Penalty phase begins in Conn. home invasion trial

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN | October 25, 2011 | 2:40 PM EDT

FILE - This March 14, 2011 file photo released by the Connecticut Department of Correction shows Joshua Komisarjevsky, convicted Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 on several counts related to the beating of Dr. William Petit Jr., and killing his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit and there daughters in a July 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Conn. The penalty phase begins Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 in New Haven Superior Court. Komisarjevsky faces life in prison or the death sentence. (AP Photo/Connecticut Department of Correction, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Prosecutors pursuing the death penalty for a Connecticut man convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in a home invasion have quickly rested their case after focusing on his previous criminal record.

The penalty phase of Joshua Komisarjevsky's (koh-mih-sar-JEV'-skeez) trial started Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court. Komisarjevsky was convicted Oct. 13 of capital felony killing, kidnapping, arson and sexual assault.

He faces life in prison or the death penalty. His accomplice already is on death row.

Prosecutors called a court clerk to detail Komisarjevsky's record of convictions for 19 burglaries a decade ago. Prosecutors say Komisarjevsky killed the family while committing the same kind of felony for which he had been previously been convicted, burglary.

That's one of the so-called aggravating factors prosecutors are citing. They also say the killings were especially cruel and heinous.