Conn. man convicted in deadly '07 home invasion - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Conn. man convicted in deadly '07 home invasion

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This July 23, 2007 file photo, provided by the Connecticut State Police, shows Joshua Komisarjevsky, charged in a deadly 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Conn. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police, File) This July 23, 2007 file photo, provided by the Connecticut State Police, shows Joshua Komisarjevsky, charged in a deadly 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Conn. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man was convicted Thursday of killing a woman and her two daughters during a gruesome 2007 home invasion in which family members were tied up, molested, doused in gas and left to die in a fire.

Joshua Komisarjevsky was found guilty of capital felony killing, kidnapping, sexual assault, arson and other charges. The same jury will later decide whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

His co-defendant, Steven Hayes, was sentenced to death last year after he was convicted of raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her daughters, who died of smoke inhalation.

The crime in the affluent New Haven suburb so unsettled the state that it bolstered efforts to retain the death penalty and led to a newly defined crime of home invasion.

During more than two weeks of testimony in New Haven Superior Court, prosecutors played an audiotaped confession in which Komisarjevsky spoke matter-of-factly and laughed occasionally. He admitted beating Dr. William Petit with a bat and molesting his younger daughter and taking photos of her, but insisted Hayes wanted to kill the family because he was worried about his DNA at the scene.

Komisarjevsky, 31, said Hayes poured the gas and lit the fire, but test results showed he had gas on his clothes. They also showed the girl he molested had bleach on her clothes, undermining his claim that only Hayes was worried about DNA.

Jurors saw grim evidence, including charred beds, rope used to tie up the family and autopsy photos. They also heard testimony that Hayley likely took up to several minutes to die and it was unclear if burns found on her body occurred before or after she died.

Gas was poured on Hayley's bed and on her sister, according to testimony.

William Petit took the stand, describing how he fell, crawled and rolled in his frantic escape to a neighbor's house to get help.

Komisarjevsky insisted he didn't want anyone to die, but could not explain why he did not untie the girls. His defense portrayed him as panicked and indecisive, claiming he suffers from "cognitive difficulties" that leave him unable to make quick decisions in stressful situations.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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