State Granted More Time for Closings in CT Home Invasion Trial

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010  |  Updated 8:35 PM EDT
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For almost two weeks, jurors have listened to testimony about the horrors that happened inside the walls of the Petit home in Cheshire in 2007.

On Thursday, the case was in court for a charging conference to discuss instructions the jury will receive.

The state has been granted more time for its closing arguments in the case of Steven Hayes, who is on trial for the slayings of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during an invasion of their Cheshire home.

In asking for the extra time, prosecutors said lots of evidence in the case is complicated.

The defense objected, but the judge granted the motion.

The defense asked the judge to change a murder charge to arson murder, which would mean that Hayes participated in starting the fire in the Cheshire home but the intent was not to kill Hayley and Michaela, the defense said.

A prison officer testified Thursday that he overheard a conversation in which Hayes told another inmate that he poured gasoline on the stairs but didn't believe he could be charged with arson because he didn't light it.

New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue rejected a defense motion asking him to order prosecutors to specify in the murder charges they filed against Hayes that the cause of the girls' deaths was smoke inhalation..The judge rejected the motion.

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