Home > Crime > Petit Family Murders – Joshua Komisarjevsky Trial

Petit Family Murders – Joshua Komisarjevsky Trial


It was a long, contentious, and difficult week in the Joshua Komisarjevsky murder trial.

As expected, Komisarjevsky’s attorneys told the jury it was Steven Hayes, not Joshua Komisarjevsky, who killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela Petit…he was just along for the ride!

Five witnesses were called to the stand including a nurse from Dr. Petit’s office who took Jennifer Petit’s “sick call’ that day. Two employees from the Bank of America testified.  The Cheshire bank where Mrs. Petit withdrew $15,000.  It was money she thought would save her family.

The jury also heard from Dr. Petit’s neighbor whose house he escaped to and a police officer who tried to go into the burning house.

On Tuesday, for the second time, Dr. William Petit had to publicly testify to what happened that horrible July 2007 night.

Komisarjevsky, dressed in a suit, sat at the defense table staring at Dr. Petit and listening attentively as Petit described being beaten with a baseball bat and being tied to a pole in the basement and his ultimate escape to a neighbor’s house.

Petit also remembers seeing one person with a gun and a voice saying if he moves put a bullet in him.

Petit testified he remembers hearing thumping on the floor and heard moaning he believed to be his wife, and heard another voice saying don’t worry this would all be over in a couple of minutes.

After completing his gruesome testimony, Dr. Petit faced rapid-fire questions by defense attorney Jeremiah Donovan.  Donovan tried to discredit Petit’s testimony by claiming Petit’s recollection was faulty because he admitted slipping in and out of consciousness that night and he was providing testimony based on what he heard at the murder trial of Steven Hayes.

Donovan also claimed his testimony differed from statements he gave to police and showed Dr. Petit a copy of the statements.  Donovan questioned which statements were true…the ones from 2007 or the ones made in court?

Petit responded, “I trust what’s written, sir.”

To which Donovan replied, “Don’t trust me, sir.” That flip response from the defense attorney drew small gasps from Petit family members sitting in court.

On Wednesday, jurors were shown photos of the bodies of Jennifer, who was burned beyond recognition, and Hayley and Michaela still tied to their beds.  The jurors were said to have maintained their composure as they passed the horrific photos amongst themselves.

Jurors also heard part of a gut-wrenching Komisarjevsky taped police interview taken just hours after the murders.  A calm, matter-of-fact, Komisarjevsky went into details of the sexual assault of eleven-year-old Michaela, delivered in a tone that appears to indicate he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his actions.

Before cutting off her clothes with scissors, he said talked to 11-year-old Michaela about music, ‘school and summer plans.’

Then, as Michaela lay tied to her bed, Komisarjevsky says, “one thing led to another and I ended up … performing oral sex on her — on KK,” referring to his victim by the family nickname her sister and mother gave her.

The interview got even more disturbing when he was asked,  “Was it against her will?” He replied: “Um, it started off as against her will and then like, she wasn’t like resisting or anything, so I just kept doing it you know,” adding that he thought Michaela was 14 or 16.

Like 14 or 16 makes the assault more acceptable???

Komisarjevsky took explicit photos of the naked Michaela with his cell phone.

Apparently, this was the first time the Petit family heard these details.  Dr. Petit hung his head while his sister, Hannah Chapman, put her hands over her eyes.

A female juror began to cry and others looked visibly shaken by the testimony so Judge Jon Blue stopped the recording and called recess for the day, telling the court, “This would be a good time to stop.”

Petit family members wept and hugged.

Defense attorneys objected to the family’s grief-stricken reaction to the playing of the tape in court Wednesday and suggested that there should be a mistrial. The judge rejected the motion.

At the beginning of Thursday’s session, having already called them the Petit posse, Komisarjevsky’s attorneys again objected to the pins that Petit family members were wearing showing the Petit Family Foundation logo. Judge Jon Blue overruled the objection.

More of Komisarjevsky’s police interview was played where he consistently places the entire blame on Steven Hayes.

In the recording, Komisarjevsky says he closed the bedroom doors where the girls were to buy them a little more time and couldn’t believe his co-defendant was considering burning the girls alive.  “It just didn’t cross my mind” to untie them before the house was doused with gas and set on fire.

My heart breaks for the Petits’.  I cannot even imagine the awfulness this family has endured these past three years and how painful it must be to have to relive these horrors again.  I’ve covered a lot of trials and this one ranks up there as one of the most heinous and vicious.

Komisarjevsky claims, to this day, it was ‘just’ a home invasion that went terribly wrong…really?

Benedict Komisarjevsky, Joshua’s father, appeared in court for the first time earlier this week and exhibited some disturbingly bizarre behavior as he left.  It ain’t sign language he’s doing!  He pantomimes loading and reloading a handgun!  He appears at 1:51 in the video.


Vodpod videos no longer available.



Radar Online



  1. 09/24/2011 at 6:24 am

    There’s just no end to the depravity these criminals will stoop to. If ever there was a case for the death penalty, this is it. This is the kind of case the death penalty was made for. There is NO DOUBT in this case. No appeals. No poor defendant. No mistakes were made by the judge. Just carry out the death penalty. Unfortunately, we’ll have to be hearing about this case again and again. Just sickening.

  2. ritanita
    09/24/2011 at 8:20 am

    If Hayes and Komisarjevsky had wanted to rob the Petit house, they could have done it more effectively if the family had not been at home. “Just a home invasion” meant they came purposely and entered the home at a time when they knew the entire family was there. It was no accident considering that Komisarjevsky had followed Jennifer and Hayley home from the supermarket.

    I don’t know what Jeremiah Donovan thinks he is accomplishing by bashing Dr. Petit. Surely, the jury can easily compare what his client said on his taped confession to know the truth of the matter. Fact is, there is no way on earth that his client can be acquitted: he was there and that’s enough for the death penalty.

    As with the last trial, this one is so sickening. My heart goes out to Dr. Petit and his and Jennifer’s families. I can’t begin to imagine the least of the tremendous suffering those two perverts caused.

  3. Anonymous
    09/27/2011 at 10:20 am

    This case (which, curiously enough, is getting minimal coverage by the media lately) just keeps getting more and more depraved and sickening. I truly believe that Komisarjevsky deserves the death penalty. They should stick him in a cell next to his old pal, Hayes. Were it up to me, I’d hang Komisarjevsky from the nearest tree and leave him to rot.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: