Monday, September 19, 2011

Komisarjevsky's Lawyers Play The Blame Game

Day One of the Joshua Komisarjevsky trial yielded a broad look at what is likely to be his defense team's strategy for the entire case.

Team Komisarjevsky is out to play the blame game. And so far, the two targets are his partner in crime, Steven Hayes, and the Cheshire Police Department.

The fact that Hayes is being portrayed as by Komisarjevsky's lawyers should come as no surprise. It's the same strategy that Hayes' defense team used in his trial last year, blaming Komisarjevsky for the murder and mayhem that took place inside the home of Dr. William Petit and his family in July 2007.l

But blaming the Cheshire Police is a bit of gamble for Komisarjevsky's lawyers. What they are essentially asking the jury to believe is that if officers had arrived on the scene more quickly or stormed the house, they could have saved the two career criminals from their more base impulses.

Ever since the botched home invasion and murders four years ago, the Cheshire Police have been frequent targets for second guessing. And now that second guessing will likely be played out once again on a high profile stage as Komisarjevksy's lawyers target the cop who oversaw the department's response to the home on Sorghum Mill Drive that morning, Capt. Robert Vignola.

During cross examination of Cheshire Police Officer Thomas Wright, Defense Attorney Walter Bansley III repeatedly led Wright back to questions about Vignola's command that officers remain outside, rather than storm the house just minutes before it went up in flames, killing Petit's daughters. Hayley and Michaela as well as burning his wife Jennifer's already dead body.

Expect to see Vignola take the witness stand in the coming days, as Komisarjevsky's defenders grasp at every opportunity to keep their client from dying by lethal injection.

But it's hard to imagine even the most fair-minded jury having any sympathy for that kind of strategy.

In opening statements before the jury on Monday, Bansley had Komisarjevsky telling Hayes, "No one will die by my hand here today." I'm hoping that the attorney was taking a little poetic license with that statement; I don't think that too many career criminals use that kind of flowery language during the commission of a crime.

But even if you believe Komisarjevsky's version of the day's events as portrayed by the defense, what Bansley's opening statement before the jury was missing was exactly what Komisarjevsky did - or could have done - to stop the home invasion from escalating into something deadly.

In this real life drama, the cops caught the bad guys, even if they weren't able to say the lives of the Petit women. Law enforcement may have made some mistakes on this particular day, but the people responsible for deaths of the three women are the focus of this trial and the one held last year.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a feeling Petit knows much more than he is saying

September 20, 2011 at 3:09 PM 
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