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Home invasion killer gets death penalty

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A Connecticut man expressed regret but steadfastly blamed his accomplice as he was sentenced to die Friday for a deadly home invasion that unsettled suburbia and halted momentum to abolish the state's death penalty.

The sole survivor of the 2007 attack called the loss of his wife and two daughters a "personal holocaust."

Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, described his regrets and the devastating consequences of his decisions as he spoke in court, but also denied having any part in the killings.

"I know my responsibilities, but what I cannot do is carry the responsibilities of the actions of another," Komisarjevsky said. "I did not want those innocent women to die."

Komisarjevsky joins the accomplice, Steven Hayes, and nine other men on Connecticut's death row. The state's last execution in 2005 was the first since 1960, and Komisarjevsky will likely spend years in prison.

The two paroled burglars tormented a family of four in the affluent New Haven suburb of Cheshire before killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leaving her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, to die in a fire.

The only survivor, William Petit, was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up but escaped.

Hayes was convicted in 2010 of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit and killing the girls. The girls were tied to their beds and doused in gasoline before the house was set ablaze; they died of smoke inhalation. Komisarjevsky was convicted of the killings and of sexually assaulting Michaela.

Komisarjevsky insisted on Friday that he didn't kill anyone, that he didn't rape Michaela and that he didn't start the fire. William Petit and his relatives left the courtroom before Komisarjevsky spoke.

Komisarjevsky admitted in an audiotaped confession played for the jury that he spotted Hawke-Petit and Michaela at a supermarket and followed them to their house. He and Hayes returned to the Petit house later in the middle of the night to rob it.

The men were caught fleeing in the family's car.

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