Petit Murder Trial Hears Joshua Komisarjevsky's Taped Confession

VIDEO: Lawyers cross-examine Dr. William Petit at 2007 home invasion murder trial.
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Jurors listened today to an audiotape of Joshua Komisarjevsky describing how plans to rob the home of Dr. William Petit spiraled into a "home invasion gone terribly wrong," leaving Petit's wife and two daughters dead in a burning house.

Komisarjevsky, 31, was heard on the tape saying he beat Petit with a baseball bat until he stopped screaming and that he and his alleged accomplice, Steven Hayes, shook a "confused but calm" Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters awake and tied them up.

Komisarjevsky said that he reassured the women that he would not hurt them.

The audio tape was played as prosecutor Michael Dearington questioned Detective Joe Vitello who talked to Komisarjevsky shortly after he was taken into custody on July 23, 2007, the night of the attack on the Petit family.

Vitello knew Komisarjevsky, a petty thief, from prior arrests and offered him pizza before asking him if he agreed to give a voluntary statement. It was the first time most courtroom observers had heard Komisarjevsky's voice, and it was emotionless and flat, despite it being just hours removed from leaving the horrific scene which he told Vitello was a "home invasion gone terribly wrong."

Today was the third day of testimony in the trial of Komisarjevsky, who is charged with 17 counts for his alleged role in the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 42, Hayley Petit,17, and Michaela Petit, 11. Hayes was convicted and sentenced to death last year for his part in the triple murder. He is currently on Connecticut's death row.

On the tape, Komisarjevsky described the first time he saw Hawke-Petit shopping with one of her daughters for groceries at a Stop 'n Shop. He noticed she was driving a nice car and trailed her home, noting she lived in a nice house.

Komisarjevsky said on the tape he spent the next few hours with his own daughter and put her to bed. After that he met up with Hayes and they hatched a plan to rob the Petit house.

After donning masks, the two men entered the house through an unlocked basement door and after some hesitation, according to Komisarjevsky, started to beat Dr. Petit with a baseball bat and then tied him up. Komisarjevsky said he and Hayes searched the house for money and valuables. Finding none they asked Petit's wife to drive to her bank and make a $15,000 withdrawal.

Testimony in Hayes' trial last year said that after Hawke-Petit returned with the money, he raped and strangled her.

On the audio tape, Komisarjevsky said it was Hayes who said they needed gas to burn the house down and kill the Petits because they might be able to identify them. Komisarjevsky said on tape that things between him and Hayes started to get tense. And that it was Hayes who went out to get the gas that would be used to set the house on fire.

In a particularly ugly portion of the audiotape, Komisarjevsky said he sexually assaulted the 11-year-old child at which point the judge abruptly shut off the tape. Dr. Petit was sitting in the front row where he has been for every day of the Hayes and now the Komisarjevsky trial.

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