One of the men charged with the brutal murders—and sexual assaults—of a Connecticut mother and her two daughters will be heading to trial soon and the NY Times reports on his defense attorneys' preparation: "The defense said it would request that the names of books that one of the accused men, Steven Hayes, checked out of a prison library before the killings not be admitted as evidence. The books, the defense indicated in one motion, included plots that were “criminally malevolent in the extreme."
Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were parolees who met at a half-way house and allegedly executed a gruesome home invasion robbery at the Cheshire home of Dr. William Petit, his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit and their 11- and 17-year-old daughters in July 2007. Dr. Petit was bludgeoned almost immediately and left for dead in the home's basement, while the attackers assaulted his wife and daughters, forced his wife to withdraw money from a bank, and later burned their house down.
Hayes had initially pleaded guilty in April—but then changed his mind a few days later and decided to go to trial. While speculation has been that Hayes allegedly read Truman Capote's crime classic In Cold Blood, his lawyers' request notes "books of fiction" as the suppressed items. And Brian McDonald, who wrote a controversial book about the triple murders, said that when he interviewed Komisarjevsky (he did not interview Hayes), Hayes' alleged accomplice "thought it was not good for Hayes’s defense," but didn't elaborate on the books. McDonald also told the Times he would guess the books were "explicit" in the way The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has explicit violence.
However, one former inmate said that prison reading is usually "bland" and would be surprised if there were violent novels available. The Connecticut Department of Correction said it could not release a list of books Hayes checked out due to a court order.