Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Connecticut Nightmare


Steven Hayes was on standby. The ex-con, bald, pudgy and middle-aged, was waiting in the yard for his younger friend to finish creeping into the house. They wanted it to be quiet.
It was about 3 a.m., and the man of the house was asleep on the porch. Hayes could see him and assumed the man’s wife and daughter, about whom he’d heard from his friend, were also asleep. But they didn’t know who else could be in the house. After waiting in the damp, early morning, Hayes finally saw his friend, Joshua Komisarjevsky, appear on the porch. He was carrying a baseball bat.
Book cover: In the Middle of the Night
Book cover: In the Middle of the Night
According to Komisarjevsky (pronounced Kom-ih-sore-JEFF-skee), who related his account to journalist Brian McDonald for the book In the Middle of the Night, he hit the sleeping man as hard as he could several times, and he and Hayes used zip-ties to restrain him. Thus began one of the most savage cases of home invasion in recent memory, one which shocked the nation and left a small town’s residents feeling vulnerable and violated.
Over nearly seven hours on the morning of July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit, along with his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and their two daughters would be bound and attacked. Beaten beyond recognition, Dr. Petit would ultimately escape his attackers, stumbling out of his basement and prompting neighbors to call 911. Moments later, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and the two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were burned in a fire started with gasoline doused around the house. Autopsy reports indicate the mother was raped and strangled before the fire, but the two young women died of asphyxia after being tied to their beds. The two accused killers, Komisarjevsky and Hayes, were captured by police while fleeing the burning home. They await trial in Connecticut for three murders.
After the flames died and the ashes cooled, investigators began to assemble the story of two career criminals, never arrested for violent crime, and how they brought mayhem to the seemingly picture-perfect suburban home in Cheshire, Conn.

A Hard-Working Family

Dr. William Petit
Dr. William Petit
Dr. William Petit is an endocrinologist and in July 2007 was the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Studying medicine in Pittsburgh, he had met a nurse named Jennifer Hawke at the Children’s Hospital. For their first date he had invited her to dinner—and he also invited his parents and two of their friends. It was a peculiar way to begin a relationship, but it was one which would mature to marriage and endure more than 22 years.
When Dr. Petit took a fellowship at Yale University, Jennifer Hawke-Petit took a nursing job there and became head nurse on the pediatric adolescent floor. She had a compassionate way with patients and a love of children.
When Jennifer became pregnant with their oldest daughter, Hayley, in 1989, they bought the house at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive. As Hayley grew older, she developed a love of basketball that she shared with her father. The two would shoot hoops in the driveway and religiously followed the men’s and women’s basketball teams at the University of Connecticut.
Besides basketball, Hayley shared something else with her father: a love of medicine. She would follow him on his hospital rounds. She had applied to college at Dartmouth, her father’s alma mater. She was accepted and would have attended in the fall.
From left to right: Hayley, Michaela and Jennifer Petit
From left to right: Hayley, Michaela and
Jennifer Petit
While Hayley followed her father’s footsteps, 11-year-old Michaela was happily developing by her mother’s side. Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Michaela shared a love of cooking. During the memorial service after the murders, Dr. Petit joked about having to take the remote control from Michaela because the only television she wanted to watch was the Food Network.
Hayley and Michaela had a very supportive and stable home life in Cheshire, a town that embodied many of the things for which their parents had worked so hard.

A Small Town

In New Haven County, Conn., home of Yale University, Cheshire had been declared the state’s “bedding plant capital” because of its many greenhouses and flower growers. Once a rural farming town, in the past several decades Cheshire has become more residential and suburban and grown to a population of about 29,000 people.
Map with Cheshire Conn. locator.
Map with Cheshire Conn. locator.
In its leafy suburbs in the spring and summer, arrangements of geraniums, begonias and johnny jump-ups seem to burst from gardens everywhere. In the fall, farmers lead hayrides through their pumpkin patches and sell apple cider to warm up their neighbors.
With its abundance of open spaces, tree-lined streets and family homes, Cheshire is a pleasant, safe place to be. In 2009, Money magazine listed Cheshire as one of its “100 Best Places to Live.”
The town’s median family income is $113,587, with a median home price around $400,000. With its well-heeled tax-base and family-oriented community spirit, Cheshire’s public schools maintain an excellent academic reputation. But it was nonetheless in the town’s Norton Elementary School where a young boy named Joshua Komisarjevsky began to clash with authority.

An Orphan

Joshua Komisarjevsky
Joshua Komisarjevsky
Joshua Komisarjevsky’s mother, Jude, was the librarian at Norton Elementary School. When her son was in fifth grade, she heard that he had been flinging desks at a teacher. Joshua had been having problems with the teacher, and, according to Komisarjevsky, his mother was appalled at the teacher’s sternness and became convinced she could do a better job teaching her son.
She pulled him from Norton Elementary, and from then on he was home schooled. The young man learned about history by visiting New England Revolutionary War battlefields and about art by going to museums in Hartford and Boston. Jude Komisarjevsky had the means and imagination to make the world Joshua’s classroom.
Jude Komisarjevsky, however, was not Joshua’s birth mother. He was born on Aug. 10, 1980, immediately given up for adoption, and within days went home with Jude and Ben Komisarjevsky. The couple are devout Christians who by all accounts live modestly, but come from a storied and wealthy family.
After the bloody home invasion of the Petit home, the Komisarjevsky family said in a news release that “it was a monstrous, deranged act, beyond compehension.” They expressed sympathy for the Petit family. Though Joshua Komisarjevsky’s alleged and confessed crimes put his name in papers across the world, his family was already well known for something quite different.
Christopher Komisarjevsky, Joshua’s uncle, told The New York Times that Joshua’s grandmother “was a beautiful avant-garde dancer who danced with the seminal dancers of modern dance and my father had left Russia at the time of the revolution to escape the Communists and directed theater in London and New York…that was the kind of environment we grew up in.”
After her husband died in 1954, Joshua’s grandmother the dancer married John Chamberlain, a writer who published in conservative opinion magazines and lived on a 65-acre estate in Cheshire. On this wooded land, with its pond and copses of oaks and cedar, Joshua Komisarjevsky first began to explore the night, moving silently and swiftly to avoid being caught by his parents. He enjoyed the outdoors and would practice tracking animals through the woods and trying to remain as silent and unobserved as possible.
According to the accused killer, he committed his first crime when he was 12 years old, stealing a car. He says he did it by taking advantage of Cheshire’s unlocked doors, plucking the keys from inside an unlocked house, in order to get home in time to avoid being caught violating his curfew.
Among the several houses on the property, young Joshua lived with his parents in a pre-Revolutionary War home they referred to as The Homestead. This home, still in use, is less than two miles from the Petit home at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive.
Most burglaries occur in the daytime. Criminals generally don’t want trouble and prefer to rob homes during the day when no one’s home. But according to his own confessions to police and a journalist, Joshua Komisarjevsky enjoyed the rush of breaking into people’s homes at night while they slept.
Komisarjevky sought out dangerous situations and seemed to get an almost erotic thrill from his trangressions. He describes breaking into other people’s homes at night, waiting, standing still, and listening to sleeping strangers slowly breathing in their beds. He would wear latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints and, at least on one occasion, he told police, he used night-vision goggles to see in the dark.
Komisarjevky’s predilection for the night may have begun when he was young but over the years developed into a criminal modus operandi. When retired Cheshire police officer Bill Glass first heard about the early morning home invasion on July 23, 2007, no one had to tell him who was involved. “I knew it was Komisarjevsky,” he said.

