Jury Sees Rope, Pantyhose Used to Tie Up Girls in Deadly Connecticut Home Invasion

Jurors on Tuesday saw rope and pantyhose used to tie up two girls left to die in a fire during a brutal home invasion, as well as their charred beds and the containers that held the gasoline used to fuel the fire.

The evidence was presented by prosecutors in the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted in the home invasion that left Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters dead inside their Cheshire, Conn., home in July 2007.

Komisarjevsky's co-defendant, Steven Hayes, was convicted last year of strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and killing her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. Hayes was sentenced to death.

An audio recording of Komisarjevsky, released publicly for the first time Monday, provides a chilling and graphic account of his alleged role in the crime.

Komisarjevsky admits to beating Hawke-Petit's husband, Dr. William Petit, with a bat and molesting his younger daughter after cutting off her clothes with scissors, but blames Hayes for the three killings.

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    Prosecutors showed jurors images of the girl's cut bra, kitchen shears and a baseball bat found near stuffed animals in her room, CTnow.com reports.

    The Petit home in Cheshire was doused in gas and set on fire after the girls were tied to their beds. Petit was tied up as well, but managed to escape to a neighbor's house to get help.

    A dog trained to detect gas found spots believed to be accelerants on the floor of the girls' bedrooms, in the hallway and on a staircase, Connecticut State Police Sgt. Karen Gabianelli said.

    Jurors also were shown melted plastic containers that contained the gas and the victims' charred clothes.

    Michaela's clothes had bleach stains, Gabianelli said. Hayes' attorney said during his trial that Komisarjevsky had poured bleach on her clothes to try to eliminate his DNA.

    Authorities seized Michaela's purple cellphone from Komisarjevsky after he was arrested, Gabianelli said.

    Hayes and Komisarjevsky have tried to pass the blame for the crime, but prosecutors say both men are responsible.

    On Monday, a medical examiner testified that Hayley Petit likely took up to several minutes to die of smoke inhalation from the arson fire.

    Dr. Malka Shah could not say if burns found on Hayley's body occurred before or after she died. Hayley had been tied in her bed and left to die in the fire that prosecutors said both men set, but her body was found at the top of the staircase.

    Michaela also died of smoke inhalation in her bed. The girls' mother was raped and strangled.

    Hayley's clothes smelled of gas, she had remnants of tightly tied rope on her, burns all over her body and her lungs were filled with carbon monoxide, said Shah, of the chief medical examiner's office. Inhaling smoke and hot air would have been painful and such deaths can take anywhere from a few to several minutes, Shah said.

    Shah said she could not say whether the burns occurred while Hayley was alive, nor could she say if the injuries occurred before or after Hayley fell in the hallway.

    If the death had taken several minutes, Hayley would have fallen unconscious at some point, she said under cross-examination. But before that, victims typically suffer headaches, nausea, vomiting and disorientation, she said.

    Authorities say Komisarjevsky and Hayes broke into the house, beat Dr. William Petit with a bat, then tied him, his wife and two daughters up as they looked for money. Hayes later drove Jennifer Hawke-Petit to a bank so she could make a withdrawal and then raped and strangled her after they returned to the house, police said.

    Detective Joseph Vitello also testified Monday that Komisarjevsky initially told investigators that he may have poured gasoline before the house was set on fire. That testimony undercut efforts by Komisarjevsky's lawyers to blame Hayes for pouring the gas.

    Vitello also told jurors that Komisarjevsky took explicit cellphone photos of Michaela Petit, whom he has admitted molesting. Komisarjevsky planned to send the photos to Hayes so that he could show them to the girl's mother if she didn't cooperate while the two were outside the home.

    Click here for more on the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky from CTnow.com

    The Associated Press contributed to this report