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Jurors Speak Out On Hayes Death Sentence

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Dr. William Petit and Steven Hayes (credit: AP)

Dr. William Petit and Steven Hayes (credit: AP)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS 2/AP) – A jury condemned Steven Hayes to death for the horrific Cheshire home invasion murders. For the first time, jurors were speaking out Tuesday about the case, CBS 2HD’s Jay Dow reports.

Juror Diane Keim said she saw Hayes for what he is: a cold-blooded killer who helped carry out the 2007 home invasion that left a wife and two daughters dead and Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor, traumatized.

“I do not feel he’s been remorseful,” Keim said. “In looking at the man who committed the crime, I looked at him as being a monster.”

Keim said the panel kept a picture of the victims in plain view during the deliberations and that the photograph reminded them of why they were there.

Keim sat on the jury that Monday unanimously voted to sentence Hayes to death. She and some of her counterparts, appearing on this morning’s “The Early Show,” insist it was not an easy decision.

“We definitely took our time. We wanted to make sure we followed the laws of the state of Connecticut,” said juror Maico Cardona.

Juror Herbert Gram said he couldn’t imagine what Dr. Petit was going through. “All I can say is that’s a man who just has unbelievable strength to have been through what he’s been through.”

Gram said that he had a difficult time holding back tears during Monday’s meeting with Dr. William Petit and Petit’s mother. He says Petit shook jurors’ hands and thanked them.

Gram says the jury asked the judge if it could meet with Petit after deciding to condemn Steven Hayes to death for the killings of Petit’s wife and their two daughters at their home in 2007.

Family members said they were grateful to the jury. “While we were sitting there going through all the agony of the repeated messages that came through, we still could understand that they were giving a large part of their lives to the effort that they had,” said Marybell Hawke, Jennifer Hawke-Petit’s mother.

Prosecutors said Hayes and accomplice Joshua Komersijesky, who will be tried next year, forced Dr. Petit’s wife into a bank to withdraw ransom money before murdering her and their two children.

The family’s home was then set on fire.

“Michaela was an 11-year-old little girl, tortured and killed in her own bedroom, surrounded by stuffed animals. Hayley had a great future. She was a strong and courageous person,” Dr. Petit said.

Legal appeals could put off Hayes’ execution for years. His attorney said the career criminal actually smiled upon hearing the sentence. “He’s been trying to kill himself for three and a half years. He’s humble now. He’s totally remorseful. He’s guilt ridden, depressed, and he wants to die,” said Attorney Thomas Ullman.

Juror Paula Calzetta said it was difficult to read hayes in the courtroom. “I kept looking to see some form of life within. It was just a constant shell.”

Connecticut has executed only one person since 1960. Serial killer Michael B. Ross received a lethal injection in 2005 after he stopped pursuing further appeals, but Ross spent 18 years on death row.

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