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Judge Hears Cheshire Death Penalty Cost Arguments

Steven Hayes (Photo/AP)

Steven Hayes (Photo/AP)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Attorneys for a man convicted of murdering a woman and her two daughters in a home invasion in Connecticut have argued that they should be allowed to bring up the cost of executions when jurors consider whether to impose the death penalty.

Attorneys for Steven Hayes have said they intend to call an expert who would testify that carrying out a death sentence far exceeds the cost of a life sentence.

Prosecutors say the cost is irrelevant to whether Hayes should receive the death penalty.

Judge Jon Blue did not make an immediate decision after Wednesday’s hearing in New Haven Superior Court, saying he would wait until Hayes’ attorneys submit a report from their expert. But Blue reacted skeptically to the request, saying he was not aware of any courts that have allowed such evidence before a jury.

Tom Ullmann, Hayes’ attorney, said Connecticut law is broad in terms of what is allowed in death penalty hearings. Still, he acknowledged it may not be his strongest argument when he tries to convince a jury to spare Hayes a death sentence.

“It may be rather crass to stand up and argue in a case of this magnitude you should consider the cost,” Ullmann said.

A jury last week convicted Hayes of the killings in Cheshire in 2007. The same jurors will begin hearing evidence Oct. 18 to decide his punishment. They will weigh mitigating and aggravating factors.J

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)