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Man condemned to death in Conn. home invasion

Dr. William Petit speaks to reporters after a Connecticut jury sentences Joshua Komisarjevsky to death for his part in the murders Petit's wife and two daughters.

Updated at 3:54 p.m. ET

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A jury has condemned a Connecticut man to death for killing a woman and her two daughters in a 2007 attack in their suburban home.


A jury condemned Joshua Komisarjevsky to death Friday for killing a woman and her two daughters. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police, File)

The jury deliberated over the span of five days before returning the verdict against Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Komisarjevsky showed no reaction in the courtroom as he learned that he is heading to death row, along with his accomplice, Steven Hayes, NBC Connecticut reported.

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The two paroled burglars were convicted of tormenting the family of four in the New Haven suburb of Cheshire before killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leaving her daughters, ages 17 and 11, to die in a fire.

The only survivor, Dr. William Petit, was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up but managed to escape. He appeared calm as the verdict was pronounced, his eyes blinking rapidly and his hand clenched in a fist on the seat in front of him. He later bowed his head and closed his eyes.

The crime in the affluent suburb led to the defeat of a bill to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut and sparked tougher state laws for repeat offenders and home invasions.

The defense asked jurors to spare Komisarjevsky's life. Lawyers argued his ultra-religious family never got him proper help after he was sexually abused as a child by his foster brother.

The seven women and five men of the jury could have spared Komisarjevsky's life and opted for life in prison without parole, but chose to impose a death sentence on him on all six capital felony counts.

In closing arguments, a prosecutor said the two men created "the ultimate house of horrors" by inflicting extreme psychological and physical pain on the victims that amounted to torture.

"It was shockingly brutal. It was evil. It was vicious," prosecutor Gary Nicholson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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