Jury to watch killer's daughter on video

Nov. 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Joshua Komisarjevsky's 9-year-old daughter will appear on videotape before a jury deciding if he'll be executed for a Connecticut triple-murder, officials said.

The girl was interviewed for 52 minutes during the weekend by a child psychologist, but not questioned by the defense or prosecutors, The Hartford Courant reported.

Komisarjevsky was convicted last month of the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a home invasion in Cheshire.

The Courant said it was unclear whether the entire interview would be shown to the jury, which is to decide whether Komisarjevsky, 31, should be sentenced to death by lethal injection or life in prison with no possibility of parole.

"She's a cute little girl. Hopefully, she will remain unaffected by this whole situation," said Raymond M. Hassett, an attorney for the girl's guardian.

Judge Jon C. Blue said he watched the entire 52-minute interview during a delay caused Monday by a fire alarm at the courthouse.

Prosecutors haven't viewed the video, and Blue said they could present arguments Tuesday if they plan to object to any of its contents.

Blue ruled last week the video would be shown in open court but that only the jury would see it there.

Media will be able to watch it afterward and a transcript will be released as a public exhibit with only a pseudonym identifying Komisarjevsky's daughter, who Hassett said has received death threats.

A court artist won't be allowed to make sketches based on the video.

Defense lawyers say Komisarjevsky should receive a life prison sentence instead of the death penalty. They point to factors such as his strict religious upbringing, his parents' unwillingness to seek psychiatric care for him after sexual abuse in the home and ways he tried to turn his life around, the Courant said.

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