Connecticut Home Invasion: Closing Arguments Paint Opposing Portraits of Joshua Komisarjevsky


Hayes the Murderer, Not Komisarjevsky, Lawyer Tells Jury

But Donovan also told the jury, as he paced back and force across the room, that they should consider all the "what-ifs" in this case. For instance, during testimony the defense argued that the girls might have survived had the police chosen to enter the home before they did. Law enforcement officers testified that after they arrived at the scene, the heat of the fire prevented them from going inside. "What if they'd acted quicker?" said Donovan, who repeatedly referred to his client as Joshua throughout his closing arguments.

Donovan urged the jurors to read closely Dr. Leo Shea's neuropsychological report on Komisarjevsky, which detailed a difficult childhood that included being raped by a foster brother at the age of 5 and a series of head injuries and a stint of heavy drug use that compromised his ability to think and act clearly, according to the report. Komisarjevsky's family, said Donovan, tried to "drive the devil out" by using religion to treat his varied psychological problems.

It was those psychological problems, and Komisarjevsky's inability to react quickly and make decisions, that prevented him from helping the family when events started to spiral out of control. "Because he didn't act quickly doesn't mean he intended for the women to die," said Donovan, who told the jury that intent and reasonable doubt will be crucial factors in their deliberations.

Donovan argued that his client did not intentionally plan to kill anyone. During the last minutes of his summation, Joshua Komisarjevsky stood in court as Donovan showed a mug shot of Steven Hayes to the jury and told it that Hayes was responsible for the murders, not Komisarjevsky.

Komisarjevsky's father, Benedict, his mother, Judge, and his sister, Naomi, were all in court today to listen to closing arguments.

During his closing, State's Attorney Gary Nicholson told the jury that "it took two people to commit these crimes" and that it was Joshua Komisarjevsky who started the ball rolling by following Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Michaela home from the grocery store. Komisarjevsky, said Nicholson, was just as responsible as Hayes for the gasoline being poured in the home and for the fire that led to the girls' deaths. "They had a shared goal to destroy the evidence, and, in the process, a family," said Nicholson.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations later this week.

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