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Judge Denies Komisarjevsky Request, Says Daughter’s Interview Should Be Played

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Joshua Komisarjevsky in 2007 left, and 2011 right.  (Courtesy Department of Correction)

Joshua Komisarjevsky in 2007 left, and 2011 right. (Courtesy Department of Correction)

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By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A Connecticut man facing a possible death sentence for a home invasion that killed three people told a judge that he didn’t want the jury to see a videotaped interview of his 9-year-old daughter, because he didn’t want her to feel compelled to help “one of the most hated people in America.” The judge, however, sided with his attorneys in allowing the video.

Joshua Komisarjevsky, speaking for the first time in his trial other than a taped confession, told a judge Wednesday that his daughter was coached, an allegation denied by an attorney for the girl’s guardian.

“I’ve carefully come to the overwhelming opinion that I am not at all comfortable putting my daughter in a position wherein she may feel that she has to explain or justify herself to anyone who perceives her statements to somehow help one of the most hated people in America,” Komisarjevsky said.

“She’s 9 years old. Had this interview been her decision to make and she was old enough to understand that decision that would be one thing. However, that is not the case in this situation. The decision has been made for her,” he said.

Komisarjevsky noted his life is on the line. He said the negative consequences to his daughter outweigh the benefits of helping to save his life.

`I will not beg for my life,” he said. “I will humbly request in earnest that your honor please uphold the thoughtfully weighed decision of defendant over the wish of the defense team.”

Komisarjevsky’s lawyers sought his daughter’s testimony, hoping to persuade New Haven Superior Court jurors to spare him the death penalty. New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue agreed with the attorneys that they have the final say.

The attorney for the girl’s guardian said the interview with the girl was done carefully in a nonconfrontational way.

Komisarjevsky said his daughter has been told by her guardian not to talk about him.

“It should also be considered how her memorialized words will affect her emotionally and psychologically in the future if she believes she’s party to assisting the effort to put me to death,” he said.

Komisarjevsky and his co-defendant, Steven Hayes, were convicted of murder in the killing of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters at their Cheshire home. Hayes is on death row, and the jury that convicted Komisarjevsky is now taking testimony on whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Komisarjevsky also objected to planned testimony by an expert on the effect his execution would have on his daughter.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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