Oct 6, 2011

Defense rests in Komisarjevsky home invasion killings

The Komisarjevsky defense rested today,after the cross examination of their personally hired psychologist who claimed that a combination of sexual abuse and concussions led  Joshua Komisarjevsky to "criminal activity"

When pressed by the prosecution during cross examination, the therapist admitted that it's true that most sexually abused children do not become criminals, but he tried to again proffer opinion that might benefit the defendant, citing that despite clearly being very intelligent, komisarjevsky  had a hard time reacting in new circumstances" 

This has been a constant refrain of  the Komisarjevsky defense from the beginning of his trial; He froze, he didn't know what to do" consistently painting Hayes as the madman and their client as a dull witted follower. One only need listen to Komisarjevsky's taped statements to Cheshire detectives to deduce that this couldn't be further from the truth. Komisarjevsky was obviously the sick brains behind these crimes. He orchestrated every single element of the crimes beginning with the decision that Hayes could not enter the home quietly enough to approach Dr Petit in order to disable him, and yet in his taped statement, Komisarjevsky predictably tries to shift that decision to Hayes.

 " Mr Hayes didn't think he could get close enough without making too much noise...so...um  we decided I would go in..."

From there the inference is that he needed a bat because he lacked Hayes size and well, one thing led to another and when he bashed Dr Petit over the head with that bat, he had to do it again and again because the man had the bad manners to "scream out in pain" or as he put it " he let out this unearthly scream"

This was Komisarjevsky blaming his victim for his own sadism and unneccesary violence, as well showing his complete desensitization to another human being's pain. 

Paid " professionals" of this sort hired by defense attorny's are common:
During the Steven Hayes trial we had to endure a good portion of testimony from a decided quack of a  hired - gun therapist who "worked with Hayes for over a year."  This man would have the jury believe a completely bogus version of the crimes, one that contradicted Hayes original statement to Cheshire detectives in a multitude of ways.

.Although anyone savvy to criminal's machinations knows that the longer that defendant has to "work on his story" the more it will stray from the actual truth. This therapist claimed the opposite; after gaining his trust hayes opened up more and this version was more truthful,  inconsistencies with evidence be damned.
The Komisarjevsky defense's main concentration from the start of this entire case was to spare their client from a death sentence,  offering a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence with no parole, at several junctures along the way. Jeremiah Donovan, lead public defender for Komisarjevsky has done 99% of the talking for this three man defense team, an unholy triad that has cost the State of Connecticut over half a million dollars for what has been a purposefully wasteful defense, accruing a snowstorm of motions designed to harrass and manipulate and continuously crossing moral and ethical boundaries throughout this trial.

The offer of a guilty plea to the State was an obvious admission of Komisarjevsky's guilt. When it was clear that it wouldnt be accepted,  Donovan  used the court and the media to infer that the State's insistence on pursuing the death penalty against his client was going to cause a lot of ugliness and unnecessary suffering for the victims family.

As if Jeremiah Donovan gave a rats       about causing this victim and his family, more suffering. Like his client, this lawyer has a propensity for manipulation, ego and theatre; his actions following his short lived sensitive act, betrayed him as a lout who would do anything to "win", using anti-death penalty propaganda as an excuse for any and every ugly unprofesional tact that he has attempted
" in order to save my client's life"  

It is also my guess that this man could care less about the death penalty; it's simply a way to grab additonal attention and support and justify all of his by now hideous behavior towards a family grieving the violent ends that thier loved ones endured.

When looking at Jeremiah Donovan for the first time the first thng that sprang into my mind was a used car salesman. He literally reeked of disingenuosness.

In any event Donovan and his tribe made certain to keep good on what was, in effect, an emotional blackmail of sorts: First by using first an avalanche of   pre-trial motions with no teeth to frustrate and delay the pre-trial process attempting to manipulate the public perception of the case using the media whom they were knew were printing each and every motion no matter how ludicrous, due to the high profile nature of the upcoming trial.

