Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, faces 17 charges in the grisly incident, which began as a home invasion and ended when the house was set on fire with the Petit family – Dr. Petit, the sole escapee, as well as his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 47, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11 – inside.
Hawke-Petit was strangled to death and the girls, who were both tied to their beds, died of smoke inhalation, investigators concluded.
Komisarjevsky is the alleged accomplice of Steven Hayes, 48, who was convicted and sentenced to death last November for the murders. The men held the family hostage for hours before setting their home ablaze, sexually assaulting Hawke-Petit and molesting one of the daughters, prosecutors say.
Komisarjevsky's defense attorney, Walter Bansley, told the jury on Monday that his client went along with the break-in to steal items, but never intended to kill anyone, reports CNN. Hayes was the one who raped and murdered Hawke-Petit, poured gasoline around the house and struck the match, he said. Komisarjevsky refused to kill anyone, he added.
A neighbor later recalled seeing a bloodied Dr. Petit in his driveway after managing to escape from the house, asking him to call police.
During Hayes's trial, lawyers read from a letter Komisarjevsky wrote to author Brian McDonald in 2008, in which he alludes to pulling a trigger and says, "I lost control … I am a criminal with a criminal mind."