Entries in New Haven (3)


Petit Home Invasion Suspect Abused as Child

Connecticut State Police(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A neuropsychologist testified Wednesday that Joshua Komisarjevsky, on trial for the murder of a Connecticut woman and her two daughters, was sexually abused, burned and beaten as a child, impairing his ability to make quick decisions under stress.

"He's just too damn slow," said Dr. Leo Shea, who took the stand as a witness for the defense.

Shea said Komisarjevsky also suffered as many as five concussions which could have had an impact on his brain function.

The testimony was delivered on the first day of defense arguments in Komisarjevsky's capital murder trial in an attempt to save him from being sentenced to death.

He is accused of having broken into the home of Dr. William Petit on July 23, 2007 along with his accomplice Steven Hayes. During the home invasion, they beat Dr. Petit about the head with a baseball bat and then tied him up. They raped and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48. Their two daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela,11, were tied to their beds for hours, sexually assaulted and terrorized.

Komisarjevsky has admitted to sexually molesting Michaela.

Gasoline was poured throughout the house, as well as in the girls' bedrooms, and the home was set ablaze. Both girls died of smoke inhalation as their family home burned around them.

Komisarjevsky's defense team is attempting to convince the jury that Hayes had the idea to kill the girls and burn the house, that Hayes bought the gasoline and set the house on fire.

Hayes was convicted and sentenced to be executed last year for his role in the deadly home invasion and is currently on Connecticut's death row.

Shea administered a battery of brain tests to Komisarjevsky and that he scored in the bottom 2-4 percentile on many of them. Shea said the results indicated Komisarjevsly is a good talker, but a poor writer and speller. While he did score better in his "verbal comprehension," Shea said that if a situation got complex -- like a home invasion gone wrong -- Komisarjevsky would not be able to think straight.

Shea also testified that Komisarjevsky abused many drugs including ecstasy, crystal meth, LSD, and marijuana for several years when he was in his 20's.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'East Coast Rapist' Attempts Jailhouse Suicide

Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision (file)(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The suspected "East Coast Rapist" is back in jail Sunday after police in New Haven, Conn., say he attempted to hang himself in his cell Saturday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Aaron Thomas survived the attempted suicide and was returned to his cell after a brief stay at the hospital.

Thomas, who is set to appear in New Haven Superior Court on Monday, is the man suspected in the attacks of at least 17 women over 12 years. The sexual assaults occurred from Virginia to Rhode Island starting in 1997.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of Thomas on Friday by New Haven police for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. DNA collected by the state police forensic lab subsequently confirmed that Thomas was responsible for the string of rapes perpetuated by the so called "East Coast Rapist."

Thomas is currently being held on $1 million bond.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'East Coast Rapist' Captured in Connecticut

Federal Bureau of Investigation(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Officials say that DNA from a man arrested in Connecticut on Friday confirms that he is the "East Coast Rapist" who has been terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island for more than 12 years.

Aaron Thomas, 39, was arrested by New Haven police for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, and he is being held on $1 million bond, according to Lt. Julie Johnson.

At a press conference Saturday, officials praised the decade-spanning efforts of police to capture Thomas, which were stepped up early this week with a new website and billboard ad campaign.

Lt. Julie Johnson said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab confirming Thomas was the "East Coast Rapist."

In Prince William County, Virginia authorities are charging him with being a fugitive from justice as well as rape and abduction. His most recent alleged crimes took place in October of 2009, when three girls coming home from trick-or-treating were abducted and two were raped.

Authorities say he stalked and studies his victims, apparently attacking them in neighborhoods he knows well. He knows when they are most vulnerable, like when they are home alone with their children or when they failed to lock windows or doors, investigators say.

According to the New Haven Register, Thomas was caught after authorities trailed him for several days, having received a tip about a man who had a court appearance this past Thursday on an unrelated matter. Waiting for an opportunity to grab a sample of his DNA, authorities were able to obtain a cigarette butt Thomas discarded.

The "East Coast Rapist" is wanted for 17 rapes and other attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia since 1997.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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