HARTFORD -- The two recently paroled convicts accused of brutally killing three members of a Cheshire family during a burglary were deemed a low risk to society when they were released from prison this spring, according to Department of Correction records released yesterday.
The department's assessments were included in files provided to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles before members decided to release Joshua Komisarjevsky, 26, of Cheshire, and Steven Hayes, 44, of Winsted.
The two, who met in a halfway house, were on parole July 23 when they allegedly burglarized a home and took a family hostage, killing a mother and her two daughters.
Governor M. Jodi Rell ordered the the records released as officials scrutinize the parole process.
Hayes has a long criminal record, including stealing cars and cash. The parole board received 349 pages of records when considering whether to release him. Komisarjevsky's file was 89 pages.
Both men indicated they had drug problems. Hayes said he had a cocaine problem and Komisarjevsky claimed he was addicted to crystal meth, the records show.
John Lahda, executive director of the parole board, said nothing about either man raised red flags. Members who decided to release Komisarjevsky did not see a transcript of a 2002 hearing at which a judge sentencing him for a string of burglaries called him a "cold, calculating predator."
Lahda said that such transcripts are not usually provided to parole board members, but that the board will consider whether they should be included in files.
"We have to look at everything, like they want us to do," he said. "Maybe someone somewhere sees something we can improve on."
The Department of Correction also indicated that neither Komisarjevsky nor Hayes was considered at risk for committing sexual assault. Both were charged with rape in last week's incident, in addition to capital felony, kidnapping, assault, burglary, robbery, arson, larceny, and risk of injury to children.
The suspects had been classified as nonviolent offenders because they did not hurt anyone during their earlier crimes.
The pair are jailed on $15 million bond each. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.
Police say the men forced 48-year-old Jennifer Hawke-Petit to withdraw money at a local bank, then killed her and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. The state medical examiner said Hawke-Petit was strangled while the girls died from smoke inhalation after the family home was set ablaze.
The lone survivor, Dr. William Petit Jr., was badly beaten but managed to escape.