- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Lawyers for a Connecticut man charged with killing a woman and her two daughters in a 2007 home invasion tried to delay closing arguments on Tuesday, saying the accused’s co-defendant wrote letters claiming he had committed numerous other murders and rapes.

Lawyers for Joshua Komisarjevsky cited letters from Steven Hayes claiming he had killed 17 people in the Northeast and committed dozens of drugged date rapes. The letters to a woman in North Carolina were intercepted.

Hayes also says he would have killed Mr. Komisarjevsky if they got away with the Connecticut crime.

Judge Jon Blue denied a request to delay closing arguments, saying the letters don’t help Mr. Komisarjevsky’s case. If convicted, Mr. Komisarjevsky faces a possible death sentence.

Hayes was convicted last year of raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her daughters, who died of smoke inhalation. Hayes is on death row.

The three handwritten letters were written in August or September and detail how he raped and strangled women, according to a defense motion that calls the description “eerily similar” to what Hayes did to Hawke-Petit.

Defense lawyers also say Hayes took the women’s sneakers to fulfill a sexual fantasy. Hayes‘ sneaker fetish came out during his trial, and Mr. Komisarjevsky’s lawyers say women’s sneakers were seized from his house.

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