Finally the Komisarjevsky defense used the trial itself as an arena to perpetually attack and bait the surviving victim and his family, who found themselves the daily recipients of a hate and bait campaign that even managed to draw criticism from many of their own peers.

Komisarjevsky will most certainly at the very least make a statement to the Jury and the court, as Steven Hayes did at the end of his sentencing phase. We can count on komisarjevsky' statement being far more verbose and manipulative, likely donning the same soft spoken intelligent but wounded act that he did when discussing the case with writer Brian MacDonald, as well as using it to pacify the late Jennifer Petit.
Both of these otherwise intelligent adults were taken in by Komisarjevsky's well practiced  persona.

In Jennifer Petit's case, believing the smooth talking manipulator cost her her life and perhaps the lives of her children. She could hardly be held to blame; From all accounts including Komisarjevsky, Jennifer Petit was a trusting person" without a bad thought in her head", Having only seen the side of Komisarjevsky that he wanted her to, ie she didn't know he was molesting and photographing her 11 year old daughter while she was tied up in another room.prior to leaving for the bank with Hayes. She didn't have an instinct for nor likely any exposure in her life to a Sociopath.

Brian MacDonald on the other hand, who touted himself as a crime writer, should have seen through the facade that Komisarjevsky presented him with. If we trust his later claims, he truly believed most of what komisarjevsky said within his letters and interviews, until the Hayes tria,l when he saw for himself that scientific  forensic evidence disputed almost all of the finer points of Komisarjevsky's  claims related to his part in the crimes.This real life encounter would give the Jury a very clear  idea of just how manipulative and conniving the defendant can be.

I was stunned that the prosecution did not call Brian Macdonald as a witness during they're presentation of this case. Here is a man who met with Joshua Komisarjevsky in prison multiple times after sharing a correspondence with him for purposes of writing a book about the Petit crimes. The book, it turned out was semi autobiographical, giving Komisarjevsky's version of the crimes, which he painstakingly shared with Macdonald both on paper and in person.

Many details about the crimes that Komisarjevsky gave this writer completely contradicted the version that he gave to Cheshire detectives within an elaborate taped statement. These details addressed many essential happenings within the Petit crimes including events that determine culpability for the murders as well as Komisarjevsky sharing with MacDonald that he had planned on killing his accomplice Steven Hayes after the murders..

The komisarjevsky interviews and letters that made up the bulk of the book were also a direct violation of a gag order that had been placed on the case within months of the crimes. No one including the defendants were to discuss the details of the crimes or the case. This was another piece of information that the jury needed to know. Sociopaths typically resent rules of any kind and do not feel that rules apply to them  Engaging with this writer participating in the publication of a book no less is a perfect example of this personality trait. Again, the book was never admitted into evidence nor was the writer brought in as a witness.

The book, like his statement to Cheshire Police was full of manipulation and outright lies, many of  which became exposed throughout the forensic evidence and witness testimony during the Hayes trial.
Brian Macdonald later admitted that he had been taken in by Komisarjevsky's manner and intelligence and he now claims that Joshua Komisarjevsky is one of the most manipulative people that he has ever met.
In the Hayes trial I also felt that the prosecution really pared this case down to the most absolute essentials, even mistakenly referring to the home invasion's primary motivation as robbery, inferring by omission that the rapes were secondary, or crimes of opportunity which they clearly weren't looking at the text messages between the men just hours before the crime. Fortunately, within the sentencing phase of that trial the sexual assaults as motives was finally broached, but it seemed un-wise to have waited that long to inject such an important piece of the motive, almost as an afterthought.

 It was clear then, as it is now that the men came to this house intending to sexually assault and secondarily steal whatever they could find of worth. The Petit girls were murdered in order to destroy DNA evidence of the sexual assaults as well as to rid themselves of all witnesses.Komisarjevsky not only left his DNA all over Michaela Petit and within her body as it turned out, but he also spent hours talking with her. Despite her having a pillowcase on her head, his voice is very distinct and if questioned she would certainly be able to identify him by his voice. Local Police arriving on the scene of the fire said if Joshua Komisarjevsky is out of prison, he has something to do with this!"

