NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A Connecticut ex-con denied rape and murder Friday as he was sentenced to death for a deadly home invasion he carried out with a man he met in prison.
Joshua Komisarjevsky's sentencing ratified the penalty the jury recommended at his trial last year, The Hartford Courant reported. He put the blame for the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Michaela and Hayley Petit, on his partner, Steven Hayes.
"The ripple effect of my actions has had an effect on people I never intended to hurt," Komisarjevsky said. "It's a surreal experience to be condemned to death."
Hayes, 47, and Komisarjevsky, 31, are likely to spend years in prison. While Connecticut's death row holds 11 men, the state has held only one execution of an inmate who voluntarily ended his appeals since adopting its current death penalty law in 1973.
The two men invaded the Petit family's home in Cheshire in 2007, using a baseball bat to incapacitate Dr. William Petit. His wife was forced to withdraw $15,000 from the bank and was then raped and killed, while his daughters, tied to their beds, died of smoke inhalation when the killers set the house on fire.
Superior Court Judge Jon Blue set July 20 as an execution date, although that is a formality since the first appeals are automatic.
"This is a terrible sentence, but it is a sentence you indeed wrote for yourself," Blue said.