CHESHIRE - A juror was dismissed from the death penalty trial for Steven Hayes, the first of two suspects in the fatal 2007 Cheshire home invasion.

The judge disqualified a woman on the panel after the clerk heard her making a derogatory comment toward someone in court.

Steven Hayes was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in Cheshire in 2007.

Dr. Eric Goldsmith, a psychiatrist, testified yesterday that Hayes told him he strangled and then raped Jennifer Hawke-Petit. Goldsmith says Hayes told him he went into a rage after his co-defendant told him he killed the young girls.

The judge will now assign an alternate juror to deliberate Hayes' fate.The second suspect will go on trial next year.

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