A judge has denied Steven Hayes' request to skip the rest of jury selection in the 2007 Cheshire home-invasion case.
Hayes' attorneys last week filed a motion asking Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue to waive Hayes' right to be present while attorneys choose the rest of the jury panel. The prosecutor objected to the request.
In an eight-page written ruling released Monday, Blue deni3ed the request. He said that despite an "obvious general detachment, Hayes does show flashes of alertness from time to time and has, when addressed, intelligently, answered questions put to him by the court. He is no automaton."
Blue also cited the testimony of Dr. Suzanne Ducate, a state Department of Correction psychiatrist responsible for Hayes' treatment. Ducate testified March 2 that she had no concerns about Hayes' participation in jury selection.
Blue said he also considered that Hayes was found competent to stand trial and that his lawyers waived a hearing and "effectively admitted competency."
Blue said 11 of 20 jurors have been picked in 19 days of individual voir dire, a legal term for jury selection.
"The court does not mean to minimize the emotional burden of this process, but it has every expectation that, under those circumstances, the remainder of the process can be endured," Blue wrote.
Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky are accused of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in their Cheshire home in 2007. The house was also set on fire. Hawke-Petit's husband and the girls' father, Dr. William Petit Jr., was badly beaten during the attack but survived. Both Hayes and Komisarjevsky face the death penalty if convicted.
Testimony in Hayes' trial is expected to start Sept. 13. Komisarjevsky will be tried at a later date.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun