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Parole Board Released Connecticut Home Invasion Suspects Without Full Report

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July 24: Steve Hayes is shown in this photograph supplied by the Connecticut State Police.AP

The state's parole board had incomplete information when it agreed this spring to release two prisoners who allegedly terrorized and killed three members of a Cheshire family last week, according to a state official.

Robert Farr, chairman of the Connecticut Board of Parole and Pardons, said the board had only one police report to review when it agreed to release 26-year-old Joshua Komisarjevsky of Cheshire and 44-year-old Steven Hayes of Winsted.

The report documented only one incident on Komisarjevsky's long criminal record, did not have sentencing transcripts and other information, Farr told The Advocate of Stamford for a story in Saturday's editions.

It is unclear whether more records might have changed the board's decision, Farr said, but added that the case highlights the lack of documentation usually presented to the parole board.

"It is the biggest frustration I've found since starting my job here," Farr, who was appointed in February, told the newspaper. "It is absolutely crucial for us to know what the nature of the crime is."

Komisarjevsky and Hayes, who met as roommates at a Hartford halfway house, are charged with capital felony, sexual assault, arson and numerous other offenses in the deaths of 48-year-old Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela.

The men are accused of breaking into the family's home early Monday, holding them hostage for hours and forcing Hawke-Petit to withdraw money at a local bank, police said.

She was strangled and her daughters died of smoke inhalation after the suspects set the house ablaze and tried to flee, police said.

The lone survivor of the attack, Dr. William Petit Jr., was badly beaten but managed to escape the fire. He was released from the hospital in time to attend and speak at a private funeral Friday for his family and a public memorial Saturday.

Farr, the parole board chairman, said prosecutors typically send correction officials a short document listing the charges that potential parolees faced.

However, a July 6 memo from Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane shows parole officials complained to his office that they rarely saw police reports before making their decisions, The Advocate reported.

Kane's memo instructed prosecutors to rectify the problem by sending the reports to correction and parole officials rather than putting them in storage.

"It is in our best interest that Correction and Parole have this information," Kane wrote. "I told them it might be difficult for some offices, but we will try to provide them."

Police reports are not part of the court clerk's case file, which is open to the public, and Farr said the board spent $4,000 in postage last year trying to collect police reports for parole hearings.

Farr met with Kane and a representative from the state's Judicial Branch to discuss the problem on June 26, according to Kane's memo. Kane was traveling Friday and unavailable for comment, a spokesman said.

Prosecutors have since been sending police reports, according to Farr and State's Attorney David Cohen, who heads the Stamford-Norwalk judicial district.

"We don't know if we're getting 100 percent compliance yet, but it's a major milestone," Farr said.