U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Komisarjevsky Appeal in 2007 Cheshire Home Invasion

Joshua Komisarjevsky_mug March 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of Joshua Komisarjevsky, convicted in the killings of three members of the Petit family in a 2007 home invasion.

The court decided not to take up Komisarjevsky's case on Monday. It did not provide an explanation, as is its custom for cases it declines to hear.

Komisarjevsky asked the court to hear his appeal of a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in April that upheld his convictions for murder, sexual assault and other crimes.

His lawyers made several arguments, including that he was denied a fair trial because the state refused to move his trial out of New Haven to counter pre-trial publicity.

Komisarjevsky’s lawyer, John Holdridge, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision did not come as a surprise because the court does not hear many appeals and usually only accepts cases where lower courts are divided. Courts were not divided in Komisarjevsky’s case.

Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes are serving life prison sentences for the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, in their Cheshire home. Hawke-Petit’s husband, Dr. William Petit, now a state representative, was severely beaten but survived the attack.

The two paroled burglars broke into the family’s suburban home in the middle of the night and terrorized them for hours, eventually strangling Hawke-Petit and setting the house ablaze with the girls tied to their beds, police said.

The crimes and their viciousness drew worldwide attention, drawing comparisons to the 1959 killings portrayed in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and becoming the subjects of TV shows, documentaries and books.

Associated Press & NBC Connecticut
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