Posts Tagged “cheshire home invasion”

Crying babyOne of Connecticut’s two most famous convicted massacrers, Steven Hayes, is having a hard time of it lately. Life on death row, it seems, it just too fucking tough on the poor guy. He can’t stand it there. In an effort to protest being on death row for the rest of his life (because, let’s face it, the state of Connecticut is just not going to execute him in spite of his death sentence), he and his attorneys have come up with a novel way to throw a tantrum at the legal system.

They’re using religion, of all things, as their shield. Yes, religion! The New Haven Register reports on their latest laughable court maneuvers (WebCite cached article):

One of the men convicted in the 2007 Cheshire home invasion and triple homicide is suing state Department of Correction officials, claiming his rights are being violated because he isn’t being given a kosher diet in prison.

Steven Hayes, 51, who is on death row at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, filed the hand-written civil rights complaint in U.S. District Court against the Rev. Anthony Bruno, director of religious services; wardens Edward Maldonado and Angel Quiros, and members of the Religious Review Committee.

In his complaint, Hayes describes himself as an orthodox practicing Jew, and claims he has been denied a kosher diet, which he has been requesting since May 2013. The complaint seeks to ensure that all Jewish prisoners have access to kosher food.

“This continuous denial of a kosher diet is a clear violation of my First Amendment right to freely practice my religion of choice, Judaism,” Hayes wrote.

Being the hateful, cold-hearted cynic that I am, I suspect Hayes isn’t sincere about wanting to be an orthodox Jew. You’d be smart, too, not to believe his claim; the guy, after all, is a vicious career sociopath who probably has never told the truth about anything in his life. He also is extremely unhappy about being in prison; since his arrest in July 2007 after massacring the Petit family in Cheshire, CT this monster has pulled a number of stunts, such as faking suicide attempts more than once (cached), and sending suicide notes to the Hartford Courant (cached).

It would seem, then, that this lawsuit over kosher food is just another of his publicity stunts … or rather — and this is much more likely — yet another of his attorneys’ publicity stunts.

However, even in spite of Hayes’s demonstrated track record of ridiculous histrionics and general bitchy drama-queen act, as with all matters religious, it’s impossible to know for certain whether or not his claim of being an orthodox Jew is genuine. As I said, I suspect it’s not, and that it’s just a scheme he and his lawyers cooked up in order to give him more publicity, in an irrational attempt to get more sympathy for himself, because the poor little thing just can’t handle being in prison. It’s not a religion’s credit that it can be used by sociopaths as a means to grandstand. It’s also not the first time one of the Cheshire home-invasion defendants has used religion to defend the indefensible. (Defense attorneys tend to be absurdly shameless — even in cases, such as this one, where the guilt of their clients is not in question and there is absolutely no chance an innocent person was convicted.)*

Ordinarily I’d expect orthodox Jews to wish to disavow this vicious, murderous cretin and remove him from their number … but I suspect they won’t do very much along those lines. They’ll just say he doesn’t represent them, yada yada yada. As though that actually means anything.

I get that Hayes isn’t enjoying his prison life, and his attorneys consider him a saint who was railroaded by the courts, but let’s be honest: Hayes is on death row because he and his friend Josh consciously chose to go there (cached). My suggestion is that neither the courts nor the orthodox Jewish community indulge this savage creature any more; that his lawyers stop pitching fits because (in their minds) the state of Connecticut insolently dared convict their client and sentence him to death; and that Hayes himself finally fucking grow the hell up and accept the punishment he, himself, earned … and stop being such a fucking little crybaby. It shouldn’t be possible to use a truly divinely-crafted religion (which Judaism claims to be) as an attention-getting tool for immature subhuman monsters … but it is. More’s the pity.

Update: The Hartford Courant‘s Jon Lender just shone a brilliant light on how incredibly profitable it can be for attorneys to represent the creatures who inhabit death row (cached). All I can say is, wow! What a racket! I have to wonder how much Hayes’s attorneys earned cooking up this religious rationale for suing the state, and how much they’ll earn pushing it through the court.

Photo credit: Olga / Олга, via Flickr.

