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Connecticut home invasion killer sues state for Kosher meals

Steven Hayes
AP/Conn. State Police

HARTFORD, Conn.--One of two men convicted in the killings of a mother and her two daughters in a 2007 Connecticut home invasion is suing the state, claiming his rights are violated because he's being denied kosher food in prison.

Steven Hayes, who is on death row at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, describes himself as an orthodox Jew and claims he's been requesting a kosher diet since May 2013, The New Haven Register reports.

Hayes said denying him a kosher diet violates his Eighth Amendment right that forbids cruel and unusual punishment because he must eat non-kosher food to survive.

Hayes, 51, wrote in his complaint that denial of a kosher diet has caused him to suffer from starvation for the past year in prison, WCBS 880 reports.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Correction declined to comment and said the lawsuit has been referred to the state attorney general's office.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said a judge may be asked to decide the issue, reports WCBS 880.

Hayes was sentenced to death in 2010 for the strangulation and rape of Jennifer Hawke-Petit of Cheshire and leaving her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, to die in a fire.

His accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, was also convicted and sentenced to death.