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AP: Killer of 3 tries not to think about murders

Associated Press Modified: May 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm •  Published: May 15, 2012

SOMERS, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut killer who once called himself one of the most hated men in America said in a death row interview that he tries not to think about the murder of a suburban mother and her two daughters, suffers no nightmares and has nothing to say to the only survivor of the brutal 2007 attack.

Joshua Komisarjevsky told The Associated Press in his first interview since he was convicted that there isn't anything he could say to Dr. William Petit "that will restore the lives lost."

He also declined an opportunity to express remorse for the killings.

"I guess my reaction is not the reaction society expected," Komisarjevsky said.

Wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit, Komisarjevsky kept direct eye contact during the one-hour interview Monday, smiling at times as he spoke by telephone from behind a glass window at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Conn. He had the same short hair and facial stubble that he had during the trial, but the once-slender inmate has since put on 30 or 40 pounds, which he blamed on depression and lack of movement. He said he agreed to speak to a reporter out of curiosity.

By turns jovial and introspective, he made references to an afflicted conscience but said he fills his time in solitary confinement by drawing, watching television and reading and responding to hate mail as well as notes from supporters.

"Some days you're just overwhelmed by the isolation and the difficulties in communicating with loved ones, dealing with your own crisis of conscience," Komisarjevsky said.

Komisarjevsky, 31, was convicted last year in a crime that unsettled notions of suburban safety and featured prominently in Connecticut's death penalty debate.

He and his co-defendant, Steven Hayes, were convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters. Hayes raped and strangled Hawke-Petit, while Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted her 11-year-old daughter, Michaela. Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley, were tied to their beds and died of smoke inhalation after the house was doused in gas and set on fire.

Last month, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a new law that ends the state's death penalty for future crimes, but it does not apply to those already on death row. Many had insisted that the death penalty remain for previous cases so that Komisarjevsky and Hayes would not be spared.

"In order for some to swallow this bitter pill, it was inevitable that we would be left out," Komisarjevsky said.

In the last half-century, Connecticut has executed only one inmate — serial killer Michael Ross, who was put to death in 2005 after voluntarily waiving his appeals.

"I don't think I'll be executed against my will," Komisarjevsky said. "I think if I volunteer the state will execute me."

Asked if would consider volunteering, Komisarjevsky said, "I have my days. I think everybody on death row has their days. Some days you'd consider it. Some days you don't."

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