Man sentenced to death for Petit home invasion murders
December 2nd, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Man sentenced to death for Petit home invasion murders

Steven Hayes, convicted of a brutal 2007 home invasion in which a Connecticut mother and her two daughters were killed, was sentenced Thursday to die for the crime.

In a strong and clear voice, the judge sentences Hayes to death on each of the six capital felonies.

"This is a terrible sentence. But in truth it is a sentence you wrote for yourself in flames on July 23, 2007 . . . your fate is now in the hands of others. May God have mercy on your soul."

A jury found Hayes guilty of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters - 7-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit - in their Cheshire, Connecticut, home in 2007.

It recommended that Hayes, 47, should die for his role in the deaths.

"The impact of these crimes against our family is like the impact of a bomb going off in your house . . ." William Petit, who survived the crime said. "I awoke to a confused terror . . . I'll always remember my father's face when I asked about the girls, and he just shook his head fro side to side and sobbed . . . Our home was no more . . ."

Hayes' lawyer, Thomas Ullman, said he was not surprised by the jury's decision - and that Hayes was actually pleased with the outcome.

"He wants to die," said Ullman last month. "He has categorized this process as suicide by state. He was unable to kill himself in prison and saw this as a way for the state to kill him."

Prosecutors alleged Hayes and co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky invaded the home of Dr. William Petit on July 23, 2007, beat and tied up Petit, raped and strangled Hawke-Petit, molested one of their daughters and set the house on fire before attempting to flee.

Komisarjevsky will be tried separately later.


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soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Evelyn Bates

    For What he did to this family he should not die by lethal injection but should be tortured before is burned alive.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      And I think this should be televised on cable and in the prison so other criminals can see. Maybe a couple criminals might not decide to make this type of poor decisions.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    All you need is four big dudes, four baseball bats, and that pathetic SOB Hayes locked in one room and just let the guys with the bats go to town... Thats pretty cost effective... Not to many tax dollars needed for that.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Craig

    Death through benign neglect would be more appropriate for this POS. Lock him up and forget about him, eventually he will die within a few weeks through hunger, it will give him a good long time to think aout this crime before he expires. Use his remains for scientific study, should add some redeeming value back to society.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Protoman

    Next time find a rope and a tree. I don't believe this was a premeditated suicide by state. There are lots of ways to kill yourself without causing harm to others. I think he's looking for sympathy. I hope they replace the humane death inducing chemicals with bleach and ammonia.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    I feel bad for all the people saying there is no God. You cannot have your own set of beliefs. You will literally burn in hell forever.

    December 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Softship

      ´What's worse, Bill: believing in God and doing criminal deeds or not believing in God but doing good deeds?
      I think that if there is a benevolent God, he would favor the good atheists to bad Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc...

      December 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Protoman

      Yeah I've talked to a few religious people and some would agree that good people of any belief system would enter heaven versus a bad person who believes in any certain deity. One Christian was very adamant about Jesus being my only way into heaven no matter how well I lived my life. The Bible has many contradictions like Moses commanding that people not worship anything on earth or in the heavens yet many people pray to crosses, Mary, Jesus, Eight armed women, cows, the sun, etc... My belief is that a truly good person doesn't need an intermediary. How do we know these idols aren't the Devil's creation in order to collect souls? Maybe these people who commit heinous acts are really just the Devil testing to see if we are better than the murderers? A truly wise man will say that he knows nothing for certain.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. echotrain

    Avenge not yourselves... Vengeance is mine, I will repay. Romans 12:19

    December 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Emile Zola

    Capital punishment is the contradiction of contradictions, specially in a country where, supposedly, "Christianity" rules, even though, there is a separation of church and state, regardless of what Christine O'Donnell believes or understands. The chief of the Alabama supreme court was forced to resing for refusing to take down the Ten Commandments display, and of course, to take hypocrisy to the nth degree, he is republican. When a country wants to be the best, it has to follow the steps of those that have shined for democracy, justice, liberty and pursuit of hapiness. When we proclaim to being a democracy but have a death penalty in the express drive in line, justice becomes a mockery and leaves this country emulating the worse of the worst. We should copy countries like Western and even Eastern Europe, not China, nor Saudi Arabia and dictators that care more for appearances than substance. How many innocent prisoners have been killed? Only God knows, but if it hadn't been by the project Innocense" the count would have been in the thousands and in a country that prides itself in the Judaic-Christian legacy, the death penalty is a blasphemy in the temple of democracy, true democracy. There are people who deserve the death penalty, but it takes a true democracy to recognize that executing people for crimes is as barbaric as when executions are committed for religious reasons. Two wrongs don't make a right. Many times the lives lived by many defendants are not a rose garden and when children receive evil from society, parents, instead of love, the results are to be expected. In America the death penalty has become some form of revenge and revenge should never be inside a court room.

    December 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Punch Sideiron

    Oh, the perks – free dental care, free medical; if he's feeling a little down, he can rap with the prison shrink for hours on end (for free). The list is long...very long.

    This guy will NEVER be put to death. At age 77 or thereabouts (when his appeals finally run out), they'll decide he's just too old for that. And of course he will have gotten such great (free) medical care along the way that he may live to 105.

    The death penalty – what a joke. Taxpayer cost for this piece of garbage from here on out: Not funny.

    December 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. v trexler

    i volunteer2kill him2morrow

    December 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken m

    The end of the old is near things like this will cause our known world to end... They are not human

    December 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thomas

    Most sincere condolences to the husband and father of these very beautiful girls. I too have lost but cant imagine the intense heartache and aweful nightmares that must plague you now. No matter what they do to this man, there is no justice for the heavy price your family paid. All my hopes and prayers that somehow, someday you will find the comfort and happiness that was stolen from you.

    December 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Helen

    What I would like to hear from the religious zealots here is how do we as a nation justify killing in wars? Our young people are EXPECTED and DEMANDED to murder others and for many, it is against their beliefs. What do we tell those people who believe it is never right to kill another human being? Should I allow someone end my life when I may have the ability to protect myself?

    December 2, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. michele

    I must admit i really like a lot of idea people put up for this guy. he really doesnt deserve a painless death. those family members are going to carry this burden for the rest of their lives. i mean i still carry my boyfriends death with me and that happened 10 years ago when his father killed him and he only recieved 15 years for that. i still dont think it was enough time. i say he should get lethal ejection but it should be with lepercy. it will kill him slow and be very painful

    December 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mike

    What? So there's three less rich people in the world. Big deal.

    December 3, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Softship

    Helen, I am not a religious zealot, in fact, I am an atheist. I don't "put up for this guy". I do not care about his feelings one bit. However, civilized societies around the world have banned the death penalty. Many states in the United States have banned the death penalty. Comparing the murder statistics of those states and countries without the death penalty to the murder statistics in DP states proves that not only is DP not a deterrent, DP actually promotes murder.
    I do not like being a member of a society which will murder murderers, because there is no way to prove that murdering is wrong if the state does it. Executing people makes murderers out of prison employees. We do not need more murders, we need less.

    December 3, 2010 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
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