Attorney John Walkley, a Connecticut defense attorney who has also argued capital cases, said that if Komisarjevsky testifies it would likely be in the penalty phase of the trial, assuming Komisarjevsky is found guilty. Until then, the defense needs to "try to separate their client from some of the more heinous offenses that night," Walkley said.
Komisarjevsky's lawyers have tried to separate him from the fire, trying to raise doubts while cross-examining some state's witnesses about the finding of a flammable, gas-like substance on Komisarjevsky's pants. The defense tried to argue that the liquid could have been there as part of Komisarjevsky's job as a roofer.
Walkley also said the defense has another challenge. "It's okay if the jury hates your client, but you don't want them to hate you. You need them on your side if there is to be a penalty phase."
Some courtroom observers think the defense team is walking a fine line in that regard because they have adopted a combative tone in court. The defense teams has moved for a mistrial three times.
Donovan routinely refers to the lone survivor, Dr. Petit, and his family as the "Petit posse." Donovan and his team have also petitioned the court to get family members to remove their memorial buttons while they are in court. And they have accused Dr. Petit of "mounting a public relations campaign" in support of the death penalty.
The defense is expected to begin its case on Wednesday. Closing arguments could come as early as Friday.