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Joshua Komisarjevsky

Joshua Komisarjevsky

Joshua Komisarjevsky was charged along with Steven Hayes in the horrific 2007 home invasion, robbery, assault, rape and murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, 17 year-old Hayley and 11 year-old Michaela, in Cheshire, Connecticut. Husband and father Dr. William Petit was severely beaten but survived his wounds. In separate trials, both Komisarjevsky and Hayes were found guilty and sentenced to death. We have weighed in on this case previously. But here’s the new wrinkle:

Now, Mr. Komisarjevsky is appealing his sentence and seeking a new trial.

Here’s why this move makes us sick.

First, let us state that there is absolutely no question that these two monsters did the things with which they were charged. They were apprehended while fleeing the scene when they crashed into two police cruisers. Police had surrounded the house and were preparing for a rescue. Before they could – or did – react, the offenders had raped and assaulted Jennifer, tied the two girls to their beds and set the house on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence. Prior to this, they had forced Jennifer to go to her bank and withdraw money for them. Jennifer was able to whisper a message to the teller and the bank manager immediately alerted the police.

The testimony in Mr. Hayes’s trial was so harrowing that jury members were counseled afterward for PTSD!

What is the basis for Mr. Komisarjevsky’s plea for a new trial?

According to the Associated Press, “The motion filed by Komisarjevsky’s lawyers said police failed to stop Hayes and Hawke-Petit as they returned to the Petits’ home from the bank.”

“Upon their arrival at the Petit residence, police did not approach the house but instead spent precious minutes setting up perimeters.”

In other words, the police failed to stop the two thugs from committing their unspeakable crimes, and therefore it is the cops’ fault.

The Petit family and others have been critical of the police response, saying officers waited too long and should have stormed the house. This is a complicated and delicate situation. SWAT operations always try to balance the risk of going in right away with the risk of waiting until they feel the hostages are in imminent danger. There is no easy or universally applicable guideline and whatever the Cheshire Police did or did not do is being evaluated on its own.

But that has nothing to do with Komisarjevsky’s stomach-turning claim. It reminds us of so many other cases. In a book we are writing now about the workings of the criminal mind, we review the case of Joseph Kondro, the rapist murderer of young girls, who blamed the authorities for not stopping him, claiming he was acting on impulses that were genetically inherent in his brain.

Minnesota Vikings football player Adrian Peterson and others justify his brutal whipping of his four year-old son because it’s “part of their culture.” That is to say, he didn’t come up with this form of punishment; he just followed the established custom.

Many fans claim to understand Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s knocking out his fiancĂ© and then dragging her from the elevator like a sack of potatoes because she must have provoked him. And anyway, she stayed with him, so it’s all okay, right? After all, beating up your wife is part of some cultures, isn’t it?

One way or another, it’s always someone else’s fault.

Among the fundamental signs of maturity is taking responsibility for one’s own actions. So when, as a society, are we going to grow up?

7 Responses to It’s Always Someone Else’s Fault

  1. Cornerstone says:

    After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, it came out that two girls had been complaining that Cho was stalking them — and no one did anything at all about it. True, they didn’t have access to his mental health records from prior years. Despite his mental health records, he was still allowed to buy weapons, a loophole that was closed there after the shooting. There were stalking laws on the books at the time these girls were complaining in the Virginia Tech shooting, and there is simply no excuse to let those laws go unenforced. Through the work of John Douglas, we know stalking is a true red flag and should never be ignored.

  2. Billie Jo says:

    I have followed this case for a while. I chose it as a current event for a crime study during my bachelor’s degree studies. It was a truly heart wretching crime and watching the trial updates and reading transcripts brought me to tears many times. It sickens me that this moron believes he can get a new trial and possibly be excused for the crime on the basis that the police didn’t stop him. While there is some debate on the police actions and timing, overall the police had no idea the magnitude of what was going on. Only information they really had was of a home invasion and assault. They had no idea of the true viciousness of what went on. Its easy to say that the police should have rushed the house, but it must be understood that in most cases doing so endangers the hostages severely. One could just as easily accuse the neighbors whom the father went to for help of just standing idly back..saying they should have ran into the house with baseball bats and pitchforks. Could anytying have been done to prevent this tragedy? Maybe. Maybe not. Second guessing the police wont bring the family back and it wont give this creep an out for his actions.

  3. Zeno says:

    No new posts in awhile. What has been going on?

  4. Iworr says:

    my understanding of active shooter scenarios was that Columbine changed the way police react to the situation. Up to Columbine the way they reacted started with the Charles Whitmore shooting people at the University of Texas written about in one of John and Mark’s books. That’s what created the SWAT teams. Now cops rush in to attack the shooter. So while the police SHOULD have gone in BEFORE the women were raped and killed, there’s no way they’re to blame for what those two did. It would have been better to have rushed the home and killed them so as to save tax payers money on a trial and appeals and housing them for years and the final cost of the drugs or electricity used to execute them. After all the bullets are likely LESS than a dollar each

  5. joe5348 says:

    I wouldn’t get too excited about this. If a court buys the argument, I would get excited. But as it is, there is approximately zero chance of that happening.

  6. watson says:

    I agree his stated reason for ‘appeal’ is absurd. He basically says SWAT officers should have shot me before I chose to commit my crimes, so my choices and crimes are they’re fault….what a coward, on top of all else he is.
    But in a P.S….. I would agree officers should charge in as soon as possible. Even though this puts officers in harms way, I think studies show it saves civilian lives, which is what we’re about right.
    I remember how many hours it took in the Columbine Massacre for officers to enter the school. As I watched on TV I kept thinking why don’t the surrounding police do something? If we have future terror attacks in the US ISIS and other, hostages taken etc., the issue will keep coming up in US police procedure…when should the police move…at once (my opinion) or after getting all ready and establishing parameters.

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