A neuropsychologist testified today that Joshua Komisarjevsky, on trial for the murder of a Connecticut woman and her two daughters, was sexually abused, burned and beaten as a child impairing his ability to make quick decisions under stress.
"He"s just too damn slow," said Dr. Leo Shea who took the stand as a witness for the defense.
Shea said Komisarjevsky also suffered as many as five concussions which could have had an impact on his brain function.
The testimony was delivered on the first day of defense arguments in Komisarjevsky's capital murder trial in an attempt to save him from being sentenced to death.
He is accused of having broken into the home of Dr. William Petit on July 23, 2007 along with his accomplice Steven Hayes. During the home invasion, they beat Dr. Petit about the head with a baseball bat and then tied him up. They raped and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48. Their two daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela,11, were tied to their beds for hours and terrorized.
Komisarjevsky has admitted to sexually molesting Michaela.
Gasoline was poured throughout the house, as well as in the girls' bedrooms, and the place was set ablaze. Both girls died of smoke inhalation as their family home burned around them.
Komisarjevsky's defense team is attempting to convince the jury that Hayes had the idea to kill the girls and burn the house, that Hayes bought the gasoline and set the house on fire.
Hayes was convicted and sentenced to be executed last year for his role in the deadly home invasion and is currently on Connecticut's death row.
Shea administered a battery of brain tests to Komisarjevsky and that he scored in the bottom 2-4 percentile on many of them. Shea said the results indicated Komisarjevsly is a good talker, but a poor writer and speller. While he did score better in his "verbal comprehension," Shea said that if a situation got complex - like a home invasion gone wrong - Komisarjevsky would not be able to think straight.
Shea also testified that Komisarjevsky abused many drugs including ecstasy, crystal meth, LSD and marijuana for several years when he was in his 20's.
Even though Komisarjevsky was the focus today, some of the most bizarre moments on the stand came as the defense shifted the focus to Hayes' testimony.
The defense zeroed in on items seized from the home of Diana Hayes, Steven Hayes' mother on July 25, 2007. Those items included a collection of women's sneakers that included the dates of when they were obtained and how they were obtained. Also seized was a large collection of pornography that seemed to focus on women's feet and magazine pictures of women's bar feet.
The prosecution objected to the foot fetish testimony saying it lacked relevance, but Judge Jon C. Blue allowed the jury to hear it.
At the time of the murders Hayes was living on the couch in his mother's home. A statement made by Diane Hayes to Detective Francis Budwitz on July 25, 2007 was also introduced as evidence today. Mrs Hayes is since deceased.
In the statement, which was read in court, Diane Hayes said that her son had been drinking heavily, mostly margaritas, in the weeks prior to the murders. She also said her son alluded to "following the footsteps" of Bobby, one of his cousins who had died of a heroin overdose.