Second perpetrator in Petit home invasion receives death penalty

by The Dartmouth Staff | 12/9/11 2:40pm

Joshua Komisarjevsky, one of two individuals found guilty for his role in the 2007 Connecticut home invasion in which Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, Hayley Petit, 17, and Michaela Petit, 11, were murdered, was sentenced to death today, according to NBC News.

Hayley Petit daughter of William Petit '78, who survived the attack would have matriculated with the Class of 2011.

The Connecticut jury deliberated for five days before deciding to sentence Komisarjevsky to death. Komisarjevsky's accomplice, Steven Hayes, was sentenced to death last year.

Connecticut has only seen one federal execution since 1960 that of Michael Ross in 2005 for the rape and murder of eight young girls. Before Ross, the last man executed in Connecticut was Joseph Taborsky for robbery and murder in May 1960.

Komisarjevsky was convicted on 17 charges, including three counts of murder, four counts of kidnapping and charges of burglary, arson and assault, in October.

The prosecution claimed that Hayes and Komisarjevsky entered the Petit home on July 23, 2007, and attacked William Petit with a baseball bat before tying him up. They then raped and strangled Petit's wife, molested one of their daughters and set the house on fire before fleeing. Petit's two daughters died of smoke inhalation but William Petit was able to escape.

In his sentencing trial, Komisarjevsky's lawyers contended that Komisarjevsky was "confused" and manipulated by Hayes, according to NBC. Prosecutors argued that the graphic nature of the murders warranted the death penalty.

Judge Jon C. Blue presided over the trial.