A Chance Meeting

Jennifer Hawke-Petit
Jennifer Hawke-Petit
Fourteen years after stealing his first car, Joshua Komisarjevsky was still using cars to get into trouble.
According to Komisarjevsky, he was sitting in his mother’s beat-up red Chevrolet Venture van on Saturday, July 22, 2007, listening to Guns N’ Roses in the parking lot of the Super Stop & Shop in Cheshire. According to the accused, the first thing he noticed was the very nice Chrysler Pacifica minivan parked next to him. He recalls thinking like a crook: where there’s a nice car, there’s good money.
Then he noticed the three females inside the car. By Komisarjevsky’s account, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, the youngish, blonde mother, and her pretty daughter Michaela, still wearing braces on her teeth, went inside to shop for groceries while older daughter Hayley stayed in the van. He watched and waited until mother and daughter came back to the Pacifica with their groceries and then proceeded to follow them.
It’s about three miles from the Super Stop & Shop to the Petit home. Komisarjevsky says he followed the Pacifica casually, staying several car lengths behind. He wasn’t worried about losing the minivan; it was his neighborhood, after all.
When the van pulled into Sorghum Mill Drive, Komisarjevsky knew the street well; he says he had committed several burglaries there over the years. The Petits’ Pacifica rolled into the driveway, and the family was oblivious to the ex-convict driving past their home. There remained unaware that they were being followed, and that the man following them was looking for targets.
Glenn Petit, Jennifer Hawke-Petit’s brother-in-law, repeated information the police told him after the murders. The perpetrators “liked the car, followed her home, thought she lived in a nice house.”
Steven Hayes
Steven Hayes
While he was waiting at the Super Stop & Shop, Joshua Komisarjevky says, he was talking on his cell phone with Steven Hayes. The two had met in a halfway house after being released from prison. Now Hayes needed money and was on the verge of losing parole; Komisarjevsky had just had his ankle bracelet removed and wanted a thrill.
“Robbing a house is better than any drug I’ve ever tried,” the young thief once told a friend. Komisarjevsky has called burglary a “a form of extreme sport.”
That night, police say, the two ex-cons would commit their first crimes together as a team.

Saturday Night

“We were within 24 hours of being that family,” Ronald Bergamo, Jr. told the Associated Press.
Bergamo’s house was robbed on Saturday, July 22—the night before the tragedy at the Petit house. While five people slept upstairs, including Bergamo, his wife, their 12-year-old son and another couple, burglars entered the house, looked through drawers, and took $140 in cash. A large carving knife was left on the family room table.
Joshua Komisarjevsky confessed to the break-in to journalist Brian McDonald. He says the house was the biggest on its street, Country Club Road, which is several miles away from the Petit home. Breaking in was easy, Komisarjevsky says, because he’d broken into the same house 12 years earlier. He threw a towel over the motion detector and entered the house through an open window in the back.
According to Komisarjevsky, his partner Steven Hayes was nervous, loud and awkward. With no experience as a burglar, the older man kept making unnecessary noises as they approached the Bergamo house, and once inside he kept bumping into furniture. When the two heard a car pulling into the driveway they quickly left the house through the back door.
The young thief had bought a BB pistol that day and some zip-ties. They had more to do. Even though they were leaving, their night wasn’t over.

A Second House

Down the street from the Bergamo family lives David Hick, along with his wife and three children. While the Hick family slept early Sunday morning, thieves entered their house through the back door and took credit cards, cash and a cell phone. And, most disturbing to the family, the burglars stole a family photo of David Hick and his wife.
“That’s one thing that is really bothering us,” Hick told a reporter after the Petit tragedy. Could the thieves have been targeting the Hickses?
In his correspondence with Brian McDonald, Joshua Komisarjevsky admits to burglarizing the Hick house with Steven Hayes, saying they wanted more cash after being disappointed at the Bergamo home. But Komisarjevsky downplays the significance of the stolen photo, saying it’s just that thieves need to know what their victims look like. “It’s information a burglar needs to know,” he says.
But after having his home broken into and reflecting on the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, David Hick said “What happened to them could have happened to us just as easily.”
After robbing the Bergamo and Hick families, Joshua Komisarjevsky said, he and Steven Hayes called it a night. They finished their first evening together as partners in crime with less cash than they wanted, but the younger, yet more experienced Komisarjevsky says he was happy that Hayes was beginning to feel more comfortable inside other people’s homes and the two were working together as a team.
When they left Country Club Road early Sunday morning, they were ending the night but had begun preparing for a bigger, more serious heist. According to Komisarjevsky, Steven Hayes was frustrated at the first night’s loot. Hayes needed more money and he needed it fast.


