Mistrial denied in Day 10 of Conn. trial

Oct. 3, 2011 at 7:21 PM
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NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The judge in a Connecticut murder trial Monday rejected a call for a mistrial after a juror reported being approached by a supporter of the victims' family.

Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue denied the motion to end the trial made by defense attorneys for Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, accused of killing of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a 2007 home invasion.

On Day 10 of the trial, Blue summoned the male juror to the witness stand to ask him about the contact. The juror said he was waiting in the jury line to return to the courtroom after the lunch break when a woman turned to him, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported.

"She said, 'Thank you for what you're doing,'" the juror told Blue. "I just walked through the security and came right back up."

Blue handed down a no-nonsense warning, "Supporters from either side should not be approaching the jury," Blue said. The judge said although the contact was "not catastrophic," hence not grounds for a mistrial, any more incidents of that kind would force him to impose penalties.

"I'll do what's necessary, including the banishment of those involved from the courtroom for the rest of the trial," Blue said, "That, I will definitely not hesitate to do. I will be quite ruthless about it. So everyone stands on notice here."

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