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Penalty Phase Begins In Komisarjevsky Home Invasion Trial

Joshua Komisarjevsky (credit: Handout)

Joshua Komisarjevsky (credit: Handout)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — In Connecticut, the penalty phase has begun in a deadly home invasion trial. The jury that convicted Joshua Komisarjevsky of murder will now decide whether he should be put to death or sentenced to life without parole.

Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley and Michaela, were killed in the home invasion in Cheshire. Husband and father, Dr. William Petit was the only survivor.

Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty and have quickly rested their case after focusing on Komisarjevsky’s previous criminal record.

The penalty phase of the man’s trial started Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court. Komisarjevsky was convicted Oct. 13 of capital felony killing, kidnapping, arson and sexual assault.

The 31-year-old’s accomplice, Steven Hayes, is already on death row.

Prosecutors called a court clerk to detail Komisarjevsky’s record of convictions for 19 burglaries a decade ago. Prosecutors say Komisarjevsky killed the family while committing the same kind of felony for which he had been previously been convicted, burglary.

That’s one of the so-called aggravating factors prosecutors are citing. They also say the killings were especially cruel and heinous.

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)