After deliberating for nearly 17 hours over four days, a jury of five men and seven women decided that Steven Hayes, 47, a career burglar, should be executed for the torture and murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela,11, during a home invasion at their Cheshire home in 2007. Dr. William Petit, Jr., was badly beaten with a baseball bat and tied to a pole in the basement. He was able to break free and escape before the fire consumed his home. “This is a verdict for justice,” Petit said.
Inside the courtroom, Hayes, 47, looked straight ahead – as he has throughout the entire trial — as the death sentence was pronounced on all six possible death-penalty counts. His attorneys argued that mitigating factors, including Hayes’ addiction to drugs, a “significantly impaired” mental state, a troubled family history of abuse, a weak personality, and the responsibility they say Hayes has taken for the killings with his offers to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison without release, warranted a life sentence rather than death. Prosecutor Michael Dearington, in a nod to the coming trial of the second defendant in the case, Joshua Komisarjevsky, said: “It’s not over yet.”