Steven Hayes
Steven Hayes
Steven Hayes was a drug addict. Joshua Komisarjevsky might compare burglary to drugs, but Hayes was hooked on the real thing. He’d been arrested 26 times, living his adult life since 1980 in and out of prison. The charges included burglary, weapons possession, narcotics possession, and larceny. The thread running through many of these arrests was Steven Hayes’s compulsion for drugs.
Five times Hayes had been given community release, and five times he had failed. In 1996, his release to a halfway house was initially successful. He was working at a restaurant almost 70 hours per week to save money for a car. Just when he had enough money to go for a test drive, he told police, he ran into a prostitute he knew who offered him crack cocaine. He took one hit and soon his savings were gone, he was living in an abandoned building and was breaking into cars to get money for more crack. “All I cared about was getting high,” Hayes said.
Unlike Joshua Komisarjevsky’s, Steven Hayes’s crimes did not involve reconnaissance or stealthy maneuvering. His latest arrest before the deaths of the Petit family was in 2003, at a parking lot where Hayes had used a rock to bash the window of a car to get a purse that was inside. He had been smoking crack.
Hayes was sentenced to five years in prison for the parking lot burglary, which would have placed his release date in 2008—after the tragedy in Cheshire. He had a dismal record of rehabilitation and was not expecting to get out early. So it was a surprise in 2006 when he was released from prison to go to a Hartford halfway house. Hayes told a friend “I don’t know how the hell they let me out of jail, but I wasn’t going to say ‘no.’”
It was at a Hartford halfway house that Hayes, stocky and short, described as outgoing and funny, met Joshua Komisarjevsky, thin and tall, called quiet and weird. A fellow convict at the house puzzled to a reporter, “I don’t know why they clicked.” But clicked they did—like a pair of handcuffs.

‘Cold-Blooded Predator’

Although they were very different, Joshua Komisarjevsky had at least one thing in common with Steven Hayes. He liked to mix drugs and theft. Together, the two men’s parole records totaled 489 pages.
Joshua Komisarjevsky
Joshua Komisarjevsky
In October 2002, Komisarjevsky was convicted on burglary charges and sentenced to three years in prison. Police had discovered stolen electronics in a pawn shop called Easy Money and traced it to the then 22-year-old. After being arrested, however, Komisarjevsky volunteered information about 17 other burglaries he’d committed in the area.
At the time of his sentencing, Komisarjevsky claimed to be turning his life around because of the birth of his daughter Jayda. With tears in his eyes, he addressed the judge. “I only pray that I have the opportunity to be able to raise my daughter in the love and the faith that now has new meaning to my life,” he said. Komisarjevsky’s parents petitioned for a two-year faith-based program as an alternative to prison time.
In letters with journalist Brian McDonald after the Petit tragedy, however, the young criminal called his confession “tactical”—he’d committed many more crimes that he’d been caught for, he says, and didn’t want them to come back to him.
The judge wasn’t convinced about Komisarjevsky’s revelation. That he “would commit calculated burglaries at night while people were there sleeping,” he said, shows that Komisarjevsky is “a calculated, cold-blooded predator.” He sentenced the young burglar to nine years in prison and six years’ parole.
Because of good behavior in prison, Komisarjevsky was given early release and cuffed with an electronic monitoring device. The bracelet was removed in July 2007, less than a week before three members of the Petit family were murdered in Cheshire.


According to the Hartford Courant, “Joshua Komisarjevsky liked young girls.” When he was 21, his 15-year-old girlfriend got pregnant. When he was 26, he dated a 17-year-old girl. The pair would go to the mall and have sex in the family restroom, sometimes taking pictures with his cell phone.
Michaela Petit
Michaela Petit
Police say Komisarjevsky used his cell phone camera to take photos of 11-year-old Michaela Petit during the home invasion on July 23, 2007. He told journalist Brian McDonald that the photos of Michaela were going to be used to blackmail her father. Prosecutors have charged Komisarjevsky with the murder of Michaela during a first-degree sexual assault.
Adding to the horror and incomprehensibility of that night is the fact that both Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes have children of their own. Komisarjevsky’s daughter, Jayda, was born while he was in prison and his ex-girlfriend was 16. Upon his release, he battled for custody. Steven Hayes has two children in their teens, a boy and a girl.
Besides having their own children, the two men themselves share troubled years as children. When he was 14, court records say, Komisarjevsky was raped by a foster child his parents had taken in. Hayes began drinking when he was 11 years old.
Hayes was living with his divorced mother in Winsted at the time of the Petit murders. His mother and brother suspected he was using drugs again because money he had saved had disappeared. When probation officials visited his house on July 20, 2007, his mother said it was time for him to go. Steven Hayes’s probation mandated that he have a stable living address.
With his savings gone, authorities believe, Hayes needed to get cash so he could find a place to live. Steven Hayes called his halfway house friend Joshua Komisarjevsky, who says he was parked next to the Petits’ Pacifica at the Super Stop & Shop when he got the call.

