Cheshire home invasion killer Joshua Komisarjevsky seeks new trial

New Haven

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The State Supreme Court started hearing the case of convicted Cheshire home invasion killer Joshua Komisarjevsky on Thursday.

Komisarjevsky claims he was denied the right to a fair and impartial trial for the 2007 killings that took the life of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Mikaela.

Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, who was also convicted, were given the death penalty.

Their sentences were changed to life in prison after Connecticut abolished the death penalty in 2012.

Komisarjevsky’s attorney John Holdridge said the trial was the most publicized in the state’s history.

He argued for 45 minutes before the State Supreme Court that the trial judge should have granted a change of venue by Komisarjevsky’s trial attorneys and moved the case to Stamford.

He said 70% of the people in New Haven followed the case, and in Stamford, that number was less than 50%.

Holdridge blamed the media, saying the case presented challenges for the justice system and that the New Haven community was horrified by the crime.

The justices questioned Holdridge on change of venue, asking where to draw the line because there are many notorious cases.

The justices added that the person who does a notorious crime asks for publicity.

During the arguments, Holdridge said the jury selection process was a “circus” said his client couldn’t get a fair trial in New Haven because the community was so badly infected with anger, fear, and trauma over the case.

The justices questioned jury bias asking for records showing the problem with the jurors.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marjorie Allen Dauster argued the publicity was statewide, adding that the defendant did have a fair trial.

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