NEW HAVEN, CT (AP / CBSNewYork) - A Connecticut man expressed regret but steadfastly blamed his accomplice as he was sentenced to die Friday for a deadly home invasion that unsettled suburbia and halted momentum to abolish the state’s death penalty.
Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, described his regrets and the devastating consequences of his decisions as he spoke in court, but also denied having any part in the killings. He said he has family and supporters who don’t want him to die. He also said being sentenced to death was a “surreal experience.”
“I know my responsibilities, but what I cannot do is carry the responsibilities of the actions of another,” Komisarjevsky said. “I did not want those innocent women to die.”
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Komisarjevsky joins his accomplice, Steven Hayes, and nine other men on Connecticut’s death row. The state’s last execution in 2005 was the first since 1960. That means the 31-year-old Komisarjevsky will likely spend decades in prison.
A jury condemned Komisarjevsky to death Dec. 9. He was sentenced by a judge Friday in New Haven Superior Court. A jury had earlier recommended the death penalty.
The two paroled burglars tormented a family of four in the affluent New Haven suburb of Cheshire before killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leaving her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, to die in a fire.
Hayes was convicted in 2010 of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit and killing the girls. The girls were tied to their beds and doused in gasoline before the house was set ablaze; they died of smoke inhalation. Komisarjevsky was convicted of the killings and of sexually assaulting Michaela.
Komisarjevsky insisted on Friday that he didn’t kill anyone, that he didn’t rape Michaela and that he didn’t start the fire. Talking about his death sentence he said, “I wonder when the killing will end.”
The only survivor, Dr. William Petit, who was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up but escaped, called the crime a “personal holocaust” as he testified earlier during the sentencing hearing. He said his wife was his friend and confidant, and a wonderful mother. He also noted that Hayley would be in medical school by now and that Michaela loved to cook and sing.
The 2007 attack led to the defeat of a bill to outlaw the death penalty in Connecticut and sparked tougher state laws for repeat offenders and home invasions.
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