by

The 48-year-old convict described with relish how he had tied up and killed two women and admitted to murdering many more.

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“Yes, I’ve killed before,” Hayes boasted in letters from prison to a female pen pal. “I have 17 kills throughout the Northeast United States. Perfect victims and well executed, controlled endeavors.”

In a 17-page, handwritten letter obtained by the New Haven Register, Hayes said Komisarjevsky failed to be a "worthy" partner.

“I’ve searched my whole life for someone who could embrace and had the capacity for evil as I possess,” Hayes said. “I thought I finally found it in Josh.

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“But events show Josh, while (he) had the proper evil intent, lacked in the most serious aspects, commitment and control.”

As Hayes already awaits execution by lethal injection, the same jury that found Komisarjevsky guilty will now decide if he joins his former partner on death row.


Petit Family Murderer Steven Hayes Boasts Of '17 Kills,' Calls Victims 'Adventure Buddies'

Dr. Petit Still Has 'A Jagged Hole In His Heart,' After Guilty Verdict



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