New Haven, Connecticut (CNN) - A man convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a brutal 2007 home invasion should die for the crime, jurors decided Monday after nearly 18 hours of deliberation.
Steven Hayes, 47, was convicted last month of 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 her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit, died in the attack.
Prosecutors alleged that Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky invaded the Petit home in Cheshire, Connecticut, on July 23, 2007, beat Dr. William Petit, raped and strangled his wife, molested one of the daughters and set the house on fire before attempting to flee. Hayes also forced Jennifer Hawke-Petit to go to a bank to withdraw money from a bank account.
Jurors entering the courtroom Monday were somber and mostly looked at members of the Petit family, not at Hayes. As the clerk read the verdicts, they stayed focused on the clerk. Hayes stared straight ahead. The Petit family at first was stoic, but William Petit, the sole survivor, was seen dabbing at his eyes.
The jury, comprised of five men and seven women, had just begun their fourth day of deliberations when they signaled they had reached a verdict. The panel determined on each count that death is the appropriate punishment for Hayes.
Outside court, 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."
Petit grew emotional when asked his reaction upon hearing the verdict.
Updated: 7:03 pm
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