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Entries in Steven Hayes (19)

Monday
Jul022012

Suicide by Oyster? Petit Family Killer's Elaborate Plan

Connecticut State Police(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A Connecticut man on death row for the 2007 home invasion murders of a mother and her two daughters detailed an elaborate suicide plan involving oysters and lying about committing 17 other murders.

In October 2011, convicted murderer Steven Hayes wrote a series of letters bragging that he had killed 17 other women that included detailed and gruesome descriptions of the alleged murders. The letters were intercepted by the Connecticut Department of Corrections in early October and handed over to prosecutors.

The letters were written a year after he was sentenced to Connecticut's death row for his part in the gruesome 2007 murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her two daughters.

But in a recent interview with the Hartford Courant, Hayes admitted that he fabricated the stories of those murders as part of an elaborate ploy to commit suicide.

"I made it up," Hayes told the paper.

Hayes, 49, said that he hoped authorities would intercept his letters and inform police. Once authorities believed he was a serial killer, he would offer them information on the killings in exchange for pizza, soda and a dozen oysters with hot sauce, he told the paper.

Hayes is deathly allergic to oysters.

"I planned to eat them and have them find me dead in my cell the next morning," Hayes told the paper.

But police didn't buy the notorious manipulator's story and his plan failed.

Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed during a July 2007 home invasion carried out by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.

The mother was raped and strangled while the girls, tied to their beds, died when the house was set ablaze.

Husband and father William Petit was the only one to survive.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan042012

Family Massacre Survivor William Petit Engaged to Marry

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the deadly home invasion that claimed the lives of his wife and two daughters in 2007, is engaged to be married.

Petit became engaged to photographer Christine Paluf after Christmas, he told The Hartford Courant in an email. Petit, 55, told the paper there is no set date for the wedding.

Paluf, 34, is a professional photographer who specializes in weddings, events and portraits. She also photographs events for the Petit Family Foundation, which works to honor Petit's deceased family by supporting causes including education, victims of violence and those affected by chronic illnesses.

Photos of William Petit at foundation events are part of Paluf's online portfolio. The pair reportedly met through her photography work for his organization.

Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and the couple's two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed during a July 2007 home invasion carried out by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.

The mother was strangled while the girls, tied to their beds, died when the house was set ablaze.

William Petit was the only one to survive. Brutally beaten with a baseball bat and left bound in the basement, he managed to escape to a neighbor's house. Petit sat in the front row throughout the separate murder and sentencing trials of Hayes and Komisarjevsky. Both men were convicted and sentenced to be executed, and are currently on Connecticut's death row.

"There is never complete closure when you lose your wife and family...but the first part is over and we think justice has been served," said Petit after the jury delivered its verdict for Komisarjevsky in a Connecticut courtroom on Dec. 9, 2011.

Paluf attended the Komisarjevsky trial with Petit and his family.

"We want to go forward with the Petit Family Foundation and create good out of evil," he said in December. "I will relax some and try to enjoy the holidays as best we can."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

Petit Family Murderer Confesses to Killing 17 Women

Kevin Horan/Stone(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A death row inmate has written a series of letters bragging that he has killed 17 women, made a snuff film documenting one of his alleged murders, and often kept their shoes as morbid trophies.

The letters were written by Steven Hayes, convicted last year of murdering Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a Connecticut home invasion that turned into a gruesome rape and triple murder. The only person to survive the 2007 attack was Dr. William Petit, who was beaten with a baseball bat and tied to a pole in the basement.

The letters came to light when lawyers for Hayes' accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky argued that the existence of the letters were grounds for a mistrial. Komisarjevsky was convicted earlier this month of taking part in the Petit murders.

Judge Jon C. Blue, who denied the request for a mistrial, has presided over both Hayes' and Komisarjevsky's trials and expressed some skepticism about the veracity of the claims in Hayes letter. If true, they would make Hayes responsible for 17 unsolved murders in New England between the early 1980's and 2007.

