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Connecticut killer calls self "most hated" man

By Mary Ellen Godin

NEW HAVEN, Conn (Reuters) - Convicted killer Joshua Komisarjevsky told a judge presiding over a jury deciding whether he should face the death penalty on Wednesday that he believes he is "one of the most hated people in America."

Objecting to a defense plan to show his 9-year-old daughter's videotaped testimony to the jury, Komisarjevsky said the move would hurt her more than it would help him.

"Her memorialized words will affect her emotionally and psychologically in the future if she believes she is party to assisting the effort to put me to death," Komisarjevsky told Judge Jon Blue while the jury was outside the courtroom in New Haven Superior Court.

The girl has already received death threats, according to her attorneys.

Komisarjevsky, 31, was convicted of murder, rape and arson in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters Hayley and Michaela, and of beating Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the brutal home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut in July 2007.

The jury that convicted him is deciding whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without parole.

His accomplice Steven Hayes was convicted separately of similar charges and has been sentenced to death.

Speaking for the first time in his two-month trial, Komisarjevsky objected in court on Wednesday to showing the jury his daughter's videotaped testimony because he did not want her to have to justify statements that "help one of the most hated people in America."

Komisarjevsky, dressed in a black suit, defied his attorney's advice and in a deep calm voice asked that the child be spared further emotional harm that would be caused by playing the videotape for the jury.

A recorded interview with the girl was made with the help of social workers. Komisarjevsky's lawyer hopes her testimony will help sway a jury to spare his life.

Judge Blue denied the objection, saying Komisarjevsky's attorney should be allowed to represent his client as he sees fit.

The jury was later shown the videotape, which was hidden from the public to protect the child's identity.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

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