When William Petit escaped through the basement bilco door crawling to a neighbors yard shouting call 911, both men admit to being aware of it and yet both continued to participate in preparations to murder the two girls and burn down the areas they had been in..This speaks loudly of the fact that the primary reason for the murders was to eradicate DNA, and Joshua Komisarjevsky was the first of the two men to compromise himself this way, for hours with Michaela Petit. Therefore it stands to reason that he wanted the family murdered and fire was something he had experience with; he had committed arson at the age of 14 setting an abandoned gas station on fire.
The defense, as a parting gesture made two more obligatory motions, one moving for acquittal based upon the claim that the State had not proved intent on behalf of their client. Judge Blue denied the acquittal argued  very intelligently and eloquently that at every step of these murders, their client continued to not only allow" but enabled and participated in the murders of all three of the Petit  family victims. Sadly Blues argument to back up his ruling was made outside of the ears or eyes of the jury, and these are the people who need to hear .

Prosecutor Michael Dearington seemed to work this trial in such a way that he believes the evidence will speak for itself.  With someone as wily as Joshua Komisarjevsky, this is a dangerous assumption despite the seemingly overwhelming mountain of evidence against him.

 Dearington is known to work with a plodding, steadfast methodology, but his simple style can unfortunately come across as lacking prosecutorial zeal or passion. In this case,  as brutal as it was, with such overt cruelty and disregard for human life, the family as well as the Jury, need to hear an impassioned summary of  this mans guilt. Particularly as he is the man responsible for targeting these victims for his own personal pleasure.

I believe every opportunity to destroy Joshua Komisarjevsky's credibility should have been shown to this jury. This would prove beyond any doubts that literally nothing this man says can be believed ,even within his own " journals" and writings He stated in his journal that his whole "mistake was trying to help a friend-Hayes who was in trouble, getting thrown out of his mothers house, with no where to go, needing money, This is a similar story to what he claimed to writer Brian Macdonald.

 However, to Cheshire Police detectives he is plainly heard stating that Mr. Hayes was rummaging loudly through the Petit's drawers and closets stealing  jewelry and  other objects that he could later sell. Komisarjevsky quickly informed the detective that he " wasn't interested in any of that" and this was said with more than a hint of disgust towards Hayes.

The detective repeats the information back to him, shrewdly  " you said you weren't interested in any of those things?" No, just cash" he flatly answered.,making it clear that he was not helping a friend  in trouble by committing a burglary that simply went all wrong because of said friend.

This proves without a doubt that Komisarjevsky even lies in his own journal writings, which he obviously knew would be found by prison guards. This kind of deception is indicative of a high functioning Sociopath with all the trimmings. Manipulation and deceit. High intelligence, shrewd and expert at feigning helpfulness when they believe it will help their situation.

There is still an opportunity for the State to make a strong comprehensive closing argument on Tuesday when closing arguments are to begin., Prosecutors might also have a fair amount of additional evidence that they may introduce during the penalty phase. I have to say that within the Steven Hayes trial, the States sentencing presentation more or less mirrored the simplicity of their conviction presentation with the exception of a few new added  points which I felt were essential to the case and was thus relieved.
 "Keep it simple"  seemed to be the mantra of this prosecution.

The Defense is poised with a gaggle of  would-be "mitigating factors" to present the jury with,
with only one needing to appear valid in order to procure a life sentence for their client a man who instigated the murders of Jennifer Hayley and Michaela Petit.

 For their part the State must present enough "aggravating factors" involved in the commission of these crimes to substantiate a death penalty sentence, which they manged to do for accomplice Steven Hayes in his 2010 trial. However it was an excruciating five days waiting for the Hayes jury to return with a unanimous vote on the sentence

Hayes represented by lead AttorneyThomas Ullmann  was a drastically different defendant, and breed of criminal  for that matter. For example he had to be talked out of pleading guilty shortly before his own trial which pretty much set the tone for his defense; which opened with "we will concede much but not all"  The reality of dealing with a reluctant defendant who wanted to plead guilty and take accountability for his crimes frustrated his defense interminably.

