Defense starts in home invasion trial

Oct. 5, 2011 at 11:06 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The defense in Joshua Komisarjevsky's Connecticut home invasion murder trial Wednesday set about trying to prove he didn't help set fire to the victims' home.

A prosecution witness has testified Komisarjevsky had gasoline on his clothes and boots, but the defense called witnesses to explain he had oil-based product on his clothes because of the materials he used as a roofer, WTNH-TV, New Haven, reported.

The defense contends it was co-defendant Steven Hayes who poured the gas in the Petit home in Cheshire and lit the match.

The defense also called Dr. Leo Shea, who testified Komisarjevsky has mental health issues due to sexual abuse, having suffered a series of concussions as a child, and heavy drug use.

Komisarjevsky, 31, is accused of killing of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a 2007 home invasion. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.

Hawke-Petit's husband survived the home invasion attack and fire.

Hayes was convicted last year and sentenced to death.

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