The prosecutor's office did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News about the supposed 17 murders.

The letters, written to a woman named Lynn in Wilson, N.C., were intercepted by the Connecticut Department of Corrections in early October and handed over to prosecutors.

In the letters, according to the New Haven Register, Hayes also claimed to have raped dozens of women after using a date-rape drug to knock them out.

Hayes claimed his victims were all between the ages of 14 and 25.

Hayes also claimed to have "trophies" from all of his 17 victims.

It is possible the letters could be heard in court this week during the death penalty phase of Joshua Komisarjevsky's trial which begins Tuesday. The defense has argued that Komisarjevsky does not deserve the death penalty because it was Hayes who was responsible for the grisly crimes.

If sentenced to death, Komisarjevsky would join Hayes on Connecticut's death row.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep222011

Petit Murder Trial Confession: Girls Didn't Deserve to Die

Connecticut State Police(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The man on trial for the death of a mother and her two daughters was heard on a taped confession Thursday saying he argued with his accomplice that the girls -- tied to their beds -- should be allowed to live. However, he also admitted he did nothing to save them as he raced out of the house after it was set ablaze.

For a second day in a row the family of Dr. William Petit -- the sole survivor of the horrific crime -- endured the excruciating confession of Joshua Komisarjevsky who was captured by police as he tried to flee from the burning house on July 23, 2007.

The home invasion by Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes left Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, raped and strangled. Her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, died in the fire.

Dr. William Petit was beaten with a bat and tied up in the basement. He escaped and went to a neighbor's house for help.

On the tape, Komisarjevsky admits to beating Dr. Petit and sexually assaulting Michaela, after cutting off some of her clothes with scissors, but denies killing the mother or starting the fire that killed Hayley and Michaela.

He blames Hayes for those deaths. Hayes was convicted and sentenced to death last year. He is currently on Connecticut's death row.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Dr. William Petit Hopes to Be Reunited With His Family in Heaven

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PLAINVILLE, Conn.) -- Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the deadly home invasion that claimed the lives of his wife and two daughters, said Thursday he did not end his own life because he didn't want to risk not being reunited with them in heaven.

"I thought of the afterlife and if I was going to meet up with my family," said Petit in his first interview since his family's killer, Steven Hayes, was sentenced to death last month. "I thought that [if I killed myself], maybe I would never meet up with them again, and I wasn't willing to take that chance."

Petit, speaking to Oprah Winfrey in his parent's Connecticut home, where he has lived since his own was burned in the 2007 assault on his family, said that his relationship with God is at a "stand off" since his family was killed.

"I believe in God, but I was pretty angry with him for a long time," said Petit. "I've talked to a lot of smart people who have told me it's okay to be angry with God. God can take it."

Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and the couple's two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were all killed during a July 2007 home invasion carried out by Hayes and his alleged accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Hayes is awaiting execution on Connecticut's death row and Komisarjevsky's trial is expected to begin in February.

Hayes was convicted of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit. Komisarjevsky is charged with sexually assaulting Michaela. Both Michaela and Hayley died after they were tied to their beds, doused with gasoline and the house was set on fire.

Petit says closure will never be possible and he doesn't consider forgiveness an option, either.

"I don't think you can forgive ultimate evil," he said. "You can forgive someone who stole your car. You can forgive someone who slaps you in the face. You can forgive someone who insulted you. You can forgive someone who caused an accident. I think forgiving the essence of evil is not appropriate."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

Relatives of Murdered Family Speak Out in Court

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Heartrending statements made Thursday by relatives of the family brutally murdered during a 2007 home invasion brought the packed Connecticut courtroom to tears, as convicted killer Steven Hayes stared straight ahead, silently awaiting his sentence of death.

In a videotaped statement played to the courtroom, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, the sister of Jennifer-Hawke Petit, who was killed alongside her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela, said Hayes took away "the joy from every single day."

