NEW HAVEN ——After his arrest in connection with the July 2007 Cheshire home invasion slayings, Steven Hayes gave what his lawyers say are "inculpatory and highly inflammatory" statements to police acknowledging his role in the crime.
Now, Hayes' defense team is trying to keep those alleged statements out of his upcoming death penalty trial in Superior Court on multiple charges of capital felony and murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and arson.
A hearing on the motion will be held Wednesday in Superior Court.
Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky are accused of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, and seriously wounding Dr. William Petit Jr. during a break-in and robbery inside their Cheshire home on July 23, 2007.
Police arrested Hayes and Komisarjevsky as they tried to flee the Petit's burning home. Hawke-Petit was strangled during the home invasion and both daughters were left bound in their beds as the house was doused with gasoline and set afire. Petit survived the attack.
Hayes' attorneys, Thomas J. Ullmann and Patrick J. Culligan, unsuccessfully fought to close the courtroom during arguments on a motion to suppress the statements and admissions Hayes allegedly made to police.
Judge Jon C. Blue rejected the defense argument that jurors already selected for Hayes' trial could be exposed to "unavoidable" media reports of the pretrial arguments about the motion to suppress. The defense said such exposure could be prejudicial to Hayes and violate his constitutional right to a fair trial.
Blue wrote in his decision that there was "no evidence even suggesting that the carefully selected and thoroughly-instructed jury in this case will be unfaithful to its instructions or its oath. Under these circumstances, the constitutional right of openness has not been overcome."
Cheshire police officers and state police involved in the arrest of Hayes could take the witness stand Wednesday to discuss Hayes' alleged statements.
Hayes also is alleged to have made statements to a state correction officer.
Testimony in Hayes' case is scheduled to begin Sept. 13. Komisarjevsky will be tried at a later date.