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Petit Family Jury Votes For Death


I was horrified when I first encountered this story three years ago and have followed the proceedings ever since.  I suppose it touched me deeply because I have family in the area.

Yesterday, Steven Hayes was convicted on 16 of the 17 charges against him, including nine counts of murder and capital murder and four counts of kidnapping. Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit, died in the home invasion.

Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky viciously attacked the Petits in their home in Cheshire, Connecticut, on July 23, 2007.

They brutally beat Dr. William Petit, raped and strangled his wife, raped young Michaela and set the house on fire before fleeing.

The two girls were tied to their beds and doused with gasoline.  Both died of smoke inhalation.

Before the murders, Hayes forced Jennifer Hawke-Petit to go to a bank to withdraw money from a bank account.  It appeared from her demeanor, Hawke-Petit believed she could save her family by just following the instructions to withdraw the funds.

The five men and seven women jury, began a fourth day of deliberations and quickly signaled they had reached a verdict. The jury determined that death is the appropriate punishment for Hayes.

Petit called the decision “appropriate and just.”

“I thank the jury for doing their job,” he said, adding later “I think in a civilized society people need to be held responsible for their actions … especially when they’re viciously violent.”

Joshua Komisarjevsky is scheduled to stand trial next year.

Dr. Petit spoke outside the court moments after the verdict.

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  1. Ritanita
    11/09/2010 at 7:15 am

    Donchais, I’m no big supporter of the death penalty. Most of the time, I feel LWOP is bad enough. But in this case, the jury made the right call. The barbarian nature of the crimes is unacceptable in a civilized population.

    I don’t know if the State of Connecticut will ever execute him, but I can assure his attorney who stood him up by the jury to say imprisonment for life would be a worse punishment, that even LWOP on death row is worse!

  2. David From TN
    11/09/2010 at 12:01 pm

    Being in prison isn’t all that bad for creatures like Hayes. They are incarcerated time and again. Every time they are paroled, they go back to what got them in prison to start with.

    If an execution date for Hayes ever comes, he will be claiming that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, like other death row inmates.

  3. donchais
    11/09/2010 at 12:19 pm

    Hayes’ own brother described what an inhuman monster he is. The defense said Hayes wanted death – that LWOP would be worse for him and more punishment than death. Well, that appears to have blown up in their faces. Hayes wants death, I say give it to him!

    I deeply admire both the Petit and Hawkes families. They have endured such unbearable pain with stoicism and grace that is unrivaled. I pray God gives them the strength for the second trial – they will be facing the evil, lowlife, scumbag who raped 11-year-old Michaela!

  4. tezi
    11/13/2010 at 6:56 pm

    I think the jury came to the appropriate decision. He has absolutely no respect for human life.

    This case has scared me like no other. I can’t even imagine how Dr. Petit sleeps at night.

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