Sunday Night

After robbing the Bergamo and Hick houses in Cheshire on Saturday, July 21, prosecutors say Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky chose a new target for Sunday night. The younger man talked to his girlfriend, who had recently moved to Arkansas, at about 10:30 p.m. and then went out with a black hooded sweatshirt. At about the same time, Steven Hayes left his mother’s house, saying he was going to see someone about a job.
Police believe the two men met at the Super Stop & Shop. They left Hayes’s borrowed pickup truck in the parking lot and then went out for a few drinks. By around 3 a.m. Monday morning, after the bars had all closed, the two ex-cons were standing outside the Petit house at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive.
Although much has been reported about what happened during the night of the horrific home invasion, there remain unknown details. The two accused killers await their separate trials and defense lawyers worry about being able to find a fair and impartial jury. According to the Hartford Courant, both accused men talked to investigators, and their stories contradict each other in places.
Although Joshua Komisarjevsky confessed to certain crimes in letters and interviews with journalist Brian McDonald, his version of events has not yet been cross-examined in court and much of it cannot be checked against the physical evidence of the crime scene.
On the Web site, Dr. William Petit has called for a boycott of Brian McDonald’s book based on his interviews, In the Middle of the Night, calling it a “pornographic book that is in contempt of court.” At the request of Steven Hayes’s legal defense team, Judge Richard Damiani has ordered a gag rule in place on the defense, the prosecution, and all law enforcement involved in the case.
Despite the gag rule, information in news reports, legal documents and other sources paint a chilling portrait of what happened in the Petit home that morning.

Monday Morning

After beating William Petit with a baseball bat, sources say, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes dragged him into the basement, put a garbage bag over his head and tied him up in an attempt to keep him restrained.
Then the two men went upstairs. Komisarjevsky told Brian McDonald he didn’t want “a 17-year-old high school wrestler” coming at them. They figured out who was in the house, tying up Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley, and Michaela with a mix of rope, scarves and electrical wire. According to warrants, investigators discovered rope-like traces around the ankles of all three victims and on the wrists and bedposts of the two girls.
According to news reports, the two accused men gathered all the cell phones in the house but were texting each other’s cell phones from inside the house. While Komisarjevsky watched the three females, Hayes went through drawers, closets, wallets and purses. He collected Jennifer Hawke-Petit’s jewelry, a few hundred dollars in cash, and a jar of change Michaela had collected to benefit multiple sclerosis research.
Although they unplugged all the landline phones, at least two phone calls were made from inside the house that morning. Sources say the two men forced Jennifer Hawke-Petit to call her husband’s office and say he wouldn’t be coming in to work so there wouldn’t be any alarm when he didn’t show up. And Joshua Komisarjevsky called his work to say he couldn’t come in because his daughter Jayda was sick.
But, according to prosecutors, it was Joshua Komisarjevsky who was sick.

Innocence Lost

Police believe Steven Hayes took four canisters from the Petit family garage and went to fill them with gasoline some time before the sun rose. Hayes had to call for directions three times on the way back because he kept getting lost, according to Komisarjevsky, who was still in the Petit house watching Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters.
Hayley Petit
Hayley Petit
Prosecutors have charged Joshua Komisarjevsky with Michaela Petit’s rape and murder, saying there is evidence he tied up the 11-year-old girl, sexually abused her, and then forced her to the bathroom to take a shower.
Sources say he used his cell phone to take pictures. Investigators would later seize photos from Komisarjevsky’s cell phone after obtaining a search warrant for evidence.
According to the accused killer, it was 17-year-old Hayley Petit who put up the most resistance. She kept trying to escape, Komisarjevsky said. After being bound, she asked him “Why are you doing this?” He just smiled. Later, the two men discovered Hayley with a cell phone trying to call 911. “She was a fighter,” Komisarjevsky says.

The Bank

Joshua Komisarjevsky says it was his idea to force Jennifer Hawke-Petit to withdraw $10,000 from the bank, but that he was afraid of being recognized if he went with her. So Steven Hayes drove with Jennifer Hawke-Petit to her local bank.
While the accused killer sat in the car, Hawke-Petit went inside and withdrew $15,000 shortly after 9 a.m. She passed a note to the teller and spoke few words, saying that her family was being held hostage and they would be killed if police were alerted.
A witness at the bank that morning who saw Hawke-Petit come in for the withdrawal described the mother of two as rushed and tense. “I felt fear,” the eyewitness said.
Jennifer Hawke-Petit withdrew more than the robbers asked for, sources say, in hopes that her family would be set free once she handed over the cash. A bank employee called 911 at 9:21 a.m.

