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Attorneys Pick Sixth Alternate Juror for Komisarjevsky Trial

The court must still find three backup jurors and decide if one of the alternates must be replaced.

The sixth alternate juror was selected Tuesday for the Joshua Komisarjevsky jury, according to a source at the New Haven County Courthouse.

Defense lawyers and prosecutors still must pick three backup alternates, and one of the alternates chosen last week might have to be replaced. 

The source said the latest alternate is a woman. All of the other alternates are also women. Twelve regular jurors, five men and seven women, were previously selected.

Komisarjevsky faces the death penalty for the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in 2007. His co-defendant, Steven Hayes, was convicted last year and is on death row.

A male teacher was picked as the first alternate, but he came back the next day and asked to be excused for financial reasons. He said the trial would cost him his stipend as a high school cross-country coach.

The question now is whether Judge Jon C. Blue will also excuse the fourth alternate, a woman from Wallingford, who was selected for the jury on Thursday, May 26.

During questioning she said she had heard about the Cheshire home invasion case from news reports, but had not kept informed on it and felt she could decide Komisarjevsky’s fate based on the evidence.

But later that day, according to the New Haven Register, the woman, who has an eight-year-old daughter nearly the same age as Michaela Petit, returned to court and tearfully asked to be excused. She said her babysitter told her more about the case and it upset her too much to serve on the jury.

Police said during the home invasion, Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted Michaela and Hayes raped and strangled her mother. Police said they set the house on fire, which killed the two girls.

Judge Blue asked the woman to return to court on Thursday. He said if she still felt the same, he would excuse her.

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