Monday, November 8, 2010
News Spotlight: Murderer Gets Death Penalty
The Petit family
The murder of the Petit family is horrific and has a plot expected to be seen on a television crime show. As a huge fan of these shows (I'm Criminal Minds and Dexter obsessed), it's easy to get wrapped up in the glorification of blood thirsty characters. Seeing this kind of behavior in real life serves as a great snap back to reality that there are some crazy motherfuckers out there. Watch your back! I was going to omit the details of the crime at first, but sugarcoating really just doesn't drive the point home.
From The Associated Press: "NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man was condemned to death Monday for a night of terror inside a suburban home in which a woman was strangled and her two daughters tied to their beds, doused in gasoline and left to die in a fire.
Jurors in New Haven Superior Court voted unanimously to send Steven Hayes to death row after deliberating over the span of four days. Judge Jon Blue will impose the sentence on Dec. 2.
"You have been exposed to images of depravity and horror that no human being should have to see," Blue said in thanking the jurors for their service.
Dr. William Petit, the husband and father of the victims, said the verdict was not about revenge.
"Vengeance belongs to the Lord," Petit said. "This is about justice. We need to have some rules in a civilized society."
He also said it wouldn't bring closure, saying whoever came up with the concept was "an imbecile."
"It's a hole with jagged edges," he said. "Over time the edges may smooth out a little bit, but the hole in your heart, the hole in your soul is always there."
Hayes' attorneys had tried to persuade jurors to spare him the death penalty by portraying him as a clumsy, drug-addicted thief who never committed violence until the 2007 home invasion with a fellow paroled burglar. They called the co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, the mastermind and said he escalated the violence. They also said Hayes was remorseful and actually wanted a death sentence.
But prosecutors said both men were equally responsible and that the crime cried out for the death penalty, saying the family was tormented for seven hours before they were killed.
Hayes looked straight ahead and had no obvious reaction as the jury's sentence was announced. He will join nine other men on Connecticut's death row. The state has only executed one man since 1960, so Hayes will likely spend years, if not decades, in prison.
Komisarjevsky will be tried next year.
Authorities said Hayes and Komisarjevsky broke into the house, beat William Petit, and forced his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, to withdraw money from a bank while the rest of her family remained under hostage at home. Hayes then sexually assaulted and strangled her, authorities said. Komisarjevsky, who will be tried next year, is charged with sexually assaulting their 11-year-old daughter, Michaela.
Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley, were tied to their beds and doused in gasoline before the men set the house on fire, according to testimony. The girls died of smoke inhalation."