NEW HAVEN, Conn.—A Connecticut man facing a possible death sentence for killing a woman and her two daughters during a home invasion told a psychologist that he was repeatedly abused by his older foster brother when he was a child.
Joshua Komisarjevsky (koh-mih-sar-JEV'-skee) already has been convicted and now faces life in prison or the death penalty for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in their Cheshire home in 2007. The girls were tied to their beds and died of smoke inhalation after they were doused in gas and the house was set on fire.
Komisarjevsky also was convicted of sexually assaulting one of the daughters, who was 11.
His defense says his strictly religious family never got him proper psychological treatment.
Clinical psychologist Leslie Lebowitz testified Monday in New Haven Superior Court that she met with Komisarjevsky a number of times and concluded that he was sexually abused "not every day, but a lot" when he was between ages 4 and 6.
Lebowitz said Komisarjevsky told her the foster brother burned him with cigarettes, penetrated him with a marker and made him pose in sexual positions with his younger sister.
She said she believes his memories of trauma are true, but said they do not provide an explanation for his crimes.
"There is nothing I could say that would ever excuse that kind of behavior," Lebowitz said.
The judge in the case said testimony could continue past Thanksgiving, and jurors could start deciding in early December whether Komisarjevsky lives or dies.