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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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GuercinoAdultress1621DulwichI’ve already blogged about politicians — either convicted of crimes or being tried for crimes — using religious appeals in order to make themselves seem like great guys who didn’t really do anything wrong. It’s not to its credit that a religion can be used this way … but as I’ve noted, it does work, because religious people really do fall for it, all the time.

The latest example of this, though, is one that I assume religious people will have a harder time swallowing. Actually, it would be pretty laughable, if not for the nature of the case in question, which is the worst crime in recent Connecticut history, the Cheshire home invasion massacre. The second of two suspects will soon go on trial, so his attorneys have dutifully gone on the offensive, as reported by the venerable Hartford Courant (WebCite cached article):

Joshua Komisarjevsky, accused of the 2007 Cheshire home invasion killings, wants to respond to comments made by the lone survivor of the attack, Dr. William Petit Jr., and members of his family.

In a motion filed Friday and unsealed Monday morning, Komisarjevsky says that comments made by Petit and other family members calling him “evil” and an “animal” are part of “an ongoing public relations campaign” that could affect whether Komisarjevsky receives a fair trial. …

In the latest motion, the defense states that the “families’ characterization” of Komisarjevsky as an animal and evil murderer was inaccurate. And Komisarjevsky — in his own statement — wants the chance to respond. …

Komisarjevsky “is, among many things, a damaged human being, who, like any of us, deserves not be judged solely by the worst of his acts — no matter how difficult or abhorrent those acts may be reported or perceived.”

The motion continues: “It speaks to the value of Josh’s life and to his fundamental humanity that he continues to enjoy the love and support of his family and many in the community. These people know Josh not only for what occurred and is alleged to have occurred on July 23, 2007 but also for his positive, redeeming attributes, which exist despite mental disorder and the harm done by years of trauma and abuse.”

So you see, if Komisarjevsky’s attorneys are to be believed, their client is a righteous, upstanding choir-boy who merely happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So far, no religion … but having attempted to make their butcher/rapist client appear saintly, the defense attorneys continue:

Komisarjevsky’s attorneys quote Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi in the motion, noting that Petit and his family members also have quoted these “apostles of peace, non-violence and love, as well as vocal death penalty opponents.” Petit supports the death penalty.

And then — if you can believe it — the crowning touch:

At one point, the motion also quotes the Bible, citing the well-known passage, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

That’s right folks. According to these defense attorneys and the Bible (i.e. in the story of the woman taken in adultery) we are not allowed to judge Komisarjevsky!

I understand that this is a case of defense attorneys — who live in a strange alternate universe of their own in which crimes never occur and no one should ever be convicted of anything — just trying to defend the indefensible. But as I said before, it’s not to the credit of Christianity that it can be used to rationalize away letting criminals off the hook.

Note too the inconsistency of the attorneys’ argument here. Up to this point, they’d been saying only that they don’t want the death penalty imposed on their client. But that isn’t the message of the Pericope Adulterae; it is, rather, that no sentence can ever be imposed on anyone, for any reason, because there is no “perfect,” sinless human being to convict him/her. In their grandiose effort to rationalize saving their client’s life, these attorneys actually argued that Komisarjevsky and every other person now in prison, must be set free! They are, in short, arguing a completely different point from what they originally set out to support.

Frankly I’m amazed these attorneys didn’t trot out Matthew 7:1 and demand, on that basis, that the judge should resign from his job immediately. They really don’t appear to have much shame, do they?

I will end this post by appealing to you to do make a donation to the Petit Family Foundation in memory of those killed in this crime and as a way of saying to Komisarjevsky and his attorneys that you do not support their claims that “Josh” has any virtue and that no one is permitted to judge anyone at all, ever.

One last question for you Christians out there: If you refuse to accept this crap from Komisarjevsky and his attorneys — and I assume you don’t — why on earth would you be stupid enough to accept it from people like John Rowland, or Ted Haggard, or George Rekers, or any of the rest of the hypocritical, reprehensible creatures that you welcome back with open arms? How are you not being hypocritical, yourselves, for having this double standard?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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