In what is turning out to be one of the lengthiest mitigation phases, the defense has trotted out numerous witnesses on behalf of Joshua Komisarjevsky. His father, mother, sister – who did testify Komisarjevsky, did sexually molest her, but she didn’t consider it violent, just a control thing – an aunt, a social worker…
Clinical psychologist Leslie Lebowitz testified she concluded that he was sexually abused “not every day, but a lot.” She believes his memories are true, but added they don’t provide an explanation for his crimes.
“There is nothing I could say that would ever excuse that kind of behavior.”
Meanwhile defense attorney, Jeremiah Donovan, launched another attack on Dr. William Petit claiming a fleece vest he was wearing with the logo of the Connecticut chapter of MS Society was prejudicial because Jennifer Hawke-Petit suffered from MS.
“It really effects me that they pick on my brother-in-law because their client burned all of his clothing and right now he wears what he has and what is given to him,” said Dr. Petit’s sister Cynthia Renn.
Komisarjevsky’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mesel, has claimed she had a disturbing conversation which took place just a week after the family was attacked and their Cheshire, Connecticut home was burned down.
“He bragged about hitting Dr. Petit. He said, “You should have seen how big this guy was, I had to hit him a number of times.”
Judge Jon Blue, weighed the private interests of Joshua Komisarjevsky’s daughter against the public’s right to scrutinize a death penalty trial, set some conditions, but ruled the court will remain open when Komisarjevsky’s daughter testifies via video.
Only the jury will see the videotape. The rest of the court will only hear the audio. After the jury leaves the courtroom, the media will be allowed to view the entire video. Transcripts of the testimony will be available but not the video. No photographs or sketches will be allowed in the courtroom.
What bothers me enormously about this 9-year old being forced to testify is she was born while Komisarjevsky was serving a prison sentence. By the time Komisarjevsky was released until the night of the brutal home invasion, it was only a matter of a few months.
Komisarjevsky’s daughter, who now lives with a maternal aunt, was 5 when she last saw her father.
What is Jeremiah Donovan thinking? Is it ok to subject this little girl to such trauma? What possible information could this young girl provide that is helpful to the defense?
Friday marked the 15th day of the penalty phase.