A man convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters during a 2007 Connecticut home invasion can be "quite likable," but has struggled with drug addiction for years, a defense attorney told jurors Monday.
The same jurors who convicted Steven Hayes of capital murder and other charges convened Monday for Hayes' penalty phase. They will decide whether he should be sentenced to death for the slayings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit.
Attorney Patrick Culligan told jurors in his opening statement they will hear testimony from "people who know Steve Hayes, whose lives have crossed paths with Steven Hayes ... to try to give you some insight, some understanding of who Steven Hayes was prior to the crimes of July 23, 2007." Some of the testimony, he warned, will not be flattering to Hayes, but he said that despite his long history of criminal convictions and drug abuse, Hayes could be "quite likable."
"There is no presumption at this point that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment," Culligan said. "... You must keep an open mind."