 Ullmann, a lawyer known for his argumentative nature and bull-dog tenacity, particularly with  death penalty cases, had to go easy, lest he lose his client again to a guilty plea. The first time Hayes tried to plead guilty, surprising even his lawyers was during a hearing where he was legally not allowed to plead yet. This gave his layers time to work on him. Competency tests ensued naturally, which he passe.

Hayes, who had lost a tremendous amount of weight in prison beginning shortly after the murders, no longer resembled the burly threatening looking thug he'd looked like at the time of the crimes and within his infamous mugshot following his booking the day of the murders.

 He had unsuccessfully attempted suicide in his prison cell, overdosing on horded anti-anxiety medication, which he was given, along with anti-psychotic and sleeping pills on a daily basis. The overdose caused a trip to the emergency room and ultimately postponed his trial. It remains to be seen whether Hayes depression stems from a future living in solitary confinement in order to protect him from other prisoners, just as Komisarjevsky has been and will continue to be) or if it has any connection whatsoever to his part in the crimes.

Steven Hayes was certainly a career criminal  and diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder by his own defenses hired shrink But he obviously lacked the intelligence and shrewdness that his partner in crime komisarjevsky possessed . Hayes brother wrote a letter to the prosecutor early in the case characterizing his brother as a man who never took responsibility for anything he did wrong in his entire life, always foisting the blame elsewhere. The Jury later admitted that the letter from Hayes brother, played a big part in his sentencing.

Unfortunately unlike Hayes Komisarjevsky's family has participated more in his life since the crimes and both parents appear to have enabled their son since the crimes happened and as time passed their denial regarding his involvement has undoubtedly become worse. This is again more of a challenge for the prosecution, because the family is expected to testify during the penalty phase as to why Joshua still has redeeming qualities and they will likely blame themselves as they have in the past for many of his prior criminal behaviors.

I believe that Hayes had an innate dormant fantasy of rape, which is really about control and domination of women,  He might not have had the courage to act upon the fantasy alone, although we have no way of knowing if he ever sexually assaulted one of the many prostitutes that he was known to frequent, as high risk groups such as prostitutes, rarely if ever report a sexual assault-its considered a job related risk and a fact on the streets.

We also don't know if Joshua Komisarjevsky ever sexually assaulted or murdered any woman or young girl.
There are many cold cases of murdered young women all over the state as well as neighboring states such as Massachusetts. It bothers me that both men were so nonchalant about the fact that Hayes strangled Mrs Petit after raping her and her dead body lay tossed aside with her clothing still pulled off.

 It seems to me that neither man missed a beat afterwards. There was no panic or regret; Case in point;
Dr Petit testified that just after hearing loud thumping and terrible moaning, he yelled something up the stairs at the men/ He claims that the man who did all the talking (the same man who hit him with the bat -by process of elimination Komisarjevsky) yelled back down at him  in an extremely sinister tone
" don't worry it will all be over in a few minutes" The voice which before had purposely been very reassuring anytime he addressed his captive, now had changed dramatically and this is what tipped Petit off that these men were about to possibly shoot his entire family ( he believed the men's 9 mm lookalike pellet gun was the genuine article, as Hayes held it by his side right after Petit had been beaten unconscious and tied. Komisarjevsky has said if he moves put a bullet in him" He remembered that vividly.

Komisarjevsky gave him the opportunity by telling him how easy it would be for him to get the men into any home that he wanted to. I believe that this shared fantasy of domination and control was the main commonality that Komisarjevsky and Hayes struck upon soon after meeting in the Hartford Halfway house, that was part of each of their former prison sentences fo unrelated crimes. Their sick bond was forged with the younger, considerably more intelligent and cunning Komisarjevsky clearly the more dominant within the pair. Proof of this dominance reared it's head at many points throughout their relationship and the Petit crimes. The text messages between the men, the fact that Komisarjevsky had Hayes do all of the dirty work within the crimes taking most of the risk and his face out in public such as sending Hayes to get the gasoline for the fire early that morning, knowing that Hayes would appear on security cameras at the gas station.

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