Defense attorneys for Joshua Komisarjevsky, the second defendant in the 2007 Cheshire murders, are trying to move his trial out of New Haven.
Komisarjevsky is charged with the July 2007 murders of William Petit’s wife and two daughters at the family’s home in Cheshire, Conn. Steven Hayes, the other defendant, was sentenced to death in December. Jeremiah Donovan, Komisarjevsky’s public defender, argued in a motion hearing at the New Haven County Courthouse Wednesday morning that the trial should be moved to Stamford because the media coverage of the case in New Haven has been too intense and negative for unbiased jurors to be found.
A survey of four judicial districts in Connecticut was administered by Steven Penrod ’09 to discern whether potential jurors believed Komisarjevsky is guilty and what punishment he deserved. Eighty-five percent of respondents in the New Haven Judicial District said they believe Komisarjevsky is guilty, he said, as opposed to only 72 percent in the Stamford Judicial District.
Judge Jon Blue, who also heard the Hayes case, ruled Tuesday that the use of Twitter in the courtroom during Komisarjevsky’s trial would be permitted. Komisarjevsky’s defense motioned for all electronic devices to be banned from the courtroom during the trial, arguing that reporters’ use of Twitter was creating a “mob mentality” around the case.
But Blue said Tuesday he does not find the use of Twitter disruptive in court proceedings and that he did not have the authority to ban it.
Jury selection for the Komisarjevsky trial is scheduled to begin Mar. 14. If convicted, Komisarjevsky could face the death penalty.