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Jurors Shown Charred Beds, Gas Containers In Cheshire Home Invasion Trial

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Joshua Komisarjevsky (credit: Handout)

Joshua Komisarjevsky (credit: Handout)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — On Tuesday, jurors saw rope and pantyhose used to tie up two girls left to die in a fire during a brutal Cheshire home invasion in 2007.  Jurors also saw their charred beds and the containers that held the gasoline used to fuel the fire.

The evidence was presented by prosecutors in the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

His co-defendant, Steven Hayes, was convicted last year of strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela. Hayes was sentenced to death.

Komisarjevsky admits to beating Hawke-Petit’s husband, Dr. William Petit, with a bat and molesting his younger daughter after cutting off her clothes with scissors, but blames Hayes for the three killings.

Prosecutors also showed jurors the girl’s cut bra and scissors found in her room.

The Petit home in Cheshire was doused in gas and set on fire after the girls were tied to their beds. Petit was tied up as well, but managed to escape to a neighbor’s house to get help.

A dog trained to detect gas found spots believed to be accelerants on the floor of the girls’ bedrooms, in the hallway and on a staircase, Connecticut State Police Sgt. Karen Gabianelli said.

Jurors also were shown melted plastic containers that contained the gas and the victims’ charred clothes.

Michaela’s clothes had bleach stains, Gabianelli said. Hayes’ attorney said during his trial that Komisarjevsky had poured bleach on her clothes to try to eliminate his DNA.

Authorities seized Michaela’s purple cellphone from Komisarjevsky after he was arrested, Gabianelli said.

Komisarjevsky’s attorneys brought up a photo of the basement where Petit was tied up to ask about a towel, pillows and a blanket that Komisarjevsky said he placed to make Petit more comfortable and to stop his bleeding. Gabianelli confirmed there were pillows and a blanket.

Hayes and Komisarjevsky have tried to escalate the crime, but prosecutors say both men are responsible.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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