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One Juror, a Doctor, Picked for Komisarjevsky Jury

Defense uses a second peremptory challenge to dismiss a prospective juror.

The first juror was selected Thursday in New Haven Superior Court for the death penalty trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, accused of killing a Cheshire mother and her two children in 2007.

The juror, a doctor employed by Yale medical school, told defense lawyers and prosecutors that he had little knowledge of the case and he would hear the evidence with an open mind.

Ten prospective jurors were scheduled to be questioned Thursday. The Hartford Courant reported the one who was picked came up near the end of the day’s proceedings, which ended around 4 p.m.

The Courant said the first prospective juror, a male Metro-North supervisor, was questioned for an hour, but although he was willing to serve on the jury and his salary would be covered for 60 days, the defense lawyers used one of their peremptory challenges to dismiss him.

Judge Jon C. Blue announced that a hearing would be scheduled before another judge on a defense motion to sentence Komisarjevsky, 30, to life in prison without the possibility of release, to spare him from the death penalty.

Prosecutors with the State’s Attorneys office oppose the life sentence, as they did for Komisarjevsky’s co-defendant, Steven Hayes, 47. Hayes was convicted in 2010 and is on death row.

Komisarjevsky faces 17 counts including capital felony murder, kidnapping, arson, larceny, burglary, assault and sexual assault for the murders of a Cheshire mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in 2007.

A story published earlier on Thursday by the New Haven Register said the defendant’s parents attended today’s jury selection, sitting in the front row on the left side of the courtroom, nearer their son at the defense table.

The Register also said one of the prospective jurors broke into tears on the witness stand and told the court she was so upset she didn’t want to attend. She was dismissed by the judge.

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