The second stage of the trial in the case of the nationally infamous Cheshire murders is now underway.

While Steven Hayes was sentenced to death for the murders in December, proceedings to try co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky began today at the New Haven County Courthouse. Komisarjevsky is charged with the July 2007 murders of William Petit’s wife and two daughters at the family’s home in Cheshire, Conn.

Komisarjevsky’s public defender, Jeremiah Donovan, argued at the motion hearing this morning that Superior Court Judge Jon Blue, who presided over the Hayes trial, should be disqualified from presiding over this case. Blue showed an inappropriate bias in favor of the prosecution, Donovan said.

Superior Court Judge Brian Fischer, who heard the motion, denied the defense’s request.

The defense is scheduled to motion on Feb. 23 for the trial to be moved Fairfield County, where press coverage of the Hayes trial has been less ubiquitous.

Jury selection for the Komisarjevsky trial is scheduled to begin Mar. 14.