November 8th, 2010
07:03 PM ET

Jurors: Man should die for deadly Connecticut home invasion

Michael Christian
In Session

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.

Full story

Updated: 7:03 pm

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Erin

    My thoughts & prayers are with Dr. Petit. May your family rest in peace.
    Fellow countrymen, please see that you use your first amendment rights, see that you & each of your family learns to operate firearms – everyone should know how to protect themselves, keep a loaded hand gun or shot gun somewhere safe, hidden, & ready to protect yourself & your family from people like this.
    God Bless,

    November 9, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  2. Brian Oehler

    yep he deserves the death penalty , i'm a ff/emt i have no mercy for someone like that , let god pass final judgment on his soul

    November 8, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    The sentence doesn't bring those lovely women back but it is appropriate. I just hope there are not decades of appeals before the sentence can be carried out – the murdered women had no appeals, no extra time – the man who helped kill them should not either.

    November 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  4. alicenyc

    It is sad, that society has to make this type of a decision, but I do agree that the man need not share the same air with the rest of us. I do hope it happens soon. And I hope the other monster gets the same. My heart goes out to the doctor and his family.

    Just know that your wife and children lived a life of love and was loved. While these monsters never did.. it is obvious by their life choices. Even if their family say so... don't believe it.. they don't know what true love is.

    November 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  5. Ghislaine

    His lawyer did not argue that he was innocent, and admitted he killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit. He also said his client wanted to die, as life in prison was torture.
    Then why on earth put Dr. Petit and the family through a trial?
    Why not just have the sentencing and the victim impact statements. Instead, the father has to hear all the brutal testimony twice – now waiting for the next one's trail to start in January.

    November 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm |

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