Home > Crime > Hayley Petit Death Likely Slow And Painful

Hayley Petit Death Likely Slow And Painful


Dr. William Petit left the courtroom and family members cried as Dr. Malka Shah testified that Hayley’s clothes smelled of gasoline.

She still had remnants of rope tied tightly on her legs and wrists and her body, particularly her back and legs, had first, second and third degree burns all over.  Her lungs were filled with carbon monoxide.

Shah could not say whether the burns happened while Hayley was alive.   She also couldn’t say if they occurred before or after she fell in the hallway.

Hayley had been tied to her bed and left to die in the fire, but testimony in Hayes’ trial, revealed her restraints had been burned off and she escaped her bed and made it only a few steps before collapsing at the top of the staircase.

Dr Shah testified inhaling smoke and carbon monoxide would be painful, with victims suffering headaches, nausea and vomiting and disorientation before becoming unconscious within a few to several minutes.  Shah said it took two minutes to several minutes for Hayley to die,

Cheshire Detective Joseph Vitello told the jury that Komisarjevsky was quick to point the finger at Hayes for killing Hawke-Petit.

It wasn’t until he was handcuffed and dragged to a police vehicle that Komisarjevsky told Vitello the girls were still in the house,

He also said Komisarjevsky initially told investigators that he may have poured gasoline before the house was set on fire and that testimony is in direct conflict with efforts by Komisarjevsky’s lawyers to blame his co-defendant, Steven Hayes, for pouring the gas.

Sgt. Karen Gabrianelli, of the state police, testified she arrived with other members of the Connecticut Major Crime Squad at the smoldering remains of the Petit house to collect and process evidence and document the scene.

During the Hayes’ trial, she was on the stand for two days testifying.

Judge Jon Blue lifted the embargo he imposed last week and allowed Komisarjevsky taped police interview to be released.

Police Interview: (Slow loading)

Part One

Part Two



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  1. ritanita
    09/27/2011 at 2:26 pm

    Following this case is so painful for all of us. Dr. Petit was there and they were his family. I can’t begin to imagine his emotions attending this trial

    Thank you for the links to the interview.

  2. donchais
    09/27/2011 at 3:40 pm

    Hey ritanita, I found the interview disturbing on several levels. So matter-of-fact, obviously putting all the blame on Hayes, so unemotional and really no sense of remorse!

    Having spent time in Cheshire as a child, staying with my cousins and aunt and uncle, I find it so unbelievable that this amount of malevolence and violence took place in the Petit home!

    My heart and soul ache for the Petit and Hawke families and knowing this will forever haunt their memories, I pray they soon will be able to move forward with the courage and grace they have shown!

  3. David In TN
    09/28/2011 at 1:30 am

    My understanding is that the police considered Komisarjevsky to be the ringleader and Hayes the follower. Hayes’ defense used this angle, but he still received the death penalty.

    In the second trial, Komisarjevsky’s defense is blaming Hayes. This is the usual defense strategy in separate trials.

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