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Murderer's daughter, 9, called to testify

  |   Nov. 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A 9-year-old daughter of a man convicted of killing a Connecticut mother and her two daughters may have to testify at his death penalty hearing, officials say.

The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported defense attorneys have called the daughter of Joshua Komisarjevsky to testify in the sentencing phase that will determine whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison with no possibility of parole for the home invasion killings.

Raymond M. Hassett, an attorney representing the girl, has filed a motion to quash the subpoena calling on her to testify, and Judge Jon C. Blue granted his request to close the courtroom for arguments on the motion during a Nov. 14 hearing.

Komisarjevsky was convicted this month of the July 23, 2007, murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela Petit, during a home invasion robbery and arson at the home in Chesire, an affluent suburb of New Haven.

ABC News reported the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has sent a letter to Blue requesting the child not testify, while a mental health professional was to testify Thursday about what effects testifying could have on the girl.

Just before her father's arrest in connection with the murders in 2007, Komisarjevsky's daughter, then 5, received a threatening letter, ABC said.

In the sentencing phase, defense witnesses, including Komisarjevsky's sister, Naomi Komisarjevsky, and his aunt, Carlie Lebatique, have testified that he was a loving father.

If he were executed, Lebatique told jurors, "It would not be good for his daughter."

Komisarjevsky had won sole custody of the girl a month before the murders, ABC said.

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