Jury Pool Shrinks in Conn. Home Invasion Trial

Some were dismissed over financial hardship or personal responsibilities, according to tweets from the courtroom.

By LeAnne Gendreau, Shirley Chan and Monica Buchanan
|  Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011  |  Updated 3:56 PM EDT
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Jury selection began this morning in the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, one of the men accused in a vicious Connecticut home invasion four years ago, and several jurors were released in the first hour alone.

Komisarjevsky is charged with six counts of capital felony murder for the deaths of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire.

Fifty potential jurors were in court on Wednesday morning. By about 11:30 a.m., the pool was down to 19.

Twelve jurors must be chosen, as well as six alternates and three backup jurors.

Some were dismissed over financial hardship or personal responsibilities, according to tweets from the courtroom.

Others were dismissed because they knew Judge Jon Blue, Cheshire police officers or Dr. William Petit.

As one dismissed juror left the courtroom, NBC Connecticut asked what he or she thought when seeing Komisarjevsky.

"I did think he's a murderer," the person said.

Komisarjevsky’s last mug shot shows him with shoulder length hair, but he appeared in court with a shaved head. 

His appearance was so different that even the prosecutors did not recognize him and asked the defense to introduce him.

"What happened in Cheshire was horrible. I have a family there and basically, I thought he was guilty and I was set in my way there," said the released juror.

Jury selection could take months, as it did for Steven Hayes, who was convicted in November.

Attorneys for Komisarjevsky have tried unsuccessfully to move the trial from New Haven to Fairfield County, citing the intense publicity.

Jury selection could take months, as it did for Steven Hayes.
 

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