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Father of Connecticut man convicted in fatal home invasion says his adoption was 'miracle'
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' The father of a man facing a possible death sentence for killing a woman and her two daughters in a brutal Connecticut home invasion told jurors he considered the adoption of his son a "miracle" and described his staunch religious views such as speaking in tongues.
Benedict Komisarjevsky testified Wednesday in the sentencing phase of his son's trial. His son, Joshua Komisarjevsky, who was convicted on Oct. 13 of capital felony killing, kidnapping, arson and sexual assault, faces life in prison or the death penalty.
Komisarjevsky's accomplice, Steven Hayes, was sentenced to death last year.
The sentencing phase began Tuesday with Komisarjevsky's attorneys saying he was sexually abused for years as a child by an older foster teen his parents took in and that his ultra-religious family failed to get him proper help.
Benedict Komisarjevsky, who adopted Joshua with his wife, Jude, when he was 2 weeks old, said at the time they didn't believe they could have children.
"It was a miracle to us we were able to get a child at that age," he said. "Joshua was always a miracle to us."
The defense showed several photos of Komisarjevsky as a baby and later painting a white picket fence while wearing his father's oversized T-shirt. Another photo showed Komisarjevsky with his birthday cake at around age 4 and the foster teen next to him.
Prosecutors challenged the relevance of the photos, and at one point, Judge Jon Blue asked if there would be a limit to the photos.
Komisarjevsky's parents later took in the foster boy that the defense says sexually abused Komisarjevsky. That boy was abused and mentally retarded, Benedict Komisarjevsky said.
Joshua Komisarjevsky's attorney asked why the couple took in the boy and another girl with severe issues after adopting Komisarjevky and having a daughter of their own.
"Nobody else loved them," the father said. "They needed love. We felt we could supply them the love that they needed."
The elder Komisarjevsky said he accepted Christ as a teenager and his faith has dominated his life since. Asked about his marriage to a woman who shared his beliefs, he said, "We would be equally yoked, like two oxen."
Komisarjevsky admitted he was rigid and said he had 10 jobs in 10 years.
Earlier, Komisarjevsky told jurors about his family's prominent roots in the arts and connections to Charles Lindbergh and the late writer William Buckley Jr.
He said his stepfather, John Chamberlain, was Buckley's mentor and his parents were friends with Lindbergh and his family. Komisarjevsky said his father was a theater director in Russia before fleeing the revolution.
The 63-year-old Benedict Komisarjevsky told jurors he has Parkinson's disease. His hands shook as he spoke at times.