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Jurors in Conn. home invasion murders hear confession of second defendant

Joshua Komisarjevsky is seen in this undated photograph provided by the Connecticut State Police. Komisarjevsky is accused of following a mother and her daughters to their Cheshire, Conn., home. Authorities say he and Steven Hayes tormented the family for hours in July 2007 before killing the mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year Hayley.
Joshua Komisarjevsky WFSB-TV/Connecticut State Police

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Jurors on Wednesday heard a recording of the confession of Joshua Komisarjevsky, a second man accused killing a woman and her two daughters in a gruesome Connecticut home invasion. In the taped confession, Komisarjevsky tries to blame his co-defendant, Steven Hayes, for escalating the crime.

Komisarjevsky sounds subdued on the tape, speaks matter-of-factly and calls the crime "home invasion gone terribly wrong." He describes attacking Dr. William Petit with a baseball bat, saying Petit let out "this unearthly scream" and looked confused.

He also portrays himself as reluctant to assault Petit and quickly begins blaming his co-defendant, Hayes.

Komisarjevsky faces a possible death sentence if convicted of the July 2007 attack. Hayes, who likewise tried to blame Komisarjevsky for turning a home robbery into a triple killing, was convicted and sentenced to death last year.

The Associated Press had obtained a transcript of the confession before the case's second trial began this week, but the audio was played in court Wednesday for the first time. As the tape played, Petit sat hunched in the front row staring at the floor. Jurors followed along reading a transcript.

Conn. Home Invasion: Petit Killer Jury To Continue Deliberations
Dr. William Petit, left, with his daughters Michaela, front, Hayley, center rear, and his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit AP

In the confession, Komisarjevsky details how he spotted Jennifer Hawke-Petit and one of her daughters at a supermarket, noticed they had a nice car and followed them home. He later returned with Hayes.

Hayes was convicted of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit after taking her to a bank to withdraw money. The girls, ages 11 and 17, were tied up and died of smoke inhalation after the house was doused in gasoline and set on fire.

Earlier Wednesday, jurors got their first look at graphic photos from inside the home. Most of the jurors gazed downward after seeing the photos. A few appeared close to tears, and one man gripped his face.

Jurors were shown the photos after firefighters and a police lieutenant testified about their grim discovery in the house.

Michaela, 11, was found on her bed with her hands tied over her head and her lower body hanging off the bed. Hayley, 17, was found at the top of the stairs. Hawke-Petit was in a family room.

Complete coverage of the Petit family murders on Crimesider

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