Circle Closes In

The two men had occupied the Petit house for over six hours. After Steven Hayes and Jennifer Hawke-Petit arrived back at the house, the sequence of events becomes very difficult to describe. Investigators have refrained from talking about this period in the timeline, and the two accused killers have given different versions to police.
At 9:26 a.m., following the bank’s 911 call, the first radio dispatch goes out on police radios about an incident at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive. At 9:36 a.m., a police officer is on foot in the Petit’s yard trying to figure out if the persons from the bank — Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Steven Hayes — have even arrived back at the house. Police begin to form a road block on Sorghum Mill Drive and Cheshire’s SWAT team starts to assemble.
Meanwhile, the people in the house are oblivious to the police lines closing around them.
According to Joshua Komisarjevsky, in questioning by investigators and journalist Brian McDonald, Steven Hayes was “getting violent” with Jennifer Hawke-Petit. He says he came downstairs to find the older man raping and strangling the mother. At some point, according to Komisarjevsky, Hayes said they would have to burn everything to get rid of the witnesses and the evidence.
The medical examiner says Jennifer Hawke-Petit died of strangulation. According to a search warrant , “One of the deceased was burned beyond recognition, with indications that an accelerant was liberally poured on her.”

Critical Minutes

The officer who was in the Petit’s back yard had offered to make contact with people inside the house, but was told to wait until more police arrived.
By 9:55 a.m., the police had secured a perimeter around the house. Over a dozen emergency vehicles were gathered on the Petit’s block. Many of them were unmarked police cars, their sirens turned off. Officers were gathered around the house, some carrying rifles and shotguns. They had no way of knowing that one hostage was already dead inside the home.
Around this time, a bruised man staggered out of the basement of the Petit house with his feet bound together. It was Dr. William Petit. Sources say police were close enough to hear him yelling his neighbor’s first name. Then, police and neighbors heard a loud popping sound. It was the sound of a fire being set.
After the fire was blazing inside the house, Joshua Komisarjevsky ran out of the house first. Then came Steven Hayes, who was wearing one of Hayley’s hats and laughing as the pair ran for the Petit family minivan.


Komisarjevsky and Hayes made it into the Pacifica that was parked in the Petit driveway. A police car tried to block them in, but Komisarjevsky drove the Petits’ minivan through the yard to escape.
The getaway car was at top speed when it burst into a v-shaped roadblock set up with two police cars on Sorghum Mill Road. The Pacifica, heavily damaged, went to the curb after causing the two police cars to spin apart. When the police approached the Pacifica with their guns drawn, the two suspects were still wearing latex gloves.
By 10:01 a.m., Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes were in police custody. At that point, an emergency worker reported that a fire is burning inside the Petit home.
Hayley and Michaela died of smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner. “The remaining two victims appeared to have some indication of accelerant being poured onto or in close proximity to them, but not to the same degree as the other victim.”

Facing Death

The state of Connecticut has only executed one person since 1960. “I know the public consensus is they should be fried tomorrow,” Connecticut State’s Attorney Michael Dearington said about Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes just two days after the pair were arrested.
Komisarjevsky and Hayes are each charged with six counts of capital felony murder and related charges, and will be executed if found guilty. The pair also face six counts of first-degree kidnapping, as well as assorted assault, arson and robbery charges. Komisarjevsky is accused of sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela Petit, and Hayes is accused of sexually assaulting Jennifer Hawke-Petit.
The two men will be tried separately. Joshua Komisarjevsky’s trial has not been scheduled yet, but jury selection is under way for the trial of Steven Hayes. His trial is expected to begin in September 2010.
Hayes was placed on 24-hour suicide watch after he was arrested, and on January 31 prison guards found him unconscious in his cell. The accused killer was taken to the hospital in a coma but recovered within days. Sources say he tried to overdose on psychiatric medication.
Dr. William Petit has endorsed the death penalty for the two men accused of killing his wife and two daughters.


  1. I'm doind an assignment on these crimes, my Professor posted this blog for the entire class to reference, this is a really good depiction of what happened in Cheshire Conn. that fateful day of July 23, 2007.

  2. I am in criminal law and my professor is making us do a paper on this terrible incident and it's just horrible the things these people did.