Parents of Conn. man who killed 3 testifies
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – More than a decade before Joshua Komisarjevsky would commit one of Connecticut's most gruesome crimes, he was having homicidal thoughts about his devoutly religious father and had upside-down crosses on his arms and a marking declaring Jesus is dead.
Komisarjevsky was hospitalized when he was 15 after setting a vacant gas station on fire. The hospital wanted to put him on Prozac and other treatment, but his parents were uncomfortable with medication and sent him to a religious residential treatment program instead.
Komisarjevsky's attorney read the hospital's evaluation Thursday as the defense tries to persuade a jury to spare him the death penalty for killing a woman and her two daughters during a home invasion in Cheshire in 2007.
Komisarjevsky's attorneys say his ultra-religious family was opposed to psychological counseling and medication after their son was sexually abused for years as a young child by a foster teen they had taken into the home.
His father, Benedict Komisarjevsky, testified Thursday for a second day in the sentencing phase of his son's trial. Joshua Komisarjevsky was convicted on Oct. 13 of capital felony killing, kidnapping, arson and sexual assault.
The elder Komisarjevsky testified that he didn't know his son was that angry. He knew he had markings on his arms but didn't know the details.
Komisarjevsky testified earlier that he was opposed to his son receiving medication.
But he told jurors Thursday that the state should have helped his family with the issues that arose after the boy was molested as a young child or told him what help was available. Komisarjevsky said he was not blaming the state for his son's crime.
Komisarjevsky said his son's young daughter had to be relocated after a threatening letter arrived at his house addressed to her after the crime. He said he used to bring the girl to see her father in prison for earlier crimes, but his son has not seen his daughter since the home invasion more than four years ago.
Komisarjevsky said he continues to visit his son in prison every two weeks. He said his son spends his time drawing, reading and studying Latin.
"We haven't been able to touch him in four years," he said.
Under cross-examination, he said he tried to provide his son a good home and took him on nice vacations. He also said his daughter turned out fine even though she was molested as well and raised in the same religious household.
Komisarjevsky's mother, Jude, took the stand and began to describe her devout religious views. She said she was attracted to her future husband because of his "commitment to the Lord" but waited for a sign from God before accepting his marriage proposal.by
She described numerous photos the defense showed to jurors of Komisarjevsky as a baby and young child eating popcorn, standing next to his birthday cake, putting on his father's clothes around Christmas and playing on a toy horse. Prosecutors objected several times and at one point the judge suggested the number of photos might be "overkill."
Jude Komisarjevsky later broke down crying as she described a collage of photos her son did as a child.
Prosecutors brought up Komisarjevsky's earlier convictions for 19 nighttime residential burglaries and noted that a judge at the time called him a "calculating cold-blooded predator."
The home invasion occurred days after Komisarjevsky's electronic bracelet was removed.
An alternate juror was dismissed Thursday because of illness.