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Convict got mixed up in satanic cult, teacher says

Conn. man convicted of deadly home invasion got mixed up in satanic cult, teacher says By The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' A man who taught Sunday school to a Connecticut man facing a possible death sentence for a deadly home invasion told a jury Thursday at his sentencing hearing that the defendant got mixed up with a satanic cult as a teenager.

Armen Abrahamian testified that around 1995, one of Joshua Komisarjevsky's mentors rescued him at a home where a satanic ritual was taking place. The mentor, who has since died, did not know where Komisarjevsky was but felt "led" to find him after praying because he believed Komisarjevsky's safety was in jeopardy, he said.

Komisarjevsky, 31, faces life in prison or the death penalty for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in their Cheshire home in 2007. The girls were tied to their beds, doused in gas and left to die in a fire.

Abrahamian also testified that he and others at the church would pray for Komisarjevsky. One time they were praying in a circle and Komisarjevsky's father, Ben, began to cry, he said.

"The tears were coming down pretty rapidly on the floor as we prayed for Josh," he said.

Abrahamian described Komisarjevsky as a troubled teen who wanted to run away.

The defense says Komisarjevsky's religious family was opposed to psychological counseling and medications.

Komisarjevsky's family sent him to a religious residential program in Vermont after he burned down a vacant gas station as a teen and sent him to a psychiatric hospital.

Eric Perry, a counselor at the Vermont program, testified that in 1996 Komisarjevsky told him in their weekly sessions that he was hearing voices at night telling him to kill himself and seeing objects he believed were related to his previous involvement in a satanic cult. In another incident, he described bomb-making materials being confiscated from Komisarjevsky's room, along with a razor blade that he was thinking of using to kill himself.

Perry read another report he wrote at the time saying prayer and assurances that Komisarjevsky was loved by God and the staff seemed to be the only solution to his night terrors. He said he was not expected to give psychological counseling.

A judge ruled earlier Thursday that a hearing will be held to focus on efforts by Komisarjevsky's attorneys to call his 9-year-old daughter to testify.

New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue ruled that the evidentiary hearing will be held Nov. 14 and be closed to the public.

Attorneys for Komisarjevsky want his daughter to testify, possibly by videotape. But an attorney for the girl's guardian filed a motion to quash their subpoena, citing sensitive issues.

The attorney, Raymond Hassett, said he had concerns about the parameters of the girl's testimony. But he said he would leave it up to the court to make any decision after weighing all the facts.

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Related Keywords:Home Invasion,Legal proceedings,Religion,Prayer,Satanism,Law and order,General news,Religious issues,Social affairs,Social issues

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