By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A judge denied a defense motion for a mistrial Monday after a supporter of the victims' family spoke to jurors in the trial of a Connecticut man charged with a brutal home invasion.
The juror says a member or supporter of the Petit family commented Friday during the lunch break, saying "thank you for doing what you're doing." The judge then questioned the jurors about what was said and how it affected them.
Two alternate jurors were nearby but said they didn't hear the comment. None said the comment affected his or her ability to serve impartially.
Judge Jon Blue called the comment improper but not catastrophic.
Prosecutors are expected to rest Monday in their case against Joshua Komisarjevsky, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted of killing a Cheshire woman and her two daughters in 2007.
SEE PHOTOS FROM THE TRIAL (story continues below):
This March 14, 2011 file photo, provided by the Connecticut Department of Correction, shows Joshua Komisarjevsky. On Oct. 13, 2011, Komisarjevsky was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters in a July 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Conn. A jury sentenced him to death on Dec. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Connecticut Department of Correction, File)
Dr. William Petit Jr., left, managed to survive the attack despite being beaten by Komisarjevsky. In this Oct. 13, 2011 picture, taken after Komisarjevsky was convicted of capital felony for the July 2007 home invasion, Petit stands with his sister Johanna Chapman outside Superior Court in New Haven. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
This photo, supplied by the Connecticut State Police, shows Steven Hayes -- Komisarjevsky's accomplice in the home invasion and triple homicide, according to authorities. Hayes, 44, was sentenced to death for his involvement in the crime in 2010. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police)
Richard and Marybelle Hawke pose with a picture of their daughter and granddaughters at their Venice, Fla. home on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. The Hawkes' daughter Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and his granddaughters Hayley Elizabeth Petit, 17, and Michaela Rose Petit, 11, were held hostage for several hours before they were killed. Hawke-Petit's husband was beaten but managed to escape the house, which the attackers were accused of setting on fire. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
This photograph, taken during a family vacation in 2003, shows the Petit family four years before the home invasion. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
This police photo shows the rear of the fire-damaged Petit home in Cheshire, Conn., where three family members were killed during a home invasion July 23, 2007. The image was released by the Connecticut Judicial Branch as evidence presented in Komisarjevsky's trial in New Haven, Conn. Superior Court. (AP Photo/Connecticut Judicial Branch)
Petit, center, walks past a picture of his daughter Hayley after speaking at a ceremony honoring his wife and two daughters at Cheshire high school in Cheshire, Conn., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007. Petit's wife and daughters were killed in a home invasion in Cheshire on July 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)
This police photo, also included as evidence, shows the interior of the home where Hawke-Petit and her daughters Hayley and Michaela perished. Hawke-Petit's husband was severely beaten, but managed to escape from the house before Hayes and Komisarjevsky burned it down, according to investigators. (AP Photo/Connecticut Judicial Branch)
This Sept. 7, 2010 photo shows a remembrance garden in place where the Petit family's house once stood in Cheshire, Conn. Intruders broke into the Petit family home and held the family hostage for several hours before setting the house on fire. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
This police photo, also released by the Connecticut Judicial Branch as evidence, shows the fire-damaged kitchen of the Petit home. Prosecutors say Komisarjevsky and Hayes broke into the home, attacked Petit with a bat and tied up the entire family. According to police, Hayes drove Hawke-Petit to a bank and made her withdraw cash, then raped her and strangled her back at the house. Petit found a way to escape and seek help, but the children died after the house was doused in gasoline and lit on fire, authorities say. (AP Photo/Connecticut Judicial Branch)
Petit, right, walks back to at Superior Court after a break from jury selection in the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky at Superior Court in New Haven, Conn., Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Petit is the sole survivor of the 2007 Cheshire, Conn., home invasion where his wife and their daughters, Hayley and Michaela, were murdered. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
This police photo, presented as evidence, shows the inside of the Petit home. Both Hayes and Komisarjevsky blamed each other for the increasing violence during the home invasion. (AP Photo/Connecticut Judicial Branch)
Walter Bansley, Komisarjevsky's attorney, noted he had sought unsuccessfully to have the trial moved out of New Haven. He said the comment was aimed at influencing jurors.
"This just highlights the extraordinary pressure that surrounds this case," Bansley said.
He said the defense has had difficulty getting witnesses to cooperate because of perceived and actual intimidation. Bansley said a defense supporter was approached on the first day of the trial by a Petit family supporter who said: "Wow dare you support him. You disgust me."
A defense witness had a dead mouse left in his mailbox, Bansley said. He also said members of lawyers' families have been threatened.
"It's this atmosphere that permeates the whole trial," Bansley said. "It's certainly clear to the defense Mr. Komisarjevsky cannot get a fair trial."
Blue said the comment to the jurors was a compliment and not a threat.
"It was improper but it was not catastrophic," Blue said.
He warned he would ban anyone from the court if they approach jurors.
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