The second stage of the Cheshire murders trial is now underway.

While Steven Hayes was sentenced to death for the murders in December, proceedings to try co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky began Tuesday 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 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.

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

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