"Last night I had the repeated nightmare that I am Hayley struggling in flames and smoke," said Hawke-Renn. "With palpitations I awaken, left to wonder how does this nightmare ever end."

"I used to have trust and faith in humanity and you have taken that from me," she said. "You did not have to murder or rape any of them."

Hayes is convicted of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit and accused accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky is charged with sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela Petit. Michaela and her older sister Hayley, 17, died after they were tied to their beds, doused with gasoline and the house was set on fire. Last month, the jury unanimously found the death penalty the appropriate punishment for Hayes' role in the triple murders.

Hawke-Renn said that Hayes will die a "peaceful" death when he's given a lethal injection, "one without pain."

"I would have given anything for my loved ones to have died in this same peaceful manner," she said.

William Petit Sr., the father of Dr. William Petit Jr., the husband and father of the victims who was badly beaten with a bat, was the only person to survive the attack on his Cheshire, Conn., home, said in his statement that his family "will never be the same."

"You destroyed our family," said Petit Sr., breaking down into tears. "[Dr. Petit] will never walk them down the aisle, he will never know the wonderment of grandchildren."

"He doubts if he should be living at all. We have lost the [Dr. Petit] we all knew," he said. "He puts on a brave face. It works for a while but there is no way of forgetting the brutal truth."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

Petit Jurors Split on Executing Convicted Triple Murderer Steven Hayes

Photo Courtesy - Connecticut State Police(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Jurors were split over whether to send Steven Hayes to death row or sentence him to life in prison for the grisly murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, according to jury notes released by the court Friday.

"What does it mean to unanimously find the existence of a statutory mitigating factor?" the jury's note to Judge Jon Blue asked. After meeting with the judge and resuming deliberations, a second note sought additional clarification on mitigating factors, specifically on mental capacity and "conforming to law."

Mitigating circumstances would allow the jurors to sentence Hayes to life in prison rather than to be executed.

Blue summoned the jurors into the courtroom and told them to keep in mind that it's early in their deliberations and to keep working towards a consensus. They were sent home and will resume deliberations Saturday.

In order for the state to get its death penalty ruling, the jury must find Hayes guilty of several aggravating factors beyond just committing the crime, according to the state. Those aggravating factors included committing the murders during the commission of third-degree burglary as well as committing the offenses in a "heinous manner, extreme physical or psychological pain above and beyond that which was necessary" and with "grave risk."

Prosecutors have argued that Hayes and his accused accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into the Petits' home and battered the husband, Dr. William Petit, with a bat. Petit escaped to a neighbor's house to call for help.

Hayes is convicted of raping and choking Jennifer Hawke-Petit to death, while Komisarjevsky is accused of sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela Petit. Michaela and her older sister Hayley, 17, were tied to their beds and the house was set on fire.

Komisarjevsky, 30, is scheduled to stand trial early next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Attorney in Petit Case Asks Death Penalty Jury to Relive 'Night of Hell'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A Connecticut jury Thursday was asked one more time to go through the "night of hell" that ended with the murders of a mother and her two daughters as the hands of a man the state is trying to execute.

In his closing argument, Connecticut State's Attorney Gary Nicholson, requested the jurors consider what Jennifer Hawke-Petit was thinking the night convicted murderer Steven Hayes "choked the life out of her."

"Were they in psychological pain?" Nicholson asked as photographs of a smiling Hawke-Petit and her two murdered daughters, Hayley, 17 and Michaela, 11, were shown. "Were they tortured? Of course they were."

State's Attorney Michael Dearington showed the jury one final photograph of the Petit family. Several friends and Petit family members bowed their heads and started quietly sobbing, holding tissues to their faces.

Dearington ended by saying, "There were two beautiful girls, one loving mother and one family destroyed."

