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Aunt: Nephew doesn't deserve death for killings
Aunt of man convicted of deadly Connecticut home invasion says he's been rejected since birth
By The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' The aunt of a Connecticut man convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in a home invasion told a jury Monday he doesn't deserve the death penalty because he's been rejected since birth and has a daughter he loves.

Karlie Lebatique testified Monday that her nephew Joshua Komisarjevsky should get a life sentence.

"Because Josh ever since he was in the womb has been rejected, attacked, abused, doubted, every step of the way by people that were supposed to love him the most and take care of him the most," she said in response to a question about why Komisarjevsky should not be sentenced to death.



Lebatique said her nephew has "done some awful things" but needs a second chance. "And he has a daughter that he loves," she said.

The defense says Komisarjevsky was sexually abused as a child by a foster teen the family took in and later as a teen by someone else. Prosecutors say those claims come from Komisarjevsky and emerged years later when he faced prison time for 19 nighttime residential burglaries.

Komisarjevsky was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters in their Cheshire home in July 2007.

Prosecutor Gary Nicholson reminded Lebatique of details of the crime, in which the family was tied up and gas poured on the girls before the house was set on fire after an eight-hour ordeal. Komisarjevsky was also convicted of sexually assaulting the 11-year-old girl.

Lebatique blamed her nephew's accomplice, Steven Hayes, for the killings and said of her nephew, "I don't believe he killed anyone."

Nicholson said Komisarjevsky was playing with his own daughter the night of the crime and asked Lebatique if that shows he wasn't too concerned about her. She said he does care about his 9-year-old daughter, "but he also has a selfish desperate side of him."

She made clear from the start she was a reluctant witness who was subpoenaed to testify. She portrayed Komisarjevsky's father as domineering, controlling and prone to lengthy tirades. She said his father was tough on him but also did a lot for him.

Komisarjevsky's mother testified earlier Monday that she suspected he was visiting hundreds of pornographic adult websites days before the crime.

Jude Komisarjevsky said the computer indicated he visited more than 900 adult porn websites. About five days before the crime, she said she saw him on the computer around 2 a.m. with an angry look on his face.

Jude Komisarjevsky said her son's electronic monitoring bracelet was removed days before the crime. She said he immediately started staying out late at night and complained about a lack of money even though he had no bills to pay because he was living with her and her husband.

She said her son left the house late the night of the crime and she feared he was up to no good because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt he used in the past to commit burglaries. When she heard a family had died in a fire nearby, she feared her son could have been involved.


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