Satan, as drawn by Gustave Doré, in John Milton's Paradise LostI’ve already blogged about appeals to religion that lawyers for Joshua Komisarjevsky — recently convicted for his role in the Cheshire home invasion massacre — used in a (futile) effort to excuse their client. Now that they’re dealing with a death-penalty hearing, they’re pulling out all the stops. The Torrington (CT) Register-Citizen reports that they put his mother on the stand to spew their own ridiculous variation on the old “the Devil made me do it” protest (WebCite cached article):

Komisarjevsky, in his usual black suit, stared down at the defense team’s table in front of him as his mother [Jude Komisarjevsky] described how the once-obedient boy was transformed into a rebel lured by a “satanic cult.” …

By the time he was 12 or 13, he had begun listening to rock music rather than the Christian tunes they had always played in the home. She said the lyrics “encouraged rebellion, anger and misuse of other people.”

And at about the same time, she recalled, he started climbing out his bedroom window at night to hang out with local youths who were “mixed-up” and had embraced “satanic” values.

“After that, there was a lot of change in him,” she said. “A lot of anger. He seemed to have a poor self-image. He was easily manipulated and controlled by others.”

Those of you not living in Connecticut are likely unaware of this case, but we Nutmeggers know that his adoptive parents are fundamentalist Christians who were disturbed at “secular society’s” evil influences on their boy as he grew up, and took measures to indoctrinate him more thoroughly in their faith:

During her second day of testimony in the penalty phase of Joshua Komisarjevsky’s trial for the Cheshire triple homicide, his mother described years of home schooling done in an effort to instill Christian values in him.

Despite their efforts, Joshua Komisarjevsky was already a career criminal by his mid-teens. By pointing this out, I’m not saying his parents’ rigorous upbringing and fierce religiosity made him a murderer. No way. But, I do note that their beliefs weren’t enough to keep him from developing into a persistent felon. Simply put, it didn’t work.

In any event, I expect his attorneys will continue to present the jury with a parade of excuses for his behavior. “Satanic influences” — if there were any (no evidence has yet been offered that he was actually a Satanist or anything of the sort) — are but one of many more to come.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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