The state is pushing for Hayes -- convicted of 16 felony counts relating to the 2007 home invasion at the Petit house -- to be handed the death penalty for his role in the murders and the rapes of Hawke-Petit and Michaela.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov012010

Flirty Juror in Petit Home Invasion Trial Rattles Judge

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, CT) -- The third week of testimony in the penalty phase of the trial of convicted murderer Steven Hayes began with twist. Judge Jon Blue revealed to the courtroom this morning that the sole remaining alternate juror, a female, attempted to pass a note to one of the court marshals Friday that read: "Sunday 5pm. Side Street Grill. Can we?"

The note was apparently intended to elicit a romantic affair. The judge called it a matter of "spectacular" and "poor" judgment and further said it was a "goddamn dumb thing to do," all the more so because several alternate jurors had already been dismissed -- leaving an extremely thin jury pool.

If there were any issues with one of the sitting jurors, Blue said Monday, the entire trial could have been thrown into question.

Hayes was convicted last month on 16 felony counts for his role in the July 2007 Cheshire, CT, home invasion that left Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, dead.

The embarrassed juror was questioned in open court about the note and flushed red, hiding her head in her hands.

"I have embarrassed myself," she said.

Blue eventually ruled that she should not be dismissed as an alternate juror, because the situation "did not affect her impartiality" and they needed her on the panel.

Monday, the jury was read a letter from Hayes to his only son, Steven Jr., dated 2005 in which the elder Hayes admitted to being a drug addict and apologized for being a bad father.

"So you see bad drugs and my using cost me everything," wrote. "It is cunning, baffling and powerful."

Hayes ended his letter, "Steven, I love you and hope to one day have the chance to make it up to you."

Though prosecutors have pushed hard for the death penalty, Hayes' defense team has called a string of witnesses over two weeks in an attempt to bolster their claim that Hayes was merely a klutzy burglar who followed the whim of co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Komisarjevsky, 30, is scheduled to stand trial early next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct282010

Petit Murderer Caught Off Guard by Brutality, Psychiatrist Testifies

Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Connecticut) -- Steven Hayes didn't know ahead of the time that a Connecticut home invasion that resulted in the death of a mother and her two daughters would involve rape, murder and a fire to destroy evidence, according to a psychiatrist who testified Thursday in the sentencing phase of the convicted murderer's trial.

Dr. Eric Goldsmith told the jury Thursday it was Hayes' co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, who came up with the idea to rob a house in well-to-do Cheshire, because he'd done it before and that the gruesome turn of events in July 2007 wasn't in the original plan.

And when Hayes worried about the DNA evidence that would be left at the scene, Komisarjevsky allegedly shot back, "Fire kills everything," Goldsmith testified.

Hayes' defense has sought from the beginning of the trial to portray Komisarjevsky as the ringleader and Hayes as a hapless follower, in an attempt to spare him the death penalty. Closing arguments are expected Friday.

Hayes was convicted earlier this month of 16 felony counts related to the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.

Komisarjevsky, Goldsmith testified, told Hayes during the invasion that he'd already gotten DNA on one of the girls so they'd have to kill them both and urged Hayes to get his hands dirty.

Goldsmith's testimony Thursday also revealed Hayes had sex with Hawke-Petit after he strangled her and that Komisarjevsky told Hayes that Dr. William Petit -- the sole survivor of the home invasion -- had died. Petit had been bound and badly beaten, but managed to escape to a neighbor's house and call for help.

The jury also heard an excerpt from a note Hayes wrote. It was signed "Edicius," or "suicide" written backward.

In the note, Hayes wrote he wanted to die and though he said was not a monster like his co-defendant, he was a coward.

Goldsmith said Hayes has also been having nightmares of his young son burning.

The psychiatrist said while Komisarjevsky may be a psychopath, Hayes was not. The doctor said he'd diagnosed Hayes as having adjustment disorder and anti-social personality disorder.

Defense witnesses have accounted for the vast majority of the jury's time in the sentencing phase, now in its second week. The prosecution rested the first day after calling a clerk to read a list of Hayes' convictions.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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